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HD Media is running submitted questionnaires from candidates in the 2020 elections.

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NAME: Patrick “Pat” D. Jones

CANDIDATE FOR: Huntington City Council District 8 (Highlawn neighborhood and a small portion of the downtown area from 18th to 22nd streets between the Ohio River and 8th Avenue.)

PARTY: Democrat

HOME CITY: Huntington

HOME COUNTY: Cabell

AGE: 67

EDUCATION: BA Marshall University 1982

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Cabell County BOE/Substitute Teacher

OTHER WORK HISTORY: 37 years as a Rural letter carrier for the US postal service

FAMILY: Daughter, son, two grandsons

PERSONAL STATEMENT: I grew up in Highlawn and have lived here my whole life. I want Highlawn to be, once again, the vibrant neighborhood of my youth. I attended Highlawn, Enslow and Huntington East. I was active in the PTA and coached the Basketball team at Highlawn when my children went there. I shopped (and worked) at Highlawn Pharmacy, Powers Drugs, B and B’s market, Thornburg’s IGA, Hearthstone’s Restaurant, Wiggin’s, Gino’s, Stewart’s, Spot Bowling Lanes, Memorial Field House, and I played ball at Old League 5 at Enslow, and the Babe Ruth Field beside the field house. I love my neighborhood. Our neighborhood.

1. What are your suggestions for the long-term financing of Huntington's government?

I have served on district and state committees of finance and know that without facts and figures front of me I can not make an educated judgement. I would need time to examine the complex issues of income sources and current needs before giving a definitive answer.

2. What are the most important problems in your district (or city for mayor and at-large council candidates)?

The vacant and decaying properties in many locations. The crumbling streets, curbs, and sidewalks. The falling and collapsing sewer system that is too old. The homeless and transient population. The underlying drug abuse.

3. Should the city bring back a curbside recycling program? If so, should it be funded with a levy vote or by expanding the county's program?

It is an excellent and a noble undertaking. Having grandchildren, I want them to have a world that is cleaner and safer. City Council cannot make decisions for the county program without consultation with the county commission. A levy would be the best solution. Let the people decide which a vote.

4. What more needs to be done to encourage new housing construction in the city?

I think there many beautiful homes throughout the city that could be upgraded and modernized if there were some kind of program to aid owners with the planning and implement. New construction will only occur in significant numbers if such projects as the Highlawn Brownfeilds project are completed and jobs are available.

5. How would you continue to fight the opioid epidemic? Do you support the harm reduction program?

There are no easy answers here. First the flow must be reduced. Second, hope must be restored for the hopeless without jobs who turn to drug use.

6. What more could be done to help tear down dilapidated houses?

Hold owners responsible for repairs or removal. Speed up the process for declaring a property a safety hazard.

7. How will you address Huntington’s dwindling population?

Without more opportunity it will be hard. The dilapidated housing and the homeless problem are key factors.

8. How will you continue to encourage the decrease in crime throughout the city?

Citizen awareness and neighborhood organizations are key to signaling law enforcement.

9. Do you think staffing levels for the city’s police and fire departments are adequate, too low or too high? If you think changes are needed, how would you accomplish those?

From the news, it seems there are some shortages but without being in council meetings I can’t give an educated guess.

10. The state of WV government recently put all finances and purchases online for the public’s review. Do you support a similar thing happening in Huntington?

Yes. I think all the goings-on of government should be available to it’s citizens in our country. Only through daylight do we get a responsive, honest government.

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