W.Va. House 16 candidate: Jim Morgan (D)
HOME CITY: Huntington.
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSONAL STATEMENT (100 WORDS OR LESS): I consider myself a moderate voice in the Legislature. My experience in business gives me an understanding of "meeting a payroll" while my positions in various charitable organizations gives me knowledge to understand needs of many West Virginians. I have experience in both years and areas of service in the House and I believe that the most good for the most people can be experienced by mutual agreement and compromise. I urge you to look at my record and I would appreciate your vote.
EDUCATION: Local secondary schools. BS from WVU in Agricultural Sciences (1959).
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Current House Member. Elected 1988 &1990, appointed in 2000 and elected since.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Retired business owner, Morgan's Inc., Stationers/Morgan's, Stadium Bookstore.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Past service to organizations: President, Rotary Club, Huntington Symphony, Chamber of Commerce, WV Retail Association. Current President Stella Fuller Settlement, Director Cammack Children's Center, Secretary/treasurer Huntington Clinical foundation.
FAMILY: Wife Elizabeth (53 years), four grown children.
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
SB373, the Water Bill, was examined and amended as closely as any legislation I can remember. All parties involved had input and I believe that, while the bill may not be the perfect answer, it certainly gives industry and the environmental regulatory interests sufficient guidelines to protect West Virginians.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?
The Legislature has reduced both corporate and food taxes and has benefited from a Supreme Court that is working to provide opinions in cases taken for review. I serve on the newly formed committee on small business and passage of "project launchpad" will aid innovative start-ups. I support funds for improved infrastructure, roads, communication, etc.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
Yes. Many students spend time in remedial education courses in early college years because of lack of preparation. A high school graduate needs to be grade level proficient whether going to college, community college, or into a trade.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
The answer lies with the family, the schools, and the court system. Rapid intervention by the school system when a non-functional family can or will not assist in improving attendance is imperative. The court system is a last resort. Proper early career guidance for students will help them find direction and interests that will make school interesting.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Again, families are the heart of the solution. The state must continue to provide teachers the time and materials to make learning interesting.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
The answer is no matter how skilled a person they must be drug free. A continued effort by Workforce WV and other training organizations to emphasize "clean" will be the biggest benefit.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
a multi-pronged approach between physicians, pharmacists, and law enforcement in order to stop excessive writing and filling of prescriptions is needed.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
Yet again, the family had the most influence over obesity. Continue emphasis on healthy eating and exercise through local and state programs.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
The passage of "project launchpad" which gives small innovative business tax credits and other incentives is a great start.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
There are currently programs being developed to aid in paroles of identified eligible participants from both regional jails and the WV prison system. Courses are being made uniform and will allow earlier parole. reducing inmate population will save counties and the state dollars to be used elsewhere.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
Passage of legislation in this term to raise the minimum wage over the next two years will be a help to all families living below the poverty level. Continuing meals in schools for children in poverty is a program I support.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
The drilling regulations adopted two years ago are some of the most restrictive in the industry. As time goes forward, improvements are being added and one that I would like to see is the distance a well can be drilled from a residence as well as a continuing effort to have safe disposal of drilling waste.
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.
There are certain core objectives that every student should know and understand as they advance in grade levels. Testing is but one way to discern achievement in these objectives. Classroom performance and other teacher input should add to final grades and ability to advance.
14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?
We need to provide training for those who have lost jobs for any reason by preparing them with skills in new industries and jobs. As demand for coal and associated business declines, WV must have a workforce prepared for jobs in new spin-off industries from marcellus gas production and associated petrochemical industry.
15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?
Adequate funding is necessary to provide a multi-prong approach of law enforcement task forces, suitable sentencing, reasonable training and education while incarcerated and follow up after release. A separate program of rehabilitation of non-criminal offenders to end drug use is necessary also.
16. How would you address the problems of barriers to employment and other services experienced by those in successful long-term recovery from addictions?
Having completed a successful long-term recovery is in its self a major barrier remover. Possibly a state provided shared cost with an employer for a probation period to prove the success of the rehabilitation.
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.
Soft drinks are a way of life and, of course, the answer to the SNAP issue is proper nutrition training. Since this goal is difficult to reach, changes in programs to limit low nutrition foods is one approach to better health.
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?
Yes! I would even venture a suggestion that a raise above the average might assist in making West Virginians more healthy by eliminating smoking in some cases.
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