An energy policy analyst and co-founder of Rise Up WV announced her candidacy Tuesday for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Cathy Kunkel said she is running for the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat held by Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., on a platform emphasizing the need for economic transition and strengthening of rural communities.
“Fundamentally, I think we should be building an economy that benefits all of us, not just the wealthy few,” Kunkel said. “We deserve representation in Washington, D.C., that really listens to the people of West Virginia.”
Kunkel’s platform calls for federal infrastructure investment in water systems, broadband, reclamation and transportation, as well as policies to support working families and to protect pensions, strengthen public education and eliminate student debt, and provide health care for all.
As an energy policy analyst, Kunkel has testified in rate hearings before the West Virginia Public Service Commission. Additionally, her analyses of the financial effects of natural gas drilling and pipelines, and of absentee land ownership in the state, has been cited by news outlets including The Washington Post, NBC News, The Associated Press and The Hill, as well as by members of Congress.
Rise Up WV is a Charleston-based organization that advocates for health care for all, quality public education, better services for those suffering from addiction and other issues. In 2018, Rise Up WV endorsed and campaigned on behalf of multiple first-time candidates for municipal and Statehouse offices in Kanawha County.
Kunkel said she is running because political leaders in the state have done “exactly the opposite” of what the people of the state have wanted by pushing for legalizing charter schools, and supporting the Rockwool plant in Jefferson County.
As for the challenge of winning in a congressional district that has voted Republican since 2000, she said, “People have become justifiably frustrated with both parties. We hope to reach voters who feel the political establishment has given up on them.”