NAME: Mark Ross
CANDIDATE FOR: House of Delegates, District 19, which covers part of Wayne County
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://www.facebook.com/Ross4House/
HOME CITY: Prichard
HOME COUNTY: Wayne
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I believe that governments exist to serve and protect the interests of the individual, without compromising the rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that state government should provide only for those services that the individual cannot do alone and that smaller, more accountable and fiscally responsible state and local governments will better serve the citizens of West Virginia. I am a Pro-Life, God fearing Christian that will always put my faith and belief in God first. I am a pro worker and pro-business candidate. I realize without a friendly business environment we will have no jobs.
EDUCATION: Buffalo High School, WVU Tech
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Teacher
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Marshall University
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Prichard Volunteer Fire Department, former chief current President of advisory board, former president Prichard Elementary and Wayne Elementary, Former member West Virginia House of Delegates, Various other community service organizations.
FAMILY: wife of 37 years, Johnita Lynn (Dean); two children, Shawn (Shannon) Ross and Erin (Casey) Fitzpatrick; grandchildren, Shaymus, Vada and Bennet Ross, Ella and Case Fitzpatrick.
1. Are you satisfied with how the state legislature has addressed developing and balancing the state budget? Please explain.
I feel the state is headed in the right direction with the budget by not raising taxes on the hard-working people of our state. A smaller more efficient government is the foundation of my campaign.
2. What new or additional measures are necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for all West Virginians?
We must find a way to address the drug epidemic in West Virginia. Throwing money at the problem and hoping it will go away is not the answer. Rehabilitation sources must be utilized and increased. I do not support a needle exchange program those monies need to be placed in rehabilitation resources and educational programs at an early age.
3. What do you think the role of the legislature should be in developing a more diversified economy in the state?
The West Virginia legislature must work to continue to make our state a friendly business environment We have too many regulations to be competitive with surrounding states. Lawsuit abuse is another issue that must be changed.
4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?
Being a teacher in the public-school system this issue is on my mind daily. We need to provide security in public schools as we do in other public buildings. Our innocent children must be protected. I would support an organized program that allowed trained school employees to be armed.
5. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?
We must protect the miners and retirees that have sacrificed their health in our mining industry. Current health and safety regulations must continue to be strongly enforced and workers’ health monitored along with benefit ensured to retired miners.
6. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
Provide career and technical training for in demand jobs in our state.
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?
Ensuring funding for rehabilitation and early education programs in our schools. Strong enforcement of laws on repeat offenders is necessary for successful improvement in this crisis.
8. What should be done long-term to fix PEIA health insurance for state employees?
I believe that government should NOT be in the insurance business. This is not something that has happened all of a sudden, this issued should have been dealt with years ago. The insurance for state employees is vital to recruiting and retaining high quality employees. We should be able to choose our health coverage and the system be opened for competitive bids.
9. What measures do you support on fracking/horizontal drilling that would protect people living near drilling sites?
I will support common sense drilling and fracking as long as the land owners’ rights are protected.
10. What can the state government do to improve educational achievement in West Virginia?
The first step that must be taken is removing common core and place more emphasis on skill sets that will provde our youth with employable skills and the ability to earn a good living.
11. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?
I believe allowing the existing utility infrastructure such as poles and other avenues should be open for the upgrading and installation of internet service throughout our state. Government red tape must be eliminated in for this to occur.
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 take advantage of the vast natural resources we have and protect the people and natural beauty of this great state. I will support policies that encourage companies to locate in our great state.
13. Where do you think the responsibility for setting educational standard lies (e.g., state or county)? Please explain.
The county. Our state has such a wide range of socioeconomic circumstances that each area knows the needs of the students we are educating and must adapt accordingly.
14. What kinds of assistance from the state would you support to address the shortage of decent, affordable rental housing in WV?
Create an environment in our state that would encourage landowners to invest in rental structures that would provide housing to low income West Virginians.