W.Va. House 16 candidate: Patrick Lucas (R)
HOME CITY: Barboursville
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am a lifetime resident of District 16, and a graduate of Marshall University. This is my home. As the owner of a real estate firm, I am also a small business owner in my district. District 16 is not only my home, but my livelihood depends on its success. If elected, I will promote and support free market principles to bring good jobs to our state, I will fight for improvements in our education system, and I will protect WV families from drug dealers and abusers. I respectfully ask for your vote, so I can be your voice in Charleston.
EDUCATION: Marshall University Graduate 1991-B.S. in Marketing.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: 2009-Present: Owner/Broker/Realtor at Century 21 Homes & Land in Barboursville, WV.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: 1999-2008: Realtor at Century 21 Homes & Land in Barboursville, WV; 1996-1998: Outside Sales in Office Equipment Industry; 1991-1995: Licensed Insurance Agent.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: 2011-2013: President, Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity; 2008-2010: Board Member, Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity 2005; 2008, 2012: President, Huntington Board of Realtors; 2003-2013: Board Member, Huntington Board of Realtors; 2009-2011: Board Member, Marshall Alumni Association.
FAMILY: Married since 12/27/97 to Dr. Paula Lucas, Marshall Professor; two children, Steven (11/12/99) and Samantha (9/10/04).
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
Yes. The Legislature passed SB373, which spells out guidelines that should protect WV families from future disasters, if regulators are proactive and concentrate on preventive measures. The Water Bill was one of the few true bi-partisan bills passed during this year's session.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia's economy?
West Virginia's economy will improve if we accelerate the business climate at the state level so we can attract new employers to our state, and encourage current employers in our state to expand their workforce. Sensible tax and legal reforms will increase the number of good jobs in our state, which will also broaden our tax base.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
Yes. I am the son of a retired Cabell County School Teacher, and the husband of a Marshall Professor. While Cabell and Lincoln Counties have excellent teachers and competent School Boards, some of our high school graduates are still not as competent as they should be. The legislature needs to work with local School Boards to create or improve competency programs.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
Parents should be held responsible for their children's school attendance. However, due to rising divorce rates, more students are living with single parents. Some of those parents need help. I believe that the school system should intervene in such cases. Additionally, I believe that with proper guidance, students will realize how their decisions today will affect their future.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
West Virginia spends more money per student than all but a handful of other states, yet we are almost dead last in educational achievement. This tells me that we are spending too much on state bureaucracy. It is time to give local school boards more influence on how these dollars are spent.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
State Government can help by working with local school systems to ensure that classes offered to students match up with skills needed in the job market. We can also help by educating students on the importance of a drug-free workforce.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
The State should pass tougher penalties for drug dealers and Pill Mill operators. We should also help Doctors, Pharmacists, and Law Enforcement Officers in the process of monitoring the improper use of medications. Online databases would be a great deterrent.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
The State should offer special benefits for employers who run successful wellness programs for emplyees. Some businesses have workout facilities for their employees. This should be encouraged and rewarded. The State can also educate the public on healthy lifestyles. However, the State should never try to legislate what people can eat or drink, like New York City's former Mayor did. Healthy lifestyle is a choice.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
As a small business owner, I understand the challenges facing WV business owners. Nothing helps a small business owner more than the reduction or elimination of taxes. The Business Franchise Tax and the Personal Property Tax on Inventory and Equipment should be reduced or eliminated.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
Yes. West Virginia's recidivism rate is too high. We must reduce this rate by sending drug users to long-term treatment facilities, instead of over burdening our prisons with them. Drug abusers should serve time, but they should also receive treatment so they can overcome their addiction and become assets to society and their families.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
I support programs that offer meals in schools for children living in low-income households. I also support tax reforms and legal reforms that give businesses the funds to hire more workers for good jobs that would allow these families to work themselves out of poverty and provide a better life for their children.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
I support the legislation passed two years ago that requires monitoring of sound, water useage, and distance from residences. Fracking is a job creating industry that will make us more energy independent. I support this industry, but want to make sure property rights are protected in the process.
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 absolutely do not support Common Core. The West Virginia Next Generate Content Standards and Objectives are made up mostly by Federal Department of Education Standards instead of West Virginia created standards. West Virginians need the skills and education that will build up the West Virginia economy and prepare students for the needs of West Virginia. I support local control.
14. What needs to be done now to diversify the economy of West Virginia?
West Virginia needs to work with localities to create lower business tax rates, get local and county governments to work with local, state, and regional businesses to determine their current and future needs, and work with our universities to produce the degrees and graduates that we need to grow current businesses and encourage new businesses to move here.
15. What solutions would you offer to deal with drug abuse problems in West Virginia?
I have ready-made legislation to propose day one to help resolve the drug problem. My plan starts by raising maximum fines for drug production, drug trafficking, and possession with the intention to distribute. By raising the fines for these crimes we will reclaim what they stole from our communities and give judges the necessary tools to fight the major offenders.
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 is a key to solving the drug problem. West Virginia already has legislation to allow individuals 26 and under to petition to have their non-violent criminal record expunged. Individuals who made mistakes when they were young should utilize this. I also think the Legislature should look into offering tax credits to businesses who hire former addicts who remain clean.
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. SNAP is intended to provide citizens with the support they need to feed themselves and their families, while promoting good nutrition. Taxpayers expect individuals who receive these benefits to use them responsibly. Participants in this program should be held accountable and should not be allowed to buy soda with tax dollars.
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?
No. I do not support raising taxes in order to curb the behavior of our citizens. Pregnant women should not smoke. They are endangering a child in the womb by doing so. We should make every effort to educate the public on this issue. However, I will never support using taxation as a weapon to cause societal change.
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