W.Va. House 16 candidate: Lauren E. Plymale (D)
HOME CITY: Lesage
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
E-MAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I grew up in Wayne County and attended and graduated from Wayne County schools. I then went to Marshall University and West Virginia University College of Law. I have been an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Cabell County for seven years. I have seen first-hand the devastation that substance abuse takes on entire families. It is essential that we approach this epidemic on two fronts. First, we need to strengthen the penalties for people dealing drugs. Secondly provide long term lock down residential treatment for abusers. Early intervention and education for children about the danger of drugs is critical.
EDUCATION: High School Diploma from Spring Valley High School; Bachelors of Business from Marshall University; Doctor of Jurisprudence from West Virginia College of Law.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Cabell County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, over 7 years.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Adjunct Faculty at Mountwest Community and Technical College, teaching Law and IT Classes since Fall 2013.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Cabell County Democratic Executive Committee Parliamentarian; Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Board of Directors, Programs Committee Chairperson; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #122 Member and Counsel; Marshall University Alpha Xi Delta Sorority Alumnae Advisor; Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Cabell County Counsel; Cabell and Wayne County High School Soccer Referee.
FAMILY: Terry McFann, II, husband; stepsons, Logan McFann and William McFann; Baby Boy McFann (due in May).
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
The Legislation passed this year addressed above ground storage tanks, specifically near bodies of water sources for public consumption. In addition, it also requires that all public water utilities in the state rely on surface water complete a source water protection plan. The key however is to enforce the legislation in a prudent manner and public engagement is important.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?
The economy suffers when there is not a trained workforce. Educating students in high schools about specific job training programs and equipping them with 21st century skill sets is key. The lack of available land for development is a critical issue. Creating economic development and industrial sites must be a priority.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
Meeting the newly established standards for high school graduates is the first step. Connecting middle schools, vocational schools and high schools to two and four year institutions helps establish and strengthen these pipelines.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
Early intervention in elementary schools and continuation through middle schools by school personnel and the court system is key. The continued involvement of the judicial system is central to the success.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Decisions regarding such things as hiring and calendar selection, should continue to be made on the local level. Content area certified teachers in the classroom are vital in improving student achievement.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
Connecting student education about careers should begin in middle schools. Curriculum development that steers students toward the skills relevant to jobs in the work place is an important pipeline program.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
This is a multi-pronged problem. Physicians must continue to monitor patients to ensure appropriate use of medications. States need to work together to create online databases to share information. Penalties for dealers need to be strengthened and enforced with mandatory minimum sentences.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
Early education for families and children regarding healthy and nutritious meals are important. Ensuring that meals at schools are healthy will help to enforce better eating habits. Physical education should be an important part of the school curriculum. Opportunities for families and students to exercise and prepare meals together would be beneficial.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
The state should continue to evaluate the tax structure such as business franchise and other taxes that affect small business growth. There is a committee touring the state and looking at issues affecting small business. Upon completion of their work, a review should be conducted of their findings.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
A Long term lockdown residential treatment facility for drug abusers, with oversight by the Department of Corrections, would remove a significant number from the prisons and help reduce the recidivism rate.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
It is essential that we identify and continue to support universal preschool, paid maternity and paternity leaves, increase in the minimum wage and education program K-12. In addition, families living in poverty need additional support such as parenting classes and better primary care for them and their children.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
It is essential that we work to ensure the protection of water in the fracking process. It is also crucial that there is ongoing enforcement of the newly established laws in the last few years that protects the environment and citizens. Maintaining and improving the infrastructure surrounding these areas is a responsibility of the business conducting the fracking.
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