Jobs & the Economy
West Virginia is not going to be able to wait for a miracle to pull itself out of the economic doldrums in which we find ourselves. Areas with economic growth in the 21st century are areas that have invested in their own long-term growth have three things in common: 1) a major research university or universities, 2) high-tech and research jobs incubated by proximity to higher education and 3) an older industrial base. The Kanawha Valley and the I-64 corridor between Charleston and Huntington is tailor-made for the same kind of growth – we just have to invest in ourselves.
- 1. Reinvest in Higher & Technical Education
In the 21st century, long-term growth is dependent on the presence of higher education and having an educated workforce. For the past few years, the Legislature has cut higher education and we are paying for it with reduced economic growth. As a Senator, I will fight to ensure that higher education receives more funding so that it can spin-off jobs in our area.
- 2. Rebuild Crumbling Roads & Bridges
The American Council of Engineers gave our state a “D” for infrastructure investments. We need to have a real plan to repair crumbling highways and work to finish long-overdue projects, like Route 35. By pumping billions into infrastructure, we create good jobs whose wages will be reinvested in the local economy.
- 3. Restore Fiscal Sanity
In the 1980s, this state stood on the brink of fiscal collapse and insolvency. Thanks to wise stewardship, we staved off fiscal collapse, paid off our debts, cut taxes and saved millions to improve our state’s bond rating. In the last two years, however, the Legislature has destroyed these reforms, severely damaging the state’s bond rating. If we are going to reinvest in jobs in our state, we must have a satisfactory bond rating.
Restore Prevailing Wage
Prevailing wage rates were created during the Great Depression to ensure that cheap, out-of-state labor could not flood our workforce and ensure that West Virginians could receive jobs on public works projects. This year, the Legislature took away these protections for local workers. This policy is already costing local workers jobs and hurting local businesses. 32 states have such laws to protect state jobs from companies who import foreign workers and immigrants, instead of hiring local workers.
If elected, I will work to repeal this destructive law to protect local jobs and businesses.
Repeal Right to Work
So-called “Right to Work” laws have destroyed workers’ wages and caused more workplace accidents in state’s with these laws. As an employer, I am deeply committed to giving my employees a living wage and safe workplaces. I do not think the state should involve itself in the labor agreements I make with my employees. I will work every day to repeal this, and any legislation, that will mean that hardworking people will make less and go to unsafe workplaces.