LIST OF ISSUES
We have not fully funded education in West Virginia and the problem will continue to get worse as charter schools and the proposed educational savings accounts take funding away from what was once the great equalizer in society - our traditional public schools. I will work to help West Virginia recruit and retain highly qualified, certified teachers. I will fight for wraparound services for our students.
Alternative Learning Centers
Our smaller counties face immense difficulty in educating their students due to a lack of resources and spaces for educating the most disruptive students. Because of this, many are placed in school settings that are not appropriate for them. This has a negative effect on their peers. While some of these counties would be unable to support a full ALC, I believe strategically placed multi-county facilities could ease the burden on our teachers and make our schools a more inviting place for all.
We ask our bus drivers to do the impossible, and some might even say the illegal. They are tasked with keeping their eyes on the road, while at the same time maintaining order and preventing bullying of the students who ride. It is unfair and unconscionable to ask them to to drive while distracted. This is a public safety issue. Whether you share the road with a school bus or you place your child on one, you want the driver to focus on the road. This can happen with one simple change. Place an aide on every school bus in West Virginia.
We have a prescription drug epidemic in West Virginia. It is tearing apart many families around our state, causing an overwhelming strain on our foster care system. We need more funding for rehabilitation services for the adults and DHHR for the children. I have seen and understand the need for both areas. Parents who rehabilitate will be able to better care for their children, placing less strain on the foster care system... But in the mean time, we need to take care of those children.
Right to Repair
Did you know that many technology, automotive, and farming equipment companies restrict your ability to repair the devices, citing intellectual property rights. To have many of these things fixed, the dealership must be involved. This anti-competitive practice has allowed companies such as John Deere to make illegal some repairs of their tractors on the farm, by the farmer - and this isn't an isolated case. There are no Apple Stores in West Virginia, yet to get a legal repair of one's iPhone, one would have to go to an Apple Store or ship the phone to an authorized repair location where the data will be wiped clean.*
Right to repair legislation would require these companies to provide parts, information, and documentation for consumers and third party repair shops to repair their products.
*And while Apple announced a program where independent repair shops may have the ability to buy official replacement parts for Apple products in August 2019, There are no known IRP participants due to the extremely restrictive terms of service for the program.
While great strides have been made in making sure more Americans are covered by some type of insurance policy, many of West Virginia's middle class working families are still burdened by the high cost of a visit to the hospital and prescription drug expenses. We should be working to help bring costs down for those families.
Energy and Economy
Many states are known for their largest exports. In West Virginia and Kentucky we are known for coal - and rightfully so. We produce a significant percentage of the coal that powers our nation. Natural gas is contributing as well to our economy. Unfortunately, with automation of the coal industry and the temporary nature of the construction aspect of our gas industry, combined with the projected by WVU decreased demand over the next 20 years for our top exports, we could see negative job growth.
It's important to keep West Virginia an energy exporter, and encouraging investments in renewables such as hydroelectricity and wind to supplement our fossil fuel energy industries will help to maintain employment and build a stronger economy for our state. And the best part is that Taylor County is primed to reap the rewards of these investments with much of the infrastructure already built into the Tygart Dam.