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Gainer and McKinley face off for U.S. House seat

By Staff | Oct 29, 2014

David McKinley

Two men are vying for the First Congressional District’s seat in the U.S. House for Representatives: Democrat Glen B. Gainer III and incumbent Republican David McKinley.

Gainer did not respond to our questionnaire and request for a biography. McKinley’s response is below.

Father of four children and six grandchildren, David McKinley is a seventh generation resident of Wheeling and West Virginia. Born in Wheeling in 1947, McKinley attended public schools and worked his way through college, graduating from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He spent the next 12 years in the construction industry and taught night classes in technical colleges.

He then established McKinley and Associates an architectural and engineering company now with three offices.

McKinley and his firm have been recognized for various honors and awards for their design work, humanitarian and historic preservation efforts, and engineering leadership in West Virginia. He has been active with numerous civic, charitable, and non-profit organizations; hospital boards; and foundations in West Virginia. In his youth he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and later served on the local scouting council.

McKinley is married to the former Mary Gerkin from New Martinsville. They regularly attend St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling.

From 1981 through 1994, he represented the Third Delegate District, West Virginia Legislature. In 1990 McKinley was elected as Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party Executive Committee. He has represented West Virginia’s First Congressional District since 2011.

We often hear about the “War on Coal.” Do you think it is real, why? What kind of action would you take or propose against it?

McKinley: The War on Coal is very real. Just ask the 130 miners who were laid off in Boone County last week. Or ask the 250 miners who lost their jobs in September in Boone, Kanawha, and Fayette counties. From shutting down coal fired power plants to revoking mining permits, the actions of Obama’s EPA are having a devastating impact on communities across West Virginia. How else should we interpret their actions and public statements such as “coal makes us sick” and “coal is my worst nightmare?”

Pushing back against these anti-coal policies has been my top priority in Congress. From protecting the use of coal ash to stopping the EPA from revoking permits after they have been issued to speaking out against the EPA’s actions in the Energy and Commerce Committee and the House floor, I have fought for the men and women who depend on coal for their livelihood.

Do you still believe health care is an issue for Americans? Are more changes necessary? What would you propose?

McKinley: When President Obama sold his health care plan to the American people in 2009 and 2010, he promised people they would be able to keep their health plan if they liked it. He promised they could keep their doctor. He promised premiums would go down by $2,500 for the average family. He promised the uninsured would get covered. All of these promises have been broken. Obamacare is a flawed plan that is costing families more and preventing the economy from growing faster.

I support replacing Obamacare with common sense reforms that keep some of the good parts of it-like covering pre-existing conditions-but puts decisions back into the hands of patients and doctors, not the government.

Since 2011, I have voted more than 50 times to repeal or change the health care law. These votes include allowing people to keep their health plan, defining a full time work week as 40 hours, and removing the tax on medical devices. These are all bipartisan, common sense changes that should be implemented right away.

As a U.S. Representative in Washington, D.C., how do/would you stay in touch with your constituents and their concerns?

McKinley: My background is as a small business owner and an engineer, not a politician. I know Washington doesn’t have all the answers. I drive home to Wheeling every weekend, and sometimes take the bus. When I’m not in Washington, I am meeting with people and listening to their concerns.

In a given year, we will hold around 250 meetings across the district. We hold roundtable meetings with small business owners, veterans, seniors, labor, law enforcement, teachers, and many more. These discussions help me understand what issues we should focus on. We have developed dozens of bills as a result of ideas that come from meetings with constituents.

I’m a civil engineer from Wheeling and you hired me to do a job. Listening and being accessible is a key part of that and helps me do a better job. Too many people in Washington forget why they are there in the first place. Spending time traveling the district and listening to people ensures I won’t forget that.