Doug Skaff Jr. (D)
Education: South Charleston High School; West Virginia University; West Virginia State, honorary doctorate.
Occupation: Managing partner of Building & Remodeling Warehouse, and vice president of Skaff Family Development.
Q: What would you do to ensure that West Virginia protects communities from adverse environmental and public health impacts of the rising natural gas industry?
A: We can look to our neighboring states and partner with them with protect-our-community agreements so that business practices are similar state to state. They could share best practices throughout the region and create a safe comfort level for all who live in the area by educating them on the industry.
Q: What legislation would you push to diversify West Virginia's economy?
A: Create Project Launchpad opportunities and Innovation Zones that incentivizes those companies who create new technology and new products while creating new jobs as they expand. Focus on small businesses, entrepreneurs and business incubators. Look at new industry, like cannabis. Invest in infrastructure and broadband.
Q: How should West Virginia fund PEIA?
A: Make PEIA a priority rather than a campaign talking point. Create a funding source that doesn’t fluctuate with the market. Open the lottery proceeds bucket and see where our money is going. Designate new lottery revenue from the new games. Work from within the current severance tax system.
Daily Mail Opinion:
Q: Do you support the current practice of "civil asset forfeiture," whereby state law enforcement can seize property from citizens even if they are never charged with a crime?
A: I think we need to look at a comprehensive plan to make sure people don’t feel violated and treated unfairly while still allowing law enforcement to use this as a tool in certain drug and threat-to society situations where it is warranted. I can see both sides of the issue.
Q: Should West Virginia join the 43 other states that allow students to attend public charter schools?
A: The Legislature has seen numerous pieces of legislation over the last four years on this issue, but it has never passed. We should take the little money we have and spend our time and resources to fix our public school system and give students the resources they need to be more successful.
Q: Should the severance tax on natural gas (currently at 5 percent) be raised, lowered, or kept the same?
A: Severance tax on natural gas should remain at its current level. We are at the beginning of what will be a game-changer for our state and economy. We must keep controls in place that keep us competitive with surrounding states. More tax revenue for our state will come with the downstream investments.