W.Va. House 13 candidate: Tim Gibson (R)
HOME CITY: Poca
HOME COUNTY: Putnam
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSONAL STATEMENT: My campaign is based on three principles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Life is the most basic of rights given to people. Our leaders should fight to protect the lives of the innocent. Next, Liberty acknowledges that you are gifted with certain rights from God. The U.S. Constitution lists many of these rights specifically, but there are many rights that are unlisted but just as important. Finally, Pursuit of Happiness goes back to the idea of pursuing economic security and advancing the individual. People find self-worth in their employment and that employment should be protected from government intrusion.
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts: Communication Arts (Concord University, Athens, WV, 2006), Master of the Arts: Communication Studies (Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va., 2008), Juris Doctorate (Liberty University School of Law, Lynchburg, Va., 2013)
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Legislative Analyst (Minority Party), WV State Senate (2014).
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Legal Intern (WV Republican Party, 2013), Anchor/Reporter (WV MetroNews/58 WCHS Radio, 2008-2010), Producer/Photographer (WSAZ Newschannel 3, 2005-2008), Graduate Assistant (Liberty University, 2006-2008).
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Lett Creek Community Church (Member), Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout, 2002).
1. Are you satisfied that the Legislature has done enough to protect West Virginians from chemical spills? Please explain.
The government failed during the Freedom Industries spill. The WV Department of Environmental Protection has been too focused on the coal industry and missed a threat to public safety in its own city. I would introduce a bill in the Legislature to audit the WV DEP to see if it is using its resources correctly and identify the DEP’s deficiencies.
2. What steps would you recommend to improve West Virginia’s economy?
West Virginia needs to simplify its tax code to improve the economy. Currently, West Virginians pay income, gas, sales, property, and business tax to name a few. Some of these taxes can be reduced, consolidated, or eliminated in order to attract new residents and businesses to the state. The more money people keep, the more they invest in the economy.
3. Do you think more needs to be done to ensure high school graduates are competent? Explain.
Competency should be judged on the individual student’s goals. We need to move away from one size fits all standardized testing and focus on making sure students are competent to enter college, trade school, or the workforce. I envision a range of educational models based around students in our school system from traditional college prep to apprenticeship programs.
4. How do you propose keeping more students in school and reducing the truancy rate?
First, enforce existing laws. Parents need to face the magistrate and fines to learn personal responsibility for not sending their child to school. Second, there is a loophole in many counties that allows children to doctor shop for school excuses in order to avoid truancy. That loophole needs to be closed.
5. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Achievement should be based around the individual not the collective. Focus on student goals instead of the test scores of the whole. The school system should be willing to work with business and industry to find the needs of the community and economy. Then work with the student to apprentice or prepare, and place students in the workforce or college.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
First, high schools should have a dedicated career services office that partners with business to place students not going to college in jobs. Second, schools should establish apprenticeship programs where students learn by actually working and getting paid. For college prep, students should have access to college and AP courses so they can graduate faster and join the workforce.
7. What more should the state do to battle the prescription drug crisis?
The most important thing the state can do to combat drug abuse is to take positive steps to improve the economy. Many people turn to prescription drugs because of depression or easy money. People find self-worth in employment. By increasing jobs in the state, more people will move from the underground economy into the real economy.
8. Are there more steps the state should take to reduce obesity?
The state should get out of the dietician business. It’s failed so far, and we are just throwing money away. There needs to be a focus on personal responsibility and improving the economy. Studies show the middle and upper class focus more on health due to time and wealth. Let’s focus on improving the economic status of West Virginians.
9. How could the state help small businesses grow in West Virginia?
I believe reforming the tax code is crucial to helping economic growth in West Virginia. Small business should not be saddled with multiple taxes. The more money these businesses keep, the more people they can employ and also pay those employees better wages. The state should also work to reduce the cost increases from Obamacare for the same reason.
10. Do you think the state should do more to reduce the size of the prison population?
The state does have a prison population problem. It is bankrupting our county commissions. I once again believe the problem goes back to societal and economic problems in our state. People feel hopeless without economic security and turn to crime to gain it. Meaningful reforms to the economy and attracting new business to the state could break that cycle.
11. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of West Virginians, especially children, who are living in poverty?
The state needs to stop throwing money at poverty through studies and certain unneeded social programs. People get into a cycle of dependency with the government. Instead, focus on getting people employed. One idea may be tying certain benefits to actually working a public or private sector job. Jobs give people self-worth, respect, and generate independence.
12. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
West Virginia can be an energy leader in the world. We are looking at huge economic potential for the state. Let’s not squander it. There needs to be balance in whatever regulatory scheme we choose. First, people should be justly compensated for land use by gas companies. Secondly, permitting should be fair, cost-effective, and not governed by environmental extremism.
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