NAME: Chad Lovejoy
CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates - District 17 (parts of Cabell and Wayne counties)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.lovejoyforhouse.com
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
PERSONAL STATEMENT: It has been a great privilege to represent my neighbors in the House. I have tried to do so with focus on “three R’s” -- Respect for the office and all affected; Reason in approaching problems; and Relationships on all sides to get things done. We can lead the way; we've dealt with changing economies, population shift and drug abuse. We know how to promote a diverse economy with superior health care, competitive schools, tourism and a world class University. I fight not just for our place at the table, but that we lead, and will continue if re-elected.
EDUCATION: Bachelors of Arts in English and Juris Doctorate in Law, both from West Virginia University.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Attorney, licensed in the State and Federal Courts of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Partner, Duffield, Lovejoy, Stemple & Boggs, PLLC; 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: 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: FOP Gold Star Lodge No. 65 and Cabell Lodge No.122; West Virginia Troopers Association PAC; West Virginia Education Association; Cabell County Education Association; West Virginia AFT; West Virginia AFL-CIO; Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce; West Virginia Farm Bureau; WV Senior PAC; Southern West Virginia Carpenter Locals PAC; West Virginia Association for Justice; West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association; West Virginians for Life; WV Appalachian Laborers' District Council; National Association for Social Workers; West Virginia Deputy Sheriffs Association; West Virginia Nurses Association; United Mine Workers of America; Boots of Recovery PAC; West Virginia Hospital Association; West Virginia Auto and Truck Dealers Association; West Virginia Health Care Association; Building and Construction Trades PAC; West Virginia School Service Personnel Association; SEIU 1199; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 53.
FAMILY: wife, Sara (Simmons) Lovejoy; children, Kaitlin (20), Luke (15), Ethan (13) and Dylan (11).
1. Are you satisfied with how the state legislature has addressed developing and balancing the state budget? Please explain.
The Budget reflects the priorities of the State and will determine its direction. For instance, several years of cuts to higher education help neither our young people nor our region, having a proven economic driver in Marshall University. The Budget process certainly improved from my first (2017) to second (2018) Session as extended Budget Sessions are unnecessary and cost taxpayers.
2. What new or additional measures are necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for all West Virginians?
Public safety is one of the paramount duties of government. We need to focus on providing additional support to our first responders -- Police, Fire and EMS – who are on the front lines. They are overworked, understaffed and underpaid. Further, we need more resources to fight the drug epidemic that motivates most of our public safety threats.
3. What do you think the role of the legislature should be in developing a more diversified economy in the state?
Government should create a level playing field for a diverse economy to grow. On capital side -- streamline the regulatory process, help local banks loan again to our small businesses and entrepreneurs, and incentivize investment. On labor -- support our local workers and their right to organize, promote businesses and encourage the development of a skilled, drug-free workforce.
4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?
As a lifelong sportsman and gun owner, I support the Second Amendment, but we must address the senseless violence against our children. Support stronger enforcement of existing gun laws and increased funding for physical access control, school security officers and mental health. Prohibit devices that allow semi-automatic firearms to function like prohibited automatics. End the prohibition of CDC research into gun violence.
5. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?
There is an unprecedented resurgence of Black Lung disease in our miners, after years of reduced diagnoses. I believe that this is due, in part, to rolling back of coal mine safety laws at both the State and Federal levels, which must be restored and expanded. The workplace safety of these men and women is paramount.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
We need to renew our commitment to investing in 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 the local trades that train our people with real experience to step into the.
7. 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 State 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.
8. What should be done long-term to fix PEIA health insurance for state employees?
PEIA costs will increase by 4-6% a year, primarily due to medical inflation. In order to maintain the value of this hard-earned benefit, I support a long-term, sustainable fix through a dedicated funding source, particularly one that is primarily "exported" and paid by out of state entities, such as the severance tax on West Virginia's natural gas extraction.
9. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
The health and safety of West Virginia citizens is my top concern. Many surrounding states like Pennsylvania have seen unfettered fracking lead to the contamination of drinking water, mudslides and widespread death of native wildlife. Communities deserve to know what chemicals are being used within them, as well as rigorous enforcement of water standards and discharge limitations.
10. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Stop expecting kids and teachers to adapt to new standards and testing every year and let educators educate. Even beyond this Session, we must continue to review and prioritize education spending, including competitive pay and stabilizing PEIA, to attract and retain the best teachers and service personnel to prepare our children for competing in the 21st century economy.
11. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
I strongly supported the comprehensive WV Broadband Bill (HB 3093) in 2017 and efforts to better implement it in 2018. A statewide "Broadband Highway System" enhances health care with tele-medicine for rural and urban patients, improves education by opening the world’s libraries to our children and promotes economic development by promoting local goods and services in the global marketplace.
12. How can WV benefit from the natural gas industry without leaving a legacy of environmental damage, health problems and decreased property values?
We should be mindful of our State's history when it comes to extraction. There is no doubt that production can lead to positive economic gains, particularly for the support industries like we have in our area. However, we must insist as a matter of policy that operators conduct their business responsibly, respecting their neighbors' health, property and quality of life.
13. Where do you think the responsibility for setting educational standard lies (e.,g., state or county)? Please explain.
The WV Department of Education sets the standards for WV schools, which is intended to ensure consistent minimum requirements. County Boards not only ensure compliance, but should have flexibility and local control as to the curriculum used to do so. This is particularly important given the County Boards' knowledge of local schools' needs and their accountability to voters.
14. What kinds of assistance from the state would you support to address the shortage of decent, affordable rental housing in WV?
We need further legislative efforts to help cities and counties eliminate abandoned and dilapidated housing as well as to prevent landlords (and tenants) from knowingly allowing (and operating) drug houses in our neighborhoods. Also, citizens deserve strong legal protection to ensure accountability for habitable living places for themselves and families.