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Mike Davis: Experience outside Capitol important

Oct. 14, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Recent editorials from current Democratic House of Delegates members tout the value of experience in office and assume new delegates may not be able to accomplish anything during the first years of service when elected. I agree that experience is valuable, but only if it is quality experience and provides a base of knowledge with which a representative can better serve the people of West Virginia.

District 16 Democrat incumbents have been in office for over a decade and the value of their experience can be determined by examining their voting record. Several recent votes demonstrate that the Democratic Delegates in District 16 blindly follow party lines, without reflecting upon or understanding the impact on the lives of the individuals they support.

Recent legislation supported by the Democratic majority and opposed by the Republican Minority included the following bills.

House Bill 103 (2009), The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, is West Virginia's version of "cap and trade" which will force a three-step increased reduction in coal-powered electricity over the next 13 years and allows the electric companies to pass the additional expenses to each of us through our utility bills.

Senate Bill 408 (2011), The WV Health Benefit Exchange, is a version of the federal health care program that will be initially funded federally but will ultimately become the responsibility of West Virginia to fund in the future. It allows the expenses to pass down to insurance carriers and then to us in the form of increased premiums. Amendments were made, and subsequently opposed by the Democratic majority, to delay the bill until the U.S. Supreme Court could rule and to prevent federal monies from funding abortions. Both were defeated. The Democratic majority even blocked the abortion funding from being discussed.

Senate Bill 608 (2011) authorizing Department of Motor Vehicle Fee Increases was passed by the Democratic majority. It would have almost doubled the fees for obtaining or renewing our driver's licenses. The bill was so out of touch with the financial situation of our friends and families that our governor had to veto the bill to keep from adding this additional tax burden.

Senate Bill 550 (2011), or the casino subsidy: The Democratic Majority in both the House and Senate approved a $100 million pledge of state monies over 10 years to subsidize casinos in West Virginia. Amendments were offered to divert the monies to needed road and bridge maintenance, food tax reduction and drug treatment but were defeated by the Democrat majority in favor of funding the casinos.

The historically positive "family values" of West Virginians are why we are respected as hard working, honest and patriotic people. Our District 16 Democratic incumbents had "miserable" voting records in the 2010 Family Values Scorecard (www.conservatives .org) while Republican incumbents maintained stellar records in support of family values issues. Those same Republican incumbents courageously opposed the Democrat outcomes in all of the legislation mentioned above. These incumbents should be supported and their good work continued in Charleston.

However, I feel that while some experience is better than none at all, other sources of experience can equally, and sometimes better prepare, a candidate for service in the Legislature. Experience gained outside the walls of the state Capitol equips a candidate to better understand the issues of the hardworking fellow West Virginians they represent and bring new ideas and a spirit of optimism and cooperation to a sometimes stagnant governmental process. I implore voters to examine the candidates and evaluate their "experience" to decide if change in Charleston is needed. We face some difficult issues in West Virginia and independent, rational thinking for the good of the people is required.

My experience includes 25 years of law enforcement as a Huntington police officer, four years of service experience in the U.S. Air Force, six years experience as the director of the Cabell County E-911 Emergency Response Center, and educational experience resulting in three degrees from Marshall University, including a master of arts degree in political science. I am concerned about family values, and with your support will take a stand for our families.

Mike Davis, a resident of Huntington, is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates from the 16th District.

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