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

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NAME: Cathy Kunkel

CANDIDATE FOR: U.S. House of Representatives District 2

PARTY: Democrat


BIOGRAPHY: As an energy policy expert, Cathy has testified on behalf of consumer groups to the WV Public Service Commission, fighting utility rate increases and corporate bailouts. As a co-founder of both Advocates for a Safe Water System and Rise Up WV, Cathy has fought for safe drinking water, expanded access to healthcare and better services for those suffering addiction.

Questions from the West Virginia League of Women Voters:

1. What suggestions do you have for improving bipartisanship and cooperation in Congress?

We need to pass campaign finance reform laws so that Congressional representatives are actually accountable to the people of their district, not to special interests or wealthy ideological donors. I am not taking corporate money in my campaign because I believe that we desperately need more members of Congress (of either party) who are not beholden to corporate interests.

2. What new measures would you support to help middle class families deal with the rising costs of health care, housing, and higher education?

I support Medicare for All universal healthcare to cover everyone, eliminate the risk of medical bankruptcies and allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices. I support greater funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, investment in repairing and modernizing existing public housing, and fully funding Section 8 rental assistance. And I support making public higher education tuition free

3. What should be the role of Congress in addressing the challenges of climate change?

We must urgently address climate change. I will fight for a Green New Deal that includes a program of reinvestment in Appalachia, including investment in infrastructure (safe drinking water, internet, transportation) and environmental reclamation. It must also include protection of healthcare and pensions for fossil fuel industry workers and priority placement in infrastructure and clean energy jobs during the transition.


4. What changes would you recommend for responding to any future national emergencies such as COVID-19 which would increase overall preparedness and assist those affected by the emergency?

I support full funding for the CDC, whose budget has been cut by 10% over the last decade, so that we can be better prepared for a future public health emergency. I also support urgent action on climate change, which is leading to more frequent and severe hurricanes, flooding and wildfires around the country.

5. What do you believe should be the role of the United States in global affairs such as trade, immigration, and the environment?

I believe that the United States should negotiate trade agreements with strong labor and environmental standards, and that we should be a leader in addressing global environmental crises such as climate change. Regarding immigration, I am opposed to the inhumane treatment of people under the care of the U.S. government, including family separation at the border.

6. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or why not?

I do not support recent weakening of Environmental Protection Agency air and water quality regulations. These regulations are necessary to protect public health. Moreover, the weakening of these regulations has done nothing to bring back the coal industry, whose decline has been triggered by competition from natural gas and renewable energy, not environmental regulations.

7. Considering the issues raised by COVID-19, what changes need to be made at the federal level to make affordable healthcare available to all Americans?

It is unacceptable that Americans have died from COVID because they didn’t seek treatment for fear of the medical bill. Additionally, over 60,000 West Virginians lost their private health insurance because of losing their jobs during this pandemic. I support Medicare for All universal healthcare in which everyone is covered and no one risks bankruptcy for seeking necessary medical care.

8. What changes to current election laws would you recommend to make voting safer and more accessible?

I support restoring the federal Voting Rights Act, so that states with a history of voter suppression have to get clearance from the federal government before making changes to their election procedures. This would crack down on burdensome voter ID laws, polling place closures and other state-level voter suppression tactics.

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