This is one of a series of guest columns from candidates in contested races in the June 9 West Virginia Primary Election.
The primary concern in our nation and in our state today is the coronavirus pandemic and the physical, financial, emotional and psychological effects for individuals and for society at large. May we each humble ourselves, seek God in prayer, and trust God for the healing of our land. I am thankful that most political leaders have set aside the political turmoil of recent days to focus collectively their attention on the well-being of the citizens of this great country.
Of great concern to our beloved state of West Virginia is the rampant use of illegal drugs and the ramifications for the future. Illegal drugs are directly related to crime and to the destruction of the family unit. I strongly advocate hope for the addicts through a one-year educational program or faith-based program to help the individual overcome his/her addiction. In addition to a one-year program, there needs to be a vocational training program where the individual could learn a trade for a better and brighter future. The West Virginia Jobs and Hope Act addresses some of this but it needs to be expanded. Maintaining an addict on medication and needles for the rest of his/her life is not beneficial to the addict, the addict’s family, our communities or the state of West Virginia.
Many children of addicted parents oftentimes find themselves in the foster care system. While the goal is always reintegration, this is not always possible. If Child Protective Services is involved and children have been removed from the homes of addicted parents, progress towards rehabilitation and reintegration with accountability must be made in a timely manner. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Adoptive resources for these precious and vulnerable children should be sought. Adoptive parents can be helped if the state would offset the cost of the adoption. The safety and well-being of the child should be the major priority.
When my wife and I travel out of state to visit family, we are impressed with playground and park facilities in various neighborhoods. Improvements to the playgrounds and parks in our communities and state would improve the value of our parks and the quality of visitor experiences. In addition, many parks would benefit from better roads to access them. Water parks, ziplines and other attractions would also be enhancements. We also need the lodge and conference center built at Beech Fork State Park.
I believe another improvement to our state would be to initiate term limits, within reason, for all elected officials. Good judgment and wisdom are often byproducts of experience; however, unlimited terms can also limit new ideas, foster complacency and alter the goal from serving others to serving self.
The tax system needs to be revised to keep West Virginians in our state and to bring new people and industries into our state, specifically technology and medical industries. These types of industries would provide good-paying jobs for our citizens. Many of these industries, however, will not come into our state because of our current tax structure. Why would a company move to West Virginia and pay yet another tax on every vehicle that the company brings here? They already paid tax at the time of purchase. This is oftentimes an unpleasant surprise. In addition, residents still pay a tax on their property every year that they live in the state. There was a bill before our legislature that would have removed the tax on personal property. This bill did not pass in the senate. I support this bill, and I would be honored, if elected, to present this bill for a vote.