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Sam Minardi (D)

Charleston

Education: Wheeling Jesuit University, B.S.

Occupation: Self-employed at Minardi Public Affairs, LLC

Gazette Opinion:

Q: Do you support evidence-based programs to protect public health during the drug abuse crisis?

A: Not all public health programs are created equal. My support depends on the program and how it is administered. I supported efforts to eliminate the KCHD’s needle exchange program and do not now support reinstating it. However, I support efforts to help those struggling with substance abuse but not through giving away needles.

Q: Would you support expanding the bike pathway along Kanawha Boulevard?

A: Yes, but my final decision would be based on the scope and total cost of the project. Recreational projects (such as bike trails) are valuable assets to the city but we also must be fiscally responsible as we invest in these projects.

Daily Mail Opinion:

Q: How should the city address the issue of criminal transient individuals?

A: It is important to distinguish between criminal transient and the local homeless. Some local individuals need assistance but we must put an end to transient criminals infiltrating the city. It starts with law enforcement and also requires working with local shelters. This is a complex issue without one simple solution.

Q: Has the city of Charleston become a better or worse place to live in the past five years? How so?

A: The past five years have been tough. We’ve seen an increase in crime attributed to the drug epidemic and growth in transient criminal population, and a downturn in coal and manufacturing throughout the region. Despite these challenges, we’ve seen millions invested into the city. I believe Charleston remains a city with tremendous potential.