Jason Stephens: Southern W.Va. needs accountability

October 30, 2018

This is one of a series of columns written by candidates in contested races in the West Virginia general election on Nov. 6.

I’m a small business owner who knows what it’s like to pay your electricity bill. I will represent the working class that seems to be left behind. For far too long, we keep electing people who fail those who they represent once they are elected. I vow to hold town hall meetings to hear your problems and concerns, a practice that seems to be a thing of the past. I will be accountable, visible and transparent.

I believe we need to capitalize on President Trump’s agenda. We need to copy his economic agenda in West Virginia. West Virginia is on the edge of an economic boom; we must capitalize on the opportunity. Coal that once said was dead is starting to boom once again. Those funds from the severance tax must be used to reinvest in the infrastructure. Once this happens we will see growth in industry and manufacturing.

You have to have places ready now for industries, with water, electric and transportation accessibility. We must lower the business tax to keep our companies and attract new ones to our great state. Too many companies have moved across the border to South Point, Ohio.

This is a wake-up call. West Virginia is better than this. For example, if we lower our coal severance tax by 2 percent, we would in turn do billions per year more than our current numbers. I met with coal executives; they are trying to compete with surrounding states that have lower tax rates than West Virginia. They are going to mine where they save money; currently that’s in other states. That we will make more money by reducing the severance tax only makes sense to me.

Other issues I stand firmly on:

Pro-life: Our current Senator voted in favor of (SB-10) 2016 which would “dismember fetus” during abortion. That is not the beliefs of southern West Virginians. This is another example of how holding town hall meetings to hear from the voters is important. You are elected to represent the people, not your personal agenda. I have campaigned all over my district and have found that southern WV would not have wanted me to vote for SB-10. I feel this is a moral issue. I believe the same as most people do, holding their Christian beliefs near to their heart. I also am in favor of Amendment 1 that’s on the ballot this year. I don’t want any of my money paying for abortion. It’s not the taxpayers’ place to pay for birth control.

2nd Amendment: I favor it 100 percent. I believe every citizen has the right to bear arms. My family and I love to hunt. It’s been basically a family tradition, and I wouldn’t support anything that would jeopardize that.

My family has always stood with Christian beliefs and values. My father is a pastor at a country church in Wayne. Teachings from the Bible are where we have learned our moral values and ethics. I would take that into consideration on every bill I would vote on.

If you believe in the issues I have mentioned here, please go vote. I need your help to make District 7 a better, conservative place to live that can be the shining city on the hill.

Jason Stephens, a resident of Wayne, is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia Senate from District 7, which includes Boone, Lincoln and Logan counties and parts of Mingo and Wayne counties.