NAME: Karen Nance
CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates, District 18 (part of Cabell County)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://www.facebook.com/KarenNanceForHouse/
HOME CITY: None
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
PERSONAL STATEMENT: It is my intent if elected to continue putting children first; they are our future and the quality of their lives matter. They need nurtured, given knowledge to empower them, provided good health care, kept safe from harm, and their families need resources to help them thrive. I intend to support legislation that improves the quality of life of our seniors, veterans, and workers. I will support the promotion of living wage jobs that will provide families with the means to pay taxes, invest in their neighborhoods, and raise their children in a stable home.
EDUCATION: BA with Majors in History and Basic Humanities from Marshall University and MA with Major in Geography from Marshall University
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Owner of the Old House Doctor, a general construction company, since 1984
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Former elected Member of the Cabell County Board of Education. Grant writer and researcher.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Secretary of the Madie Carroll House Preservation Society, Inc.; Greenbottom Society, Inc.; and the Carter G Woodson Memorial Foundation, Inc. Member of the League of Women Voters and AARP as well as other community groups
FAMILY: Husband, Johnny Nance; children, Cherrie Lovejoy and Jonathan Nance; grandchildren, Cleia Simmons, Corbin Lovejoy, Lilly Owen and Skye Nance.
1. Are you satisfied with how the state legislature has addressed developing and balancing the state budget? Please explain.
No. I believe that when you remove revenue from one source, such as personal and business taxes, you need to find other sources of revenue, not cut citizens’ programs and services such as education and health and human resources.
2. What new or additional measures are necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for all West Virginians?
A large percent of crime is now related to our drug epidemic. Addicts, in order to satisfy their addiction, steal and while high, sometimes vandalize property and harm others. Criminals use addicts for criminal activities. Children of addicts suffer the most. We need more treatment programs for addicts and better funded research. We need to lock up drug dealers.
3. What do you think the role of the legislature should be in developing a more diversified economy in the state?
Improve student achievement. Businesses looking to expand in or come to West Virginia look for a well educated workforce that can be easily trained and/or provides the expertise they need. The Legislature can improve training and degrees in diverse fields that will attract diverse industries by funding education programs in secondary and college.
4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?
I firmly support the Second Amendment, but reasonable limitations that keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and out of public schools especially assault weapons are needed. Other rights under the Bill of Rights are limited: libel laws that limit Freedom of Speech, First Amendment, and tort laws that limit rights to jury trials, Seventh Amendment.
5. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?
Technology has improved, but mining still does not afford minors a safe/healthy work place. Huge cuts in safety programs and oversight make it nearly impossible for the State to protect minors. Not all mine operators are neglectful, but those who are need to be held accountable. Funding needs to be restored to programs that promote a safe/healthy workplace.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
In the past our workforce development programs have trained employees in industries that do not exist or do not need employees. Once trained, the employee must leave the State. This is especially true in southern counties. The State needs to be more in tune with what training or education our State needs.
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?
When an addict is ready for help, there are no beds available. By time there is a bed available, they are no longer ready. The State needs an adequate number of treatment centers/beds and laws that allow the courts to place addicts in lock down, long term, treatment centers in lieu of prison if addict agrees to seek help.
8. What should be done long-term to fix PEIA health insurance for state employees?
PEIA needs fully funded. State employees were promised affordable health care. If that means the State has to increase revenues, the State should do so. Counties should be given the right to pay part of the premiums. State employees should be given options that allow them to shop around for better premiums and coverage.
9. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
Current laws allow companies to hide what chemicals are being used in fracking. If citizens are harmed by cancer causing carcinogens, they cannot prove it. The industry has no incentive to use safer chemicals. These chemicals should be made public. I do not support laws that allow private fracking companies to take away property rights protected under the Fifth Amendment.
10. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
Increase teacher and service personnel salaries. Low salaries make it difficult to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and administrators as well as keep well trained service personnel such as our bus drivers and teacher aids. Testing needs limited and classrooms reduced to provide students with greater instructional time. Provide universal meals because students’ achievement improves on a full stomach.
11. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
The State and local governments including schools need to offer free internet in their communities. The public pays for the access; it should be open to all. Most West Virginians have access to cell phones and the State can contract with cell phone companies to provide internet service. Cell phone companies can be encouraged to close the gaps in coverage.
12. How can WV benefit from the natural gas industry without leaving a legacy of environmental damage, health problems and decreased property values?
The gas industry needs to be highly regulated. The gas industry needs to quit hiding behind proprietary rights and tell which chemicals it is putting into our water. We can then determine if the process is safe and if not insist on safer extraction practices. Stricter EPA regulations are necessary. Without damage to the environment, property values should not decrease.
13. Where do you think the responsibility for setting educational standard lies (e.,g., state or county)? Please explain.
The standards should be set on the State level. The curriculum used to teach the standards should be up to local districts. West Virginia's counties have unique characteristics and challenges. They offer different courses depending on the availability of staff and needs of their students. All our students do need to know the basics in order to succeed in life.
14. What kinds of assistance from the state would you support to address the shortage of decent, affordable rental housing in WV?
The State through the WV Housing Development Fund has programs such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The Huntington Housing Authority provides affordable housing through public housing and vouchers. Federal and State grants are available, but the funds keep being cut. I would support additional funding and more private - public partnerships such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.