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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