NAME: John Mandt Jr.
CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates, District 16 (parts of Cabell and Lincoln counties)
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I'm running for House of Delegates because I feel I will make a difference in helping WV continue on the path of success. I am the 4th generation to own and operate our family business. I'd love to assist in getting jobs/industry into our state that are higher paying, allowing workers to earn wages that will support their families. I want to address the drug crisis, PEIA, etc. and be proactive in making our schools safe. Invest your vote in me and I'll work hard for you!
EDUCATION: Huntington HS graduate, attended Marshall University.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: 4th Generation Owner & Operator of my family business, Stewart's Original Hot Dogs.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Foundation Board of Cabell Huntington Hospital, Founder of WV Hot Dog Festival, Business Networking International (Pinnacle Chapter). I have served on several other boards over the years.
FAMILY: wife, Ami; children, Phillip, Trey, Abby, Briana, Samantha and Mason.
1. Are you satisfied with how the state legislature has addressed developing and balancing the state budget? Please explain.
Yes, to a degree. A budget was balanced and passed this year with the hope our economy will continue to grow. Creating more jobs, bringing in business/industry and more people will make WV a place of destination to live as well as visit.
2. What new or additional measures are necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for all West Virginians?
The biggest threat to our growth is the drug crisis. We have to stop needle exchange, take down the sellers and rehabilitate the users to ensure we have a safe place to live. Increasing our law enforcement as well as fire and EMS will turn us into a desirable and safe state to live.
3. What do you think the role of the legislature should be in developing a more diversified economy in the state?
We need more business and less taxes on new business. We need to put tax incentives in place and ask business, "what can we do for you"? Let's turn WV into a place of destination to work and live.
4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?
Law abiding people are not the problem. The problem is how shooters acquire guns. Check criminal records, mental health records, require background checks, ban bump stocks. I want to be proactive in securing our schools. Let's set the standard for safe schools We're Blessed to not have had a mass shooting in WV. Let's keep it that way.
5. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?
All mines should have safety standards that are strictly enforced. Proper ventilation equipment for both the mine and miners is essential. Safety of our miners is paramount for our miners. It is a very difficult job that is historical to WV.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
Having superior school systems and teachers is a priority. We must develop more trade schools allowing people to learn a trade which will provide them an income to raise a family. College isn't for everyone and having a college degree doesn't guarantee a great job.
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?
We have to knock this out and it starts in enforcing laws and getting rid of the dealers. Implementing greater law enforcement taking out the dealers. Having a program in place for rehabilitating users which will allow them to positively plug into society.
8. What should be done long-term to fix PEIA health insurance for state employees?
First and foremost, the Un-Afordable Care Act must be abolished. This has crippled middle income wage earners. We need a competitive bidding process for health insurance. Until this is done, health care is going to continue it's rise.
9. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
Respecting land owners right's is paramount. I am for fracking/horizontal drilling as long as it's done on the property the companies own without impeding or interfering with land they don't own.
10. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
I know many school teachers. A lot of students are held back and other's promoted due to Common Core. Abolish it and teach to the student and their needs. Offer more vocational options of learning for those not interested in education after high school. Appreciating and rewarding our teachers for hard work improves morale in the classroom.
11. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
Internet access which is fast and reliable is paramount to everyone and every business. We need improved broadband/satellite systems in rural areas. The success of business, education and the safety of our residents depend on it.
12. How can WV benefit from the natural gas industry without leaving a legacy of environmental damage, health problems and decreased property values?
WV can benefit from the natural gas industry by ensuring the gas industry follows the guidelines and policies already in place, so as not to leave environmental damage, health problems or decreased property values. We need to promote and sell our valuable, natural resources we have in WV. In doing so, we may provide more jobs for WV.
13. Where do you think the responsibility for setting educational standard lies (e.,g., state or county)? Please explain.
Responsibility should lie with the state to set the policy. Most counties in WV are unique and therefore, the county should have some flexibility in implementing the set standard. This flexibility should not diminish the set standard, only enhance the way it is taught to the students to ensure their success and educational growth in the classroom. .
14. What kinds of assistance from the state would you support to address the shortage of decent, affordable rental housing in WV?
The standard should be set by the state as to what, "decent/affordable" is. Once determined, the state may build rental housing to their specifics which could provide housing for those fitting the set standard. Another option, provide tax credits to private entities spending their own money building this type of housing. It may be an incentive for growth of decent/affordable housing.