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 2nd District House seat, currently filled by Republican Shelley Moore Capito. She is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller.


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

A: Obviously, issues involving EPA's authority are of immediate and paramount interest to West Virginia, and I've provided a more detailed answer below in the second question. Bringing civility to Congress is paramount if there is any hope of Congress accomplishing anything at all, let alone of it taking action of matters of importance to West Virginia. My opponent's legislative career in Maryland clearly shows that his priority has been to disrupt, filibuster and attack those who disagree with him. He supported the shutdown of the federal government last year and, based on the statements he's make throughout this campaign, he certainly appears supportive of shutting it down again over whatever narrow issue he is emphasizing in the "politics of the month club" that he seems to support. I take a longer view of my responsibilities in Congress. I'm trained as a lawyer and a CPA and my professional career has been built on solving problems and in leading others to solve their own problems. From my interactions with members of Congress so far in this campaign, it's my belief that there is a great sentiment for this approach. But we need new leaders in both parties and in both houses to move in this direction, and I long ago indicated in public that I could not support the House's current Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi. House and Senate leaders seem to hate and distrust each other, so in my view, they all need replaced with new leaders who can take a fresh approach to get us out of the hyper-partisan and ideological rut the Congress finds itself in. It would be in West Virginia's interests for this transformation to occur.

I also believe it is critical for the Congress to pass a federal budget. This too would be in West Virginia's interests to do. Without a budget, we cannot prioritize spending and without priorities, our finances will continue to spiral out of control. Obviously, since we continue to operate with massive (though smaller lately) deficits, it means that our priorities are being funded to a level of mediocrity. Not everything is a priority. And, when everything is a "priority," lesser programs and agencies receive funding that is not justified. Quite simply, Congress must establish and agree on budget priorities and programs for which resources aren't available must be terminated. I make no judgments at this time on what should be cut because those decisions should be made by Congress by having the courage to make difficult decisions on what our nation's true priorities are.

Beyond the need for immediate action on EPA power, the other critical issue that I will push to have addressed for the benefit of West Virginia is for there to be a long-term commitment to prioritized funding for rebuilding, repairing and constructing new infrastructure across the nation. Our roads, bridges, water systems, sewer systems, railroads, electric grid and many other fundamentally important components of our nation and our economy are decrepit and in danger of failure nearly every day. And, it is unconscionable that Corridor H is still decades from completion, and that the highway system in the fast-growing eastern part of our state cannot be upgraded fast enough to meet the new economic demands of the region--the same as with water and sewer system expansion. Again, finding money for these projects is a matter of establishing priorities, and infrastructure would be near the top of my list. West Virginia's and the nation's economy would improve dramatically if these investments were made.

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

A: I will have two goals. First, it's my belief that the bi-partisan West Virginia delegation – led by Senator Manchin – must work to find common cause and to unite with representatives from other states where EPA has impeded their economies by overreaching with its authority. Whether that involves other coal states, agricultural issues (which our state has too), oil and gas development, manufacturing, or any other activity where this administration and its EPA has moved in dramatic new directions to reinterpret the Clean Air/Water acts, we have to unified and supportive of our common cause in order to take on this fight. Second, the disunity among states and the lack of bipartisanship in fighting EPA has only further empowered the agency and its perceptions of its rule-making authority. Congress has to take control of the authority of agencies in the rule-making arena. Our state has a very effective rule-making process wherein state agencies can only propose rules for the Legislature's review and approval before they go into effect. Congress needs to have the same power over federal agencies (all agencies) so that no new regulation can become effective until Congress has reviewed it and has decided that it comports with the law and is in the public's interest for the rule to be approved and become effective. EPA and activists in this administration have hijacked the authority of Congress because the Congress is so bitterly and inexcusably divided on partisan and ideological bases that it cannot act. Congress has surrendered the authority it possesses to federal agencies.

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

A: The Congress has no jurisdiction over West Virginia's courts and I would resist any attempt on the part of federal government to seek that authority. Since I am running for a federal office, I don’t think it's appropriate to offer a personal view on matters that will not come before the Congress and will rest in the hands of state officials.


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

A: We need to stop the out-of-control Obama administration from destroying West Virginia jobs and our conservative values. In Congress, I'll fight to protect West Virginia coal jobs by leading the charge against Obama's War on Coal. I'll fight to repeal Obamacare which has resulted in new taxes and fees, massive regulation, and an increase in the cost of health care. I support replacing Obamacare with commonsense reforms that actually lower the cost of health care, increase access to quality health care in rural communities, and keep government out of our most personal health care decisions.

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

A: I've been endorsed by the West Virginia Coal Association and the West Virginia Farm Bureau because they know I will fight to stop burdensome regulations that are killing coal and threatening to end the daily activities of our farmers. These are regulations which are being forced on us through executive fiat, instead of being passed by Congress. Congress needs to reassert its authority in this area. I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation that limits the EPA's ability to pass job-killing regulations without congressional approval. Congressmen McKinley and Capito have already done a good job passing a commonsense bill which helps us dispose of coal ash.

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

A: I believe that West Virginia is a great state in which to live, raise a family, and start a business. Reforms to our legal system should take these into account. Access to the judicial system is a Constitutional right, but we need to stop fraudulent lawsuits so that doctors and businesses stay in West Virginia and give back to our community. There is also a growing drug use problem in many of our communities and I think this is something that we can combat with the help from law enforcement and a legal system that is tough, efficient, and just.

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