HD Media is running submitted questionnaires from candidates in the 2020 elections.
Read more responses from candidates by clicking on the links at right. Candidates who have not received a questionnaire can send an email to acopley@HDMediaLLC.com with their name, candidacy and phone number.
NAME: Derrick Evans
CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates District 19 (part of Wayne County)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.facebook.com/DerrickEvansTheActivist
HOME CITY: Prichard
HOME COUNTY: Wayne County
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s Degree, West Liberty University
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Real Estate Investor & Property Manager
OTHER WORK HISTORY: I previously worked for the WCBOE as a teacher.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: NRA, GOA, WVCDL, Wayne County Farmers Co-Op, WV Farm Bureau, Tri-State Landlord Association
ENDORSEMENTS: WV For Life, WV State Troopers Association, WV Farm PAC, WVCDL, WV Truckers Association, WV Oil Marketers & Grocers Association, WV Auto Dealers, WV Coal Association, WV Business & Industry Council, GO PAC (Gas and Oil), Metallurgical Coal Producers, Family Policy Council of WV, Gun Owners of America, Young Americans for Liberty, and iVote America.
FAMILY: Wife, Melissa Evans; children, Marlee (4), Emmalynn (3), Waylen (5 months); grandparents, JD and Myrtie Prince.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am pro God, pro life, pro 2nd Amendment, and I am going to fight for Christian values! I'm married to my college sweetheart. We have been together for over eleven years. God has blessed us with three beautiful children, and they are the main reason I am running for this position. I hope to create a future where my children can live and prosper right here in Wayne County, WV for as long as they choose.
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?
Manufacturing jobs pay enough to raise a family, and we have skilled workers to fill those jobs. We need to use our natural energy sources to our advantage. We should focus on attracting downstream chemical and manufacturing opportunities that would benefit from our natural gas. We need the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub, once again utilizing our natural gas industry.
2. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or why not?
Yes. The Obama era EPA regulations were over the top and completely crushed our coal industry. Regulations must be in place, but they should not have the intentions of killing our natural energy extraction. Requiring a coal mine to have cleaner water than what comes out of my kitchen sink is crazy.
3. What role do you see for state government in reversing West Virginia’s population decline?
Our people are not leaving because they want to. They are leaving in search of work. WV is a great place to live and raise a family. The role of the government should be focused on fostering a business-friendly environment that will attract businesses to move here. We must actively recruit businesses and sell the benefits of re-locating to WV.
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?
This needs to be a priority. DHHR workers are underpaid, understaffed, and over worked. They are doing the best they can with the limited resources they are given. We need to study our foster care system and use that information for a complete overhaul. We need to meet with and listen to the people who are involved with the system.
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 need elected officials who are fiscally responsible. I think taxes need to be lower for everyone. I signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge stating I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes. Tax and spend is not the answer. Let’s cut taxes and put more money back in to the pockets of the people.
6. Do you think the educational reform bill passed in 2019 is working/will be effective?
I think it is to early to know whether it is working or not. My mother was a teacher, and I am a former teacher. We have excellent people in our Wayne County school system who love and do all they can for our children. I will always support our teachers and school service personnel.
7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?
I think we have taken a step in the right direction. As a former teacher, I can tell you this is a bigger issue than most people realize. The drug epidemic has left a lot of our youth living in a bad home environment. The people who work in our school system are on the front lines of this situation.
8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
I think our workforce development is pretty good here in WV. WCBOE does a good job with our trades and STEM programs. The problem we are facing is that our people are forced to leave in order to find employment. We are developing a workforce, but we aren’t developing jobs for our people.
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 and foremost, it’s past time for harsher penalties, and possibly minimum sentencing. Anyone caught dealing drugs in WV should be charged with attempted murder. Our system is broken. Our police officers put their lives in danger to arrest these rogues and they are back on the street within 2-3 days. Lock them up and throw away the key.
10. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
It’s unbelievable that this is still an issue in the year 2020. Half of Wayne County still doesn’t have cell phone service or reliable internet. This is beyond comprehension. Reliable internet is a requirement for every business. We need to stop kicking the can down the road and make it a priority.
NEW QUESTIONS FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION
11. How would you prioritize using the funds provided to WV by the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief funds?
First of all, I think the legislators should have a say in how the money is spent. Unfortunately, that isn't happening. Having said that, I would like to see some of this money used to expand broadband and cell phone service throughout rural areas of our state.
12. What changes in current election laws would you favor to make voting safer and more accessible?
I think West Virginia is one of the leaders in terms of voting safety and election laws. I would like to see us expand the length of early voting, and possibly have additional early voting locations in large rural counties such as Wayne County. Another early voting location, even if it was just a weekend, would drastically increase voter opportunity.
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?
This still being an issue in the year 2020 is sad. With virtual learning, people working from home, and broadband being necessary for small businesses, it's past time to make this a priority in WV. The "Middle Mile" project is a step in the right direction. As your Delegate, I will work to get that expanded into Wayne County.
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 have to get our schools opened back up. Our students are missing out on opportunities and falling behind. There are multiple options that are much better than keeping schools closed. Students are wanting to go to school and educators are wanting to educate. Let's work with them to make it happen.
15. What experience, training or education do you have that would make you an effective state legislator?
I was a teacher with the WCBOE for four years, and I am now a small business owner. My wife and I have three kids with another baby on the way. I don't want my children to be forced to move away. I'll be working to create opportunities for all children to live and prosper right here in Wayne County, WV.