Town of residence: Malden
Education: West Virginia University, B.A. political science, Master of Public Administration, Juris Doctor
Occupation: Attorney, author
What prompted you to seek reelection?
I am running for the House of Delegates because I love the Kanawha Valley—its history, communities, and future. I have written a book detailing our history. We are at the crossroads of a good future or dashed dreams. State leadership needs to be experienced and visionary. I am a committed community leader who also serves in the Legislature, not the other way around. I would like my family to forever live and prosper here. I intend to serve my community by supporting solid legislative policies crafted with a long view of their benefits to all the families, businesses and communities in our state. My neighbors have elected me a number of times following a 10-year absence from politics after I self-limited my legislative service, while in the Senate and when my children were young. Importantly, I enjoy working in the Legislature, along with my legal practice and history studies. It is good to be able to give back to the Kanawha Valley for all it’s given my family. In short, I am running to serve and contribute to our better future.
What legislation would you pursue to diversify the economy?
Diversifying our economy requires, first of all, an expanded broadband network for remote work and learning, good roads, and an improved, diverse workforce. Also, employers new to the state expect strong support for public education, arts, libraries, clean water and air and laws against discrimination. In our area, we should fully support and seek expansion of the new Mountaineer Challenge Academy in Montgomery, BridgeValley’s main campus move to Charleston, the Technology Park, and the new library construction. To improve the available workforce, our program for free community college tuition should be stepped in for students at regional colleges like West Virginia State (first year statewide cost: $9.3 million). For diversification in the southern coalfields where we have adventure tourism and technology colleges in place, West Virginia Tech, in cooperation with Concord, Bluefield State and the Osteopathic School, should seek new federal installations for technology, health science, military and homeland security to jump-start diversification, as was done in Bridgeport. National help to energy economies and development along the Charleston–Charlotte corridor would speed up new economic development in our coalfield economies.
What is the most fundamental change that needs to be made in West Virginia for a more successful future?
The most fundamental change in West Virginia in the next generation could come from the in-migration of people from coastal cities escaping the difficulties of this pandemic and climate disasters. We must invest in an expanded broadband network for remote work and learning, good roads, and an improved, diverse workforce. New families could seek good, safe, and productive lifestyles for their families, young and old, protected in our unique mountain environment with a central location on the East Coast, low costs of housing and living, attractive adventure sports, and good jobs for our own young adults. We can, with visionary leadership, be positioned to improve our economy and enhance our way of life. To support the growing remote-work norm, we must have statewide broadband coverage, lower tuition at the four-year colleges, a fair tax structure for retirees and families, good roads for local and interstate traffic, good health care for all and balanced economic development. The nurturing spirit of the mountains we enjoy today will create a brighter future for us all.