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W.Va. House 16 candidate: Sean Hornbuckle (D)

Sep. 22, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

PARTY: Democrat

HOME CITY: Huntington

HOME COUNTY: Cabell

E-MAIL ADDRESS: seanhornbuckle@gmail.com

WEBSITE: www.seanhornbuckle.com

PERSONAL STATEMENT: Born and raised in Huntington, I played sports throughout school, trombone at Cammack, and graduated from Huntington High. While finishing my MBA at Marshall University I was Student Body President and served on the Board of Governors. I’m the education candidate running for the House because your hard work deserves better results. Government isn’t getting the job done and we desperately need an advocate at the state level to calm the storm, cross the aisle, and get things done. With innovative thinking and old-fashioned principles I’m ready to take the area to new heights. I’d appreciate your vote!

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 28

EDUCATION: Huntington High School graduate (2003); Marshall University (BA – Sports Management and Marketing, Minor in Marketing – Magna Cum Laude); Marshall University Graduate School (Masters of Business Administration, Minor in Sports Studies- Magna Cum Laude).

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Mass Mutual Financial Group (Financial Services Representative, 2011-Current); Cabell County Democratic Executive Committee (2010-Current).

OTHER WORK HISTORY: Adjunct Faculty at Mountwest Community and Technical College (Business/Management – 2013); Adjunct Faculty at ITT Technical Institute (Accounting – 2013); Amazon (MBA Manager Program – 2011); Wells Fargo Financial (Customer Service Specialist – 2010); City of Huntington (A.D. Lewis and Fairfield East Community Centers Marketing/Supervisor/Program Aide – 2005-2011).

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Habitat for Humanity (Board of Directors); Mayor Williams’s Transition Team; City of Huntington Planning Commission; East Huntington Little League (Board of Directors/Coach); YMCA (Basketball and Soccer Coach); Generation Huntington (formerly YPC); Career Wealth Network.

FAMILY: Tristan Hornbuckle (son, 6).

QUESTIONS

1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.

We have taken a step in the right direction. However, there needs to be more “teeth” in policy to take a more proactive approach to prevent future spills rather than being more reactive to potential chemical spills.

2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?

Improving infrastructure in West Virginia will make this state more attractive for businesses. We need to have a more open approach in recruiting new businesses. We can do this by advancing ourselves culturally so that we are more inviting socially and policy wise regarding business.

3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.

I think they are competent. The question is to what capacity are they competent? One of my goals as mentioned in my last campaign is to develop genuine internships/partnerships with the working community earlier in high school careers. This will help strengthen competency by applying skills in a meaningful way.

4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?

Study trends from elementary to high school. Identify at-risk youth, and from there develop programs through policy that foster more parent/teacher involvement, and innovative policy partnering schools and employers.

5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?

First step is to humble ourselves (government) and realize we are way behind in performance results; stop accepting failure and masking it as “improvements.” More collaboration with teachers and parents for genuine reform efforts is very important. Bringing new government officials to the table is essential. Same thinking by the same regime will yield the same poor results.

6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?

Be an advocate for local education institutions to diversify its portfolio of education offerings in collaboration with local industries. If higher education in the area can take blueprints from the Triad and Triangle in North Carolina, we can develop a better workforce and foster entrepreneurship.

7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?

Take a proactive approach with doctors and drug companies; not to make their lives more difficult, but to take away grey areas and potential unforseen problems. With any drug problem you have to cut off the head. I don’t see why the strategy would be any different here. Stricter regulations on the creators of the drugs would be a start.

8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?

 Local government and hospitals are doing a great job and are heading in the right direction. I’m currently working with a business partner, officials with KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission and the city of Huntington to bring other innovative health initiatives to the area. With a genuine collaborative effort we can achieve not only a healthy lifestyle but overall greatness!

9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?

We must make sure that we are promoting and supporting entrepreneurship for all demographics. When more people understand the importance of small businesses-not just from the ownership side but also from a consumer-giving back to local economy perspective, then everybody wins. Making sure there are tax-friendly incentives is vital. This is one of my top priorities.

10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?

Yes, more could be done. Not that we haven’t, but shifting more focus on violent crimes, fatal drugs (heroin, cocaine, etc.), rape and child abuse offenders need to be in prison. Non-violent offenders should be in day-report programs and working time off their sentence by cleaning communities and assisting with infrastructure projects. However, quality education at younger ages alleviates criminal activity.

11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?

The biggest measure I support here is better education. I’d also like to explore new industries being strategically placed in lower socio-economic areas first so that those adults would have a better opportunity for employment, thus putting more food on the table for their children. Any measure or idea that wouldn’t involve wasteful spending I’m willing to consider.

12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?

Fracking will be a huge economic boost for the region which I’m excited about. However, whatever measures that needs to be taken to ensure safety of our people and their resources I’m all for. I see this as a huge opportunity for West Virginia to be the leader and face of the industry while also being socially and environmentally responsible.

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.

The key question is, how do we show people what 21st Century Education looks like? If we can do that well, they’ll understand why the Next Generation Standards and Common Core are important to helping WV children compete globally.

14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?

In many parts of West Virginia, economic diversity is already happening. The issue is about supporting those businesses that have already put roots here. For instance, a Huntington restaurant owner told me he likes to purchase locally-produced foods. How about a tax credit for those restaurants who purchase local foods?

15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?

There are simply not enough recovery centers in the state, but building state-run facilities also is not the answer. Look at The Healing Place in Huntington -- a non-profit, donation supported facility – and see what’s possible if we encourage the operation of similar facilities.

16. How would you address the problems of barriers to employment and other services experienced by those in successful long-term recovery from addictions?

First I think there needs to be more awareness and communication about the bonding program for felons that that allows employers to have confidence in employing them to work. If we can expand that to successful addicts after consulting with current recovery experts, facilities, and business leaders then I'm confident we can create the best solution legislatively.

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.

We can’t just say no to soda and expect childhood obesity to be solved. Are sugary sodas good for kids? No. But we should ask the USDA to offer incentives to SNAP recipients – only those who are parents or guardians – for purchasing milk or juices that are healthier for children.

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?

You can’t tax your way out of a problem, but it must be considered if publicly-supported cessation and counseling programs can remain available.

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