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NAME: Tammy L. Williamson
CANDIDATE FOR: West Virginia House of Delegates, District 19 (covers part of Wayne County)
CAMPAIGN SITE: www.facebook.com/TammyWilliamson.WV
HOME CITY: Wayne
HOME COUNTY: Wayne
EDUCATION: Tolsia High School
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Secretary at Genoa Elementary School
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Autism Mentor with Wayne County Schools, Title Clerk with Wayne County Assessor’s Office
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Genoa Elementary Local School Improvement Council, River Cities Harley Owners Group.
FAMILY: Husband, Bobby L. Williamson; children, Courtney Williamson, Brianna Moore, and Tim Robertson; grandchildren, Carter, Annaleigh, Tristan, Canaan, Scarlet, Hadley, Max, and Baby Moore coming soon; parents, Rita Maynard and the late Howard Maynard.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: As a lifelong Wayne County resident and working in Wayne County Schools, I’ve watched as our children, families, and communities suffer. We need to improve our roads, make broadband available for everyone, and clean up our state. We have to address these issues to provide a good welcoming environment for businesses with livable wages to want to come to here. I believe we can do this without giving out of state corporations tax breaks at the expense of our families. I want our children and grandchildren to be able to stay in our beautiful state. We can do this together!
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?
Wayne County Schools has been looking at expanding their robotics program to include elementary and middle school age students. This experience and training will provide a good foundation and a welcoming environment for new businesses. West Virginia is a beautiful state with a wealth of land to expand our agriculture avenues, as well as for tourism.
2. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or Why not?
I think we have to be realistic in our expectations. We do need regulations for the health and safety of our citizens. However, we need to look at each of the regulations to see if it is helpful or harmful to the people of our state.
3. What role do you see for state government in reversing West Virginia’s population decline?
Our residents are leaving to find good paying jobs. In order for businesses to want to come, we must provide a welcoming environment that includes improved road conditions, good education systems, broadband accessibility and a trained workforce. Our government can help by finally addressing these issues and showing what an asset our wonderful state and people can be.
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?
Our state has failed our children. The DHHR and CPS has been inadequately funded and staffed for years. We need to provide resources and trainings for all families including foster families from day one. Make mental health just as much a priority as physical health. By doing this, we may prevent children from entering the system to begin with.
5. There have been several attempts to reduce taxes on businesses 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 state definitely needs an overhaul from the top down. We have to stop giving all the tax breaks to businesses. Our citizens are the ones that need to see a reduction in their taxes. I think if we cut frivolous spending and have more oversight, we can help our families.
6. Do you think the educational reform bill passed in 2019 is working/will be effective?
While I am thankful for the extra social workers our children have available to them now, I do not think the reform bill will be effective. If you truly want to improve the education of our students, you must talk to our teachers and service personnel. Unfortunately, some of legislators never want to do that. Our students deserve better!
7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?
Working in our school system, I do think it has been helpful. Our staff has been trained to look for signs and we have more counselors. However, I wish our counselors were able to spend more time at each school. It’s heartbreaking what some of our students have to deal with. We have to protect them and give them resources.
8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
We need to provide more career and technical training not only in our high schools, but also as early as middle school. Our student should have access to programs like plumbing, electrical, computer programming, finance, and so much more. We also need to teach them life skills, writing a resume, interview skills, and public speaking.
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?
First, we need harsher penalties for drug dealers. Our first responders are overwhelmed. Perhaps, we should look into mandatory rehab for repeat drug users. We definitely need to provide our students and families with resources to, hopefully, prevent addiction before it starts.
10. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
Broadband is a vital part of a state’s infrastructure. Since our local companies cannot seem to provide access, we need to reach out to other states that have had similar problems and look for advice. If we want to be a state people want to come to, we have to address this very important issue.