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NAME: Chad Lovejoy
CANDIDATE FOR: West Virginia House of Delegates, District 17 (parts of Cabell and Wayne counties)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.lovejoyforhouse.com
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Bachelors of Arts in English and Juris Doctorate in Law, both from West Virginia University
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: West Virginia House of Delegates, 17th District (2016-present); Attorney with Duffield, Lovejoy & Boggs, PLLC, licensed in the State and Federal Courts of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Practiced law in Huntington since 1997, primarily representing working families and small businesses in WV, OH and KY; Adjunct Professor, Marshall University Community & Technical College - 2000-2004; Member, West Virginia Law Institute - 1996-97; Editor-in-Chief, West Virginia Law Review - 1996-97.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Member of Boards of Directors for the Huntington City Mission, First Stage (Children’s) Theater Company and the Scottish Rite Foundation for the Marshall University Children’s Speech and Hearing Center; Huntington Area Coordinator for MENSA, Vandalia Chapter; Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels; Big Green Scholarship Foundation; Past President, Cabell County Bar Association.
ENDORSEMENTS: West Virginia Building and Construction Trades, West Virginia Education Association, AFL-CIO, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, West Virginia Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, West Virginia Farm Bureau, West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, West Virginians for Life, West Virginia Appalachian Laborer’s District Council, West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, SEIU Local 1199, South Western District Labor Council, International Union of Operating Engineers, West Virginia Troopers Association, United Mine Workers of America, American Federation of Teachers (AFT-WV), West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association; OMEGA, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, FOP Cabell County Lodge No. 122; Local 289, International Association of Fire Fighters; West Virginia Hospital Association, LAWPAC, FOP Gold Star Lodge No. 65, Communication Workers of America; West Virginia Funeral Directors’ Association, Community Bankers Association, United Food and Commercial Workers.
FAMILY: wife, Sara (Simmons) Lovejoy; children, Kaitlin (22), Luke (17), Ethan (15) and Dylan (13).
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my neighbors in the House since 2016. I have tried to do so with focus on “three R’s” -- Respect for the office and all affected by decisions made there; Reason in approaching problem-solving; and building Relationships with all sides to get things done. I still believe that our area can lead the way; we've dealt with a changing economy, population shift and the addiction epidemic. We know how to promote a diverse economy with superior health care, competitive schools, tourism and a world class University.
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?
COVID presents an opportunity to attract new businesses and workers who want to live in the relative safety and beauty of the Mountain State. This requires reliable broadband access for remote workplaces, which also helps with education and health care. We must support both higher education and expanded trade schools; also, develop agriculture and market our unique natural wonders.
2. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or why not?
Clean air and water are essential to all living things and I reject a false dichotomy that we must always trade long-persisting harm for short-sighted economic benefit. We must study the science and use it to make reasoned decisions about our air and water in order to be good stewards for this and future generations.
3. What role do you see for state government in reversing West Virginia’s population decline?
Government should ensure a level playing field on which everyone has equal opportunity to succeed. In order to retain our young people, we must present the choice, and engender the desire, to live, work and raise a family here. Most I know who have left would love to come home, if opportunity allowed. Policies help set that course.
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 made some progress last Session, but still have far to go. Beleaguered by the drug epidemic, our foster system is teetering on collapse. We must increase support for grandparents and other kinship care and place additional focus on those kids that are "aging out" of the foster system into adulthood, often alone. We must do more.
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?
We must always refine our tax structure, improve it where possible and analyze all effects of changes – being mindful of the tax burden carried by our citizens, particularly those retired and on a fixed income. I concluded that subsidizing tax cuts on their backs when counties raise property taxes to make up losses is bad policy.
6. Do you think the educational reform bill passed in 2019 is working/will be effective?
The Bill had good parts, like increasing wraparound services, empowering Local School Improvement Councils and economic investment. However, it was largely pushed without participation of our parents, educators, service personnel and administrators. We should listen to our "troops on the ground," instead of rushing to "mark a box" for charter schools to the detriment of really improving public education.
7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?
We expect those in our schools to be not only teachers, but also parents, counselors, nurses and pastors. It's really not fair to place them squarely on the frontlines of society’s problems and then say that they are "failing," when it is society that is failing. I wholeheartedly support additional support staff and more wraparound services in our schools.
8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
We need to renew our commitment to educating a skilled workforce, both in the context of Career Technology Education for school-aged and adult students and in higher education, including Marshall University, but also Community and Technical Colleges like Mountwest. Likewise, we must encourage apprenticeship programs in local trades that train our people with real experience to step into the workforce.
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?
I have supported and sponsored legislation to address this fight on all fronts -- Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Law Enforcement. We must better support the front lines -- families, health care, law enforcement, churches, social services and the recovery community. With users, restore hope to the broken towards re-engagement as full community participants. With suppliers, punish and deter to save our community.
10. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
We have made consistent progress since 2017, including the comprehensive WV Broadband Bill (HB 3093) and subsequent tweaks each Session. At this point, broadband is clearly a need and not a want. We encourage development by removing red tape, considering state-owned towers and allowing real competition for broadband instead of effective monopolies that aren’t working for all West Virginians.
11. How would you prioritize using the funds provided to WV by the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief funds?
Consider first the needs directly created by COVID-19, including its impact on our essential workers, increased food insecurity, health-care and educational systems and our local businesses. Constitutionally, the appropriation of funds should have the input and participation of legislators elected to represent our communities and not unilaterally managed by the Executive.
12. What changes in current election laws would you favor to make voting safer and more accessible?
No eligible voter should be denied the right to participate in the democratic process because of the pandemic. I applaud the efforts in the Primary and General Elections to allow expanded absentee voting and the checks put in place to prevent, discover and prosecute any who would seek to cheat this democratic institution.
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?
Continue the work since 2017’s comprehensive WV Broadband Bill (HB 3093) and subsequent tweaks. Remove red tape, consider state-owned towers and allow real competition for quality broadband service instead of effective monopolies.
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?
We must follow the medicine and act in a responsible manner to protect the health of all involved. This includes listening to our local health professionals and providing the PPE necessary to reduce unnecessary risk to staff, students and families. We can lean on technology to allow distanced learning to work for all students, recognizing disparities exist for many students.
15. What experience, training or education do you have that would make you an effective state legislator?
Since first elected, I've maintained an open door and open mind - constantly seeking input from those affected by decisions and never hesitating to put in the necessary work. I understand the legislative process and how to work across the aisle and across the State for our District. Two decades practicing law helps to see how our laws work (and don't).