Editor’s note: The same five questions were distributed to the candidates running for this particular office. Earlier in the fall, Weelunk solicited questions from you, our readers. Those questions are reflected here in this story. Candidates were invited to offer their answers for publication free of charge. The candidates are presented in the order of ballot position in their respective district. Numerous efforts were made via campaign websites, social media profiles and publicly available contact information and phone numbers to solicit each candidate’s participation.
FOR U.S. SENATOR
JOSEPH MANCHIN III (D)
What prompted you to run for office/re-election?
There is more work to be done, like creating new job opportunities for West Virginia, securing coal miner pensions, expanding broadband, protecting health care for people with pre-existing conditions and strengthening public schools.
What do you believe to be the most important issues in your race?
The question for voters is: who will put West Virginia first? I’ve always been committed to taking care of West Virginia’s children, seniors, workers and educators, and ensuring that our veterans receive the care they deserve. I am fighting against the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state, robbing us of workers and hampering our economy from the growth that it should have. Also, I won’t stop fighting until our coal miners’ pensions are fully secured.
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If elected, how will you improve the economy of the Northern Panhandle?
I will continue to fight and vote to stop the federal government’s overreach and redundant rules that hamper businesses ability to succeed. I believe that building a qualified, drug-free and connected workforce are the most critical challenges to expanding and attracting business all over West Virginia. We need more skills training centers so that more West Virginians are career ready when they finish school.
What is the most important message you hope to get across to the voters?
This race isn’t about Democrat or Republican, it’s about who will fight for our state. I support President Trump when it’s right for West Virginia, and I stand up to him when he’s wrong. I love West Virginia, and I want us to reach our full potential.
If elected, what will your top three legislative priorities be?
We must protect people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer. It’s wrong to let the insurance companies play God.
I will work to end the opioid epidemic. The FDA must reduce the approvals of opioids coming on the market — we have enough. The DEA needs the tools to crack down on suspicious pill shipments. West Virginia needs mandatory educational classes on the effects of opiates for students in all grades. Also, more funding for addiction prevention, treatment, law enforcement and holding drug companies accountable
I will secure the pensions of our coal miners. It’s not right to break the promise of the pensions our miners have earned through years of hard work.