W.Va. State Senate 7 candidate: Gary Johngrass (R)
HOME CITY: West Hamlin
HOME COUNTY: Lincoln
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSONAL STATEMENT (100 WORDS OR LESS): I believe that those who represent the people work at the pleasure of the people. It's time to bring West Virginia out of the valley and to the top of the mountain. It's the time for new politics and new policies that benefit the citizens of this state. Lower taxes, new business', new jobs, better education, less government. I am Pro Coal, Pro Life, Pro Gun and Pro God.
EDUCATION: HS Diploma, Cuyahoga Community College, Orlando Business College, American Honda Institute.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Retired building contractor.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Viet Nam Veteran U.S. Air Force.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Board member, Lincoln Economic Development Authority (8 years); Board Member, Lincoln County Fairs and Festivals; Life member of VFW; Member, American Legion; Member, West Virginia Citizens Defense League; Member NRA.
FAMILY: Married to Judy Hall Johngrass.
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
No. More safety features need to be in place for companies that produce and sell chemicals within the state. I would suggest a Chemical oversight board be established with state inspectors.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?
New business and jobs. Repeal the tax business' pay on inventory and equipment, more profit means more jobs. Less taxes will help in bringing in business from outside of our state boarders and increase the job market as well as additional state revenue. Fight the EPA and the Obama Administration to keep our coal industry going, keeping coal jobs, keeping our states' revenue.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
yes. The United States has fallen behind many nations in education, we need to teach more science, technology courses, biology, more physical fitness classes. I feel we need to go back and teach the way school was taught in the 1960's. Plus we need to be able to hire top quality teachers but first we have to raise the pay scale.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
Lesson the burden of homework, more study hall time, longer school day, and revoke anyone's driver license who does not attend classes. Not allow cell phones in class for any distraction of learning courses.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Keep offering incentives like collage tuition grants, bonus for staying in state after college on a job, and college scholarships.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
Our state could put hundreds of people to work with a "New Deal" style of workers to repair our infrastructure, maintain the parks and clean up trash along our roadways. Also state government needs to be more aggressive in bringing new business to our state from the US and abroad, and push tourism more.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
Educate the school students and the general public. Have local drug enforcement agencies funded by the state.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
I don't believe that the state should interfere in ones' private life. Offer help IF a person should want it. Bring back gym class for all grades, K-12.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
Eliminate taxes on inventory and equipment. Lower taxes, more profit, more growth and more jobs.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
No. Most offenders who are let out usually return to prison. Maybe Home confinement for minor offenders is in order. Also we need to build more prisons, and close those that are beyond their years of use.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
First, we need to get our citizens with children off of welfare and into paying jobs to give the support that children need to have. Then still let them keep medicaid and chips to better the health of the children.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
Having Fracking Inspectors just like you have for gas and oil industry. Have community meetings with Fracking companies and those who live in a Fracking and drilling locale.
13. Do you support the West Virginia Department of Education’s Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives, West Virginia’s plan to implement Common Core? Explain.
No. Common Core education is wrong for our state. We need to let teachers teach the curriculum as the way they see to. Many states have already voted no CCE. We need to go back and teach our students the way I was taught and many like me. I think we learned much more than what this new education will bring to West Virginia.
14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?
First thing is to repeal the law on business taxing of Inventory and Equipment, offer tax breaks to entice new business to come to West Virginia. If we are going to be "Open for Business" we must do this now. More business, more Jobs keeps our people right here in our state.
15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?
Let's set up county wide Drug enforcement agencies to deal with the drug problems only. Thus enabling law enforcement to due other jobs in the community and not focusing on drugs.
16. How would you address the problems of barriers to employment and other services experienced by those in successful long-term recovery from addictions?
If one has been completely rehabbed off drug dependency, we should make sure that they are not discriminated against in finding gainful employment and fine those employers who wish to do so.
17. Do you support West Virginia asking the USDA to allow the state to say SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase non-nutritive soft drinks? Please explain why or why not.
I agree in not allowing non-nutritive soft drinks be a part of the SNAP program as well as any sweetened cereal. We are among the top states to have a child obesity problem and anything we can do to trim the weight from children who are overweight is a goal we should strive for now.
18. West Virginia has the highest rate of smoking among pregnant women. We also have one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the country. Do you support increasing the West Virginia state tax on tobacco products to coincide with the national average?
I am against raising the tax on tobacco products by any means. We are singling out a small section of the population who have a constitutional right to smoke, is it fair, No. Why not just pick on those who buy candy bars, sodas, or even higher beer and alcohol tax. You don't single out certain people for tax purposes or because you don't imbibe in tobacco.
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