U.S. House 3 candidate: Marty Gearheart (R)
NAME: Marty Gearheart
CANDIDATE FOR: West Virginia’s Third Congressional District
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.martygearheart.com
HOME CITY: Bluefield
HOME COUNTY: Mercer
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am a lifelong resident of Bluefield, a small business owner and a battle tested conservative. I am running for Congress to give a voice to forgotten West Virginians. I was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2010 where I represent District 27 and serve as chair of the Roads & Transportation Committee. My campaign platform is the West Virginia First plan which consists of the following points: A Path to a Better West Virginia Economy, Keep West Virginia Safe, Stand with President Donald Trump, Defend West Virginia Values and Combat the Opioid Crisis.
EDUCATION: Diploma from Bluefield High School, B.S. in Education from Concord University
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Member of West Virginia House of Delegates - 27th District; 2008-Present: Gearheart Enterprises LLC (Managing Member).
OTHER WORK HISTORY: 1983-84: William Byrd Middle School in Vinton, VA (Teacher and Football & Baseball Coach). 1984-1985: Jefferson Pilot (Sales). 1985-2008: Acken Signs (Vice President of Sales & Marketing). 1985-91: Outdoor East (Advertising Sales). 1992-1995: Gearheart Men’s Clothing (Owner). 1996-2008: Tammy Lynn Outdoors (Advertising Sales).
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Member of Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce. Former President of Sales Executives Club (based in Mercer County and Tazewell County VA). Former Trustee of Bland Street United Methodist Church
ENDORSEMENTS: Ray Canterbury (Former member of House of Delegates for all/part of Greenbrier, Monroe and Summers Counties; RNC 2016 delegate for Donald Trump); Romey Nelson (Boone County Republican activist); Kevin Honaker (RNC 2016 delegate for Donald Trump from Raleigh County); Joe Ellington (Member of House of Delegates for parts of Mercer and Raleigh Counties); Tony Paynter (Member of House of Delegates for parts of McDowell, Mercer and Wyoming Counties); Mike Baisden (RNC 2016 delegate for Donald Trump from Mingo County); Craig Hammond (Former Bluefield Mayor); Dallas Thacker (Former Huntington City Councilman; Member of Wayne County Republican Executive Committee); Joe Garcia (Former Chairman of Summers County Republican Executive Committee); Dan Hill (RNC 2016 delegate for Donald Trump from Fayette County); Tommy Bailey (Sheriff of Mercer County); Bill Archer (Mercer County Commissioner).
FAMILY: children, Keri Redman, Sara Davies, Leah Gearheart; grandchildren, Rylee Davies, Easton Davies.
1. What measures would you support to address the budget deficit and the national debt?
I am alarmed by the growth in national debt; the most straightforward solution is cutting wasteful spending. Also, I would gladly introduce or cosponsor a federal balanced budget amendment. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 49 out of 50 states have some sort of balanced budget amendment. However, the federal government does not have such a provision.
2. What steps do you think Congress should take to ensure access to affordable healthcare for all Americans?
First, I believe that Congress must repeal the Affordable Care Act as it has failed to reduce healthcare costs for everyday Americans. Second, Congress must utilize market-based solutions, such as purchasing insurance across state lines, in order to bring down costs and ensure access to affordable healthcare.
3. West Virginia has been especially hard hit by the opioid abuse epidemic. What do you see as the role of Congress in addressing this crisis?
Congress’s role in combating the opioid crisis is to focus on prevention, enforcement and treatment. Furthermore, legislators must collaborate with law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community leaders to explore measures such as reforming prescription quantities and prescribing limits in order to find a permanent solution to the epidemic.
4. What measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings?
I believe that the following measures could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings: increasing the number of school resource officers by recruiting retired military and law enforcement and getting rid of “gun-free zones” which prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms in vulnerable areas.
5. What measures do you favor on background checks for gun purchases?
I do not support any measures that further expand background checks for gun purchases. However, the current law and programs, such as the National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS), need to be fully enforced and implemented.
6. How do you think coal fits into the United States’ energy policy?
Our energy policy must continue to promote coal throughout the nation and world. Since President Trump was inaugurated, the coal industry has seen an uptick in production which I believe will continue throughout the administration if the right legislators are elected to defend the coal industry, miners and their families.
7. With the increased incidence of black lung disease in recent years, does more need to be done to protect miners’ health and safety?
Yes, current regulations and safety standards must be fully enforced to protect miners’ health and safety.
8. Do you support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline?
Yes, I fully support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
9. What can you do on the federal level to improve the economic situation in West Virginia?
In Congress, I will strongly advocate for West Virginia in order to improve our economic situation. My offices will collaborate closely with chambers of commerce, economic development agencies and other local & state officials to bring new employers to our state. Furthermore, my goal to fight against over regulation, high taxes and increased government spending will allow for more businesses growth.
10. Do you support a reduction in Medicaid coverage?
No. However, I do not support a further expansion of Medicaid coverage.
11. Do you support immigration reform? What, if any, changes would you make?
I support a merit-based system to allow lawful immigrants into our country. Also, I will work to build the wall in order stop drug traffickers and illegal immigrants from crossing the open border and I will not support any legislation that provides amnesty .
12. What are the United States’ essential security interests and needed outcomes with North Korea?
Our interests and outcomes with North Korea are focused on requiring the nation to eliminate its nuclear arsenal and to eliminate its aggressive behavior towards American allies such as South Korea.
13. Do you favor more federal aid to states to upgrade equipment and systems in order to protect election procedures?
I believe that the secretary of state’s office/department of elections in each state are better suited to address these needs as compared to the federal government. Federal intervention may cause more harm than good.
14. Should the federal government provide more funds for broadband in underserved areas? Why or why not?
The federal government should be involved with ensuring that all Americans are served by this essential piece of infrastructure.
15. Do you think the outline for infrastructure improvements from President Trump can be effective? Why or why not?
As chairman of the Roads and Transportation Committee in the House of Delegates, I’ve learned that infrastructure upgrades are similar to making house repairs; if you aren’t constantly at the task, it can lead to ruin. I believe that President Trump’s outline can be effective as long as we focus on critical infrastructure components such as highways, airports, and bridges.