Participate about participation with Vote-by-Mail!

On October 30, 2012, Morgantown City Council will hear the public’s opinion about whether or not they support the continuation of the Vote by Mail Pilot project at the Committee of the Whole meeting in City Council chambers.

Two citizens spoke October 16, 2012 at Morgantown City Council about this issue.  Don Spencer eloquently speaks about participation and the pilot project’s history in his statement to City Council.  He points out  that “It was Morgantown which requested that the program be adopted by the legislature in the first place”.  It seems bizarre that some City Council members are now mulling over a $4,000 price increase in the next municipal election when the most fundamental right guaranteed to Americans saw a two-fold increase at the last municipal election.  Lyndell Millecchia remarked about how much she liked the convenience and how much voting methods have changed over the years.

Just this Saturday, Phil Keisling’s - former Secretary of Oregon State - letter to the editor was published in the New York Times Sunday Review.  In Phil’s letter he points out that “In November 2010, just two states exceeded 70 percent turnout of their registered voters: Oregon and Washington.”  Both of these states have vote-by-mail elections, such stellar records do speak loudly.

What part of this equation do some Morgantown City Council members not understand?   Only by completing this project will the State of WV be able to determine whether or not it was a success.  And if it is a success, we, the citizen’s of WV will be the beneficiaries.  In this age of internet technology, you may be tempted to send an email expressing your opinion, and while it may enable a moral nudge,  there is no obligation by the City that your email will ever end up in the public domain unless you post it somewhere online.  This is why I am entreating that you and as many of your friends that can attend show up at the Morgantown Council Chambers on the 30th to express your support in the continuation of this Pilot Project.

Vote-by-Mail Remarks (Millecchia) – City Council Meeting October 16, 2012

By Lyndell Millecchia

I am speaking in support of the Vote-by-Mail Pilot Program. I really liked the convenience of the 2011 election, and felt it was very successful. Yes, the cost for the first election was unexpectedly high. However, the number of voters was significantly higher than the 2009 traditional election, and the cost per vote was less. In the report prepared by the City Clerk for tonight’s meeting, the estimated costs for the vote-by-mail election in 2013 would be only slightly more than with a traditional election: $17,894 vote-by-mail vs. $13,622 traditional.

Voting methods have changed greatly over the years*. At one time, people had to bring their own ballots to the polls, and if they misspelled a name, it wasn’t counted! Gear and Lever Voting machines – with curtains for privacy – were innovations in the 1900’s. Today we are in the middle of a “test drive” for the vote-by-mail process. I feel strongly that the pilot program should be completed. What is learned in the process will be invaluable.

I am glad the city council is very careful to be fiscally responsible. However, in this case, should the bottom line be total cost, or total voter turnout? I encourage you to continue the vote-by-mail pilot program in 2013.

*A history of voting methods can be found in an article by Jill Lepore “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, The New Yorker, October 13, 2008

Note from editor:  On October 30th citizens will have the opportunity to comment on Vote by Mail at the Committee of the Whole meeting at Morgantown City Council.  DO NOT miss this important opportunity to participate for the sake of increasing participation at elections!

 

Vote by Mail Statement (Spencer) – October 16, 2012 at Morgantown City Council

By Don Spencer

Sometimes institutional memory is important in helping to make decisions. Tonight I would like to share some memory and some of the rationale that led to the establishment of the State’s Vote by Mail Pilot Program of which we are a part by the action of a City Ordinance.

The percentage of voters who voted in the 2007 city elections was 1.6%., and the turn outs in the three elections prior to 2007 were not great either. The average for the first four city elections in this decade of this century was about 9%.

In 2007 City Council was very concerned about the lack of participation and set up a special ad hoc committee meeting to assess all the different options available for increasing voter participation. That committee included:

a State Senator, 2 Delegates, the Chair and a former member of the original City Charter Board, League of Women Votes Rep., the City Clerk, 3 City Council Members.

The preferred option which emerged from that meeting was a vote-by-mail option which had originated in Oregon. The reasons were threefold:

  1. Vote by mail increased voter participation in Oregon cities from approximately 10 to 20%. The reasons that vote-by-mail was found to be successful were…
  • It allows more time flexibility for people who have demanding jobs or job schedules – often caring for very young or very old or impaired family members in the process. Travel and/or having challenging commuting or unpredictable travel schedules also can discourage participation.
  • It reduce the difficulties of persons with infirmities and disabilities who had problems with steps at school building and other institutional based polling places as well as getting in and out of vehicles to travel to these places.
  • It sometimes reduces travel costs for persons no longer having vehicles or the fuel money to operate them. For some it even reduces having to make a choice of losing income or taking time to go to vote.
  • It makes it possible for people to vote at home, to cope with the wording of referendum/recall or initiative statements, and to even have newspaper articles in front of them on their tables as they filled out their ballots.

 

  1. Vote by mail is more manageable for cities.
  • It secures each vote by the validation of the voter signature just as it is now done for absentee ballots.
  • It assures confidentiality by the use of separate return envelopes in the mailing.
  • People can still vote traditionally by voting at the City Hall. They can also choose to drop off ballots mailed to them by dropping them off at City Hall or at other designated drop off centers.
  • The process can be improved in its efficiency year by year due to the updating of the voters address thanks to the “do not forward” and “address correction requested” directives on ballot exterior envelopes.
  • And vote-by-mail has eventually been shown to reduce costs by 30% over the costs of a polling place election. (This is not something that happened all of a sudden in one year, but was a substantial saving that has been realized as a result of experience with the vote-by-mail system.)

 

  1. There are numerous voter fraud protections created/built into the system.
  • The U.S. Postal Services returns undelivered ballots, corrects addresses and provides postal inspection. It is a full partner in vote-by-mail.
  • Envelopes can be bar coded to be able to prevent count of duplicate ballots and to help cross check signature identification.
  • The vote-by-mail systems have been studied and found not to benefit any particular party or interest.

It is vitally important that the City complete its commitment to this Vote by Mail Pilot program. The Pilot Program has built into it a provision for two successive city elections. The purpose of this was to allow for changes to take place between the first and second elections and to make comparisons that would prove not only beneficial to the Morgantown voters, but to the citizens of the state and the evaluation/decision–making of the State legislature. The Pilot Program is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2013.

It was Morgantown which requested that the program be adopted by the legislature in the first place. Charlie Byrer, Jenny Selin and I went to Republican Secretary of State Betty Ireland’s office in the spring of 2008 and found that she was very supportive of the concept. After Democrat Natalie Tennant was elected Secretary of State in the fall of 2008, we went again to the Secretary of State’s office and received Natalie Tennant’s enthusiastic endorsement for it as well.

The City representatives then went to our legislators and received their support. Barbara Fleischauer at our request had H.B. 3134 drafted. It was co-signed by 10 other legislators and made its way with lots of help through 39 recorded steps to become part of State law. Ron Bane also went with the City Council delegation to visit Senator Oliverio to ask for his support for this initiative.

We must finish the job and finish strong. We need to continue to work for cost savings and efficiencies in vote-by-mail utilizing the leadership of our excellent City Clerk Linda Little and her deputy Bethany Sypolt. We also continue to need the support and cooperation of the Secretary of State. In the last election the Secretary of State’s office funded the preparation an orientation video for our City web site and prepared orientation brochures for our citizens.

We need to use this initiative to make our city just as inclusive as possible for all of our citizens. The City demonstrated its ability to improve inclusivity when Morgantown’s vote-by mail program – like those in Oregon and Washington cities – moved the total 2011 Morgantown City election votes from 9-11% to over 22% in just the first election!

The Vote-by-Mail Pilot Program is something worth working on for the continued benefits of our citizens and people in other communities throughout West Virginia. It a trial program for our State which helps to better fulfill the Constitutional rights of citizens being able to participate in their government regardless of diverse daily demands on their lives. To enable this is a matter of public leadership. It is also something on which this Council can take pride and build for a more responsive and progressive future!

Don Spencer

Note from editor:  On October 30th citizens will have the opportunity to comment on Vote by Mail at the Committee of the Whole meeting at Morgantown City Council.  DO NOT miss this important opportunity to participate for the sake of increasing participation at elections!

Morgantown Candidate Forum Wednesday, October 24

Candidate Forum for County Commission and County Assessor
Wednesday, October 24, 7-9 pm at Suncrest United Methodist Church

The League of Women Voters will hold a candidate forum for the candidates for Monongalia County Commission and Assessor. It will be Wednesday, October 24, from 7 to 9 pm at the Suncrest United Methodist Church on Van Voorhis Road.

Democrat Tom Bloom and Republican Joe Statler are running for County Commission and Republican Kent Pauley and Democrat Mark Musick are vying for the Assessor position.

Unopposed candidates Marcia Ashdown, Prosecuting Attorney, and Allen Kisner, Sheriff, will also be present.

The public is encouraged to come, meet and question their candidates before they vote. Early voting begins that day, October 24.

For information regarding this press release contact:

Catherine Lozier
304-599-8233
clozier@gmail.com

Morgantown Candidate Forum Wednesday, October 17

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a candidate forum on Wednesday, October 17 from 7 to 9 pm at the Suncrest United Methodist Church on Van Voorhis Road.

The forum will include House of Delegate Candidates from the 51st District: Democrats Tony Barill, Barbara Fleischauer, Nancy Jamison, Charlene Marshall and Billy Smerka and Republicans Cindy Frich, Amanda Pasdon, Jay Redmond, Kevin Scott Poe and John Woods.

Also present will be House candidates from the 49th District, Republican Jeff Tansill and Democrat Mike Manypenny.

Others who have accepted the invitation to speak are State Senator Roman Prezioso, and Sheriff Allen Kisner.

There will be introductions by the candidates, and then answers to questions from the League and the audience. The public is encouraged to come and meet and question the candidates before they vote.

 

For information about the press release contact

Catherine Lozier
304-599-8233
clozier @gmail.com

Voters Guide 2012 General Election

League of Women Voters of West Virginia

Voters’ Guide 2012 General Election

This candidate information is brought to you by the League of Women Voters of West Virginia as a public service. Candidate responses are printed exactly as received, including spelling, grammar and content. Candidates’ responses were limited to 50 words. All candidates for US Congress and statewide offices were given the same opportunity to respond.

U.S. Senate Candidate John R. Raese

County of Residence Monongalia

Party Republican

Candidate did not reply

U. S. Senate Candidate Joe Manchin

County of Residence Marion

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. As U.S. Senator, Joe stands up for West Virginia and commonsense. He focuses on creating jobs, getting our finances in order, keeping our promises to seniors and veterans and energy independence. Joe is from Farmington and is an outdoorsman and businessman. He and Gayle have three children and seven grandchildren.

1. Other than the elimination of fraud and waste, what steps would you advocate to bring the federal budget into balance?

We need a big fix to get our financial house in order, so I favor the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson budget framework. I was proud that the architects of this plan came to a fiscal summit in West Virginia so people could hear the facts and ask questions about the solution.

2. What plans or proposals do you support to create more jobs?

It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan, quit spending overseas so we can rebuild America. We also need to get government to work as an ally, not an adversary and end unnecessary regulations. And when we fix our finances, we’ll restore business confidence in our economy.

U. S. Senate Candidate Bob Henry Baber

County of Residence Gilmer

Party Mountain

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. PhD in Appalachian Studies. Widely Published Author. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow. 2007 National Hero Recipient of the National Wilderness Society (for promoting the growth of the Cranberry Wilderness). Creator the Yeager Airport Adoption (10,000 trees planted) Project Director, The West Virginia Veterans Legacy Project, Glenville State College Mayor, Richwood WV

1. Other than the elimination of fraud and waste, what steps would you advocate to bring the federal budget into balance?

Increase the severance tax on coal to 7%, thereby raising 200 million to reclaim destroyed land and retain coalfield employment. Raise Fracking taxes and hire inspectors Upper Big Branch, MTR and Fracking prove extraction industries are under-regulated. Use fossil fuels to be the green energy producer for enhanced: jobs, tourism, internet-access, improved schools and roads, etc.

2. What plans or proposals do you support to create more jobs?

Cut hidden subsidies to fossil-fuel based industries and raise additional resources from our rich state to promote: growth in diverse jobs, value-added timber products, social programs, education, tourism, veterans programs, etc.

U.S. House of Representatives, 1st Congressional District Candidate David McKinley

County of Residence Ohio

Party Republican

Candidate did not reply

U.S. House of Representatives, 1st Congressional District Candidate Sue Thorn

County of Residence Ohio

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. I graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University in organizational leadership development. After working in economic development, I became the director of a congregation-centered organizing project, tasked with bringing together diverse congregations on social justice issues. I also organized throughout WV’s 1st District on national issues for the Democratic National Committee. www.Thorn2012.com

1. Other than the elimination of fraud and waste, what steps would you advocate to bring the federal budget into balance?

We must eliminate tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas and return tax rates for America’s wealthiest 2% to Clinton administration levels, when 23 million jobs were created. Defense Department no-bid contracts have nearly tripled since 2002 and the influence of corporate profits should not allow for war profiteering.

2. What plans or proposals do you support to create more jobs?

We must begin rebuilding our infrastructure. These are jobs that cannot be outsourced and will also address critical problems facing cities, counties, and states: deteriorating roads, bridges, public facilities, and water and sewer lines. Through requiring a percentage of American-made products be used, we will also revitalize our manufacturing base.

U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Congressional District Candidate Shelly Moore Capito

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Republican

Candidate did not reply

U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Congressional District Candidate Howard Swint

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Commercial Property Broker representing Laidley Tower, Charleston; Owner of a property management business; former Planner II in the West Virginia Development Office; opinion columnist (pro bono); hold Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master in Geography – Regional Planning and Development, Master in Public Administration all from West Virginia University.

1. Other than the elimination of fraud and waste, what steps would you advocate to bring the federal budget into balance?

I support the Simpson Bowles Commission’s Recommendation 2.2 that would dramatically close corporate tax loopholes as well as sweeping tax reform measures that would simplify the entire personal income tax code, concentrating on the elimination of wasteful deductions and exemptions that benefit the wealthy so they’ll pay their fair share.

2. What plans or proposals do you support to create more jobs?

Returning veterans experience disproportionately higher unemployment rates and deserve expanded workforce development and on-the-job training opportunities; the re-designation of Corridor H to Interstate 66 to hasten its completion; a Bring the Jobs Home Act that returns outsourced manufacturing jobs; and an accelerated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education reform curriculum.

U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd  Congressional District  Candidate  Rick Snuffer

 County of Residence  Raleigh

 Party  Republican

 Candidate did not respond

 U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd Congressional District  Candidate  Nick J. Rahall II

 County of Residence  Raleigh

 Party  Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:  Member of Congress representing the Third District.  Serves as Senior Democrat, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  A 33rd degree Mason, Rahall is a life member of the NRA, Elks, Moose, and an honorary member of the UMWA.  Rahall has three children, a granddaughter, and is married to Melinda Ross Rahall.

1. Other than the elimination of fraud and waste, what steps would you advocate to bring the federal budget into balance?

We must grow the economy in order to balance the budget, and that requires investments in our physical and human infrastructure.  We must find ways to make investments in education, research and development, safer roads, bridges and water systems, and in programs that train our workforce for cutting-edge jobs.

2. What plans or proposals do you support to create more jobs?

Delivering federal dollars to West Virginia to build and maintain roads, highways and bridges and to improve other public works infrastructure from water supply to flood control, fighting to protect coal miner jobs, and combing federal investments with local institution to forge economic alliances to sustain and generate new jobs.

Governor Candidate Bill Maloney

County of Residence Monongalia

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. BSIE from Lehigh University. 1984: I co-founded North American Drillers, grew it from a two-person business to become the world leader in large-diameter shaft drilling for mining and other industries. Participation in 2010 Chilean mine rescue changed my life. My wife, Sharon, and I have two daughters and one grandchild.

1. What would you do to help West Virginia build an economy less reliant on extraction industries?

We need to get government out of the way to help create jobs. The state should not be picking economic winners and losers. We need leadership that will focus on comprehensive tax and legal reform. There should be an equal focus on helping in-state businesses grow and attracting new businesses.

2. In order to meet West Virginia’s balanced budget requirement, what specific programs would you cut or eliminate?

Immediately as Governor, I will instruct my cabinet secretaries to undertake a complete budget review to find areas where programs are duplicating efforts or wasting taxpayer’s dollars. To save money, we can start by not giving contracts to the highest bidder or hiring family members of the politically well-connected.

Governor Candidate Earl Ray Tomblin

County of Residence Logan

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Earl Ray Tomblin is a lifelong West Virginian with degrees from WVU and Marshall. During his career he has been known as a consensus-maker who brought business and labor, Republicans and Democrats, together. Earl Ray Tomblin has been married to Joanne Tomblin for 32 years. They have one son, Brent.

1. What would you do to help West Virginia build an economy less reliant on extraction industries?

While our state is diversifying its economy with investments like Toyota, Macy’s, and Gestamp, I believe our coal and natural gas industries will continue to play a significant role well into the future. We must invest in clean coal technology, and the economic impacts of shale drilling will be significant.

2. In order to meet West Virginia’s balanced budget requirement, what specific programs would you cut or eliminate?

I am proud to have not only balanced budgets but to have generated significant surpluses the past two years. I have asked agencies to reduce spending for the coming year and empowered them to decide where those reductions should occur, although I excluded our education system from those cuts.

Governor Candidate Jesse Johnson

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Mountain

Candidate did not respond

Governor Candidate David Moran

County of Residence Preston

Party Libertarian

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Doctorate (Ph.D.) engineer, hydrodynamics; Professor US Naval Academy; Adjunct Professor WVU and GWU; President, National Technology Transfer Center; Director, Advanced Technology, Office Naval Research, Director David Taylor Institute; BoD, Tucker Community Foundation, Community Trust Foundation, Garrett College Foundation, Scientific research Society, Mountain Lions Club; St Matthews Church; Volunteer, Read-Aloud, Adopt-a-Road

1. What would you do to help West Virginia build an economy less reliant on extraction industries?

Eliminate industrial property tax to encourage new industry. Encourage development of existing and new alternative energy production through WV economic and tax advantages. Protect private property and individual ownership of energy rights. Use WV energy to build WV industry (first) and as export (second) through tax advantages for In-State use.

2. In order to meet West Virginia’s balanced budget requirement, what specific programs would you cut or eliminate?

Eliminate WV Personal-Property Tax, all food taxes. Provide Voucher System for student/parent choice of education. Reject all federal programs that require future WV cost burden. Eliminate all federal mandated bureaucracy for unnecessary program management. Develop In-State community-clinic health care tailored to WV. Move non-violent and self-abuse prisoners to work/education programs.

Secretary of State Candidate Brian Savilla

County of Residence Mason

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. I am currently in the House of Delegates for the 14th District and a social studies teacher in Putnam County. I graduated from Poca High School and West Virginia State University.

1. Would you support a law requiring West Virginia voters to show a photo ID at the polls? Please explain.

Yes. Citizens must show their ID’s to do nearly everything, except vote. It does not disenfranchise nor discriminate anymore than cashing a check or flying a plane. It simply adds further security to our elections. Next year you will even need ID to receive Social Security due to the Feds.

2. What are your ideas on how to encourage more people to vote?

To encourage people to vote we need to ensure their vote equally counts the same as everyone else’s, and that it is not watered down due to voter fraud. Photo ID, increased penalties on voter fraud, and working with the clerks and prosecutors will increase voter confidence in the system.

Secretary of State Candidate Natalie Tennant

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Democratic

Candidate did not reply

Auditor Candidate Larry V. Faircloth

County of Residence Berkeley

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Attended Berkeley County public schools, Shepherd College (Business Administration), WV Real Estate License, Broker’s License, Small Business Owner, WV House of Delegates, Committees: Judiciary; Finance; Special Investigations; Rules; Banking and Insurance, Married, Five children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. larryvfairclothforwestvirginia.com

What is your assessment of the state’s current financial situation?

In a State with less than 2 million people, we have more debt than we should. Unfunded liabilities, such as retirement programs, encumber our State agencies. Spending is out of control. There are too many state automobiles running around our counties with too many state credit cards in circulation. 800,000 credit card transactions per month is more than the taxpayers can bear. If elected Auditor, I will audit all of the transactions to see that they are within the scope of spending requirements, and will fully disclose the results of those audits to the public and the press.

Auditor Candidate Glen B. Gainer III

County of Residence Wood

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Since 1993, Gainer has been committed to increasing government efficiency for residents from the eastern panhandle to the southern coalfields. He is the state’s official bookkeeper, Chief Inspector and Securities/Delinquent Land Commissioner. His leadership has made WV a national leader in government transparency. Graduated from U.C. – Bachelor of Arts.

What is your assessment of the state’s current financial situation?

The State’s financial condition is strong. That being said, we still have challenges. The largest challenge is to protect the State’s coal mining industry and its long term viability. In addition, the development of the State’s vast natural gas reserves in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations ensure a bright future for West Virginia as a leader in meeting the energy needs of America. The State has undertaken numerous efforts to bring about efficiency and greater accountability in the State’s finances which have lead to a continued increase in the State’s bond rating which now stands at AA+.

Treasurer Candidate Mike Hall

County of Residence Putnam

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Mike grew-up in Huntington, the son of Bill and Betty Hall. Mike was born in 1948 in Huntington. Mike graduated from Huntington East High School 1966, Marshall University 1970, and Methodist School of Theology in 1976. Mike married Vicki Steele of Point Pleasant WV in 1970. www.hallwv.com for additional information.

What is the most important responsibility of the state treasurer’s office?

The Treasurer of the State is the “Chief Financial Officer” of the State. The main function of the office is to be the eyes and ears of the public on the financial life of the State. The pension funds, the college savings and other financial investment components of the State have a dramatic impact many of our citizens. The demands of the office require a person who is knowledgeable of the financial markets. The office demands the highest integrity. Mike has been a financial advisor for several years, and maintains active securities and insurance licenses.

Treasurer Candidate John D. Perdue

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. 1972 Graduate of WVU; 40 years experience in public office. Under John’s leadership, State Treasurer’s Office established the successful SMART529 College Savings Program, became a national leader by returning over $100 million in Unclaimed Property and returned financial integrity back to the office, helping the state achieve an AA1 bond rating.

What is the most important responsibility of the state treasurer’s office?

The most important responsibility in the State Treasurer’s office is protecting the state’s money and investments. For the seventh consecutive year, the Treasurer’s office bond rating has been AAA rated, the highest rating ever achieved by the office. During my tenure, we modernized the office by reducing the number of printed checks the state issues from five million annually to just one million, saving taxpayers significant costs on postage, handling and printing. We also created a new e-commerce division that works with city and county governments, and universities in helping them conduct their financial business more efficiently.

Commissioner of Agriculture Candidate Kent Leonhardt

County of Residence Monongalia

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Kent Leonhardt, retired USMC special intelligence Lieutenant Colonel, owns 380-acre agribusiness in Monongalia County. The WV Farm Bureau has endorsed Leonhardt for Commissioner of Agriculture. Leonhardt has a formal agriculture education with a B.S. in Wildlife Sciences and a Masters Degree in Business Management. Please visit www.kentforwv.com to learn more.

1. What do you see as the role of the Commissioner of Agriculture in spurring economic growth in West Virginia?

The Commissioner of Agriculture plays a unique role in promoting local agribusiness growth and creating a friendly business environment that is attractive to out-of-state agribusinesses. As Commissioner, I will create incentives to support the consumption of local food products, and work tirelessly to create an environment supporting agribusiness job growth.

2. What can the Commissioner of Agriculture do to reduce the level of pollution in West Virginia waterways caused by agricultural runoff?

The Commissioner of Agriculture must employ experienced scientists to identify best practices for pollution reduction based on sound science. To protect WV against EPA, I support an internal audit of waterway pollutant levels, determine effective ways to reduce runoff, and will support our agribusinesses to help economically meet any requirements.

Commissioner of Agriculture Candidate Walt Helmick

County of Residence Pocahontas

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Resides in Minnehaha Springs on 200 acre farm; educated at WV Tech (BA), University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute; is an auctioneer and certified welder. Elected to Pocahontas County Board of Education, Pocahontas County Commission, WV House of Delegates and Senate (former chair of Finance). Owner of several businesses. See helmickforag.com

1. What do you see as the role of the Commissioner of Agriculture in spurring economic growth in West Virginia?

The Commissioner of Agriculture should promote WV farm grown products and pursue selling these products to governmental agencies including public schools in conjunction with WVU Extension Service and WVStateU Extension Service by seeking innovative ideas which have proven successful in other jurisdictions.

2. What can the Commissioner of Agriculture do to reduce the level of pollution in West Virginia waterways caused by agricultural runoff?

The Commissioner of Agriculture should work with the WV Legislature and Chief Executive to establish the necessary funding to address issues that are out of compliance with governmental regulations. The Commissioner must also be involved with WV’s federal delegation in attempting to accomplish this goal.

Attorney General Candidate Patrick Morrisey

County of Residence Jefferson

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Patrick Morrisey is a health care and regulatory lawyer with over 20-years of legal and policy experience. He served as Chief Health Counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and as partner to one of the largest health care, life science practices in the country.

What do you believe is the most important role that the Attorney General plays in assuring justice for the citizens of West Virginia?

The Attorney General must serve as the state’s chief law enforcement officer and adhere to the U.S. and State Constitutions. That means protecting West Virginia from harmful federal regulations and policies that destroy jobs in the state regardless of who sits in the White House, acting consistently in enforcement actions without favoring any partisan interest, improving the integrity of the Office of Attorney General.

Attorney General Candidate Darrell McGraw

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Darrell McGraw was raised in Wyoming County. Served in the military; completed Army Leadership School. General McGraw graduated from WVU, earning his A.B., M.A., and J.D. He was a truck driver, Supreme Court Justice, lawyer for the State Department, attorney for former Governor Smith, and is the current Attorney General.

What do you believe is the most important role that the Attorney General plays in assuring justice for the citizens of West Virginia?

The Attorney General fights consumer law breakers on behalf of the citizens of West Virginia. The Attorney General also fights the scourge of drug abuse by holding the drug companies accountable. General McGraw works hard to protect seniors, consumers, and small business owners from fraud. Programs of the Attorney General’s Office help local communities. The Attorney General does not have the power to prosecute criminals. We believe such authority should be provided to the Attorney General so the citizens of West Virginia will not have to rely on the federal government for protection against political corruption or Internet fraud.

Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals Candidate Allen Loughry

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Has worked for two Supreme Courts; was a Senior Assistant Attorney General; worked for a U.S. Congressman; a Governor; and is an adjunct professor. Author of “Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay For A Landslide.” Has four law degrees, a B.S. from WVU, and studied at Oxford University. www.allenloughry.com

1. Do you favor expanding the drug court program statewide? Please explain.

I favor expansion of the program statewide as drug abuse is quickly becoming an epidemic destroying families on a daily basis. Rehabilitation will result in a fewer tax dollars being spent as participants are less likely to be repeat offenders and can become productive members of society.

2. Are there any reforms in the West Virginia judicial system that you favor? Please explain.

As a candidate for the state’s highest court, I have certainly witnessed the negative impact of money in politics. I will work with the other two branches of government in figuring out the best way to elect/select judges in this State. Judges should not be political.

Justice Of The Supreme Court Of Appeals Candidate John Yoder

County of Residence Jefferson

Party Republican

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. Served in all three branches of government; Judicial: Circuit Judge, 1977-80 & 2009-present and U.S. Supreme Court, 1980-1983; Legislative: State Senate, 1992-1996 & 2003-2008; Executive; U.S. Department of Judtice, Director, Asset Forfeiture Office, 1983-85. B.A., Chapman University, J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, M.B.A., University of Chicago. See www.judgeyoder.com

1. Do you favor expanding the drug court program statewide? Please explain.

Yes. Drug abuse is a major problem in WV and illegal prescription drug abuse is growing substantially, adversely impacting families from all income and social levels. Incarceration by itself is not solving the problem. Drug courts are a valuable tool to try to address the problem.

2. Are there any reforms in the West Virginia judicial system that you favor? Please explain.

Yes. I favor the creation of an intermediate court of appeals with divisions and non-partisan election of judges, among other positive reforms, to help promote the Rule of Law in WV. More predictability in legal decisions, and less politics, is needed to help establish a better climate for job creation.

Justice Of The Supreme Court Of Appeals Candidate Letitia “Tish” Chafin

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. I graduated from Marshall University and WVU College of Law. I am managing partner of a law firm where I practiced for 15+ years. Serving on the Supreme Court would allow me to combine my legal experience and desire to give back. Read my Balanced Court and Transparency Initiatives, www.chafin2012.com.

1. Do you favor expanding the drug court program statewide? Please explain.

The drug court program seeks to rehabilitate nonviolent offenders by breaking them of their substance addictions that lead to both criminal behavior and the destruction of families and communities. I support these efforts and support expanding the programs statewide.

2. Are there any reforms in the West Virginia judicial system that you favor? Please explain.

We must restore public confidence in our judiciary. While the Supreme Court has taken steps toward improving our court system, I believe that my Balanced Court Initiative and Transparent Court Initiative will create a level playing field and ensure fairness, impartiality and transparency for those who come before the court.

Justice Of The Supreme Court Of Appeals Candidate Robin Davis

County of Residence Kanawha

Party Democratic

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. I was born and raised in West Virginia; my mother was a teacher and my father was a coal miner. I graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan and WVU with master’s and law degrees. I practiced law from 1982-1996 and was elected to the Supreme Court in 1996.

1. Do you favor expanding the drug court program statewide? Please explain.

Drug courts have proven their worth, have turned lives around, and, while enhancing public safety, have also lowered the costs to taxpayers and prevented additional overcrowding in our correctional facilities. Additionally, they’ve dramatically reduced expensive recidivism. Thus, though logistically difficult, I nevertheless support their expansion into all of the counties.

2. Are there any reforms in the West Virginia judicial system that you favor? Please explain.

The reforms I support I have implemented: The 2010 rewrite of the appellate court rules and the opening in October of the new business court. These reforms strengthen and make our court more transparent in addition to demonstrating the court is fair to all litigants.

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Morgantown-Monongalia Candidate Forums – Oct 17 and Oct 24

Press Release
League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County
October 1, 2012

The League of Women Voters will hold two Candidate Forums on October 17 and 24 from 7 to 9 pm at the Suncrest United Methodist Church. The first forum on Wednesday, October 17 will feature the five Democratic and five Republican candidates running for the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 51st District. Also invited are the two candidates running for the House from the 49th District as well as the State Senators from the 2nd, 13th, and 14th Districts.

The second forum will be Wednesday, October 24 for the two candidates running for County Commission, Democrat Tom Bloom and Republican Joe Statler, as well as the Assessor candidates, Republican Kent Pauley and Democrat Mark Musick.

Voters are encouraged to come to meet and question their candidates before they vote. Voter registration ends on October 16 and early voting begins on October 24.

For information about the press release contact:
Catherine Lozier
304-599-8233

Voter Fall 2012

 

The deadline to register to vote in the November 6 General Election is October 16.

Find election information on pages 1, 2 and 6.

Read the LWVWV’s statement on the West Virginia Energy Plan on page 4.

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