LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: Responses of Democratic Candidates for Govenor

Edited from a Press Release

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS DEMOCRATIC PARTY CANDIDATES RESPONSES

CANDIDATE  Jeffrey V. Kessler

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE  Marshall

PARTY  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION
Website: JeffKesslerForGovernor.com Education: West Liberty State College, B.A. in Political Science and Economics 1977. WVU College of Law, J.D. 1981. Occupation: Attorney with law firm of Berry, Kessler, Crutchfield, Taylor & Gordon, Moundsville, WV. Experience: WV State Senator (1997-present). Acting President of WV Senate (2011-present). Assistant Prosecuting Attorney – Marshall County (1985-2000). McMechen Municipal Judge (1982-1989). Benwood City Attorney (1983-1997)

QUESTION 1.  What measures would you propose to protect West Virginia’s water supply from the effects of coal  mining and natural gas drilling?
ANSWER  I would immediately hire additional inspectors at the WV Department of Environmental Protection. Currently, the DEP is inadequately staffed with only 17 inspectors to oversee our natural gas drilling industry. I would also maintain an administrative moratorium on underground coal slurry injection until it could be conclusively and scientifically established that the environment and public health are not adversely affected.

QUESTION 2.  What steps would you take to address the growing problem of drug abuse in West Virginia?
ANSWER I would dedicate a funding source for intervention and prevention programs. I would recommend an increase in sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol products and draw down a 3 to 1 federal Medicaid match to help provide community based substance abuse centers. As an original proponent of the drug court initiative, I would expand drug court programs throughout the state.

QUESTION 3.  How would you address the problem that a high school degree is no longer adequate for obtaining a  good paying job?
ANSWER I would encourage vocational and career development in middle and high schools and expand opportunities for high school students to obtain college level course training through our community technical college system. This would help to ensure that more children who graduate high school have already obtained some college credits and therefore serve as a springboard toward an Associate’s Degree.

QUESTION 4.  How would you propose to meet the infrastructure needs of West Virginia?
ANSWER I would continue to maintain and expand funding from excess lottery proceeds and dedicate the same to the Infrastructure Council to upgrade our water and sewerage systems throughout the state. It would be similar to the bill I sponsored this year to provide $8 Million per year for 40 years to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed area in the Eastern Panhandle.

QUESTION 5.  What should the state do to give local governments more flexibility in raising revenue?
ANSWER I would continue to expand home rule initiatives to give local governments greater latitude in raising revenue. Local governments provide the majority of public health and safety services to our community; therefore, they need the tools to obtain the revenues necessary to sustain these services to the public.

CANDIDATE  Arne Moltis

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE  Kanawha

PARTY  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION
Candidate did not provide a biography.

QUESTION 1.  What measures would you propose to protect West Virginia’s water supply from the effects of coal  mining and natural gas drilling?
ANSWER The healthy water supply for west virginia as well as healthy food is a top priority, that is why i do not drink tap water because of the impurities and the excessive chlorine in it which is the main cause of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

QUESTION 2.  What steps would you take to address the growing problem of drug abuse in West Virginia?
ANSWER Drug abuse is caused by many factors including unemployment, peer pressure, lack of religious morality. For young people higher education should take a high priority.

QUESTION 3.  How would you address the problem that a high school degree is no longer adequate for obtaining a  good paying job?
ANSWER High school is a first step towards higher education. I have a teaching degree and eight years of college. I love education and i will instill the love of education in everybody.

QUESTION 4.  How would you propose to meet the infrastructure needs of West Virginia?
ANSWER . To start with Amos Power Plant in Putnam County is the largest and most modern in West Virginia. AEP the electric company will not let us use it for our electricity needs, instead they ship off the electricity we make to new york. To deal with the infrastructure of WV we need major money in the billions, we will get (exceeded word limit)

QUESTION 5.  What should the state do to give local governments more flexibility in raising revenue?
ANSWER  Local government is not capable to get funds in the billions that the state treasury can get by starting the west virginia electric power at Amos power plant. It is simple the state of West Virginia can manage Amos Power Plant very nicely plus we need the electricity and the billions that will become available. Goodbye AEP and hello WVEP.

CANDIDATE  John D. Perdue

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE  Kanawha

PARTY  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION
Married for 37 years to Robin, two daughters: Jessica and Emily.  Graduated from West Virginia University 1972.  Worked in Department of Agriculture 1972-1989 worked my way up from inspector to Deputy Commissioner.  Worked for Governor Gaston Caperton 1989-1997 as Senior Aide dealing with the budget and legislation.  Served as State Treasurer 1997-present.

QUESTION 1.  What measures would you propose to protect West Virginia’s water supply from the effects of coal  mining and natural gas drilling?
ANSWER First, we need to stop and put a plan in place before we jump in over our heads.  Water is our number one resource and we cannot allow anyone to destroy it.  We must put in place a Research Trust Fund and use it to discover ways to protect our water and the environment and still reap the benefits of coal and natural gas.

QUESTION 2.  What steps would you take to address the growing problem of drug abuse in West Virginia?
ANSWER There are a number of things we need to do.  The first is to provide after school programs for our youth to get them prepared for school the next day.  Now they are running around looking for things to do and that leads to problems.  Next, we need to fund the State Police to increase their drug enforcement task force.

QUESTION 3.  How would you address the problem that a high school degree is no longer adequate for obtaining a  good paying job?
ANSWER   We need to fund and promote vocational and technical education.  For some reason we have overlooked the need for this type of training and pushed college.  Many good jobs do not need a college degree, but need additional training beyond high school.  The Promise Scholarship needs to be used for college and vocational or technical schools.

QUESTION 4.  How would you propose to meet the infrastructure needs of West Virginia?
ANSWER A percentage of the funds from Marcellus Shale must be set aside for all types of infrastructure:  roads, bridges, broadband, water and sewage, etc.  Since we no longer have Robert C. Byrd to provide these funds, we need to provide for ourselves.

QUESTION 5.  What should the state do to give local governments more flexibility in raising revenue?
ANSWER I believe counties should have a larger percentage of the severance tax and school boards should have a larger percentage of the local share.

CANDIDATE  Natalie E. Tennant

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE  Kanawha

PARTY  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION
I grew up learning the value of a dollar and I know how hard West Virginians work to earn a living. As Secretary of State, I dedicated myself to never wasting taxpayer dollars and making Government more responsive. As Governor, I’ll cut out the perks and make Government more accountable so we can focus on creating jobs and lowering taxes.

QUESTION 1.  What measures would you propose to protect West Virginia’s water supply from the effects of coal  mining and natural gas drilling?
ANSWER By managing our resources responsibly we can build a new energy economy for West Virginia – one that includes coal, natural gas and alternative energies. We shouldn’t have to choose between protecting our water, roads and land, and our economy. A new energy economy will enhance West Virginia’s energy portfolio, protect our water resources and bring good-paying research and manufacturing jobs.

QUESTION 2.  What steps would you take to address the growing problem of drug abuse in West Virginia?
ANSWER To address this scourge on our communities I will work with law enforcement, doctors, pharmacists, and educators to develop a comprehensive strategy that prevents medication abuse, prevents illegal drug sales on our streets, educates West Virginians on the risks and benefits of prescription drugs, encourages safe medication use by patients, and increases support for state law enforcement and regulatory boards.

QUESTION 3.  How would you address the problem that a high school degree is no longer adequate for obtaining a  good paying job?
ANSWER We begin with an education system that prepares our students for the new economy. We must make college more affordable and ensure it provides real world experience to students by expanding Dual credit and Edge credit programs. We must also prepare our workers through on the job training while allowing them to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.

QUESTION 4.  How would you propose to meet the infrastructure needs of West Virginia?
ANSWER We must upgrade and maintain our roadways, waterways and bridges, many of which are nearing a crisis point. That means finishing what we start and investing in new roads and highways to connect our communities. Updating our infrastructure also includes connecting our communities to broadband. No business or student can compete in today’s economy without high speed broadband.

QUESTION 5.  What should the state do to give local governments more flexibility in raising revenue?
ANSWER With innovation, we must have accountability. I support exploring new approaches to address the economic and urban challenges our cities face. While we cannot address these challenges simply by levying additional taxes, we must allow our cities the flexibility to create a comprehensive vision for revitalizing, rejuvenating and reinventing our communities

CANDIDATE  Rick Thompson

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE  Wayne

PARTY  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION
1981 House of Delegates; 1982-1984 Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; 1989-1997 Chair, Workers Compensation Appeals Board; 2001-2011 House of Delegates; 2007-2011 Speaker of the House; B.S. Marshall University; Law Degree WVU.   Rick is married to Beth Chambers and has four children, Wesley, Rachel, Wade and Dalton.  Rick currently resides in Lavalette but was raised in Fort Gay, West Virginia.

QUESTION 1.  What measures would you propose to protect West Virginia’s water supply from the effects of coal  mining and natural gas drilling?
ANSWER As Speaker of the House I led the successful fight to preserve hundreds of West Virginia’s most pristine streams through the regulatory process. To work, regulations need three things:  Adequate funding; input from the affected industries so that regulations are understandable, attainable, and consistent; and sufficient regulators and inspectors to ensure proper compliance.

QUESTION 2.  What steps would you take to address the growing problem of drug abuse in West Virginia?
ANSWER Tougher penalties for those involved in the illegal sale and distribution of drugs should be at the forefront of the effort to combat the drug abuse problem in our state.  In addition, more resources need to be devoted to monitoring and catching prescription drug pushers and to shutting down prescription mills.

QUESTION 3.  How would you address the problem that a high school degree is no longer adequate for obtaining a  good paying job?
ANSWER The first step is addressing the high school drop out problem to make sure more of our young people finish school.  Second, is to continue the Promise and other scholarship plans to make college more affordable, and third is encourage colleges and universities to adopt schedules to that allow greater flexibility for students who need to work part time.

QUESTION 4.  How would you propose to meet the infrastructure needs of West Virginia?
ANSWER A recent study ranks West Virginian’s bridges as the 8th worst in the nation.  Roads and infrastructure development are not a convenience – they’re a necessity for economic development.  West Virginia must be willing to reflect this fact in its budget priorities.

QUESTION 5.  What should the state do to give local governments more flexibility in raising revenue?
ANSWER The so-called “home rule” plan has been very popular.  However, I’m opposed to the imposition of new taxes under home rule without citizen approval.

CANDIDATE  Earl Ray Tomblin

COUNTY OF RESIDENCE  Logan

PARTY  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION
As Senate President and now Acting as Governor, I have the honor of serving the people of West Virginia. If elected I will continue to focus on creating jobs and lowering taxes for the people of our State. I have been married to Joanne Tomblin for 31 years and we have one son, Brent. For more information, please visit www.EarlRayTomblin.com.

QUESTION 1.  What measures would you propose to protect West Virginia’s water supply from the effects of coal  mining and natural gas drilling?
ANSWER We must ensure that current laws for coal mining are properly enforced; ample state and federal authority exists to protect our environment. Regarding Marcellus Shale drilling, we must do what is necessary to protect the environment. I proposed $2,000,000 for additional inspectors and support regulations to protect our water supply from negative impacts of fracking while not slowing job creation.

QUESTION 2.  What steps would you take to address the growing problem of drug abuse in West Virginia?
ANSWER Under my direction, West Virginia is reaching agreements with sister states and implementing technology that will help crack-down on prescription drug abuse. I am also signing legislation that prohibits inappropriate use of bath salts and synthetic marijuana. We must also focus on community involvement; by identifying at-risk children, we can keep them in school, off the streets, and drug-free.

QUESTION 3.  How would you address the problem that a high school degree is no longer adequate for obtaining a  good paying job?
ANSWER I am proud to be a champion of our community and technical colleges. These schools can provide training designed to meet workforce needs right here in West Virginia. I will continue to fight for the independence of our community and technical colleges and to make sure that their mission is focused on training our children for the jobs of tomorrow.

QUESTION 4.  How would you propose to meet the infrastructure needs of West Virginia?
ANSWER West Virginia is implementing a $126,000,000 grant to provide broadband access to critical areas, and we must work to ensure that all West Virginia has access to this technology. Every year West Virginia dedicates $40,000,000 to water and sewer infrastructure with more development in the future. These funds can help meet infrastructure needs for West Virginia for years to come.

QUESTION 5.  What should the state do to give local governments more flexibility in raising revenue?
ANSWER The best thing that can be done to help local governments raise revenues is to give them the tools to foster economic development. That is why I championed more flexibility with Tax Increment Financing. TIF can be a huge economic and revenue boon, and we must continue putting forward ways in which local government can revitalize itself to raise revenues.

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