State Level Questions

1. Do you support the Seven Policies to Strengthen West Virginia Families platform? - Seven Policies Platform

2. Shervin Assari of the University of Michigan recently wrote an article entitled, Why poverty is not a personal choice, but a reflection of society. He states, "As someone who studies poverty solutions and social and health inequalities, I am convinced by the academic literature that the biggest reason for poverty is how a society is structured. Without structural changes, it may be very difficult if not impossible to eliminate disparities and poverty." One such structural issue is low wages requiring workers to receive assistance such as Medicaid and SNAP while their employers reap the profits. Tip staff are particularly vulnerable to this with significantly lower wages expected to equaled by customer tips. This practice was started to keep slaves from earning equal wages and significantly oppresses the poor and minorities. Will you support a fair living wage of $15 for all West Virginians including tip staff and support other efforts which begin to eliminate structural disparities causing poverty?

3. Black Lung cases are on the rise, but federal benefits are often out-of-reach for West Virginia's coal miners because of red tape and inefficiency. In 2018, SB 527 was introduced to provide a Black Lung pension to West Virginia miners. Will you support the SB 527 Black Lung bill?

4. In recent years there have been numerous surveys, studies and anecdotal evidence indicating that girls in West Virginia are missing school due to lack of access to menstrual products. The added monthly expense of these products can put access to basic hygiene needs out of reach for low-income women and girls. Planned Parenthood is leading a coalition effort to advocate for legislation that would make period products such as tampons, pads, napkins, and similar items to be available free of charge in schools, public restrooms, and correctional facilities. Will you support legislation to increase access to menstrual products for West Virginians?

5. Would you vote yes on a bill requiring West Virginia state oil and gas inspectors hired after July 1, 2018 to have a 4-year degree in Environmental Science or an equivalent degree field?

6. Over the past 15 years, the West Virginia legislature has passed legislation that gives corporations more than $450 million in corporate tax relieve each year. That's more than twice the cost of paying for every qualified student to receive an apprenticeship, 2-year degree or certification, or 4-year degree. With tuition raising, will you advocate for tuition-free apprenticeships, 2-year, and 4-year post-secondary education to keep WV leaders in state and working?

7. In 2017, WV became the 29th state to legalize medical cannabis. If elected, will you vote for legislation aimed at expanding patient access by implementing the recommendations made in 2018 by the WV Medical Cannabis Advisory Board (permitting vertical integration between growers/ processors/dispensaries and access to whole-plant flower) as well as permitting card-holding patients to cultivate small amounts of cannabis for personal use?

8. West Virginia is one of just a handful of states that still denies SNAP benefits to people with a drug felony conviction who have served their time and deserve a second chance to get their life on track. Will you support legislation that would allow drug felons to access food through SNAP benefits - YES or NO?

9. West Virginia's jails are overcrowded and costly, but many of the people inside have not even been convicted of a crime! They are held in jail because they could not afford bail. Tying a person's wealth to their ability to await trial at home rather than behind bars does not further public safety concerns, nor is it effective at ensuring people return to court. Do you support ending the cash bail system, and basing pretrial release on evidence-based risk-factors instead? Do you support ensuring that every West Virginian is represented by an attorney at the point that bail is set by a Court?

10. West Virginia law currently prohibits solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), a preferred solar financing arrangement for commercial businesses and tax-exempt institutions such as schools, churches, hospitals, municipalities, and other nonprofits. Widely available in at least 26 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, a solar PPA is a contract through which a third-party developer installs a solar array on a host customer's property, and the customer purchases electricity produced by the array at a fixed rate. Solar PPAs allow electricity consumers to install solar with zero upfront cost while lowering electric bills from day one. Do you support legalizing solar PPAs in West Virginia - yes or no?

11. Will you commit to raising the natural gas severance tax to 7.5% and directing the additional revenue towards funding the Public Employee Insurance Agency?

12. Will you vote for a bill which places an additional annual tax of $4 per acre on non-occupied land owned by out-of-state individuals or other legal entities, with the resulting funds being dedicated to PEIA, or other benefit to education and the economy?

13. Suicide rates are at an all-time high in West Virginia and suicide attempts are more likely to be deadly if a firearm is used. In addition, recent high-profile school shootings have highlighted the importance of removing firearms from those at risk of harming others. Extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, or "red flag" laws, may allow families, community members, or law enforcement officers to petition a court directly for an order temporarily restricting a person's access to guns. This vital tool saves lives by allowing the people most likely to notice when a family or community member becomes a danger, to take concrete steps to disarm them. If elected would you support an ERPO or "red flag" law in West Virginia?

14. Amendment 1, also known as the 'No Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment' will be on the ballot this November. If passed, it would change our state's 146-year-old constitution to read: 'Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects the right to abortion or guarantees the funding of abortion.' This amendment does not make exceptions for rape, incest, or if the woman's life is endangered. One in four women will have an abortion in her lifetime, and this amendment would make it harder for women to access safe, legal abortion and potentially put their lives in danger forcing them to delay the care they need and travel out of their communities to do so. It would also allow politicians to interfere in the personal medical decisions of West Virginians. Will you vote no on Amendment 1?

15. With climbing rates of suicide and overdose deaths, we cannot afford to let our youth mental health crisis go untreated. The School Social Work Association and the American School Counselor Association agree that the model ratio of counselors to students should be 1 for every 250. Will you support legislation to require every school to conduct a mental health assessment by 2018, and implement the national 1:250 ratio by the end of 2020?

16. Water is a limited resource, necessary for life and used in great amounts for gas drilling. In order to prevent accidents and protect our drinking water supply, would you support a $.01 per gallon tax on all water taken and used for extractions--to support the hiring of more inspectors?

17. Would you support a policy that requires all school districts to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)?

18. The last 3 years are the warmest on record. Average temperatures across the globe have risen steadily over the past 150 years coinciding with the Industrial Revolution. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening, it is caused by humans and the next decade is the critical one for stabilizing the climate before temperatures increase any further. Economic research has demonstrated that a carbon fee on emissions from coal, oil, and gas will accelerate the much needed shift to energy sources that do not warm our atmosphere and do protect our environment and health. The fees collected will be returned to individual households and reduce energy costs for West Virginians. In addition, the renewable energy field is the fastest growing industry for new jobs that we need here in West Virginia. Legislation for a carbon fee and dividend is under development on a national level and shows promise in eight states according to the Carbon Tax Center. Will you support a policy known as Carbon Fee & Dividend that would put a fee on carbon emissions to reduce harmful greenhouse gases, return monies to WV households, grow our state economy through job creation in renewable energy sources, and protect our children's futures?

19. West Virginian Businesses are finding it increasingly hard to raise capital: lending has decreased rapidly in the past decade, and three-quarters of small businesses report difficulty in raising equity. Each of our 55 counties rank in the lowest quintile for loan access in the US, which has led to the state being classified as a "lending desert." With small businesses accounting for 99% of total business in the state and employing over half of the private workforce, it is not surprising that the lack of access to capital hurts the economy, costing jobs and growth. Without funding, businesses cannot operate: startups don't start up, entrepreneurship gets curtailed, and growth is hindered. A state bank is a proven way to increase local lending and expand access to capital; other states and countries with state banks have seen robust growth in their small businesses and economies. Will you support legislation to create a state bank of West Virginia?

20. More than 6500 West Virginia children are in state custody right now. State government provides a crucial monthly stipend to foster families who bring children into their homes, and that stipend continues even after the child is adopted. However, kinship families (grandparents, aunts and uncles) do not receive the same stipend for taking on the same responsibility. Will you support extending foster family benefits to kinship families?

21. Will you support full implementation of the Statewide Drug Epidemic Response Plan (read link)? - Drug Epidemic Response Plan

22. Many beginning farmers who are passionate about creating a vibrant food and farm economy in West Virginia struggle with access to farmland due to high costs, available land location issues, loan qualification, and others barriers. Will you represent small food and farm constituents by supporting strategic planning and investment for alternative and creative land access models by the state of WV?

23. Most voters believe that powerful special interest groups use their donations to influence policy in the direction of their own interest, which may not be in the public interest. Citizen advocates have been working over the last 2 years to develop a Pro-Democracy, Anti-Corruption Agenda that would increase accountability and transparency in West Virginia elections, make voting more accessible to all citizens, limit the influence of big-money in our politics, and increase citizen participation in the electoral process. Will you support the Pro-Democracy, Anti-Corruption Agenda (see link for specifics)? - Empowering People, Fighting Big Money: A Pro-Democracy, Anti-Corruption Blueprint

24. Would you be in support of policies which would require there to be a plan in place, either for maintenance or reuse of the property, prior to the decommissioning of public school buildings?

Federal Level Questions

1. Medicaid expansion has covered over 180,000 working West Virginians. Will you commit to finding the funds necessary to protect health care benefits to these families?

2. 1 in 3 West Virginia children rely on SNAP food assistance to eat. 75% of SNAP recipients work. Will you protect SNAP and address food insecurity for these West Virginians?

3. Over 48000 West Virginia working families rely on CHIP (Childrens Health Insurance Program) to insure their children. Will you work to prevent cuts to this program?

4. Eliminating pre-existing conditions from health insurance coverage would hurt West Virginians. Will you oppose the elimination of preexisting conditions?

5. West Virginia seniors need a champion to protect Social Security and Medicare from damaging cuts. Will you stand up for our seniors?

6. Tax cuts are going to the wealthiest of Americans and corporations while West Virginia workers are struggling to make ends meet. Will you oppose these tax cuts?

7. Policy makers need to be aware of how their decisions affect community members. Will you commit to attend at least 2 town halls, public forums, and/or face-to-face meetings with impacted/low-income constituents sponsored by Our Children Our Future?