Parts of Mason and Putnam Counties
Click on a candidate's name to see his or her responses:
Tom A. McNeely, 2601 Lincoln Avenue, Point Pleasant,
D -- Stephen C.
(Steve) Sluss, PO Box 635, Teays, WV 25569
R -- Mike Hall, 12
Stonegate, Hurricane, WV 25526
Delegate District 14
PO Box 428
Scott Depot, 25560
1. Some say that a growing economy will lift all boats, but, despite some recent encouraging economic news, the evidence is that many hard-working families are falling further behind. What specific Legislative plans do you have to help grow businesses in West Virginia that provide jobs with wages and benefits sufficient to support a family?
The economy in WV will not grow until we stabilize our business environment. The legislature must: continue to reform workers compensation and convert to privatization; remove the business franchise tax; phase in tax reforms; require our technical colleges and universities to offer a curriculum that fits employer needs.
2. More mothers have entered the workforce in recent years, partly out of economic necessity. While some parents are satisfied with their arrangements, many have concerns about finding good, flexible childcare programs and paying for them once they do. As a Legislator, what will you do to promote affordable, high quality childcare in West Virginia?
Encourage the continuation and expansion of current school based programs; encourage employer sponsorship of community based programs; partner with our universities to give student teachers class credit for work in childcare programs based in public school buildings or local community centers.
3. Federal and state welfare reform laws passed in the mid-1990s include requirements that pose problems for parents pursuing education and job training that gives them skills and employment opportunities. Many of these families have reached, or are about to reach, their lifetime federal welfare benefits and are still unemployed. As a Legislator, what policies would you propose to better support families who face these challenges and to help raise them out of poverty?
The recent welfare reforms provide the tools needed for families to earn a living wage. The problem is in their implementation. We must make our providers accountable; stop the mismanagement of funds and assure the program goals are met.
4. In 2004, the West Virginia Legislature passed a resolution calling for a study by the Children's Health Insurance Program Board to examine a potential expansion to children at 250 and 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. But many of their parents, typically lower-wage workers without benefits, remain uninsured. As a Legislator, what will you do to ensure the continuation and expansion of children's health insurance, as well as coverage for parents and other working-age adults?
WV CHIPS program is highly successful state/federal government program. Last session we passed legislation that set up a pilot program to provide health insurance to working men and women who are employed by businesses that do not offer health insurance. If successful this program can be expanded.
5. A recent federal review found that West Virginia's child protective services system is not doing enough to assure the safety and well-being of children. As a Legislator, what policies and programs will you promote to improve the well-being of children who have been abused or neglected? What actions will you support to prevent child abuse from happening in the first place?
Child abuse can best be attacked through direct education and intervention at the community level. We have in place grass roots organizations like RAPP, Family Resources Network, YWCA, YMCA and 4-H. These organizations can be used to educate and protect our youth from abuse.
6. Studies show that many children who witness domestic violence suffer a great deal of pain and trauma, even if they are not directly abused themselves. As a Legislator, what policies and programs will you promote to help reduce the incidence of domestic violence and to aid domestic violence survivors and their children?
Education and intervention is the key to reduction of abuse. Additional volunteer programs, like Branches, are needed to provide victims support. Our community centers can provide both a place for supervised visitation and places where support groups can meet.
7. In 2004 the Legislature revised the 1990 legislation that created the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Families to better coordinate policies and programs at the state level and to support Family Resource Networks, Starting Point Centers, and other programs at the community level. As a Legislator, would you support the continuation of these activities and, if so, what policy outcomes would you like to pursue through the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Families?
I attended a meeting of the Cabinet. I encourage the continuation of the programs. They are successful because they are local people working with local businesses to achieve local community success and betterment. I would keep the programs community based.
8. West Virginia's Promise Scholarship and needs-based grant program aim to increase in-state college attendance rates among our state's young people, thereby expanding their opportunities in work and in life. In June's special session of the Legislature, eligibility standards for the Promise scholarships were raised in anticipation of the $10 million yearly increase in the program's cost by the 2005-06 school year. As a Legislator in these tight budget times, if the state cannot fund all eligible applicants, how would you establish priorities for these programs?
Make the Promise Scholarship a defined amount program. The amount is determined by a formula using the amount of funds available divided by the number of promise scholarship recipients. This would insure that each recipient would be treated the same.
9. Currently 60% of West Virginia children between 6 and 17 live in households with working parents. Although the hours after school are peak hours for juvenile crime, high quality and affordable after school programs are not available to all West Virginia school children, especially for children over 12. As a Legislator, how great a priority would you place on successful after school programs that provide learning activities and connect children with caring adults, and what policies would you support related to such programs?
Keeping our youth safe is very important. In addition to the community center programs and latch key programs local businesses could be given incentives to provide either funds or on site educational programs for the youth of their community.
10. As a Legislative candidate, are there any children and family policy issues that you would like to address that have not been covered in the above questions?
Our states implementation of No Child Left Behind should be revised so that our program truly reflects the intent of the legislation and is in line with the majority of our sister states. Ethic issues should be addressed and strengthened. WV families should expect their legislators to properly represent the interest of the people.