LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — The ballot for the House of Delegates and State Senate were on display on April 19, 2022, with a forum for the public to ask their candidates how they feel about this year’s most pressing campaign issues.
Incumbent Democrat Stephen Baldwin and Republicans Thomas Perkins, Vince Deeds, and Mike Steadham are running for Senate District 10. For the House of Delegates, Incumbent Mike Honaker is running in the new District 46 with Republicans Mark Alan Robinson, Karen McCoy, and Democrat Paul Detch; Democrat Heather Hill is running in District 47 against Incumbent Republican Todd Longanacre.
Some topics fell along the same lines as this year’s legislative session with a wide-ranging focus on tourism, broadband, and foster care systems.
Candidates on both sides of the aisle agreed tourism is the future of the Mountain State’s economy.
“We have got to work on our affordable housing here locally, we have got to make sure that it is just not seasonal employment, but long-term employment for folks in the tourism industry,” Stephen Baldwin, Democratic Senator for Greenbrier County, said.
“Agrotourism is something that’s new and it is new to our area,” Republican State Senate candidate Vince Deeds said. “We have a lot of farms in our area that are doing agro-tourism and that way people get exposed to farming life and then they also get to have the fun and wealth of West Virginia.”
The state legislature passed bipartisan legislation to bring more consumer protections and rules for broadband companies, but after a veto at the Governor’s Desk — it will appear again in the next Special Session. Candidates said improvements to broadband are no longer optional.
“It is a fact that we need internet access,” Mike Honaker, Republican Delegate for Greenbrier County, said. “During the pandemic, the western end of the pandemic, the Meadow River Valley, as many as 40 or 45 percent of the kids over there never accessed online education, either they did not know how or they did not have the resource.”
“It is integral for consistent education, for business, and for growing our economy so it needs to be revisited,” Democratic Candidate for the House of Delegates, Heather Hill, said.
After bills aimed at addressing the faults of the foster care system in the state failed to pass, candidates across the board said substantial change still needs to happen including changes to the Department of Health and Human Resources and Child Protective Services. They also said more incentives are needed for families to become foster parents.
People in Greenbrier County can take an even closer look at what’s coming up on the ballot on April 26, 2022, at the State Fairgrounds as candidates running for county races take the stage.