W.Va. House 14 candidate: Jim Butler (R)
HOME CITY: Gallipolis Ferry
HOME COUNTY: Mason
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
WEBSITE : www.jimbutler.us
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I’m a parent of two young children who will continue to work to ensure that they, and all children in West Virginia, enjoy the freedom that past generations have. I will also continue to work to implement policies that improve our economy, including the job market, so everyone has the opportunity to live and prosper in West Virginia. We can accomplish this by prioritizing spending and focusing our efforts onto programs and policies that really work. By doing these things we will also be able to meet our obligations to senior citizens, veterans, and others who truly need help.
EDUCATION: High School Graduate, numerous US Navy/Marine Corps military schools including advanced helicopter maintenance, maintenance administration, and quality control.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION (INCLUDE SPECIFIC YEARS SERVED): I am currently the Delegate for the 14th District; first elected in 2012. I have also been an excavating, and logging contractor in Mason County since 1993.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: I have done construction related work since I was a child helping my dad. I have worked for an industrial electrical contractor, also while living in California I had a business restoring classic automobiles, and for a change of pace I also worked as a ballroom dance instructor.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: I am a member of the Marine Corps League, the American Legion, Am Vets, and the local Harley Owners Group.
FAMILY: I have been married once, for 16 years, to my wife Anna Maria. We have two children, Blayne who is 13, and Kayla who is 10. We also care for my father-in-law Lupe who is 81, and who unfortunately is blind.
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
I think that we passed good legislation this year following the leak that took place in January; however we have to closely monitor the implementation, and effectiveness, of the new law. We should also carefully examine other possible risks that may currently exist, or any that may arise in the future.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?
We need to make sure that high school, and higher education, graduates have a solid foundation to work from when they finish school. Implement public policies that encourage job creators to stay here, or to locate here. Ensure that we are competitive in the national, and global, business/job marketplace by improving our legal climate, and by eliminating unnecessary regulations.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
We need to reach the students early in grade school; they will only be successful if education is important to them. We need to ensure that they receive a well-rounded education, and ensure that they are considering what they will do once they graduate. Then they must know what they need to do reach their goals.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
Students will attend school at a young age when it is important to their parents. When they get older they will attend when it is important to them. We need to make it clear that they need a good education to be prepared for work, and that if they do not work that there will be no “free rides”.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
The state can ensure that qualified teachers are on the job. We can reach out to parents and students to inform them of the importance of education and the opportunities for higher education, including tech schools as well as college. We can also let them know about the job opportunities. Ultimately success depends upon their action.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
We need to reach the kids and parents early. We need to make sure that students are getting grades that reflect their work. We can do better in our efforts to let students know what is available to them. We can, and we are, providing more vocational and technical schools at the high school level.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
I think that many of the problems with drugs are a result of a poor economy. When we get people to work they will have better things to look forward to. Otherwise we should be less tolerant of all drug abuse, especially in the early stages. This should apply to those who use and prescribe misused drugs.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
I think that our poor economy has a lot to do with this problem; people who are working are likely to be more active. We need to make sure that kids have recess time to allow them to be run and play. We should also look at restricting the types of “food” that can be bought with “food stamps”.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
Reducing unnecessary regulations and restrictions would be a start. Eliminating or reducing business equipment and inventory tax would help. Streamlining the process of licensing and reporting, and a legal system that is more fair, would also be a big help. In short “get out of the way”. In my 20 plus years in business government has been my biggest obstacle.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
I think that a strong vibrant economy where people are getting up early to go to work would reduce crime dramatically. Also, unfortunately the penalties for “minor” crimes have become too light. I think that stiffer penalties for these “minor” crimes would better deter future offenses. Putting inmates to work, both in and out of prison, would also improve outcomes.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
I would support any measure that empowers people to better provide for themselves and their families. Improving West Virginia’s economy, therefore job market, is key to this. When parents have good jobs they can care for their families and demonstrate a good work ethic for their children while pulling them out of poverty.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
Ensuring that proper methods and procedures are followed especially during the drilling process is extremely important to prevent groundwater contamination. This is done, in part, by making sure that wells are properly inspected. We also need to closely monitor heavy truck traffic on narrow country roads, including maintaining the roads properly.
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.
I have serious concerns. These standards are untested and not proven effective. Psychologists have stated that they are not developmentally appropriate. Leading professionals in standards development say that these standards are not better, and will not prepare students for college. Teachers will be negatively impacted because of excessive testing, which is more punitive than helpful.
14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?
We need to start with three substantial changes. Make changes that will truly improve education, reform our legal system to make it fair for all involved, and we need to make chances to our tax code. These three changes would make us competitive in a global manufacturing, and job, market.
15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?
I would encourage and support strong families. I would support effective outreach programs to help people, especially children who are in "bad" situations. I support increased drug testing, more and better rehab opportunities, and stiffer penalties for those convicted of drug, and alcohol, convictions. Improving education and our economy will also reduce drug abuse.
16. How would you address the problems of barriers to employment and other services experienced by those in successful long-term recovery from addictions?
I have supported things like recovery homes, which allow recovering addicts to live with low, or no, living expenses while they develop a track record of work and responsibility. I support job training, and improved education. A vibrant economy would create a demand for worker's, which offers more, and better, opportunities.
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.
On the surface this sounds like a good idea, but who decides what is, or is not, nutrition; would it be the cashier? Would this extend to food with sugar, or with fat? Restrictions like this have been shown to be ineffective, and it adds cost to the program. I think that education and moderation is a better answer.
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 would support opportunities for everyone, including women, to learn about the harmful effects of tobacco use. I support opportunities for people to improve their economic situation, which will lead to a better lifestyle. Tobacco use is an addiction; increasing taxes would not stop use, but take money away from a person's budget for buying food and other necessary items.
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