W.Va. House 18 candidate: Billy Chaffin II (D)
HOME CITY: Barboursville
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am a lifelong resident of West Virginia. I wish to improve the life of our citizens, and protect our state. I believe that our elected officials at the state and national levels have allowed themselves to get bogged down in the politics of our time, and simply have forgotten what’s important. I believe this needs to change, we must elect new officials. If I am elected, I am committed to working hard to find the absolute best solutions to our problems. I would greatly appreciate your vote, and support.
EDUCATION: RBA, and MS Adult Technical Education-Marshall University.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: 20 years Utility Operator-Special Metals Corporation, Huntington WV.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: District 8 Committeeman, Cabell County Democratic Executive Committee.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: B.P.O. Elks lodge 313 Huntington WV, Loyal Order of Moose 2586 Barboursville WV, Sons of the American Legion 177 Barboursville WV, VFW Auxiliary 9738 Guyandotte WV.
FAMILY: Single, no children.
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
Somewhat. It's clear more could have been done more to protect the water supply for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. More needs to be done to properly regulate aboveground storage tanks, including those near public water supplies and distribution systems.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?
West Virginia's future is tied closely to education enhancement, improving our jobs climate and the continued improvement of our infrastructure, primarily the maintenance and construction of our vitally important highway system. Without a quality transportation system, our quality of life is severely limited.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
I feel that we should act aggressively to improve the state’s education system. The recommendations range from a voluntary merit pay system for teachers, to reduced workloads for new educators, using distance-learning technology, and penalizing counties that fail to provide at least 180 days of instruction annually.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
The state should regularly review compliance with statutory requirements for attendance monitoring and truancy planning, also monitor habitual truancy at each grade level and develop strategies to minimize truancy in the early grades, identify alternative programming to help truant high school pupils obtain high school diplomas, involve parents and guardians in truancy-related matters, and evaluate and modify, as necessary.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Students are taught what to learn. In order for them to be successful as learners, they also have to discover how to learn and to develop an appetite for learning. Everyone involved must be data analysis; from the administration to the teachers, keep the focus on improvement and draw up plans on how you're going to improve on your weaknesses and implement it.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
The state should investments in public infrastructure, in technological innovation at public universities and other institutions, and in workers through the education and training systems. Investing in education is good for state budgets in the long run, since workers with higher incomes contribute more through taxes over the course of their lifetimes.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
A crucial first step in tackling the problem of prescription drug abuse is to raise awareness through the education of parents, youth, patients, and healthcare providers. Enlist all stakeholders to support and promote an evidence-based public education campaign on the appropriate use, secure storage, and disposal of prescription drugs, especially controlled substances.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
We should implement a sound health and fitness regimen. We as adults have a responsibility in helping keep today’s youth (and ourselves) healthy and fit so we need to step up and take charge. The food retail environment can be an important factor in people’s obesity risk and ability to eat a healthy diet.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
Well-crafted regulations are essential for protecting the consumers, employees, and the public at large. But some regulations are outdated or poorly written or arbitrarily enforced. Some government processes don't work as intended. We need to fix these problems so small business can lead the way to a vibrant new economy.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
We need more facilities to house prisoners. We have had to release offenders early because of overcrowding, because of this; rehabilitation does not have time to work.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
We must invest in high quality education for every child, livable wages for families, income safety nets like job training and job creation, the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, and work supports like child care and health coverage. We also must work with partners to educate families about benefits for which they are eligible.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
The state must mandate upfront, detailed disclosure of the chemicals, and fracking fluids drilling companies will use, require measures to protect unfragmented wildlife habitat, especially for at-risk species, and tailor industry standards to unique site conditions in West Virginia, such as porous rock formations that can allow contaminants to seep into groundwater supplies.
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 support any program that educates our students. My only condition is that we not change our methods every time something new comes along in the wind.
14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?
We need to continue to mine coal because we need coal to make steel. Instead of fighting statutory obligations, we should focus on securing federal assistance to help workers hardest hit by the transition away from coal. We need to further tourism, bring more retailers into our state by building a bigger infrastructure, and further develop our natural gas industry.
15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?
We should focus on treating the problems that people have that cause them to turn to drugs in the first place. People suffering from depression or other mental illnesses use drugs and alcohol to ease their suffering, people become bored and think drugs will help, people think drugs will help relieve stress. We should be working to solve these problems.
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 would like to see more incentives offered to employers to hire recovering addicts. Steady employment helps to curb drug use.
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.
Yes, taxpayer dollars are there to help ease hunger, not satisfying junk-food cravings.
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 believe better education on the danger of smoking is what’s needed, and as far as a tax increase on cigarettes it is a tax on a specific group (mostly low income people because they are the biggest group of smokers) which I believe is unfair taxation.
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