NAME: Dakota Nelson

CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates District 16 (parts of Cabell and Lincoln counties)

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: DakotaInTheHouse.com

HOME CITY: Huntington

HOME COUNTY: Cabell

PERSONAL STATEMENT: We are ready to organize communities to fight a system which fails to deliver our most basic needs. With the strength and obviousness reflected by our mutual needs and dependencies as human beings, the failure or success of the 99% should be up to none other than us! The future lies in clean water, living wages, access to public health care, roads that connect us rather than destroy our cars, demanding education systems capable of teaching our youth personal finance, clean energy practices and growing sustainable food. We move forward, by developing a new vision, transparent priorities and higher goals.

AGE: 28

EDUCATION: Marshall Graduate: Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: I work doing home repairs and do all I can to serve my community as an organizer of positive causes. I also contract out my services as a video producer.

1. Are you satisfied with how the state legislature has addressed developing and balancing the state budget? Please explain.

Our politicians cater to the needs of big energy and out-of-state corporations, while doing little to allocate funds for our seniors, or developing a budget capable of delivering life changing programs for disabled citizens. Stop handouts to corporations that pay poverty wages which leave workers dependent on the government! A budget should work for us, not against us.

2. What new or additional measures are necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for all West Virginians?

We should allow for zero sacrifices made in the march towards clean water, clean air and access to healthy food. There is no real political divide in the pursuit of such mutual human necessities, only those created to divide and confuse us. A healthy environment is key to our economic future here in the mountain state!

3. What do you think the role of the legislature should be in developing a more diversified economy in the state?

We are tired of the boring excuses of how there isn’t enough “_____” resources needed for developing clean energy jobs, vocational programs, or jobs to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure which cripples our economy. State legislature should do what it takes to allow unions to flourish in this state. When we have strong unions, we have high wage jobs with benefits.

4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?

I support limiting access to weapons capable of killing humans in mass. Gun deaths, suicides, drug addictions, and obesity are all side effects of a weak educational structure. No education is complete without teaching our youth how to understand and manage their emotions and healthily express themselves. A modern education system must consider the human condition. Healthy minds do not do these tragic things.

5. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?

With no exception, the health of miners is of great importance as is the health of all my brothers and sisters of this state. Health care should be a public option. Ignore anyone who tells you we cannot change a health care system we built. Just like poverty, this broken health care system is man-made, and therefore it can be solved!

6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?

We must make the internet accessible statewide. We must build roads for us to be able to work on. We must increase public transportation awareness and incentives. We must create incentives for worker cooperatives which allow for employees to own a percentage of the business they work for. This limits high cost of turnover, and provides local business with a unique magnetism.

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?

It is not merely enough to throw money at this problem. We must invite health care specialists to the table to help us figure out a plan that can heal our neighbors, while not falling in love with the incredibly costly idea of policing our way out of this problem and relying on a broken prison-system to motivate individuals to turn away from opioids.

8. What should be done long-term to fix PEIA health insurance for state employees?

Tax the extraction industry the way Alaska does. The industry is still strong in Alaska, and because of the taxes on extraction, the people are being strongly supported by various social programs funded by the tax. This is not punishing the extraction industry, this is simply making a fair compromise. You profit from our land, you pay taxes.

9. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?

I cannot in 60 words even begin to describe all we need to do to protect landowners from being treated worse than the newly polluted dirt their homes stand upon. This is not a hard one folks. I support citizens over unchecked corporate greed.

10. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?

Give a damn about the teachers who help raise our children daily. We need to modernize our education system to meet the needs of our society. We need to develop curriculum that does not stop at teaching our children how to SERVE society as a worker, but create an educational environment that motivates them to CHANGE society for the better!

11. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?

I will do all I can to make sure broadband is a public option. However, I have plenty to learn in terms of turning this goal into a reality. I will not start by bringing in Comcast or Frontier CEO’s to the table to tell us how to do it in the way that serves their corporate interest over our people’s!

12. How can WV benefit from the natural gas industry without leaving a legacy of environmental damage, health problems and decreased property values?

We must elect representatives that will not allow their campaigns to be funded by the industry. Demanding full scope accountability of corporations which make millions in profit should not be mistaken as punishment, but rather a sign of a healthy relationship! It is about checks and balances, when our representatives are bought by big industry, there is no such accountability.

13. Where do you think the responsibility for setting educational standard lies (e.,g., state or county)? Please explain.

When ideas begin locally, it creates more continuity between standards and the educators, students, and parents responsible for maintaining them. There is natural cause for a healthy relationship between the counties, states, and the federal level, because of the various resources represented at each level. Local grasp for methodology and application of standards cannot be ignored when making policy.

14. What kinds of assistance from the state would you support to address the shortage of decent, affordable rental housing in WV?

Standards, cannot stand alone. We must start the conversation by acknowledging, this takes funding. I for one am comfortable standing up for higher wages, rather than new taxes, to fund the programs that ensure a better life for our most vulnerable. This means more revenue to enforce better standards, and livable wages for those coping with climbing housing costs.

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