Four Candidates Vie for W.Va. Delegate Position
Four area gentleman are vying for the position of House of Delegates, Sixth District. The Tyler Star News provided each candidate a simple questionnaire, along with a request for a brief biography.
Of his candidacy, Chris Combs said “At a time when career politicians continue the same old politics and the same old ways, this comes at the expense of the middle class.”
Combs, a Democrat, would like the opportunity to take a different approach. He said he will be a strong voice for the working class of West Virginia, and will work across the aisle to help create jobs, protect PEIA and Medicare, and stand up for our seniors and veterans, “work to repeal the Right to Work Law, and get our economy working for all families.”
J. Scott Beaver, an Independent, is a Sistersville graduate.
He spent five years in the United States Air Force, followed by 10 years at Conalco/Ormet, and 20 years at PPG/Axiall/Westlake.
David L. Kelly, a Republican, is a current Tyler County Commissioner and a former law enforcement officer with 20 years of public service. Kelly believes his vast experience and working knowledge of government will permit him to begin working for the people of District 6 on day one.
The candidate built his campaign around economic development, crime prevention, drug abuse and recovery, improving infrastructure, safe oil and gas development, job creation and education. Kelly has vowed to be a “strong and powerful voice” for his district.
Alex King, son of Jim and Mary King of Sistersville, is a lifelong resident of District 6, WV. He graduated from West Liberty University with honors. He is activities director for Middlebourne Parks & Recreation. He is also a member of the Sistersville Park Board, Sistersville Ferry Board, and Sistersville Council.
* * Name a few goals you would have for your region as a Delegate.
* Chris Combs: We need to get West Virginia back to work, too many working families continue to struggle to get by. That’s why job creation and economic development will be one of my top priorities.
To ensure good-paying jobs come to West Virginia, we need to educate and train our workforce so that we continue to build a skilled workforce. We need to find ways to fight the flow of drugs into our communities and take back our State. So that we can have a drug free workforce to fill the current jobs being given to out of state workers. Our State needs to see a future in West Virginia and that future begins with helping our State fight back against the drug addiction that has taken a hold of us.
* J. Scott Beaver: My main goal is change the tax structure on natural gas to try to increase the amount of industry here in our state and increase our revenue from the export of our natural resources. This increase in income could be used in many ways, such as shoring up PEIA and building up our infrastructure including internet and cell phone.
* David Kelly: Broadband in our region: Recently, we received a grant for Tyler County to begin the process of putting together a comprehensive plan to bring broadband to the rural areas of our county. As the Delegate for District 6, I will work diligently with other elected officials to expand this plan and represent the needs of everyone in our District.The positive impacts of broadband internet are far more comprehensive than a faster Google query or better video quality for your YouTube streaming experience. State-of-the-art infrastructure attracts business to our region, and with more commerce taking place online, access to broadband levels the playing field between rural and non-rural communities when it comes to economic development.
Economic Development: I am passionate about investing in the future of our district through the creation of long-term employment opportunities that will pave the way for revitalization and growth in our communities, and stem the hemorrhage of young families from our area. The future of our state and more specifically District 6 is dependent upon economic development. I will continue to work closely with local Development Authorities and County Commissioners to attract long-term business to our state that will strengthen the economy and create jobs for more West Virginians.
Drug Enforcement/Prevention: I will work to establish effective prevention and rehabilitation programs for drug abusers and addicts, while working closely with law enforcement, prosecutors and judges to make certain they have everything they need to do their jobs. First and foremost, we must find a way to stem the tide of drug abuse in our state and in our region. Prevention through education; alternative sentencing for those who struggle with drug addiction (when possible); strong prison sentences for those who are repeat offenders and particularly those who manufacture and distribute illegal drugs, are vital in the battle against drug abuse and addiction.
Oil & Gas Exploration: Our district is geographically located in the epicenter of one of the largest oil and gas plays in the country. This discovery has led to the rebirth of an industry, bringing with it new and exciting economic and employment prospects. This providential opportunity has helped strengthen our local communities, deepened our municipal and county coffers, and put thousands of hardworking citizens in District 6 on the path to gainful employment.
As your delegate, I will continue to work to insure that our farmland is protected throughout District 6 and that land owners and royalty owners’ rights are protected, as well. I will work to see that the practices of safe oil and gas exploration continue in our district and remain a priority throughout West Virginia.
* Alex King: As delegate, I want to pass tough and consistent laws giving our law enforcement the backing they need to deal with the drug problem. Our police officers are working hard to clean our streets, but there are many holes in the system that undermine their efforts and create a game of catch and release with criminals. We need to fix the broken system and restore faith in it. This will require regular meetings with officers, magistrates, and prosecutors to determine which laws and methods are failing us and how we can correct them. That being said, I don’t believe we can arrest our way out of this issue. Treatment is possible for many who have a problem, and we should do as much as possible to prevent youth and others from ever going down a bad path.
Improvements to infrastructure is a must, including roads, broadband and other services, and water and sewer projects. The State of West Virginia should build roads to last longer, even if that means investing a little more now. I will speak with those who work on our roads every day, as well as engineers, and use their wisdom to find solutions. We should provide incentives for projects that increase Internet, cellular reception, cable, and landline services. State officials regulate utility rates (such as water provided by a municipality), but they should be more proactive in helping us keep those rates low. If we don’t start addressing these necessary points of infrastructure, people will continue leaving our district and state.
Lastly, I want to remove regulations that stand in the way of our localities prospering. My experience on Sistersville City Council has shown me how tied the hands of local governments are. There is a reason our small towns are suffering, and it has a great deal to do with senseless laws at the state and federal level. Even though I will be serving as a state delegate, I will work with our federal representatives to remove all roadblocks.
* * Hypothetically, if you were given $1 million to invest in your region, how would you spend these funds?
* Chris Combs: I would build a vocational school to create training to educate anyone who loses their job, this could include but not be limited to resume writing, interview skills, as well necessary ways to find jobs in our current economy. This would help people maintain their dignity and give them new updated skills to gain further employment. This would include necessary child care so that parents can learn without the stress of child care.
I would also create affordable day care facilities in areas of need so that working families have a safe place to take their children while they work. This would include a well-trained staff that would be available during school closings, school breaks, 2-hour delays or early dismissals, and other times of short falls when parents have to be at work but have no one to care for their children. This would allow families to keep working to support their family and still have a safe environment for their children.
* J. Scott Beaver: $1 million dollars could be used many ways. I want to list roads first, but money for the roads should come from the state and if this money is for our district, then we should use it to better our other infrastructure such as internet. I would love to see money spent on cleaning up the needles being found throughout our area before we start having children being infected.
* David Kelly: As I stated before, the future of our district is dependent upon economic development. Failing infrastructure (bridges, roads, broadband, etc.), economic decline, unemployment and poverty go hand-in-hand. It’s hard to look out the window and view the rapid degeneration of our hometowns, as “hard times” make victims of our friends and neighbors.
The exodus of young people from our communities further compounds the issue by placing the full burden on the backs of those who can’t bear the weight of the decline on their own.
Given the budgetary allowance, I would invest in the economic development of our region by modernizing our infrastructure which includes broadband internet throughout our district and revitalize our tired towns. This renaissance would bring about positive change and attract more business to our area.
* Alex King: If I was given $1 million to invest in the region of District 6, I would divide and distribute it to localities and work alongside their officials and citizens to use it effectively. Rural communities would not be forgotten, and I would ensure that every bit of funding is spent toward a project that will have lasting benefits. The last thing I would want to see is a large amount of funding go toward projects that only have a short term impact. Too often our state and federal governments do not think about our small communities or their futures. That mentality has cost us a great deal.
While our small towns and communities face similar issues, they are aware of their specific needs. I would leave much of the decision to local officials but also hold town halls to hear public input. Putting the decision of spending this funding into local hands further empowers the people and allows them to take part and make a difference.
The potential of funding for District 6 should be much greater than $1 million. This should not simply be a hypothetical question. The federal government should reduce wasteful spending and offer more to the states, just as our state should reduce wasteful spending and offer more to our small communities.
There is the saying that one cannot see the forest for the trees, meaning that people focus on the small details and miss the big picture. Our state and federal governments are the reverse of that. Our representatives have too often focused on the forest, the large cities in the state, but forgotten the trees, our small communities. We need to focus on both the big picture and the smaller components to have a successful state with thriving local communities.