I am a pro-life candidate. I believe in protecting the most vulnerable among us and in promoting the worth of each individual. This includes not only unborn children, but those children suffering from neglect and abuse, living in poverty, and those seeking a secure future that includes a quality education and future employment opportunities. We must invest in our children. We must support those in foster care.
Quality of life included health care. We must fix PEIA with permanent funding sources; a continued band-aid approach is not acceptable. We adequately fund PEIA without balancing the budget on the back of working families.
Quality of life demands that we as a society tackle the opiate epidemic that is stealing the future from so many of our fellow citizens. There is a real shortage of quality treatment programs. Whether funded by the government, the private sector, charitable and faith organizations, or a combination of all of the above, we must all commit to fighting this destruction. Along with drug treatment, we need to tackle the problems of overprescribing of these pills and pharmacy hopping by those addicted.
I believe in individual liberty. Whether it is religious liberty, property rights, 2nd amendment rights, or freedom of speech, I believe our rights must be protected.
The government should not be in the business of telling people what they can do with their own money. I opposed the government telling employees what they can or can’t have deducted from their paychecks.
The government should not be able to seize your individual property and mineral rights by allowing companies to drill or mine on your land without your permission. I oppose forced pooling. Your neighbors should not be able to vote to give others the right to sell your land rights out from under your feet.
When cities wish to annex other areas, I believe an election should be held so that the people living in the area to be annexed have a say if they are to be annexed. The people’s will should prevail. City government offers many advantages, but many people prefer not to live in a city and they should not be forced to be annexed if it is against the will of the majority.
Although a national issue, I strongly support net neutrality. It is inconceivable that our government would allow providers to discriminate against others in the marketplace and against the public. Net neutrality is equality and opportunity in action. It is vital for consumer protection and choice, for the free flow of information in a democracy, and for opportunity in the marketplace.
Along with individual liberty, we must protect civil rights. No person or group of person is above or below another person in the eyes of our creator and no person should be above or below another in the eyes of the law. We must balance the individual’s right to conscience and belief with protection against discrimination. My rights end when they abridge another’s rights, and vice versa. The government should serve as a balance when rights conflict. As a former president once proclaimed, “Opportunity for all, privilege for none.” Everyone matters and is entitled to express their views and have their basic human rights respected and protected.
The actions our legislature has taken to build our economy has not brought the promised jobs to the state and has instead struggled to cover deficits, lowered wages (with the prevailing wage law), balanced budgets on the backs of the working and middle class, and seen our state’s bond ratings lowered. We were promised right to work would have businesses flocking to our state, even though this is never listed as one of the major factors businesses look for when relocating.
If we are to attract business and jobs to our state we need to invest in our infrastructure, education, and have a well-trained, drug-free workforce. The highway bonds the voters approved are a good starting point. We need to have accessible, quality highways and also need to continue to upgrade internet, cell, and broadband capabilities if we are to attract business to our state.
Our tax policy needs to stop penalizing workers who remain in the state and instead invest in them. I believe tax cuts and spending should both be targeted. Giveaways to corporations in hopes they will reinvest their profits in our state are often misguided and have led to holes in our state budget. Tax incentives for business should be just that – incentives. They should be tied to producing jobs, opening a plant or store, providing health care or pensions to their workers. In this philosophy, we are investing in business and they are returning that investment. I believe our tax breaks should be aimed more at our local small businesses who will actually use the money they get back to hire another employee or provide raises to those working for them. Tax breaks should put money into the hands of those who will spend it here in our state – our workers and our small business owners located here in our local communities. If we are going to try to entice companies to come into our state, we should also stipulate that they first hire West Virginia workers whenever available.
Finally, two big points. (1) Over 60% of the land in West Virginia is owned by absentee (out of state) landowners. Most of that land is assessed and taxed at pennies on the dollar for what the people living in the state pay for their personal property taxes. If we simply taxed that land at fair market value and treated the out of state landowners and companies the same as we did West Virginians, we would have a huge cash flow. May would develop much of the land, creating jobs, or sell to entrepreneurs who would be willing to do so.
(2) West Virginia has always been blessed with a wealth of natural resources. Yet throughout our history, the profits from our own resources have flowed out of our state leaving the people behind, often in poverty. We have a second chance to learn from the mistakes of the past century when many times coal barons took the wealth from the state. With the abundance of natural gas, we have the chance to make sure a big part of the wealth produced in West Virginia can stay in West Virginia for the benefit of the people here. We can raise severance taxes on gas without gouging the industry. We can have a steady, reliable source of revenue that can be used to build our infrastructure, fund PEIA, pay our state workers, teachers, and law enforcement adequately, invest in public education, and build an economy and future worthy of the people of our great state. All it takes is the will to do it.