All 5 candidates – 3 Republicans, 2 Democrats – were asked to say a little something about themselves and then to identify four issues that they would address if elected. Four candidates responded. All responses are being printed as written with minor editing.
Education: 2011 graduate of James Monroe High School; 2016 graduate of Concord University with a B.S in Business Administration.
My name is Andrew Evans and I am seeking a seat in the 28th District of the WV House of Delegates. I graduated from James Monroe High School in 2011, then went on to attend Concord University where I obtained a B.S. in Business Administration/Management in 2016. Also in 2016, I was elected to a seat on the Monroe County Board of Education, being the youngest member to serve at the age of 23. I was forced to vacate that seat when I chose to seek a seat in the state legislature. I work as a life/health insurance agent with Transamerica Life Insurance Company.
As I have traveled around Monroe, Summers, and Raleigh Counties and listened to voters, the three most significant issues surrounding the 28th district involve the opioid crisis, economic development, and education. Raleigh, Summers, and Monroe are only a few of the counties impacted by these problems, which is why they must be intensely addressed in upcoming years.
I am listing the opioid crisis first, because until we attack this issue head on, we can’t solve the other two. Many constituents in the 28th district suffer from addiction and opioid abuse, along the struggle of caring for family members who have become addicted. Solutions to decrease West Virginia’s use of opioids would be to vehemently promote rehabilitation services, while simultaneously holding drug companies, doctors, and pharmacies accountable for their role in the epidemic. All walks of life can be affected by the growing opioid epidemic, which is why rehabilitation should be made readily available to my constituents, courtesy of the pharmaceutical companies that have dumped millions of pills into our small communities. By providing support to addicts, we can build onto the concept that recovery is possible and that we can and will have a clean and sober workforce.
Having been a school board member in Monroe County, I can tell you that there are endless issues to attack regarding education policy. Educating children is imperative to the success of our state, as they are our future. While teachers were afforded a 5 percent raise this past legislative session, we must continue to work to bring those salaries in line with surrounding states, or we will continue to struggle recruiting and retaining teachers. I believe that schools belong to the communities in which they are located, not to bureaucrats in Charleston and D.C. We should afford local school boards more authority to implement policies that work for their counties. If the residents do not agree with those policies, they have recourse at the ballot box.
Previous legislatures have worked to make WV a friendlier place to do business, but unfortunately southern WV has not reaped the benefits of those policies. It is crucial to send someone to Charleston who has the energy and passion to go out and fight for those new businesses to locate here. We must shift our focus to infrastructure or we will never have a seat at the table. I believe that we should offer tax credits to the private sector to provide broadband to our rural, outlying areas. We must allocate dollars to tourism to promote our beautiful state. Funding tourism is an investment and we will not be sorry if we make that a priority.
My name is Jeffrey Pack and I am a candidate for the House of Delegates in the 28th District. I am a husband, father, U.S. Air Force veteran of the Global War on Terror, and, most importantly, a Christian. I am also a 2006 graduate of Concord University as well as a former coal miner.
In the Air Force we were taught to live by three core values: Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do. These core values, coupled with my Christian faith, make me the right choice to represent you in Charleston.
The three most pressing issues facing southern West Virginia are the drug crisis, jobs and vocational education.
In addressing the drug crisis, I believe we must think outside the box. There is no golden egg or one-size fits all approach to solving this crisis. The Legislature did pass two bills to combat the drug problem this year: the opioid reduction act and the auricular acudetox therapy bill. Both are promising and a step in the right direction but we have a long way to go. We need many more in-patient treatment facilities like Brian’s Safe House and Sparrow’s Nest instead of 7-day detox treatment. We need further investigation of over-prescribers and stiffer penalties for traffickers.
To bring jobs to our area we must first tackle the drug problem to provide a drug-free workforce. Next, we must work to ensure that our fair share of the road bond is spent repairing our infrastructure. This state was built on our coal being hauled out and it’s time that our commitment to West Virginia is remembered.
Third, we must continue to bring West Virginia’s economic and regulatory climate forward to be competitive both in the United States and worldwide.
Finally, we need to expand our quality vocational education to students of all ages at a lower cost by working with industry to sponsor vocational education as well as make scholarship opportunities available.
I see many local jobs advertised for vocational or technical positions and these jobs go unfilled. We could be training welders, plumbers and mechanics and preparing them to enter the workforce in good-paying jobs. It’s time to consider that a four-year liberal arts education, while valuable, may not be the best fit for the student or the workforce.
Sandy Shaw. Born May 1958, raised in Pineville. Earned a BS in Art Education K-12 from Concord (College) University in 1980, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Grand Canyon Online, National Board Certification, and certification to teach Advanced Placement Art History and Studio Art. Mother of two, and grandmother. Taught in public schools for 38 years. Currently at Woodrow Wilson High School. Member of AFT teachers union and was very active in the teachers’ strike, and got a freeze to PEIA and 5 percent pay raise for all state workers. Retiring in June to fight for working families and students.
Quality education for all students: Providing wages and benefits that will attract and keep highly qualified teachers. Maintaining well-rounded curriculum that includes the arts as well as science and history. Offering high-level, college prep classes as well as vocational classes. Not lowering graduation standards for students or for new teachers. Not allowing public tax dollars to fund charter schools.
Permanent fix to PEIA insurance for all state workers. Currently, there is a shortage of 700-plus correctional officers, as well as 700-plus teachers. PEIA is becoming priced off the market and people are leaving.
Living wages for working families. This includes state employees. Successful businesses must have qualified workers. To attract quality workers, we must offer living wages.
Increase treatment facilities for drug addicted people. A crackdown on doctors and pharmaceutical companies who overprescribe these drugs. Resources for family members taking care of children of addicts.