The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

April 27, 2014

Wide array of topics covered in Chamber’s candidates event

OAK HILL — Senate gridlock on both the state and national levels and government transparency dominated conversations at the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce “Meet the Candidates” forum Wednesday at Holiday Lodge.

Candidates for U.S. Senate, West Virginia Senate, the 32nd House of Delegates District and the Fayette County Board of Education were asked various questions and given 1.5 minutes to deliver their responses.   

Hampton Cokeley spoke on behalf of U.S. Senate Republican candidate Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. He was asked, if elected, would Capito vote along party lines or for the good of West Virginia?

“You look at her past record, she’s more than willing to work ... for what’s best for West Virginia. You see this all the time in different votes. ... she might vote with the Democrats if she feels it’s best for West Virginia, and vice versa. She’s more of a moderate candidate.”

Answering the same question on behalf of Democratic Senate hopeful, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, State Sen. Bill Laird said, “I think the only way to effectively deal with that (Washington) gridlock is to reach across the aisle and work in a bipartisan sense for the benefit of citizens of the United States. I am confident that ... Natalie Tennant is well aware of that. She has an incredible aptitude and ability to work with others.”

Underdog Democratic candidate David Wamsley said he believes we need to look at the world’s view of the Senate.

“Their actions have an impact on people worldwide, and you need somebody that’s a leader.”

Wamsley said that he would propose a rural road rehabilitation act and increased prescription drug treatment facilities, and also believes that “40 percent of our students should go to vocational students so they can go get a real job.”

As part of the race for the 10th District state Senate seat, Democrat incumbent Ron Miller was pressed on the state Legislature’s inability “to get the job done” without going into special sessions and wasting taxpayer money.

“We’ve probably had, since I’ve been in Senate, one special session, and that’s this time,” Miller replied. “We have extended sessions, and that’s doing budget work. In order to get the budget done, we have to wait until session’s finished in order to see what bills have passed.”

Miller said that special sessions usually result from problems that have developed, and that the May special session will happen the same time as interims.

“It deals with the minimum wage bill, where there was a flaw in that piece of legislation and we’re going to have to fix that flaw ... ,” Miller said.

Republican opponent Duane Zobrist asserted that he has heard from constituents that “this last session was problematic and very little came out of it.”

“This year there were over 100 job creation bills that sat in committee that didn’t make it to the floor,” said Zobrist. “That’s not acceptable. We need to be able to build an environment where businesses come here and not leave here, and it needs to happen during the regular session.”

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