I believe in these uncertain times that the state must be able to offer at minimum a safety net to our people. I will support all possibilities to saving and securing CHIPs, increased and easier access to Medicaid, expand in-home medical services, and ultimately support a public option managed by the PEIA system that would provide the ultimate competition to private insurance companies to help lower premiums. I believe we must save our community hospitals and expand local health centers.
A middle class is dependent on good paying jobs with good benefits, and there is no evidence these measures have improved the lives of working people. I support the repeal of right to work for less laws, and support the reinstatement of prevailing wage on government projects. I support an increase in the minimum wage to $12.00 an hour over a five year period and a law that requires an annual adjustment to the minimum wage that matches inflation. And I would propose a small business minimum-wage tax credit to encourage businesses exempt from minimum wage laws.
Our state suffers from "brain-drain" in which we educate young people only to see them take our investment and then leave to help the economies of other regions. My idea is that we must begin offering free college tuition as well as reduce allowable tuition reimbursement by the State to our colleges and universities. This is a guaranteed return on investment because we would offer the free tuition and reduced tuition rates as a contract with the student and the colleges and universities. If they will stay within West Virginia for 10 years after graduating their contract would be fulfilled and all debt forgiven. If the student leaves before the 10 years, the rate they would have paid would then be required to be paid back at 0% interest. If the student elects to not complete their program within a total of six years, they will be required to start a payback at a fixed rate of 2%. The increase in economic activity will more than offset any costs associated with my plan.
I will always support and defend our public schools and public school teachers. Schools are the bedrock of our communities in many ways, but especially in providing education to our people and a common sense of community. Teachers that are treated as professionals and paid accordingly will provide the best education to our most important assets, our children, and young adults. I support common-sense reforms of the school systems and protect our teachers. These proposals will help provide our kids with a quality education.
I will propose that the Office of Technology coordinate with all state agencies to establish a transparency website that is finally user-friendly and that WV taxpayers will be able to easily navigate to see how their tax dollars are being used by all branches of state government. The goal is to educate the citizens, increase participation in the government by the citizens, and end corruption in Charleston.
I will fight for tax policies and other laws that promote the economic well-being of all our citizens. To that end, I support a refundable earned income tax credit, a reversal of the regressive taxes passed into law by the current legislature, and a strengthening of consumer rights.
As we know, prohibition doesn't work. It is estimated that the marijuana industry could generate $190 million in West Virginia. That’s revenue that could be used to improve the quality of life for West Virginians.
I will fight to end the excessive abuse of eminent domain in our state. The never-ending threat of forced pooling and corporate greed through overreach have caused entire communities to be lost and families fearful to invest in their own homes. This must end.
Drugs have wrecked havoc on our families, neighbors, and friends for decades. Now that the government has allowed it to reach epidemic proportions, we need leaders that will fight to address the problem. After ministering in correctional facilities for almost a decade, I have seen the first-hand effect that it has had on families. It’s essential that we have regional long-term drug treatment facilities. Those afflicted with addictions need the love and support of family and friends to assist them along this journey. I will propose the restructuring of our criminal justice system to rehabilitate those that have made bad choices because of their addictions. Drug-related non-violent offenses that resulted because of an addiction to drugs should include sentencing to long-term drug treatments facilities where they are taught life skills that reach the root of their problem.
I will always support and defend our public schools and public school teachers. Schools are the bedrock of our communities in many ways, but especially in providing education to our people and a common sense of community to rally around. Teachers that are treated as professionals and paid accordingly will provide the best education to our most important assets, our children, and young adults. I support common-sense reforms of the school systems and protect our teachers. I support a large investment in the vocational schools and community colleges because of the benefits they provide in retraining displaced workers.
I believe that owning your own home is a right and the building block of good communities. I support a tax plan that offers a two-prong approach to growing, expanding home ownership, and growing the economy. For first-time homeowners, I support a refund of all local property taxes for a period of five years. For all homeowners, I support a refund of state sales taxes paid on labor and materials to renovate and expand private dwellings for a period of five years. These proposals will help renew communities, allow investments in people's homes, and create jobs.