AP NEWS

Series of steps can bring prosperity to state

October 28, 2018 GMT

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

The compelling question is do you know who the candidates are and what they bring to the office that will have a positive and prosperous effect on our state and our future. So very important for all of us in deciding how best to keep West Virginia moving in a positive direction.

For decades West Virginia has suffered from a negative stigmatism, but that’s changing. We now have a strong and growing economy (sixth in the nation); more jobs have been added, including manufacturing and mines opening; all state employees were provided raises, including teachers; tourism is thriving; and we have a budget surplus. That’s thanks to responsible leadership that feels West Virginia deserves better. Moving in the right direction with more to do.

The opioid crisis has brought a lot to the front and center. It’s brought to our attention the crisis of foster care, which has over 6,000 kids waiting for and deserving a safe home. It also has shown us that we need good-paying jobs to increase the standard of living and not just minimum wages where people are barely existing and feeling despair. I know we can make a positive difference in getting citizens help and hope, and we have.

A quality education is a significant key to opening doors for our students to have a better future and better jobs; all options should be considered to assist students with obtaining a competitive education including career technical schools. I have coined the term “Learn to Earn” to stress that many of the jobs that are in high demand, with higher wages, are waiting for our workforce to acquire the skills. Career technical schools offer these programs and should be encouraged and funded and accessible to students.

West Virginia has a lot to offer to in-state travelers as well as tourists across the nation and internationally, and we have begun to see this segment growing and attracting more visitors to the beauty and the activities of our state. We can do more to bring in this revenue to our state. The tourism economy provides jobs as well as funds for building infrastructure and directly affects the GDP and encourages investment by businesses.

With a better and friendlier legal business climate that West Virginia has achieved in the past few years, we must look at eliminating the business and inventory tax that burdens manufacturing and other operations. Eliminating this tax allows businesses to keep more money and invest in growing their companies and hiring more employees and increasing wages.

Reducing taxes overall; building a better infrastructure; treating the opioid crisis with funding for recovery and balancing actions to reduce drugs on our streets; workforce ready trained workers; better education that is decided by local boards, teachers and parents; taking care of our seniors that have helped build our state and of course our veterans that protect our nation. Big menu, but why not think bigger?

With a strong business career and an entrepreneurial attitude, it will be my pleasure to use my experience and skills in helping to build a state that flourishes and is prosperous.

Joyce Holland, a resident of Huntington, is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates from District 17, which includes parts of Cabell and Wayne counties.