W.Va. House 17 candidate: Joyce W. Holland (R)
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
WEBSITE: http://www. joyceholland4WVhouse.com or Twitter: @joycewholland
PERSONAL STATEMENT: West Virginia continues to be last in several critical areas; most importantly education and low income levels for our citizens – both working hand in hand to keep businesses and families from locating into our beautiful state. My family has a long history in the mountains of West Virginia as miners and farmers which helps me to understand many cultural traditions including changes when necessary. I know we aren’t “broken”; it just takes listening and thinking differently to solve our problems. West Virginia should and can prosper under leadership that looks beyond today.
EDUCATION: Marshall University - Marketing; Paralegal Studies.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Marketing Consultant / Small Business Owner.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: MarkeTrends, Research & Planning – Consultant/Owner; Baxter Diagnostics – Marketing & Sales; NCR Corporation – Marketing and Sales – Senior Account Representative.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Huntington Museum of Art – Docent; TEAM for WV Children – CASA Volunteer (20 years); Huntington Cabell Republican Women – Past President; WV Republican Women – former Publicity Resource; Habitat for Humanity (former board); Hospice – volunteer; WV Master Gardeners.
FAMILY: Married; daughter, Kristin and husband Stephen; granddaughter, Zoe.
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
The water problem that occurred indicates the need for more agency diligence toward chemicals that are situated near drinking water sources. Actions by the legislature will be a good base to help prevent threats that could realistically cause a human disaster. The legislature should continue to look for ways to improve resources that are vital to humans.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia's economy?
Our education system should ensure our students have skills that can offer options for sustaining their livelihood. I also support a legal system that is fair and isn’t considered Tort haven. Our citizens should pay a fair tax; however, the government must shepherd those revenues.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
Absolutely. More emphasis and earlier in a student’s life to identify issues that may affect their ability to be proficient at all grade levels. Families must be the starting point and understand the critical need for a comprehensive education for their child; educators must work with the families to stress the need. Education affects practically all areas of an adult’s life.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
Students are individuals first. Learning should be geared toward how a child learns. Our education system should take that into consideration and look at models that support the child’s interest. Education should be locally owned – not mandated from a powerful board. County educators and administrators know their students better. Allow them to determine the direction of their programs.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
A significant amount (over 50%) of our state budget is now going to support schools, so, how are those dollars being spent? Are too many dollars staying with state administration and not supporting teachers’ salaries. We must establish salaries that attract quality educators and retain them based on performance – not years employed. Teachers are essential to a better economic future.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
Continue to promote this agency. They offer valuable services to job seekers that will help with securing employment. Many job-seekers have little or no experience in how to interview successfully or where to locate employment. One key element that plagues our job seekers is drug abuse. It is sometimes difficult to find employees that could pass drug screening.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
Reduce recidivism and fund programs that look toward (as much as possible) rehabilitation of clients; not recycling. This is a difficult and complex problem and the solution (probably) starts with the individual that is abusing, however, controlling doctor shopping with a (data) system that provides for identifying multiple prescriptions written by doctors for the same patient.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
While this is a nation-wide problem, WV is leading the nation in obesity. Our traditional lifestyles, eating fast/convenient food, lack of exercise and indifference are contributors and cannot be legislative very successfully. Starting in schools, lunch programs should offer healthy food and educational direction. Also, what happened to PE programs where students actually moved? And exercised?
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
Lower taxes for start-ups and programs that help entrepreneurs gain access to affordable start-up funds (SBDC). Many states offer “no taxes” for a designated time to encourage growth. However, the threat of the ACA will certainly be a consideration to many small businesses wanting to expand their operations. WV legislators need to work on an alternative that doesn’t harm businesses.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
Yes, however, with the drug-problem society, this may be difficult as it could be dangerous to “pick and choose” who should be incarcerated and who could be on, perhaps, home confinement. Sometimes even the experts get it wrong and result is deadly. About 75% of the inmates at the WRJ/Cabell County are drug-related; we need to arrest the problem.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
Families cannot survive without adequate income. Many parents want to work but lack the skills to make a decent wage and many just simple have learned to live off the system. Support those that make an effort with access to jobs-training. Children should be our consideration in funding programs; people need to understand work equals a better life.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
Drilling must be monitored to protect landowners from any potential threats to water or farmland/agricultural activities that (could) be part of the fracking process. However, the potential for bringing income and revenue into our state is a consideration for boosting our economy. Companies drilling must demonstrate they value our citizen’s health and property. Good quality of life cannot be overestimated.
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.
At least three states that originally implemented the CCSO initiatives have reconsidered due to the expense of the program and the federal government intervention and influence. I have consistently supported high-quality education for all students; however, the federal government should not be determining the education for WV students. That should be the role of the West Virginia educators and parents
14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?
The continuing slaughter of our coal mining jobs has severely affected our state’s source of revenue. Providing educational/training opportunities to those that have lost jobs is a beginning. Supporting and encouraging expansion of currently existing small businesses would offer more opportunities and investing in other sources of energy (natural gas). Promote our state’s beauty as a travel destination for tourism.
15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?
Identify sources of funding for rehab programs that focus on long-term “healing” with educational component transitioning to independence for those suffering from addictions. Reduce prescription abuse problems through networking technology (Board of Pharmacy) to identify abusers and prescribers. Increase awareness for prescribing physicians to assist in eliminating ‘doctor shopping; a photo ID requirement for each patient receiving pain medication.
16. How would you address the problems of barriers to employment and other services experienced by those in successful long-term recovery from addictions?
Recovery programs need to work with agencies and companies to ease the perception and astigmatism associated with addictions. Just as with any potential discrimination not all addicts are the same and not all have legal issues. Outreach employment programs can help with the perceptions that follow substance abusers/addictions. I have had some successful experience with former substance abusers as employees.
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.
SNAP benefits – THE Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program; no known Nutritional Value - the program's intent - in soft drinks. Our state has the recognition of Most Unhealthy and Overweight. I would support this measure to stop allowing WV recipients to purchase sugary drinks. I also believe SNAP cards should include a photo ID of the recipient to prevent potential fraud.
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?
While I am not certain an higher tax would help to reduce current levels or arrest increased smoking, I would support increasing WV state taxes on tobacco products IF the taxes are earmarked and used for programs aimed at cessation and legitimate studies to identify why mothers would subject their unborn child to nicotine addiction. Tobacco usage is an addiction.
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