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As a family physician, I usually focus on issues related to health when it’s time to vote. One issue that has not received enough attention is the risk of rhetoric being used by some local candidates in regard to the LGBTQ community. I am shocked and troubled by the homophobic slurs I have seen used by Delegate John Mandt Jr., and I am disturbed to see the mocking and derision of the transgender community by Derrick Evans, candidate for the House of Delegates in the 19th District.

Young people who are part of the LGBTQ community are more likely to suffer from depression and engage in self-harm. Lack of support from their family and community increases those risks.

I know we don’t all share the same faith. However, I do believe that our community shares the same values of compassion and kindness. If someone is lost, alone, hurting or in need, I think we all agree that they should be met with an outstretched hand and a kind word, not a snarky Facebook meme or a biting slur. How will a scared young person, still coming to terms with who they are, know that they are safe or loved when they see their elected representative mock them? How many more teenagers will end up homeless, depressed or suicidal knowing their leaders despise them?

That is not who we are as West Virginians. The time for division and hatred is past. The only way forward is with empathy and communication between people who don’t always see eye to eye. John Mandt and Derrick Evans represent hatred that our community, especially our children, do not deserve. I urge everyone in the 16th and 19th districts to vote for candidates who do not ostracize and endanger our children as these men do.

Sydnee McElroy

Huntington

West Virginia House of

Delegates needs Mark Bates

I am writing in support of Mark Bates for House of Delegates. Mark is, by far, the most qualified candidate running for an inaugural term in Charleston.

For the past 12 years, Mark has displayed the type of character and leadership needed in our state. In his final term as chairman and sole Republican on Huntington City Council, he has worked to better the city. Most recently, Mark announced (with Democrat Mayor Steve Williams) that the city was providing a $325,000 supplemental allowance to its employees in addition to the supplement employees that could not work remotely previously received. The citizens were awarded a fee and tax relief program to help with the financial burden during the COVID-19 pandemic. All this accomplished without infighting.

With coronavirus being a paramount concern on a lot of minds, Mark has been accountable to his constituents in this unprecedented time.

The ability of the city to afford this relief is a shining example of Mark’s duty to the people by working across party lines to balance the budget and be prepared for something unforeseen. This is leadership! Having served the people through a recession and questionable time in our economy with the reduction of coal revenue, Mark has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for all.

In this time, we need to be careful to not allow talking points and catch phrases to carry more weight than action. We are in an election that has drawn an ample amount of crafty verbiage. Always popular during election season is the buzzword “bipartisan.” Mark is truly a bipartisan leader.

West Virginia deserves leadership that understands its adversities, conveys its goodness and will provide substance with their words. West Virginia needs Mark Bates for House of Delegates, District 16.

Josh Adams

Huntington

Newspaper can do better

with its endorsements

Every professor teaching journalism at Marshall should be using your paper to teach. However, recently you were the perfect example of what not to do.

You made an endorsement of a corrupt millionaire for Senate, and then showed your behind by not even getting the working-class candidate’s name correct. Clearly you did not know she is a coal miner’s daughter straight from the coal fields of West Virginia, or you would have reported that part, right?

Anyone who cares about clean elections, miners, working people or fair reporting should share my feelings of disgust for whoever approved that dreadful endorsement.

Janina Sites

Huntington

It’s been four years with no morals in the White House

Facts. They are out there if you open your eyes and ears. Most people want the “facts” if they are about to make an important decision, but it seems as if the American people are so starved for something to believe in that they would rather be lied to than hear the truth.

Since the 2016 election, preparations started to brainwash the people and “stack the deck” for 2020 (federal judge appointments, new Postal Service “chief,” the latest in Supreme Court justices and last but not least, very numerous White House appointments that will fall on their sword for him when needed).

Our federal government acts like an insane asylum run by the inmates. It doesn’t do much good to clean the house if you just bring in more dirt. Morals, values, dignity, standards — there are presently none of these in the White House.

Randy Moody

Chesapeake, Ohio

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