Two candidates are running for a 12th Delegate District seat.
Incumbent Steve Westfall, a Republican from Ripley, is defending his seat against Missy Morris, a Democrat from Ripley.
The 12th Delegate District encompasses part of Jackson County. The election is Nov. 6.
Each candidate was asked to submit a statement consisting of approximately 300 words. The statements have been edited for spelling, grammar, and newspaper style but not for content.
• Steve Westfall, Republican, Ripley, Jackson County
I’m proud to be running for re-election to the House of Delegates to represent Jackson County. My campaign is all about showing off the progress that we have made in the capitol over the last few years. Unemployment has dropped dramatically, and our economy is doing remarkably well. We were nearly half a billion dollars in the red, and now our state has a historic budget surplus to the tune of more than 100 million dollars.
Just recently, the governor announced that we intend to give teachers and public employees another 5 percent pay increase, and PEIA is stabilized and funded with this additional revenue. The Republican majority promised to create jobs and improve the fiscal situation in our state. We’ve done just that, and we plan to continue moving in the right direction.
I sponsored a bill that increased school safety because education has always been a priority of mine in the House. Our children deserve a West Virginia they can take pride in. Job growth and economic recovery are always at the forefront, a good job solves a lot of problems. Many West Virginians still struggle day-to-day. This is no secret. I will fight to build a secure future for our children and grandchildren.
The opioid epidemic has ravaged West Virginia. While there is no easy solution, we must be tough on drug dealers and have sympathy for the addicted — we need additional funding for long-term addiction recovery. I’m for increased criminal penalties on those pushing poison into our communities.
West Virginia has its share of issues still at hand, but we are undoubtedly moving in the right direction. Our historic budget surplus is driven largely by personal income tax collection – more West Virginians are working and wages are rising. Let’s keep moving in a positive direction.
• Missy Morris, Democrat, Ripley, Jackson County
I grew up in Jackson County and have been blessed with a successful small business in Ripley and Ravenswood. My commitment to Jackson County and West Virginia is strong. I see my success as being rooted in the quality teachers that prepared me.
The current Legislature, however, doesn’t appreciate that investment in education is a springboard to our economic future. I stood on the picket line with teachers when many of our local representatives wouldn’t support pay raises. Teachers got a 5 percent increase, which is a step in the right direction, but more is needed to ensure salaries remain competitive. I support fully funding PEIA, increasing teacher and service personnel pay, and investing in classrooms to support a 21st Century curriculum.
I will support legislation that creates new and affordable technical college programs because students who don’t plan on attending a four-year college should have the opportunity to earn a good wage. We must expand and invest in these programs to promote workforce development and create jobs so our young people can live and work here.
I promise to always protect health care. Most of our representatives voted to cut senior care to balance the budget on the backs of seniors. I will work for a long-term solution for PEIA so all state employees can count on their health care. Under my watch, no one with a pre-existing condition will be denied coverage.
As we think forward, we can’t forget our past. Veterans have been left to fend for themselves, and I will go to Charleston and fight to give them what they deserve. We must do better by those that have taken care of us.
When you think about the future of our state and community, I ask you to consider these priorities when you vote in November. We are at a crossroads. If you think we can do better and believe that education is a solid foundation for West Virginia’s success, then cast your vote for change. Vote Missy Morris for House of Delegates.