Candidate Q&A: U.S. Senate

by Chris Dickerson |
Oct. 29, 2014, 1:36pm

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Record reached out to the campaigns of candidates for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives for their thoughts on various issues covered by the newspaper.

Here are the questions and answers from the candidates for the U.S. Senate seat, currently filled by retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller. U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R) is up against Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) for the seat.

SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R)

Q: What is the biggest issue facing West Virginia? And what will you do about it in Washington?

A: The biggest issue facing West Virginia is jobs and getting West Virginians back to work. My West Virginia Works Plan will put our state on a path toward more jobs and a stronger future. I have fought for dozens of jobs bills in the House of Representatives that have not received a vote in the U.S. Senate because of President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s gridlock. These measures would protect and grow our energy jobs, create new economic opportunities, expand our infrastructure, improve our education system, care for our veterans, and make life better for families if only they could break through Harry Reid’s grip on the Senate. I’m committed to ensuring that the policies I’ve fought for in the U.S. House are finally taken up in the U.S. Senate so that we can get West Virginia working again.

Q: What will you do in Washington to help the state in terms of EPA regulations?

A: My number one priority is getting West Virginians working again through an all-of-the-above energy plan that doesn't pick winners and losers. I will make sure the legislation we passed in the House to combat the assaults on our coal industry is passed in the Senate, starting with the Coal Jobs Protection Act and the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. West Virginia is an energy state and if we are going to get our economy moving again it has to be through a pro-growth plan that incorporates all of the resources available to us. I will fight for West Virginia coal and coal miners each and every day in the Senate.

Q: What is your stance on the state’s legal system? What can be done to make it better?

A: Our legal system must be fair for all litigants. I strongly support medical liability reform to place a cap on non-economic damage in malpractice cases. Frivolous lawsuits and the defensive medicine they cause increase health insurance premiums for individuals, small businesses, and taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office recently found that medical liability reform could save taxpayers $57 billion over the next 10 years.

Courts must provide relief for those who have legitimate claims, but there should be consequences for filing a baseless lawsuit. I voted for the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction to impose mandatory penalties on attorneys and litigants who file frivolous claims. In West Virginia and around the nation, a fair and impartial tort system is essential to a growing economy.

NATALIE TENNANT (D)

Q: What is the biggest issue facing West Virginia? And what will you do about it in Washington?

A: The biggest issue facing West Virginia is creating good-paying jobs for our people. My top priority in the United States Senate will be to bring good-paying jobs to West Virginia. And I have developed a four part plan to accomplish that goal. Here in West Virginia, our jobs begin with energy. God has blessed us with abundant energy resources from coal, natural gas, wind and solar. We also have tremendous potential to fuel the next wave of good-paying jobs with micro-manufacturing, research and technology. But none of that is possible unless we invest in our greatest resource: our people. We must invest in education, from Head Start through higher education, to give the next generation the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow. And we must combat the drug crisis that is tearing apart our families and communities.

Q: What will you do in Washington to help the state in terms of EPA regulations?

A:  I oppose President Obama’s regulations on coal-fired plants. I will stand up to President Obama, the EPA and anyone else who tries to undermine our coal jobs. I took that message directly to the EPA this summer by testifying in front of the EPA in Pittsburgh and marching alongside UMWA and IBEW members in support of our coal jobs. I refuse to accept that we need to choose between clean air and good-paying jobs. Instead of enforcing harsh regulations that put our coal jobs at risk, I have challenged the President to invest in advanced coal technologies that will keep our coal jobs strong. I have seen firsthand the cutting edge work underway right here in West Virginia to develop these technologies at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) at West Virginia University and National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) in Morgantown.

But the most important part of coal is the coal miner. I am proud to have the endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America, who knows that I am the candidate who will fight for their jobs, health care and pensions.

Q: What is your stance on the state’s legal system? What can be done to make it better?

A: Members of Congress have no jurisdiction over state courts, but I believe all individuals deserve to have their day in court. A just, fair legal system is a hallmark of our Democracy.

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