NAME: Dianna Graves
CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates, District 38 (parts of Kanawha and Putnam counties)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: DiannaLGraves.com
HOME CITY: Cross Lanes
HOME COUNTY: Kanawha
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I believe in protecting the 2nd amendment, I’m pro-life, and pro-small government.
EDUCATION: B.A. Political Science, Stanford University.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Delegate in the 38th; accountant/auditor.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: tax accountant.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Putnam Rotary Club; Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee.
ENDORSEMENTS: West Virginia Education Association; Kanawha County Education Association.
1. Are you satisfied with how the state legislature has addressed developing and balancing the state budget? Please explain.
Satisfied? No. There is always room for improvement. I believe we still need to focus on cutting unnecessary spending and reducing bureaucracy. I do appreciate that during my first year in the legislature this last session, we passed the budget on time and without raising new taxes. Extending the session is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars.
2. What new or additional measures are necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for all West Virginians?
I think the drug crisis presents an unparalleled danger to our communities, and it’s going to require out-of-the-box thinking to even begin to get ahead of this spiraling situation. Especially, we need to be coming up with ways to protect our kids from slipping into this crisis – prevention is more effective than treating.
3. What do you think the role of the legislature should be in developing a more diversified economy in the state?
The legislature can play a critical role in developing economic diversity. Promoting tourism, encouraging non-energy sector business to relocate to WV through the use of tax credits and the Development Office incentives would be a good start. Energy has and always will be an important part of our economy – but it’s not all WV has to offer.
4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?
The real issue behind gun violence and mass shootings is not the prevalence of guns, it’s the mental health issues of people who feel driven to use them inappropriately. The breakdown in families and society is what is causing this increase in gun violence, and until we solve that fundamental problem, no measure we take will truly address the issue.
5. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?
Miners’ health and safety is important – if the existing laws and regulations are not sufficiently protecting miners, then we need to examine where they are falling short and address the deficiency.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
I’m in favor of encouraging apprenticeship programs throughout the state, where our young people who desire a good trade are encouraged to participate and learn needed skills. Every child who wants to go to college should, but not every person wants that path, and we have as a society consistently undervalued trade skills. We need to reverse that trend.
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?
During my term I have introduced legislation for new treatment options, but more is needed. This is not a problem that can be fixed by one person during one session. We need to focus on prevention and treatment, and to come up with ways to support the people on the front line – EMS, law enforcement and families.
8. What should be done long-term to fix PEIA health insurance for state employees?
One - we could look at removing premiums based on income. We should have options for coverage where people can choose how much coverage they want and know what that cost is going to be. Two - we could also look at broadening the pool. Opening the plan to non-public employees would increase the pool and help lower costs for everyone.
9. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
We do have to protect people, and property rights as well. Companies that drill in WV must know that they will be expected (and required) to put in place common sense protections so that our air, water, and land (and the people who depend on them) remain clean and safe.
10. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
I'd like to see outside-the-box thinking. Look at reducing student-to-teacher ratios, and pay for it by reducing school bureaucracy. I'm not convinced we need 55 county school boards. We could look at incentives for schools that improve achievement scores. I also think rewarding teachers who truly excel at improving student achievement over time provides incentive for extra effort.
11. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
Expanding broadband access is crucial to our efforts to diversify our WV economy. Bringing broadband into rural areas helps pave the way for business to follow. I’m interested in seeing high-speed internet in rural areas and I think tax deferrals and credits might entice businesses to make that development more of a priority.