U.S. House 3 candidate: Nick Joe Rahall II (D)
A native West Virginian, Rahall, the top Transportation and Infrastructure Committee democrat, uses seniority and expertise building successes like Pullman Square and the Merritt's Creek Connector. Bringing millions of dollars to WV, Rahall's creating jobs through transportation, tourism, technology, mine reclamation and water wastewater services. Rahall ﬁghts for veterans, seniors, education, workers, coal miners, black lung, mine health and safety. http://www.nickrahall.com
1. What changes in federal laws would you favor that would better protect people and our water resources from chemical spills?
Our knowledge of chemicals, securing them and the response to spills must be strengthened on all levels of government. Just as important, we must not retreat in extending and maintaining safer, modern water and sewage systems. As the top Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have and will continue to serve our water needs with federal dollars.
2. What steps should the federal government take to reduce the number of Americans living in poverty?
I oppose cutting, privatizing and vouchering Social Security and Medicare beneﬁts. Government must honor its contract with the American people. I have consistently voted to ensure children's nutrition and healthcare are heavily invested in for the long range. It is a wise investment for the taxpayer's dollar with tremendous returns for our country's future security and economy.
3. In view of recent Supreme Court decisions, what steps do you think Congress should take to protect the rights of all American voters?
We must strengthen the Voting Rights Act and restore the safeguards against discrimination that were nulliﬁed by recent court decisions. In addition, I am opposed to the Citizens United decision. The voting public has a right to know who is behind the campaign ads that are funded by out of state billionaires.
4. What is your position on the EPA and other regulation of the coal and natural gas industries?
I recently won my Committee’s approval of legislation to stop EPA from ever again vetoing a previously granted 404 permit, as it did on the Spruce Mine -- just my latest success to ensure balance between natural resource conservation and energy development. Coal and natural gas jobs are key to WV’s economy. I oppose EPA’s unequal and unfair job-killing regulation.
5. What is the most pressing foreign policy issue, and how would you address it?
Americans are concerned about another costly, open-ended military conflict, and rightly so, after the loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that concern must not come at the expense of our military personnel, our national security, or that of our allies, like Israel. We must use all our diplomatic tools while also ensuring the readiness of our troops.
6. How should the United States address future relations with Russia?
Russia's seizure and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region is a violation of our international agreements. I support multilateral diplomatic actions, including sanctions, to push back against such intolerable Russian aggression and help Ukraine stabilize its economy and hold fair elections.
7. What can the federal government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
We must give our teachers the resources they need. That’s why I reject the Republican budget passed by the House that would cut funding for teachers and classrooms, and restrict West Virginian’s eligibility for Pell Grants. That budget would make college more expensive and undercut efforts to ensure our children have the skills to compete in the 21st century economy.
8. What do you think of the Affordable Care Act, and what changes -- if any -- would you support?
The law needs to be fixed – not scrapped. I support bills to fix the law’s flaws and increase assistance for individuals and small businesses. I also am trying to preserve the good things in the law – such as expanded Medicare coverage for seniors’ prescription drugs, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and additional black lung benefits for coal miners.
9. What can the federal government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
I am fighting efforts in the Republican Congress to take away funding for education and workforce training in our State. We need these funds, which I have supported for Marshall University, Mountwest Community and Technical College and RCBI, that promote innovation in our manufacturing sector and bring new jobs to our region.
10. Do you favor any changes in gun control requirements?
As a defender of our Constitution's Second Amendment, which guarantees and protects the rights of America's firearm owners, as well as the hunting and sporting traditions we cherish in West Virginia, I am actively opposing any efforts that threaten the Second Amendment rights of West Virginians.
11. What more should Congress do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
I am organizing and participating in state and national forums and working to bring Federal resources to help address drug abuse, like funding to hire additional Huntington police officers. We must develop a multi-pronged strategy to successfully fight this epidemic to increase treatment, prevention, education and law enforcement, plus taking steps to reduce potential tampering with prescription drugs.
12. Are there more steps Congress should take to reduce obesity?
Quality health services should be accessible to everyone, regardless of income, especially preventive care aimed at chronic diseases where the incidence of obesity is higher. Attacking obesity reduces rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and cuts the costs to our health system. Community leaders, like Huntington, need a full federal partner, where investments provide the taxpayer a large return.
13. What action by Congress would you favor to address the environmental effects of natural gas extraction, particularly the process of fracking?
Natural gas holds great promise for our economy as long as we strike that balance between development and protecting our lands and drinking water. I support Federal efforts that aid the State's direct oversight of hydraulic fracturing – for example, I support ensuring public transparency and requiring disclosure of the chemical make-up of fracking fluids -- just like West Virginia’s regulations.
14. Do you support legislation to amend the Voting Rights Act to prevent States from adopting restrictive laws that make registering to vote more difficult for legally eligible voters?
Access to voting box is a fundamental right of our Constitutional system that must not be infringed. I have urged the House Leadership to consider the Voting Rights Amendments Act, which would restore safeguards against discrimination that were nullified by the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
15. What measures do you support to address the growing income disparity among Americans?
A strong safety net and fairer minimum wage, when combined with economic development and infrastructure investments to build our State’s highways, and schools, and broadband, and water and sewer systems – these things, I am firmly convinced, can alleviate economic hardship, reduce income inequality, and create a brighter future for West Virginia.
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