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West Virginians deserve honesty, integrity

Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of a series of columns written by candidates in contested races in the Nov. 6 general election.

Having served several terms in the House of Delegates, it is my hope that voters know I'm a straight shooter who does not dance around the issues. Political correctness is not in my vocabulary. I do not govern based upon public opinion polls, but on what is principled and right. West Virginians deserve honesty and integrity, values I hold dear.

This is one of the most important election years in my memory. Elections are about choices and about giving you the opportunity to decide the direction our country and state will take and the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren.

We are very blessed in America to be able to choose our leaders. People in many other countries do not get this opportunity. I thank our veterans and service men and women for their sacrifice in fanning the flames of freedom to protect our right to vote.

The 26th Amendment to our Constitution guarantees our right to vote, yet the majority of our citizens do not vote. As stated on PBS, "Voter apathy is creeping up slowly. Some call it political depression and it begs the question: If people don't participate, at what point does a democracy cease to be democratic?"

President James A. Garfield, said, "Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress (government). If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption."

Many believe their vote doesn't matter and view politics as negative and dirty. Elections should be about issues -- about your family and mine. Elections should not be about political parties, negative campaigning and tearing people down. Abraham Lincoln-style debates were free from polls, pundits and teleprompters. When a public official does what's right by the people, they don't resort to public opinion polls to determine their campaign message or plan an attack against their opponent.

In elections past, I and others have been on the receiving end of negative, partisan attacks that distort the issues. Regardless of party, I call it "girly-man" tactics to send negative direct mail pieces or unsolicited robo-calls three days before an election when a rebuttal cannot be made. I have never and will never "hit and run" against any opponent and instead will run on my own record and plan for those I serve.

I have taken the high road, and have worked to protect our children from sexual predators, I was a sponsor of the Child Internet Protection Act, which is now law. It allows law enforcement and prosecutors to crack down on child predators who prey on children over the Internet. I have also worked with two grandmothers who have suffered loss. As lead sponsor, we passed Logan's Law to increase penalties for child sexual predators and Haven's Law to improve school bus safety for our children. It has blessed my life helping grieving families turn their tragedy into something positive for other West Virginia families.

I pledge to you that I will continue to take your voice to the Legislature. I believe an aggressive strategy will turn our state around. Some in government demonize the success and hard work of others. When businesses are successful, they provide jobs and make our West Virginia families successful. As President John F. Kennedy said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." A successful West Virginia will require government and the private sector working together.

Gov. Susana Martinez, R-New Mexico, stated, "Success, they (my parents) taught me, is built on the foundation of courage, hard work and individual responsibility. Despite what some would have us believe, success is not built on resentment and fears. We must end the days where government is stifling the incentive to be successful."

In governing, I share the principles expressed by Mia Love, a Republican Utah mayor and congressional candidate -- "Is it affordable, is it sustainable, is it my job?" If a legislative proposal doesn't answer these questions, then it is not a role of government.

Fiscal discipline, limited government, personal responsibility -- that's how I roll! How about you? TOGETHER, let's continue OUR work for a better West Virginia.

Kelli Sobonya, a resident of Barboursville, is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates from the 18th District, which includes part of Cabell County.

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