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.
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