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NAME: Daniel Linville
CANDIDATE FOR: West Virginia House of Delegates District 16 (Covers parts of Cabell and Lincoln counties)
HOME CITY: Milton
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Bachelor's Degree - Marshall University.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Delegate - 16th District; House of Delegates Representative - West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council; Vice Chairman - Committee on Technology & Infrastructure; Information Technology Director, Executive Manager.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Keith Albee Performing Arts Theater - Board of Directors; Rotary Club; Cabell County Farm Bureau; Cabell-Wayne Beekeeper's Association.
ENDORSEMENTS: West Virginians For Life, Home Builder's Association of West Virginia, West Virginia Federation of College Republicans, West Virginia Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce PAC, the West Virginia Business and Industry Council, the West Virginia Coal Association.
FAMILY: mother, Carla Linville; father, Steve Linville.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: It has been the honor of my life to serve the people of Cabell and Lincoln counties in your Legislature. I've worked to bring in better jobs and major infrastructure projects, fix the roads, expand internet and cell coverage, and put West Virginians first. Together, we've been writing a real Comeback Story. A global health crisis has shaken our nation - together, we will come back stronger. I ask for your vote so that we can keep bringing in better jobs with bigger paychecks to give our next generation a chance to live, work, and raise a family in West Virginia.
Questions from the West Virginia League of Women Voters:
1. With the decline in the extraction industries in West Virginia, what do you think should be done to diversify the state’s economy?
To bring about the stability that a diversified economy delivers, West Virginia must incentivize - through workforce development, financial incentives, and collaboration with our universities - greater job creation in industries and processes our state currently lacks. We must invest in 21st century internet and broadband infrastructure to connect West Virginia and market our natural beauty and wonders for tourism development worldwide.
2. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or why not?
As a beekeeper and someone who appreciates our natural beauty, I support smart regulation that preserves public health, facilitates job creation and encourages the best use of our natural resources. Regulation should be designed with public wellness in mind and in collaboration with responsible job creators to design a path to compliance that preserves and grows West Virginia's job market.
3. What role do you see for state government in reversing West Virginia’s population decline?
The blame for the population loss of the last century lies with those in Charleston who forced generations of West Virginians to look beyond our borders for better opportunities. State government must empower job creators so families no longer face a choice between Almost Heaven and opportunity. Investments in roads, broadband, and safe communities are the keys to our comeback.
Additional questions from The Herald-Dispatch:
4. The state’s foster care system struggles to care for the 7,000 plus children who are now in it. Some action has been taken in recent months, but what further action do you think might be necessary?
We must make it easier for loving families to welcome children into their homes while ensuring the safety of those children. We've made progress by creating the foster children and families' Bills of Rights. Ultimately, we must reduce the number of West Virginia children entering the foster care system through better opportunities to provide for strong families that stick together.
5. There have been several attempts to reduce taxes on business in the state, including one failed in this past legislative session. Is it wise to keep pursuing tax breaks for business, at the possible expense of residential taxpayers? Do you think the state’s tax structure needs an overhaul?
Our workers and job creators are in competition with every state and even other nations. To bring in better jobs with bigger paychecks, we must constantly evaluate our tax system to stay competitive. Changes should not, however, shift higher costs to our friends and neighbors. A balanced, smart overhaul will bring new jobs, a growing economy, and greater state revenues.
6. Do you think the educational reform bill passed in 2019 is working/will be effective?
The Education Reform efforts of 2019 resulted in a $177 million investment in our schools and our next generation. It strengthened Local School Improvement Councils to give parents a greater voice, increased student truancy enforcement, and enhanced our ability to recruit and retain great teachers. We expect it will be effective, and collaborative efforts will continue to improve student outcomes.
7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?
With $30.5 million in statewide funding from the Education Reform Bill, Cabell County Schools have added counselors, including one for every elementary school, interventionists for elementary schools, four new social workers, and two registered nurses. Similar outcomes are happening statewide. This represents one more step to address the problems our families, teachers, and schools face due to the drug crisis
8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
We've made tremendous progress through the West Virginia Invests free community and technical college program and by modifying the FAFSA requirements for students whose parents may not be able to complete the application. We must partner with employers to deliver curriculum that best prepares students for jobs. The Higher Education funding formula should incentivize delivering the results we seek.
9. West Virginia has been especially hard hit by the opioid abuse epidemic. What do you see as the role of the legislature in addressing this crisis?
As legislators, we must empower our local governments to quickly clean up neighborhood blight and provide recovered addicts pathways for becoming productive members of society once again. We must send a message to out-of-state drug traffickers, including pharmaceutical companies who've demonstrably profited by willfully flooding our communities with addiction, that West Virginia will no longer suffer at their hands.
10. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
I will continue to lead legislation that encourages competition, opens state towers and rights-of-way, and cuts red tape, like HB4015 which was just signed into law. On the State Broadband Council, I will continue to assist local co-ops and encourage investment in our communities. I won't stop until we've connected every West Virginian with cell and internet coverage.
NEW GENERAL ELECTION QUESTIONS
11. How would you prioritize using the funds provided to WV by the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief funds?
We should take a two-fold approach to using COVID-19 relief funds. First, we have to deal with the immediate needs - educational support, unemployment compensation, healthcare support, testing and PPE, among many others. Second, we must leverage these dollars for the future - supporting job creators and bridging them through this crisis, broadband internet infrastructure, and more so we come out stronger.
12. What changes in current election laws would you favor to make voting safer and more accessible?
It should be easy to vote and hard to cheat. That's why I've supported legislation using technology that allows our service men and women overseas to vote electronically with strong identity verification. Similarly, I have and will continue to support efforts which have extended that access to people with disabilities that make it more difficult to vote in person.
13. Lack of broadband access limits employment and educational opportunities in many parts of West Virginia. What should be done to make broadband available statewide?
We have to build upon our work since 2017 to remove unnecessary hurdles to broadband expansion. That's why I've championed legislation that cuts red tape, leverages federal support, opens up state-owned towers, and encourages local companies and co-ops to grow, serve more West Virginians, and compete with the national providers that have failed to get the job done.
14. Given COVID-19, how do you propose we protect our students, teachers and school service personnel while at the same time providing equal access to a quality education across the state?
This can be accomplished with live video conferencing at the schools and public buildings. With relatively low cost, we can remain socially distant and keep everyone under one roof so that our students can be in school, interact with their friends and educators, and have good meals all without expecting students to learn online without internet access or from printouts.
15. What experience, training or education do you have that would make you an effective state legislator?
I have proven experience as a lawmaker since 2018. I am an alumnus of Marshall University where I was President of the Society for Human Resource Management, a member of the Huntington Gigabit City Task Force, and I joined my family in business as an IT Director seven years ago. These broad experiences and relationships make me effective as Delegate.