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NAME: John Mandt Jr.
CANDIDATE FOR: Cabell County Commission
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.JohnMandt4WV.com
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Huntington High School- 1981, Attended Marshall University- 1981-1985
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Owner, Stewart's Drive In Inc., WV House of Delegates, 16th District 2019-Present.
BOARDS AND CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Member of Lewis Memorial Baptist Church; President of Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs; President of JFM Employment Company; Founder and Current Board Member of the WV Hot Dog Festival which has raised $100,000 for the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at CHH; Current Board Member of Mountain State Centers for Independent Living; Former Board Member of the Greater Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce; Former State Board Member for Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Former Elected Member of Greater Huntington Parks & Recreation Committee; Former Member City Club; Former Member of BNI Pinnacle Group, Huntington Chapter; Former Board Member of the CHH Foundation Board.
FAMILY: wife, Ami Mandt; children, Phillip, Briana, Trey, Sami, Abby, Mason.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: Improving infrastructure/roads, internet, promoting tourism, and lowering taxes. Increasing population will reduce tax burdens for everyone. Increasing Sheriff's Deputies and EMS workers and their pay, provides a safer county. Fiscal responsibility is also very important as we operate within a limited budget. I want an audit of county vehicles and review of our employment positions, to ensure there is not unnecessary spending or fraud. If unnecessary spending can be eliminated without sacrificing service, we do it. Quarterly Town Hall meetings is a priority. It's extremely important, to have input from our communities. For more information, visit: www.JohnMandt4wv.com
1. How could the commission implement better county planning into the next decade?
Town Hall meetings, listening to our constituents, is very important. Meetings with County municipalities, Delegate's and Senator's will help planning for a better county. As a Delegate, I have great relationships and unlimited contacts, to bring help to Cabell County. A lobbyist, representing Cabell County, attending the legislative session and working for our needs/finances, is important.
2. How would you encourage economic development in the county?
Being proactive with our business tax structure. Developing the eastern part Cabell County, along Rt. 2 adjacent to where NUCOR is developing their business, is very important. We can't miss on growing our county from east to west and bringing more job development, which will bring more population. This is what we desperately need.
3. What more needs to be done about dilapidated housing in the county?
Huntington has done a terrific job removing dilapidated housing. Meeting with and following Huntington's blueprint for removing dilapidated housing would be my first instinct. Dilapidated housing that is delinquent on property taxes, would be a good start. We, in the legislature, passed a bill, creating a fund to address dilapidated houses and buildings.
4. What are the three most pressing problems the county faces?
1) Decreasing Population. 2) Poor Infrastructure and internet. 3) Lack of good, family supporting jobs.
5. What are your top priorities for moving the county forward?
Improving infrastructure/roads, internet, promoting tourism, and lowering taxes. Increasing population will reduce tax burdens for everyone. Increasing Sheriff's Deputies and EMS workers and their pay, provides a safer county. Fiscal responsibility is also very important as we operate within a limited budget. Quarterly Town Hall meetings is a priority. It's extremely important, to have input from our communities.
6. Would you be in favor of increasing the size of the sheriff’s enforcement offices?
Yes, I am very much in favor of increasing the size of the sheriff's enforcement offices. The towns of Culloden and Salt Rock need more representation and attention from the Sheriff's Deputies. It's tough to cover all of the county. Hire more deputies and explore a pay increase.
7. What needs to be done about litter control in the county?
This is a problem throughout WV. I'd like to see more non violent offenders working in our county, to reduce their jail sentence. We have been working on this in the legislature over the past few years. Enforce the laws and stiffen fines for those caught littering.
8. What will you do to balance the budget in light of the cap on funding for county jails?
In the legislature, we froze the payment for another year, at $47 per inmate. We've also reduced the sentence for non-violent offenders, to lighten the jail population. This will always be an issue. No county, wants to be forced into raising taxes, to pay their county jail bill.
9. Are you interested in fitting renewable energy into local planning and development? If so, how?
I voted for some, renewable energy legislation. It's vital we have a good mix to provide options when it's not sunny or windy, for days at a time. We will work with companies that require a renewable energy footprint, in their structure of operation. However, we cannot allow our energy grid to become too weak for our needs.
Additional questions for the general election
10. If Amendment 2 were to pass, how do you anticipate the county would react to the loss of revenue? Would you reduce services or increase tax revenue from other sources?
Amendment 2 permits tax reform to fund services that now receive funding from sources inadequate to support them. Proposed legislation exempts personal property from tax and replaces the revenue at a much higher level from the state’s base budget. Passing Amendment 2 does not cut services or require raising taxes. It permits cutting taxes and improving revenue for county services.
11. What can the County Commission do to attract new businesses to the county?
Proactively work, with our national and state legislators, and Secretary of WV Economic Development, identifying land and buildings, to capitalize on the growth and momentum in WV. We must emphasize and capitalize our availability of trained labor force, access to infrastructure, and desire toward improvement of both. We must improve safety of our communities, through decreasing vagrancy and dilapidated properties.