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West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Video-Interview with John King-Independent Candidate for Sheriff-Jefferson County WV

Learn about John Kings experience, attitude toward public service and much more in this interview. Richard Urban Show episode #53.

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West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with S. Marshall Wilson-Independent Candidate for Governor-West Virginia

Learn about S. Marshall Wilson’s stand for constitutional freedoms and other key points of his platform.
Note: S. Marshall Wilson is a write-in candidate.
Marshall Wilson’s website
Other candidates for Governor are:
Danny Lutz Jr-Mountain Party
Erika Kolenich-Libertarian
Ben Salango-Democrat
Jim Justice-Republican

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West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Danny Lutz Jr-Mountain Party Candidate for Governor-West Virginia

Learn about the platform and views of Danny Lutz Jr, the Mountain Party Candidate for Governor of West Virginia.
Danny Lutz Jr’s website
Other candidates for Governor are:
Marshall Wilson-Independent
Erika Kolenich-Libertarian
Ben Salango-Democrat
Jim Justice-Republican

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West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Tom Hansen-Republican Candidate for Sheriff-Jefferson County WV

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Tom Hansen Article

Welcome to this June 2 edition of the Richard Urban Show. We present news and views from God’s point of view. We’re very happy to have Tom Hansen on. He’s running as a Republican for sheriff here in Jefferson County. So please introduce yourself.

“I’m Tom Hansen. I am a Republican candidate for nominee for sheriff of Jefferson County, I’m the only candidate running for sheriff with 20 years of law enforcement experience, specifically in Jefferson County, specifically with the Jefferson County sheriff’s office,” Hansen said.

Richard: So what are the three main things you would like to accomplish? What made you decide to run for sheriff? What are you looking to bring to the department? You mentioned your experience but what would be your other plans?

“Well sir, one of the things I noticed is the moral of the department has gone down very badly. I want to re-instill this morale. I also want to re-instill the faith in the sheriff’s office for the citizens. I talked to some yesterday, they say, ‘we never see the police’. And I want to change that. I want them to be seen. I want them be heard and I want them be noticed and I want them to know that the sheriff’s office in Jefferson County, the largest police agency in the county, is there to protect them,” Hansen responded.

“I also want to try to get more manpower for the department, administrative and sworn. When I came on the department in 1995, I was unit 50, the sheriff was unit 40, they were nine other deputies because unit 40 wasn’t there that were on the streets and when I went to work on midnight shift, sometimes at 2 o’clock in the morning I was the only police around in the county. So I know what it’s like to be short of manpower, so I want to try to increase that and make sure that changes,” Hansen added.

“I want to make sure that the communications with the sheriff’s office is open to the public, that people can come talk to me and know that they can really share with us as and we’ll be responsive to their needs, their requirements or their wants,” Hansen said.

Richard: You mentioned having more presence of the department. Well, how do you see that? Do you feel there needs to be a lot more staffing or budget or I guess those kind of changes? Would it depend a lot on getting the budget or can you work with the budget that’s ready there? Do you want to comment on that?

“Right now because of the corona virus or pandemic, whatever you wanna call it, and I’m quite sure it’s going to be a shortage of fiscal availability because the county hasn’t gotten any casino money in 70 plus 80 days now, and they haven’t got it. They’re just now starting to get hotel occupancy taxes again, so it’s going to be tough for a while, but I’m quite sure that there are other ways obtain money,” Hansen said.

Richard: How much more staff do you think is needed?

AUDIO”The department of Justice says, there should be one man minimum for every 1500 residents. The Census Bureau says we have right now about 59,000 people. I think it’s a little over-60 because we do have transient population.  People who work at the race track in the barns area. People at the University. They’re not residents here, but they live here, and so I’m quite sure it’s over 60,000 people in the county so that means we should have 45 deputies. Right now we have approximately 35. So at least another 10,” Hansen said.

Richard: Okay, do you know what percentage of the budget goes toward the tax department?  -because that’s a major function of the sheriff’s office. Right? Collect property taxes.

 “Yes sir.  The budget itself, I can’t say exactly how much does go there. I used to be able to answer because I used to help write their budget. But the major amount of the county’s budget from the sheriff’s office goes to the law enforcement side. But the chief deputy [unclear audio] will have a great working relationship with that I’ve known for years, is able to keep everything on track, is able to keep everything on track.  As far as exactly how much they get now I couldn’t tell you.  I’ve been retired for five years.  But, believe me The tax office is a very important part of the sheriff’s office and myself and the chief tax deputy will be working at hand-in-hand to make sure everything’s working fine there,” Hansen responded. H.

Richard: I know you mentioned you’re a strong supporter of second amendment rights.  if there are so-called “Red Flag” laws, which I know we don’t anticipate here in West Virginia, or that kind of thing, but it’s come up obviously in Virginia, would you enforce those kind of edicts, or not enforce them if they’re not like constitutional?

“Well, let me explain something to you. Mr. Urban, I’m also retired military between my military career and my law enforcement career, I have taken my oath to uphold the Constitution probably about 15 times. The constitution is very important to me and anything that’s unconstitutional, or close to being unconstitutional, I would not have my men enforce. If there’s adjudication, if the individual has been deemed a threat and has been adjudicated in front of a court, not just a hearing in front of a judge that somebody swears he’s violent or whatever, we’ll enforce that. If it’s been adjudicated in front of the courts. ” Hansen said.

“To give you an example, a law enforcement officer was involved in an incident, and had to take deadly force on a subject. The mother went into court and lied, saying she was a member of his family, and felt as though he was a threat because he had guns and it wasn’t only because the sheriff of that county went, I know this man and this is wrong, and I don’t know who this person is, but the judge had already signed the paperwork. That’s unconstitutional to take his second amendment rights away for things like that,” Hansen added.

Richard: To change the topic a little bit related with the current COVID-19 situation, with many different executive orders from the governor and some of them we see come down to our county. I’ve noticed like even kind of crazy stuff, like I noticed the park’s closed and there’s no park benches, in Moulten Park. What I’m trying to say is, so those kind of orders, like theoretically, I suppose like I went to Molten Park on Memorial Day and there were many people there. I suppose, if the officers want to take it to extreme, they could arrest someone, you know. ‘Hey, why are you in the park? It’s closed’. What about orders like that, would you enforce those kind of things?

“Can I make observation? It’s the same thing with the mail in ballot. Okay, we can go to Walmart, we can go to Costco in Frederick or Winchester, or we can go to Sam’s Club in Hagerstown or Frederick. We can go to any story on the area with a mask on, but we can’t go to a park, we can’t go to the courts and have a ballot. Because they felt as though they’re afraid. But he’ll go to Walmart, right? Ridiculous”, Hansen said.

Richard: So I think you mentioned on your website, of course you’re concerned as well about the opioid situation – the whole situation. Do you have any specific ideas about that, like what you could do maybe that’s different or that’s not being done or in general?

“Jefferson County is not an island. We’re not an oasis. We are surrounded. And most of our opioids come from Maryland, Baltimore to be specific. What I want to do is I want to point and sit down with the sheriffs of Loudon and Clark in Washington and Frederick and Berkeley County, either all together or, separately, trying to get a meeting with all of them and set up in the liaison system, where if, say, Loudon County sheriff’s office is doing a checkpoint on the county state line on 340, then we’ll do one up on Route 9, coming into Route 9, so that we try to work with and also do the same thing.” Hansen said.

Richard: Training, I think, you mentioned about training a little earlier. So with the training officers, we see a lot of stuff happening around the country now with the unrest and rioting stuff and it seems like that officer in Minneapolis was known for not being a very good officer, the one who’s accused of murdering like George Floyd. My question simply is, training, do you have any comment about training – the importance. Do you have any comment on it?

“First of all, let me explain. So, unfortunately when we hire police we have to hire from the human race, Hiring police officers take sometimes up to two years. There is a written test, there’s a physical agility test, there is a polygraph test and there’s psychology valuation, the psychological test is a psychological interview. There’s a background investigation. There’s a medical evaluation. There’s academy training, and then there’s six months of field training officer training where they’re riding around with a seasoned officer. And during those times, we do our best to try to weed out bad ones. Something that pops up, ‘this isn’t good’, and let’s stop him right here. But sometimes they slip through the cracks.

Richard: So we are coming towards the close here, I know you’re running against Steve Harris on the Republican ticket. So why would the voters choose you versus Mr. Harris? How would you really differentiate yourself?

“Well, I know the Jefferson County sheriff’s office, I know the citizens of Jefferson County. I’ve been here for 25 years and I’ve been associated in law enforcement for 20 of those years, here in Jefferson County. And there are a lot of people here that know me. I was the school resource officer Jefferson high school from 99 to 2000….   And so I’m known in the county, but I know the workings of all the departments in the sheriff’s office.  The animal control, the tax office and the sheriff’s Law Enforcement Division. I know them, I know how it works and I know West Virginia law. I know about chapter seven, which is the hiring, firing and disciplining of a deputy and I know how it works. And no one is better fitted for the sheriff’s office than me. So that’s pretty much what I want to say,” Hansen said.

Richard: Any other closing thoughts?

“Well, I’d like to say this. I have been endorsed by Patrick Morrisey. My campaign is endorsed by Patrick Morrisey, the chief law enforcement officer of this state. If that doesn’t tell you who’s the best candidate nothing does. And I’ve also been endorsed by the Tea Party and We the People of West Virginia. And that tells you that I’m conservative. So I think those two points, right there would tell you that I’m the best candidate,” Hansen concluded.

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West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Steve Harris-Republican for Sheriff-Jefferson County West Virginia

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Steve Harris-Article

Good morning. Welcome to this edition of the Richard Urban show where we present news and views from God’s point of view. I’m your host, Richard Urban. Today, we’re very happy to have Steve Harris on. He’s running for Sheriff of Jefferson County. So please introduce yourself.

Good morning, thank you Mr. Urban for this opportunity to speak to your listeners.

My name is Steve Harris and I’m a candidate for Jefferson County Sheriff. I’m a native born and raised West Virginia candidate and my wife and I first moved to Jefferson County back in 1990.

I am a retired law enforcement professional and I am the candidate with the most total years of experience as well as the most years of experience in a variety of specialty skills.

I’m also a constitutional candidate for sheriff, which means that I will protect citizens, constitutional rights to and including the Second Amendment, the Sheriff of Jefferson County must be professional fair, honest and have integrity, all of which are the backbone of my candidacy. The sheriff must be friendly, approachable, with the residents.

Richard: you’ve been in the county since 1990. I know that you had quite a bit of experience in different counties, like in Prince George’s County and other places. So what prompted you, what are the main reason or three main reasons you’re running at this time, what prompted you to run right now?

“One of the biggest areas that I have a problem with is the erosion between law enforcement and the community. That has bothered me.

I was born back in Harrison County, West Virginia. I always had the utmost respect for law enforcement. There was a lot of communication, back then it was much different. You didn’t have all the patrols inside of a cruiser that you do now. Basically, that was the very beginning to community policing. We didn’t know it.

So my thing is I wanna restore the communication, the understanding and the support of the community along with law enforcement. We need to be a partner in this fight against crime. It’s not a one-man job, it’s the entire community. And one of my things within my plans within my community policing, is that as the sheriff, I will get out into the community. Come to you, get out of my chair at that office, come out to you and meet with you in your community, and I will ask you, What’s the problems and we’ll have real discussion of what the problems have been, in the past, what the problems are today and what we see as the roles to fix it for tomorrow.

Richard: I live up here in Shannondale, and usually we don’t see anybody around. Not that that’s bad, necessarily. As far as the patrols. How would this work in say in Shannondale, for instance? How would this kind of liaison work? What would you do?

Well, I would find somebody within the community itself, to act directly as liaison between me and the community itself. whether that’s a person that would step forward to want to do that, or the people of Shannondale say, “Hey let’s get behind this guy, or this lady and see if they will step up and be a partner with the sheriff and to ensure that we need to get the things done in Shannondale that we want.”

I live in Shannondale. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

I noticed on your materials, you were saying you wouldn’t enforce any unconstitutional Red Flag laws or Second Amendment type laws like that, should they ever be passed. Is that right?

That’s correct and everybody out there can hold me to that. That is a promise. There are a number of counties, or not in so much counties within our state, but counties surrounding us, that have put those kind of laws on the books. Then cities. I don’t see that happening right now, here in West Virginia. I know there’s a push for it, but as the county sheriff I’m a constitutional officer.

My obligation is not only to enforce the laws of our state, and our county and our country but it’s also to ensure that people’s constitutional rights are not violated.

Now there’s a conversation as to whether or not, the Governor, well that was an unconstitutional act and this and that. Law enforcement as a whole, whether you’re a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, a state trooper, a city police officer. There’s a lot of discretion in law enforcement. And a lot of times it’s up to the leader of that particular agency to determine what discretion gets used. We recently here in Jefferson County, had two areas that were shut down, the Sheriff’s Department shut them down under what they thought was the Governor’s order. I would not have shut those two places down. And I’ll tell you why. The reason is because you could have gone into those situations knowing the COVID-19 problem that we have, and you could have put in play situations where those people could have done social distancing, while still being able to operate.

Richard: So those were business closures of a restaurant or a small business, or what was that?

“Well, well, one had to do with a weapons range where people could go and shoot. The other one had to do with a golf course. Those were the two businesses that I spoke of a particular they were in a paper, there were a lot of people up in arms about why those were shut. As the sheriff, even though weather or not the order by the governor is a constitutional or not, dependent on what people felt. I would not have shut those businesses down. I would have sent the deputies out there or I would have gone out there myself, when I received complaints or the knowledge if they were still operating. I would have gone out and had a discussion with those business owners and said, “Look I’m a pro-business as anybody in this world and I know that there’s a lot of business out here. That this shutting down is not only going to hurt their business, it’s gonna kill their business. It’s gonna affect our personal lives. So, let’s figure up a plan here together, so that you can continue to operate under the social distancing Laws and the plans that we have in effect, and not put you in a bind that is going to cause a spread of this COVID-19, and it’s also not gonna put you in a financial bind as well.

Richard: you were talking about discretion. I was down at the Moulton Park on Memorial Day and it’s supposedly closed. People were enjoying the park. Obviously, I’m glad to see there weren’t any offices there arresting people. However, it all the picnic tables were removed. The point is, I think there is discretion.  Somebody decided, people shouldn’t congregate in the park. Well, if you took it to an extreme, the sheriff could say, “hey we’re gonna enforce it, where you go down to the park and arrest the people who are congregating. Do you know where I’m going with this?

“Yeah, exactly, and I don’t think that serves a purpose. I just don’t see going out and locking people up because they went to the park and I don’t think that’s what the governor of our state or any state truly wanted to have happen.

If you had officers out there just simply ask the people, “Look, can you please keep at least six foot between you?” you approach it from a different aspect. You don’t go out there and go locking people up for this stuff.

It’s one thing now, if somebody is just blatantly doing something, they’re not keeping distance between people, they’re not wearing masks, they’re not doing anything at all to stop the spread of COVID-19. Then sometimes your hands get tired, but I don’t think going out and closing somebody’s business, down.

You can even turn it over to the health department in some of these cases, if it’s a health department issue. But it’s important, I think for the sheriff to use that discretion.

Richard: when you compare your candidacy to your opponent, I know you have an opponent, Mr. Hansen in the primary, what is different? Why should we choose you versus your opponent?

Well, I’ll start right off with Shannondale. I have been a long-time person that has endorsed another way off of this mountain. My opponent now says that he supports another way off of this mountain as well. I was the one, I pushed it out. We’re in our second home here. By the way, in Shannondale. We live off of gate one. But our first home was up off of gate four. My wife and I stood out there on our front deck and watched the wildfire across the mountain coming across that mountain from the Virginia side down coming down toward the Shannondale club and lake. That was a pretty scary situation.  Every year while we lived up there to the back of us was state Park land and every hunting season, we would have the fire trucks up there back in the woods trying to put out fires from folks who would be back there hunting and throwing their cigarette down.

So, sadly, but it’s a fact, if we have a major disaster, or a major fire up here there are people at some point that are trapped, and cannot get off of this mountain. I don’t want that to be a fact. I view public safety as just that. Public safety. I have a responsibility to everybody in this county to ensure that they are provided as much safety from the department, as well as from, means safety of getting in and out of their communities in case a disaster as possible…

My opponent likes to make an issue of the fact that he’s been a deputy sheriff for 20 plus years here in Jefferson County.

I was not a deputy sheriff for 20 some years. I have 40 years of experience but not as a deputy sheriff in Jefferson County. I did work for Berkeley County after I retired the first time for two years as a court Bailiff.

I grew up here in West Virginia, so I understand West Virginia law enforcement having a cousin that was a deputy sheriff and having the county sheriff, one of the best friends of our family, that was like an uncle to me as I grew up. I have worked alongside, and been best friends. I’ve ridden with the Blue Nights Association, which is here in West Virginia, which is all made up of law enforcement people.

So what I bring to the table different is that I bring here and not only an understanding of West Virginia law enforcement. I also bring an understanding of other ways to get things done instead of the same old, same old things the way it has been. If my opponent, who in fact likes to claim that he was either the number one or number two guy, at times under the sheriff, if there was those issues that he wanted to get done, he sure certainly had the opportunity while he was a deputy sheriff, to intervene and take care of some of those situations. I don’t see him having done that.

The big difference to me in between me and him, is the way we’ve seen within the community.

I certainly care about the way my image [is]. I care about the law enforcement profession. I like to talk with people, have conversation with them, and I am not seen as a person of arrogance or bullying and I don’t ever wanna be seen that way.

I’ll be the same guy as your sheriff that I am sitting here right now.

But I think our experience level, is the main difference. I’ve got a lot of experience in a lot of different fields. My experience level comes from multiple states, not just from Jefferson County, West Virginia.

Richard: as we’re drawing to a close anything else you’d like to share with the voters, as they’re approaching June 9th.

“I would just simply ask them to keep in touch with me on Facebook or my email…

I think if people could check into my web page.

And that’s as steveharris4sheriff2020.com, they could check into my Facebook page, which is Steve Harris for Jefferson County Sheriff, share and my email, and all that’s listed right on all Those spots.

I would just simply say that I feel that I’m the absolute best candidate for this job. I’m concerned about the drug problem in this county and I have a drug investigator experience. I’ve got a grandson that still goes to the school. My kids grew up going to these schools, we need to give them a safe place to go to school, a safe place to live, and I’m the man to do that job.

Richard: thank you very much, thank you for joining us today. So everyone do vote on June 9th. Also, we’ve got three Supreme Court justices who will be elected then and the magistrates and of course all the primaries on both sides.

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West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Tricia Jackson-Republican for County Commissioner-Harpers Ferry District-Jeff Cty WV

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Tricia Jackson article

Welcome to this edition of the Richard Urban Show. I’m your host Richard Urban, coming to you from historic Harpers Ferry, WV. We present news and views from God’s point of view. Today, May 30, we’re very happy to have Tricia Jackson on. She is running for County Commissioner, on the Republican ticket. So please introduce yourself.

“So I am Tricia Jackson. I’m running for county commissioner Harpers Ferry District on the Republican ticket. I will be on the Republican primary ballot. If you’ve already started with the early voting, which started yesterday, you probably saw my name on the back of the ballot,” Jackson said.

Richard: I know you have experience. You’re an entrepreneur. Tell us a little more about this and your background. Why you’re running? Why did you decide to run? What are the most important points you want to emphasize as you’re running for this position?

“I am small business owner, an entrepreneur.  I have an HR consulting firm called Next Generation Human Resource Solutions, I provide human resource services to small emerging businesses in the Eastern Panhandle or Virginia, Maryland. Everything pretty much from hiring to performance-related issues, disciplinary action, terminations, handbooks, standard operating procedure manuals, benefits administration or management, just kind of a pillar of advisement to a lot of small businesses in managing their workforce.  I commuted to northern Virginia, my career, for about 25 years.  I’ve been a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, so that commute became a bit too much.  I’ve got my degree in Business Administration from Liberty University with the concentration of project management”, Jackson said.

“So I that’s a little bit about my background. I decided that after meeting some small business owners in the area, my services could be used [unclear audio]. So I came back home, started my own business and that’s what I’ve been doing this for about three years now. I work from home. I’m solopreneur, I guess you could say, ’cause it’s just me. That’s my background….  I serve as vice chair on the Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency.  I have been on there almost two years.  I am chair of their audit committee. So I’m really engaged and involved with our first responders, hands on, particularly with emergency services. So after being on that board for about a year and a half, I was prompted to run. You as well as myself live in a rural area of the county, where services aren’t always abundant or readily available to meet our needs. There are other outlying areas in the county as well,” Jackson added.

“So one of the things prompted me to run. Government gets bigger, my big thing. Governments getting bigger, demanding more of our money dipping their hands into our pockets. Services are getting smaller. So I lend a lot of my human resource project management, those types of experiences to the emergency services agency in helping them do some things around hiring and policies and procedures and that sort of thing. So, I want to lend my experience, my skill set to the county and help try to get some things in order.  I’ve seen first-hand, you’re sitting through budget meetings and so forth, wasteful spending. I believe that our emergency services personnel, that’s fire rescue, police – should be priority and in budget for our county. We’re providing essential services to the county, and I’ve set through budget meetings where they’re begging and pleading.” Jackson said.

Richard: How is the health of our emergency services, meaning how is the status of it? I saw somewhere, maybe in the recent commission history or recent years, or some argument over increasing or decreasing a fee for $5. I don’t know if you want to comment on that, but how, in general, is it going with the emergency services in Jefferson, County?

“So you’re talking about the ambulance fee, which I don’t believe was adequately or appropriately should I say, presented to the residents and why it was needed. So that money comes in to hire staffing. The paramedics the EMTs that run on the ambulances, the apparatus itself, is owned by the fire departments. So you’re actually paying the salaries and the running of the personnel of that agency through that ambulance fee. …. Recently, the County Commission has talked about, been toying with for about a year, a fire fee, implementing a fire fee.  And one of the things they want to do is take the operational funds that the county currently provides to the volunteer fire departments, to keep the lights on and all that sort of stuff, because they are volunteers none of these are paid fire, they want to redirect those funds to build a new county government facility, ”Jackson said.

Richard: One thing I noticed on Memorial Day, I went with down a friend to Moulten Park. I noticed they had removed all the picnic tables, and I was aghast, so I assume that was because the park is supposedly closed, although were quite a lot of people there anyway. There are no picnic tables or porta potty, and I said, “What a waste of our money.” So do you have any insight on that?  So would that fall under the purview of the commission? They waste your money, taking the tables out, thousands of dollars. I guess that’s ridiculous.

“So here’s basically how the bureaucracy kind of works. You get orders from the governor on the recent events with this COVID-19, we get the orders from the governor, which does roll down to the county and county commission. Now county commission appoints and fills the board seats, including the health department. At some point, There was a little bit of cart blanche with the health department, or the Health Director, on what was going  to be allowed, what wasn’t going to be allowed,” Jackson said.

“I think there were some things that happened that were overreaching to some businesses and things in the area, that made the county commission step in and say, “Hey now, we probably need to re-evaluate this, or look at this. But for all intensive, purposes, the county commission steps back. They appoint these boards and these committees to do their job because they’re specializing in those areas.  There just need to be a little bit more common sense approach to things and not necessarily just jumping off the deep end,” Jackson added.

Richard: So you’re saying that the Commission has authority ultimately over the health department and you referred to a committee on the commission or something like that?

“So my emergency services agency board, I sat before the County Commission and was interviewed by them in order to be nominated or placed on that board. …

I am, I believe, in less government-limited government, I don’t believe the government should get involved in every intricate detail of our lives. I am concerned it ever reach some people like that, but I think the majority the people like their freedom and like to be able to make their own decisions on…So if you haven’t gone into Walmart on a good day before this virus came and caught something, but you can go and there’s no regulations or overreach going into Walmart any given day now, I don’t understand the other stipulations.”

Richard:  I agree with you. I assume the Health Department told the parks. ‘Hey, shut down’. They removed the tables. Or the parks may be they decided to do that. What’s going on? It’s crazy.

“What concerns me about the health department being overreaching as a small business owner? I’m very passionate about helping and propping up small businesses, helping them grow and thrive in this county. It’s something that’s been lacking for a long time. So, it’s no coincidence I mentioned Walmart. There’s several small businesses in the area, particularly restaurants or food service and they have been a ping pong ball in this whole thing. Particularly with direction from the health department. You can open, but you can only have 10 people in, and then while you can’t open in, you can open out. And so they go the extent of having picnic tables or some type of outside seating so they can open ’cause their business has been closed for several weeks. I visited an establishment the other day. It’s a small business. They just opened back up where they could do 50%, capacity. I called to make sure that, do I need a reservation. Are you at max is there wait, whatever, before I even go out. No problem, got a reservation. I need you to wear a mask across the threshold into the business. Use the hand sanitizer. That’s sitting at the door, but then you can take your mask off when you get to the table.”

Richard:  There’s been controversy about over the last years with the Jefferson County Development Authority and The whole Rockwool thing. It wasn’t transparent, right?   How do you see the role of the Jefferson County Development Authority? And also, a related question would be, what role, if any, does the commission play with ongoing legal issues that people are filing around Rockwell?

“So I’ll be the first to say I don’t think Rockwell was a good fit for our county. -but they’re coming. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to stop them. They’ve done the things they’ve needed to do in order to get this business up and going so I think they’re coming.”

“I don’t really know right now, what role that county would play in legal fees or any type of action related to any legalities around some of these groups.  I know the Board of Education was gonna take up a lawsuit or was trying to take up a lawsuit and petition the county commission who has oversight on the election, to run a special election  for funding and put it out, or increase levy rates ’cause they’re spending money elsewhere. So I don’t really know what involvement the county would have legally to stop a law suit.  I wouldn’t support any funding of a lawsuit of a business coming in.”

Richard; But on the role of how it happened.  The whole Jefferson County Development Authority resigned at one point, and I was reading on the County Commission website that that authority is appointed by or under the county commission. So it seemed like people didn’t know about the PILOT agreement and didn’t know about the change from a residential and retail development, which they got a million dollars for developing a plan for, to an industrial property.

But obviously, the Development Authority knew about that and was trying to bring these people but it seemed like they weren’t telling anybody else. Something seemed to be wrong there. Do you have any comment on that?

“I’m a proponent for small business, and I know Rockwell comes in labeled as a small business, and under federal government, they are a small business. Small business, 50 people or less 100 people or less. I’m for businesses coming here, and I’m for rebuilding the Development Authority to be specific to your question. I’m all for transparency and communication. It’s how do you get that mode of communication out so that people are aware.  We’re in an age of technology.”

“You have a website and you email blast. You heavily rely on people to go to the internet. We have a huge demographic that doesn’t use internet.   Or we have a lot of people that travel out of the community to work.  They commute. How do you get that information out there?  But at the same time, you elect people to county commission to appoint people to these boards.  And that board’s tasked with doing a job, just like the health department. So, you’ve got a set of standards or you’ve got a set of guidelines for which you court businesses to come to the area. What are they? What do they look like? What is a fit for our community?  We can’t be a bedroom community. We just can’t. That means, Citizens are going to bear the burden of the growing government and taxes and fees.”

Richard:  I know that you have the opponent in the primary. How would you compare your yourself, or why would voters choose you over your opponent and how do you differentiate yourself?

“So, one my wealth of experience – small business owner, human resource management, project management, operations, management, lifelong resident. I know what used to be here, I know what’s not here anymore, so I’ve got a lot to offer a lot to bring to the table. I’m very passionate about given our resident a voice and representing them. I never thought I would get into government but I’m just tired, I’m tired and I can only imagine other people out there, just being tired and feeling hopeless and like nothing can be done.”

“My opponent ran in 2018, I believe it was, for the same seat and was defeated. He is currently a P-Card field representative for the state auditor’s office, and he represents, he’s out in this area.

So he helps municipalities and county governments and he helps them or encourages them to switch to what’s called the P-card, which is like it’s a purchase card so it’s loaded with, like a credit card. I think you get 1.25% rebate on it, if you use that. So he’d like to see all expenses for the state or the local government go on that.   My main concern with him, given his current profession, which from what I understand he has no intent of resigning from if he’s successful in getting into county commission, is how do you set on a county commission board or a county commission seat and set a budget for the very dollars You’re gonna help the government spend, that’s a conflict of interest to me.  I don’t have that conflict.”

“The only thing I am in this for personally, because I don’t want to part with more of my money, I don’t want to spend more money on services that I’m not receiving.  That’s it. I’m out to represent everybody in this county. To hopefully bring some transparency to the government. Open honest dialogue, communication. I want them to feel heard and listened to. I might not always have the answer, but I’ll work to get it.  If I don’t have it, or if it’s something, I want to hear what they think and what they say and help them understand that if it’s something that cannot be done, why it cannot be done.”

Richard:  I do urge everyone to get out and vote on June 9. Any other closing comments or anything you’d like to share?

“Just vote Tricia Jackson, County Commission, Harpers Ferry district. I’m on the back of the ballet.”

Richard:   thank you for joining us today.

Categories
West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Barbara Fuller-Jefferson County WV Board of Education Candidate

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Welcome to this addition of the Richard Urban Show where we present news and views from God’s point of view.  Today, May 30, we have on Barbara Fuller. She’s running for the Board of Education here in Jefferson County. So please introduce yourself.

“Thank you so much for having me. My name is Barbara Fuller and I am a wife of a retired Air Force Tech Sergeant. We moved to Jefferson County in 2007 when my husband retired from over 22 years of active service. With me we brought four children, three that were in Jefferson County schools, one who had graduated early from high school. We chose Jefferson County, due to the vast history that it has to offer. I was a history major in college, and I grew up just loving history and anything that has to do with it,” Fuller said.

“I am running for the Board of Education because of my experience that I’ve had personally with the Jefferson County Board of Education. More in-depth. Basically, I have three children that were in, are in Jefferson County schools. One is gifted sports kid, one is the kid that fell through the cracks and has an IEP, so he has a couple of difficulties. And then I have my last, who is just, there’s no way to describe her. She doesn’t fit anywhere. She’s a little bit of everything. My experience with the school system is that not everybody’s treated fairly, not everybody is treated the same. I’ve had my son, who has an IEP. The school felt that, when he was in grade school, felt that it was appropriate to IEP the other two children. Without my knowledge, without my approval. Yeah, for reasons that I’m not even sure. One didn’t want to write sentences about flowers. He was five years old or six years old and all he cared about was super heroes, so he didn’t fit what they wanted him to do. So, he now has a speech problem because he can’t write about a flower.” Fuller continued.

“We switched schools. Fortunately, he was a student at North Jeff and they were having their issues. So we were allowed to switch them. Once he went over and at Shepherdstown Elementary he was able to bloom and they were like, “Why does he and IEP?”  “I don’t know”. I have a huge want to make sure that parents know why their children are IEPed, the things that are available to them. Because it was more like baptism by fire, and it shouldn’t have to be. You shouldn’t have to cry yourself to sleep at night. Wondering if your child’s getting everything that’s available to them,” Fuller added.

Richard: Okay, so we’re talking about special education. What kind of specific changes would you advocate? And also, so you were saying they gave your kids an IEP, and the other side of the coin is if parents want, in your experience or knowledge, in Jefferson public schools that parents want their child, like evaluated, is it done timely? I guess, those are different angles of the same question.

“Well, for my oldest son, who had his IEP, he needed it. There’s no if, ands or buts, but he needed it. It was good for him. The others, I don’t know what their thinking was, but all I could think of was that they were looking for a little extra money for their school, because apparently you get more reserve, or more funds for being a Title 1 school if you have more children that need,” Fuller answered.

Richard: Wouldn’t they ask the parent? Did they say ‘What do you think?’, or they just kind of said we’re going to do this?

“Well, they actually asked me, and they sent a meeting request and I didn’t get it on time, and I didn’t sign it and return it. They had the meeting without me,” Fuller said.

“So you have to be able to advocate for your own but when you don’t have the time and the energy to advocate, you really do need somebody to step in. And that’s what I would love to see in the school system. I would love to see professionals, that what they do is they handle a wide range of IEPs, whether it be for behavioral or whether it be for learning or both, because that does happen, then they can read the IEPs, sit down with the parents and let them know everything that’s available to them. Because teachers don’t always have that time to spend with a parent explaining that. I remember some of the meetings that we would have would only be 10-15 minutes, maybe sometimes a little bit longer,” Fuller added.

“And a lot of times that the process is a lot longer and you have a little bit more thrown at you, you’re having a lot of things thrown at you at once and you don’t have time to really read and process and understand and when that happens, you can’t go back after the fact and say but I don’t understand this. They ask you right there and then do you understand and you’re usually you’re just in a state of, whatever, because you’re not understanding everything that’s put in front of you. So I would love to see lay people, come in – other parents, professionals – who can explain the process, explain things that are available to kids. I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails on my campaign page that the parents have asked and asked and asked for services and they’re overlooked. Your son doesn’t, your son or daughter, does not qualify. Well, why? Tell me why there could be a host of reasons it could be. They don’t have the right tools. I know that West Virginia does not acknowledge dyslexia and it’s a huge problem,” Fuller said.

“Why not acknowledged dyslexia? It’s a real life thing and kids look at things, backwards, don’t classify it as something else. That is the nut and bolts of why I wanted to run. The secondary, is in the past year and a half, we’ve seen our taxpayer funds, in the school system, being used to fund lawsuits to, well, to make Rockwell go away. Whether I feel Rockwell is good or bad, is not the reason why I’m running. The reason I’m running is because those funds should never have been used for anything other than educating our children, and they’re crumbling, our schools are crumbling,” Fuller added.

“We need someone who has – and I’ve worked with banks. I’ve worked and had my own leasing company, basically I would broker leases for equipment, so I can read financials, I can do all that fun stuff, I’m conservative, so I don’t like to spend money and if I do, I’m going to get the best deal I possibly can,” Fuller continued.

Richard: I guess it would, maybe in a video or on your site, your Facebook , about was superintendent getting a good value for what they’re doing what you’re doing and also the spending on the lawsuit like you said?

“It’s one of my pet peeves. When we were an active duty family, we were a family of six. Having to live on, what is it, 30-something thousand a year. If we have as humans have to live within our means our schools should live within our means and learn how to invest in the children’s future, whether it’s applying for grants, if we need to hire a grant writer, I think that’s money well spent. If you can get grant money, free money. We all like free money,” Fuller responded.

Yeah, that’s a good thing, Well, another issue something that’s dear to my heart. Our non-profit works to the issue of sexual health education, specifically abstinence centered, and educating youth. Would you support an approach to sexual health education that emphasizes as a standard for school-age children staying abstinent from sex before marriage? That’s the Title 5 standard that’s been around for a couple of decades. Do you think that’s a good idea or a bad idea?

“I’m a Roman Catholic, so that is basically ingrained into my being. Does it always happen? No, it doesn’t for various reasons of why, but when I explain it to my kids that everything that you could possibly dream for can come to an end, if the end result is an unplanned pregnancy, that’s something really, really that hits home to them. And that would be my goal is to explain to kids that you might want to be Joe track star, but if you’re going to have premarital sex, you could throw that all away,” Fuller said.

“I would not have a problem teaching abstinence because with anything there’s emotional baggage that comes along with it, and that’s what the kids don’t get and they’re not old enough to understand it, “Fuller added.

Richard: What should be the goal of schools? I think I saw some things referenced on some of your materials like some children might want to go to college, but others could be vocational and then there’s an issue, like we were just talking about, of the character education. So is a goal, more that they could have a good job, they’d be a good citizen, a various combination of these things?

“I see no reason why you can’t have a combination, you can have a job and be a good citizen, pay it back to your community. I would love to see vocational – not all kids go to college. My husband didn’t go to college, he went straight into the military. The military is a job, it is a job. It teaches you skills, which then, if you serve long enough you can start your new job after that. You cannot discount colleges, you cannot discount vocationals, you cannot discount military. They are all useful in our society,” Fuller said.

Richard: One thing you were mentioning in some of your testimony or materials online that you spent a lot of time in the school with your children. Anyway, on the issue, somewhat related issue of maybe, school community relations. Could there be some improvement made?, or I guess what I’m trying to say is, how is it, like if a parent wants to volunteer, like you mentioned, you volunteered a lot? Anyway, would you have any ideas for improving that or, how is the relationship with the school community? If I’m making sense.

”It makes perfect sense. I was kind of thrown into it. So my son, who is the jock, smart jock, he was diagnosed at five years old with Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease, which is a degenerative hip condition where your femoral head dies,” Fuller responded.

“But I needed a 504 plan for someone to make sure that he did not run and jump in school because it’s painful and he’s five. They were not able to do that. They said if you want to make sure your son does not run and jump, you’re going to have to be here. So that threw me in to being on the playground every day meeting the teachers asking the teachers what you need done,” Fuller added.

Richard” So I know you’re running against several other people for the Board of Education. How would you contrast or differentiate yourself? Why should the voters give you one of their three votes there?

“I apparently am the only one who’s not running because of Rockwell. Apparently everybody else from what I’ve been told, is running because I am not to get on because I’ve been very active in that. I don’t really care if Rockwell comes here, so I’m just bad because I’m not a green coalition-type of person, I do recycle. My furniture is recycled, I drive a hybrid, but I am not about to scream that there is climate control and that my water is going to be poisoned so I don’t fit their mold. Like I said, I’m not running because of Rockwell. I have no ulterior motives, other than to make sure that our teachers get paid fairly, our parents are able to understand special education programs and to get a budget working that we are not screaming, and wondering why are heating systems don’t work, because we can’t pay to get them maintained,” Fuller responded.

Richard: I think that pretty well covers a lot of things. I’d just like to ask if you have anything else on your heart you’d like to emphasize as the voters are, we’re, considering who to vote for on June 9th. Any final closing thoughts?

“I would love for people to give me the chance, I have the time.  Anything that I do now, I volunteer. I don’t have a paid job, so I have the time and the energy to spend working hours and hours to make our kids have successful schooling and make the education the best that we can possibly have,” Fuller said.

Richard: One more thing. With the disruption of the whole COVID-19 situation, with schools being closed, and coming back to school, I noticed, which I thought was very strange too, the CDC said that children are suggested to wear a mask if they’re over 2. And I thought, “Oh my gosh, what are they talking about?’ do you have any opinion about that?

“It’s almost like my son at five years old, not running and jumping in school. I don’t think that they will be able to keep masks on the children. Do I think that we need to practice washing hands, and sanitizing or wiping down desks? Well, in my estimation, I remember doing that with the kids when they were in first grade, in kindergarten God, almost 12 years ago. So, I mean do we need maybe step it up a little bit? Yeah, maybe sure, if you go out to the bathroom, maybe make sure that the kids sanitize their hands before they come into the class in case they did not wash properly. Do I think that the option of either going to school or staying home and learning in a situation like this, I’m for school of choice. Also, if you want to homeschool your kid and I have no problems with that. Not all children learn the same, so if it’s better for them to stay home, let’s make it so that they can do it from home. Let’s give them everything that they need.

Richard: Alright, well, thank you again for coming on today, and we’ll get this up on video. Please do vote. We will be electing our school board and also three Supreme Court justices. They’ll be the final election and of course, other positions as well, all the primaries and magistrates. So, be sure to vote. Thank you again for coming on.

 “Thank you so much for having me,” Fuller said.

Categories
West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Michael Folk-Republican Candidate for West Virginia Governor

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Richard:  Good morning, and welcome to this edition of the Richard Urban Show, where we present news and views from God’s point of view. Today we are happy to have Mike Folk on. He’s a Republican candidate for governor of West Virginia. So please introduce yourself.

 “Hello, I’m Mike Folk. I grew up in Berkeley, County on a farm in Swan Pond. I went to local schools, local college actually too Shepherd University. Studied education and economics; ended up finishing my degree in economics. Worked for a year in the financial industry. Had all my series 763, all your different financial licenses. And then I went to graduate school at WVU. Went into teaching, a little bit, both at the high school and college level, while also flying and working for my dad’s, aviation business. My dad had a heart attack between my junior and senior year, so I was the guy involved in hiring a pilot to take his place for the seasonal business. But then I Left shepherd University, Shepherd College at the time, and went to work in Mac trucks in Hagerstown for a year, their engine plant. I really just didn’t really like being inside all day and had fell in love with flying. So I went in the pursuit of an airline career, became an airline pilot. And I got married just a little bit before my 30th birthday to my wife, Stella and we now have five children. My wife was a school teacher for about 12 to 14 years. And, so you haven’t heard any politics in there yet.”

“I finally, in the 08-012 time frame, I started getting a little frustrated with some things, that were going on at the national level. We know who was the head of it all at that time. Some guy named Obama and so in 2012 I ran for office for the House of Delegates, and served six years in the House of Delegates. Two years in the minority, four years in the majority.”

“We got some good things done but I think there’s a lot left to be done, particularly when we have a governor who… It doesn’t matter what you do, you run against the incumbent, you gotta tell the differences. And so, he was elected as a Democrat, switched to Republican. But really, in my opinion hasn’t really changed his principles much. So that’s why I decided to run, to try to give West Virginians what I believe is; Phyllis Schlafly, if you ever heard of her, wrote a book, she was a Goldwater girl she wrote a book, to give the people a choice, not an echo which I believe that the other major opponents are really just an echo of the past, and even though they’ve changed their stripes for the lack of a better way of putting it, there’s still the same failed policies that have led West Virginia to some pretty bad places.”

Richard:  Okay, thank you. So what would you say the three main things you would emphasize in helping West Virginia as you’re running for Governor?

“Well, obviously, the paradigm has shifted a little bit, even in the last three months with budget issues. In 2017 when we had the last major budget problem when Justice first took office, under his budget proposal we were looking at a $450 million deficit. In reality that was only about a $100 million deficit. The reason it was $450 million in his budget is because he raised government spending by $350 million and a lot of chroniistic type plans that were gonna benefit him and his cronies. And so in that case, I’m well suited to balance the budget without raising taxes. Because I at the time when the government was claiming that West Virginia, he was using the analogy that West Virginia was kind of like a patient on life support, and the only way to save the patient was to raise taxes. And he kept saying, that over and over. So a group of us got together and I was the lead sponsor. My wife actually made up a nice spreadsheet for the budget, to prove that we could balance the budget without raising taxes. And at that time still give the teachers a 2% pay raise.”

“So one thing is, that’s going to be critical is the budget, the next thing is going to be education. There’s a lot of serious issues in education, a lot of them have resulted from Common Core and getting away from, and some people say this is cliché, but getting away from the basics. We’ve done too much social engineering, let’s put it that way, in education and gotten away from learning the basics and leaving the social stuff to the home, the family and the church.”

“Education I think is an important part. In West Virginia the biggest part about education is it’s very top-heavy, very Charleston-centric. We call it building six down there. And then, the third thing is, and this really has come to the forefront during this whole pandemic, is constitution. We shouldn’t be suspending the Constitution, and this is important in West Virginia, or anywhere in the country, but we’ve basically thrown the constitution [under the bus], and particularly the state constitution under Article 3 Section 10, which the title of is safeguards for life, liberty and property. And then, the exact wording in that article says, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, in the judgment of their peers.””

“We’ve had thousands of small businesses that have been shut down around the state in a very illogical and unconstitutional way. The person that has the small shop, it sells clothing, clothing store and shoe store, for instance, was shut down. But the huge Walmarts where you can still buy clothing and shoes, was allowed to stay open. And so, you had these mass amount of people going to the Walmarts to the Lowes to the other stores.”

“So if the intent was to prevent people from congregating, shutting down small businesses was the exact opposite of what should have been done and in reality, it was literally a power grab by the Governor and this whole thing, especially after the first couple of weeks of realizing that this wasn’t as bad as they thought it was gonna be.”

Richard: something that’s dear to my heart is the issue of our policy on forced vaccination, or you might say, if you don’t get every vaccine that’s mandated in West Virginia, you can’t send your child to public school. How do you feel about that? Is that a good policy, is that a bad policy?

“Well, I think you know my history on that. I was a lead sponsor, to get rid of mandatory vaccinations. Look, if vaccinations are done properly, and when I say done properly, I’m talking about developed, brought to market, but we know since the 1986 federal law that exempted all vaccine manufacturers from any liability there have been a multitude. I mean, I could tell you and I are a little older. So when we were growing up? There might have been a handful of vaccinations that you would get maybe three or four. Small pox, polio. I think that’s probably all I ever got that I can recall right off top of my head, I might have missed one, but we didn’t get a chicken pox vaccination and if we got a measles vaccination, it wasn’t a combination of three vaccines. It wasn’t the MMR. I believe in an informed consent and let people make their decisions. The reality is that, especially it’s an interesting conversation right now, because they’re talking about having the governors mandate this potential vaccine that’s coming out for this COVID-19, which is actually SARS COV-2. It’s the second SARS virus. The first one was the 2003 SARS virus…But yeah, I don’t wear a mask in public. It’s crazy. The craziest thing I’ve seen is when people are driving down the road and they have a mask on or they’re out in the sun, sun shine, out by themselves, and they have a mask on. That makes no sense.”

Richard:  Okay, thanks for sharing. so one thing I’ve been also interviewed some of the candidates for the Commission of Agriculture. And they’re telling me about some of the very cumbersome regulations. I know you’re a farmer. Do you have any comment about that, or maybe what could be done to improve the situation for smaller farmers?

“Well, when I was growing up in Berkeley County, Jefferson County as an example, literally had six or seven butcher shops. Were you could market your cattle, your hogs. And now we’ve consolidated industry so much and it’s usually because of the burdensome regulation because a small Mom-and-Pop that might employ two or three people can’t keep up with those regulations, that these massive processing facilities can. And I think having a diverse food supply, at the local level, and less nationally, would benefit all of society greatly.”

Richard: when we’re looking at the long term of idea of helping society, helping with the whole family breakdown or opioid situation, and this is not maybe so much a political but more a philosophical question. Our organization deals with emphasizing that youth should stay absent before marriage. That that’s the best standard for school-age children. Would you agree with that kind of approach? And that will help stabilize families and make them more successful.

“Anything we can do to help the nuclear family stay together will take care of a lot of these ancillary issues. The black community, as an example, Candace Owens, in front of the Congress testified. That’s the number one issue in that community that destroys families, is the number of single parent households. So I think all of those things together will produce the outcomes that we had a generation ago, or two generations ago.”

Richard: comparing yourself to your opponents, why should the voters choose you? What’s most outstanding in comparison?

“I’m definitely more like the average voter than these two guys are. Both these guys are pretty wealthy guys compared to me. Justice inherited hundreds of millions of dollars and in fact, even Woody, 20 years ago or so inherited about a million dollars. So I’m more like the average everyday citizen with a family trying to raise a family, trying to make ends meet. But at the same time I have experience in the legislature, particularly from the budget perspective and the constitutional perspective. Whether it’s defending your second amendment, your First Amendment, the pro-life issues. I’ve got 100% pro-life, 100% pro-second amendment voting record. I’ve actually developed my own state budget. I don’t think either one of those guys has.”

“Justice has signed a few. Of course the first one that I proposed, which became a blueprint for what ultimately became law, that was, if you recall, that’s when Justice vetoed the budget on the silver platter with the cow pie. That year Justice, never signed a budget. It became law without his signature. A lot of you probably weren’t even aware of that yourself. He vetoed the one on the silver platter with the cow pie, then we went back in special session. In June of 2017, we gave him a budget but he wouldn’t sign it. He let it become law. Because after a certain period of time, it becomes law, automatically. That’s how that budget became law. So I think I have a better ear to the ground of the everyday citizen in West Virginia. And I’ll take that to the office if elected.”

Richard: Okay, well thank you very much. Any other closing thoughts?

“Just get on my Facebook. If you’re on social media. ‘Michael folk for West Virginia governor’ and my website is fokk4wv.com, and check me out if you haven’t.”

Categories
West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Donna Joy-Candidate for Jefferson County WV Board of Education

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Good morning. Welcome to this edition of the Richard Urban show were we present news and views from God’s point of view. I’m very happy to have Donna Joy on the show today. She’s running for board of education here in Jefferson County. So please introduce yourself.

“I am Donna Joy and I’m running for the Board of Ed in Jefferson County.”

“I’ll just share with you why I feel like I’m the most qualified. I taught Special Ed for 15 years. I have a master’s degree in Special Ed. I feel that our current school board could use, we need to help with the Special Ed following Special Ed federal/state guidelines. So I could be a big help there.”

“I have a PhD in Educational measurement Statistics, Research and Evaluation. And that is necessary on the board to follow sound research using logic. Making research-based decisions, interpreting data, interpreting graphs. When I’ve seen some of the Board meetings I’ve been to, and the superintendent can explain some of the things to the Board, but the Board seems to be dependent on the superintendent’s explanation, and so the Board needs to increase in that area. I don’t know of a better way to say that. I have taught Math for 30 years, Math and Special Ed, and at the high school, college level, and I also worked as a book keeper when I was going through college. So I can look at budgets, and financial reports quickly, and easily, analyze, look for errors, find gaps or ways to save money. I am certified in all main subjects, including Special Ed, I supervise student teachers and principals dissertations, so I know the latest research on administration and supervision and also the needs of new teachers.”

Richard: As a Board of Education member what do you think your most crucial role is? What would you say the most important role of the Board of Education is?

“Right now, I feel like our Board needs a change. We need some new ideas and new skill sets on the Board. So that’s the way I see for myself. So I think I could bring that. I’m not part of any, and I’m not part of the good old boy club and I’m not part of any groups. I’m an independent, I do what’s best for the kids. My motivation is education improving the school system as a citizen, I feel that it’s my moral and ethical responsibility, given all my extensive background in education, to see what I could do to help. To apply myself in that way.”

Richard: You mentioned, you had a background in Special Education. That it’s something you’ve been teaching that’s on your information on your website. What are the most critical areas is in the schools right now, the three most critical areas in Jefferson County? I know you mentioned Special Ed. Is that one of them?

“We have a serious problem in Special Ed. We stay out of compliance, so the school system gets sued, often. So we lose money, but we’re not addressing the needs of the kids that really need help. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but education, and really requiring that we have a complete overhaul of the Special Ed program in Jefferson County Schools.  I believe that’s needed.”

Richard: I know in some jurisdictions parents have sued or filed complaints legally against the school system for inadequate education. And then they will ask for placement out of the system privately. And the school system has to pay for it. Is that something that’s happening around here, or that’s not an issue?

“That happens too. We have more basic problems, so I don’t want to sound too negative, but the truth is that this current administration and school board seems to want to minimize the number of students receiving services because they feel that it’s a financial burden. And I’m saying that because I was in one of the court hearings, and heard one of the Board Members explain that it was a burden to the school system. So what some school systems will do is they’ll try to minimize the number, that way they don’t have to supply it with Special Ed teachers or other services. So that’s illegal and we need to stop that. Right now if a parent calls and says ‘my child has a disability, I want to get my child tested’. The question will be, is your child failing? No, no, he’s not failing. Well, honey, we can’t help them if he’s not failing, we don’t have Special Ed services. We don’t give them to kids unless they’re failing. That’s illegal. That’s not the basis for an IEP or extra help.”

“So another problem is the maintenance. Every school that I have been in the ceiling, the roof leaks. There’s the heating and air conditioning problem. And then we have this whole Shepherdstown education, complex that has to be built. The lands been sitting there for a few years now. So just to maintain what we have and to get it to where it’s safe; the buildings, and there’s a track at Jefferson High School. The track field needs to be fixed so that’s another basic problem.”

“The third basic problem is the break in trust between the public and the School Board and administration, came about because there wasn’t full disclosure, and there hasn’t been, about a lot of things. But it blew up. And so, the county’s been divided. So that needs to be mended. So we need to stress transparency, accessibility, and accountability.”

Richard: one of my neighbors mentioned that he didn’t think the school board should be spending X many dollars, on the Rockwool thing. Is that the kind of thing you’re talking about, or are you talking about other things?

“I was talking about, even before that. But that’s one of the issues. So the first problem was, they didn’t ask the public. How do you feel about this PILOT [payment in lieu of taxes]? Should we go along with it? So a lot of people lost trust because of that. Because they found out it was a secret deal. Well, then there was another group that lost trust, because then they took what they claimed we don’t have money for, Special Ed to begin with, and they took that and you used it for lawyers to fight. It was a dead end fight because they had property already.”

“The argument the school system used was illegal. And that’s what I’m saying, they don’t know basic laws about Special Ed. We have worked for over 50 years in this country to get Special Ed children to be included in the regular school system, because they used to take all the special need kids and either throw them in the basement. And they would eat lunch at the end of the day, and they would end up cleaning the cafeteria by themselves. They would isolate. And these are disabilities such as a child’s gifted, but they have a language disability.”

Richard: Let me ask a question that’s close to my heart. I work in the field of sexual health education. Specifically abstinence-centered. So do you think that kind of area, sexual health education, should the expected standard for school aged children be not to have sex before marriage? That was two decades ago, that was stated in the so called Title 5 funding, that’s the expected standard for school aged children, wait to have sex until you’re married. Is that a good idea to have that kind of standard? What do you think?

“Absolutely, that would be my request for a standard. Whether the outside world has influence, but the goal of school should be to focus on education and children’s learning. You don’t want them to be encouraged to do other sorts of outside activities that are gonna distract them from the goal of learning. so that’s part of it, but for health reasons, they’re not ready to be parents, at that young of an age, they’re not ready for the responsibilities and all the changes that happen when you’re involved in a romantic relationship. So that’s what I teach my children. Doesn’t mean it always happens, but in the world and there’s a lot of influences.”

Richard: Absolutely, but at least setting a standard.  You mentioned, I noticed you’ve been working on getting a financial literacy requirement. Do you want to say anything about that?

“If we could give them one skill that would help them in their lives. I think it’s personal finance and people think that, Oh, it’s just balancing a check book. It’s mortgages, interest, estate planning, school loans, Car loans, bonds, stocks, IRA’S, taxes. There’s so much involved and most adults don’t know about those things. If we could teach kids these things, I think it would help them to save money. Learning about compound interest. Investing now, a little bit while they’re in high school, so that in 30 years they might have something. They don’t have to be dependent on the system.”

Richard: It can be a little confusing. So you can vote for three people for the Board of Education. And I know there’s some limit if there were too many people from one district, but basically, barring that, the top three people will win, right? And also tell us how would you differentiate yourself from your opponents? What should people know why they should vote for you versus other people?

“Okay, well, so yeah, you can vote for up to three people. You can vote for one, two, or three from any district. It doesn’t matter if you live in their district or they live in your district, but no more than two people can be on the Board from any one district.”

Richard: Got it, that’s clear. As people look to vote on June 9, and as we’re saying, the School Board will be elected on June 9th. That is the election, final election. Why should people vote for you, differentiating you from the other candidates?

“Well, I’m the most qualified. I am a career educator, I’ve been teaching for 33 years. I don’t have any personal ties to; several board members, they have a lot of old family and connections with businesses. I’m wanting to be on the board to help and, out of, like I said, my ethical moral responsibility to help. I have the skills that could help. I have more skills that the School Board needs than other candidates, which is unfortunate because we don’t have, It looks like we have 11 people, but we don’t really have 11 people, three of them aren’t even showing up for forums.”

“So that’s one thing I’m the most qualified. I am passionate and I didn’t just move here two weeks ago, a year ago. And think it’s a cool thing for one issue. I have several issues and they’re all related to education in helping the children and I have a track record of helping the school system. I’ve been teaching here for eight years and the whole time I’ve been here, I have put my job and my reputation on the line, dealing with issues such as the school system has a policy or had it until, hopefully they took it down after I spent a whole year dealing with the state employee grievance board to get that fixed, but they had a policy that allowed them to hire long-term subs over certified teachers.”

Richard: thank you very much for taking the time to come on today. We’ll put this up on video and podcast and hopefully many voters will watch it so they can make an informed choice. Remember, you can vote for three people for Board of Education on June 9th.

Categories
West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Bill Schwartz-Candidate for WV Supreme Court of Appeals-Division 3

Listen to the podcast

Welcome to this edition of the Richard Urban show. I’m your host Richard Urban, coming to you from historic Harpers Ferry, WV, and today, May 27th, we’re having Bill Schwartz on. He’s running for the Supreme Court of Appeals in Division 3. Please introduce yourself.

”Thank you Richard. Thanks for having me on. I’m Bill Schwartz and I’m a lawyer here in Charleston, WV.  I’m a candidate for division 3 of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Division 3.  And it’s interesting that you’re in Harpers Ferry. I think it’s a beautiful area. I biked there years ago when I was on the C & O towpath with my older boy.  And we actually camped outside of Harpers Ferry; beautiful area,” Schwartz said.

“I’m a graduate of both St. John’s University in New York, I’m originally from Queens, NY, and I was born and raised there and while I was at St. John’s, I wasn’t just a graduate at St. John’s, I was a two-time Big East Medalist in track and field. I was also student athlete of the year 1982 when I graduated, and I took that money from the award to help me go to law school where I went to Washington and Lee University School of Law,” Schwartz added.

“After graduating, I wanted to be a trial lawyer. I wanted to try cases and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve never run for office before in my life and I’ll get to that in a second, but I wanted to be a trial lawyer and I’ve spent 32 years of my career representing injured workers and families.  I’ve done, what some people call toxic torts.  That could be anything from poisoned water to men breathing poisons on the job.   I have represented a number of men who have worked with their hands throughout their career.   I don’t think you would call them liberal men by any means.  Except for the fact that they care about worker’s rights.  They fought our wars.  Their dads, their sons fought our wars.  They’ve raised families.  I decided to get into this to be a representative of them.  Again, taxpayers, I want to get taxpayers among the robes. I’m not a judge, I’m not politician. And I think we’ve seen enough of that. And so I want to be a taxpayer among the robes,” Schwartz continued.

Richard: I know from talking to some of the other candidates that a lot of the cases coming up to the Supreme Court are family law cases, and you’re a personal injury attorney. Is that something you want to address?

“The question is regarding children, family law, and I think what you mean is the fallout from the opioid crisis. Right now, there are 7000 children in state custody. I think that’s tragic. I have raised a family and my children have been very fortunate. I was a track and field student athlete. My son just completed a great career at Marshall University. I have another son who is probably better than both of us,” Schwartz said.

“They’ve lived very privileged lives because of my career. And frankly, their mother; they’ve had great lives.  Many children in West Virginia don’t enjoy that. And I’m aware of that. Just because my children have lived a privileged life, doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the plight of 7000 children who are now in state custody,” Schwartz continued.

“I think it’s a tragedy, and I think it’s a tragedy that our court has to focus on. I think there has to be a priority given to the front line. If you think of the virus that we’re dealing with right now, you think of the nurses and healthcare workers at the front line.  Well, think about the opioid crisis.  And the children who go home to mothers you don’t wake up, or fathers who are absent.” Schwartz added.

Richard: Our non-profit, and this is more like a philosophical question, but we deal with the issue of staying abstinent before marriage.  We have different school materials that we’ve taught over the years. We emphasize wait to have sex.  Have a stable family. What do you think about that kind of approach? Do you think that’s viable, a good approach for school-age children?

“I think you can preach and I’m all for preaching. And I think it starts with the examples that you set. And I go back to my own children’s situation. They have, I think, a pretty good example in both me and their mother. Some people don’t have those examples of how to live.   And we we’re taught in our environment, you always go back to that situation.  Is your destiny set by your environment or is it predestined for you?  And I think, frankly, environment has something to do with it,” Schwartz responded.

Richard: With the proceedings against the Supreme Court in 2018, do you feel that the legislature overreached?  I’ll mention this, I actually read through the indictment against the justice who was actually indicted.  But I have to say, now I don’t believe you should lie or file false reports.  But I do have to say, I did take the time because I kept seeing in the article, the criminal federal indictment.  I said ‘What did they indict the guy for?’  They indicted him, on some of the indictments, he filed $30 in false claims for mileage. I said Okay that’s wrong, but I mean they seem to have made this huge deal out of it.  What’s your opinion about the whole thing?

“And my feeling is, my limited involvement. Again, I was married to a federal prosecutor. So one thing I know is never lie to the feds. If they’re investigating, say Martha Stewart for example. She did a simple trade that was considered insider trading and what they got her on was lying to the feds,” Schwartz responded.

Richard: I noticed on one of your interviews,  concerning West Virginia Supreme Court elections, you were saying you are non-affiliated which means you’re not registered Democrat or Republican, and the other judges should be too. So that means they shouldn’t have a party affiliation? Do you want to speak anything about that?

“Absolutely. I’m glad you brought that up. It’s important. I am politically unaffiliated meaning, I’m not Democrat. I’m not Republican, I’m not independent. I did that for a reason. I think everyone out there should realize, first of all, the legislature later changed the law in West Virginia, several years ago, they made what used to be partisan races for judicial races – they made it non-partisan by law. It is illegal for me to tell you that I am part of a particular party,” Schwartz said.

Richard: With all the things surrounding COVID-19, there’s so many restrictions, regulations.  It’s affected a lot of things in many states, not just West Virginia. Do you have any comment about it?

“I think I’m free enough to say this. I’m affected by it. I’m one of the people. As a lawyer I ran a small business. I could see how a small business gets upset. It is a balance. And I don’t agree the governor on many things. I’m not running for policy-making decisions, I’m not running for the legislature and I’m not running for governor, I’m running for the Supreme Court, which is based on law and facts,” Schwartz said.

Richard: Would you describe yourself as more like a strict constructionist as to the constitution or some other term? Would you care to comment anything about that kind of thing?

”I appreciate that question, too. And I get that all the time, and I kind of think it’s a misnomer. When you say “strict constructionist’ person, the Constitution says what the constitution says. The judges and justices are all human beings and we all interpret language. We may both look at the black letter or something and disagree as to what that black letter says.  But here’s my opinion. The job of a justice is not to legislate. The job of a justice is to apply the law,” Schwartz said.

Richard:  Okay, alright, so I know you have a couple of opponents in this race, how would you differentiate yourself for the voters from your opponents in this race?

“I think it’s easy, if you like, if you like everything as it is, if you think it’s fun, if you think politicians, and judges, and justices have done a great job for the last two decades or three decades in West Virginia, you got some good choices besides me. I’m not saying they’re bad people. I’m just saying they are more of the same,” Schwartz said.

“We’ve got a sitting Supreme Court Justice who was appointed by the governor who spent 23 years as a judge, and we’ve got another judge, we’ve got people who pick, in  the judiciary, as a legal career, wanting to step up and be on our highest court. And what I’m saying is, ‘we already got enough of that.  And we’ve had enough of that.  For the last 20, 30, 40 years.  Our Supreme Court right now is made up of plenty of people like that; politicians or career judges.  And we have learned, I’m not speaking to the current Supreme Court at all, that maybe, maybe being a politician your entire career and being on the tax payer dime, and being a judge your entire career.  Wearing the robes and having everybody call you your honor.  Not having to worry about making a payroll or paying your taxes, but living on our tax dollar, may cause you to lose perspective.  Clearly it caused two of the justices to lose perspective.  They were charged with federal crimes.  So they lost perspective.  I bring a different perspective.  I want to be a tax payer, because that’s what I’ve been doing every quarter for the last 32, 33 years of my career now, raising a family in West Virginia.  I want to bring a tax payer’s perspective to the Supreme Court. …

If the voters want more of the same. I’m not your guy.  If you want more of the same, I’m not your guy.  There are other choices, besides me, but I’m giving you an alternative,” Schwartz added.

Richard: Well, to conclude, would you share like to share anything else with the voters as they consider the different candidates for the June 9th election, which will elect our Supreme Court Justices.

“Yes, and that’s a good point you bring up. June 9th is not a primary. It is the final vote. You are selecting the justices for your Supreme Court. And I think there are 28 years at issue here, on our Supreme Court, it’s the most powerful court in the State of West Virginia.  And I think you gave to think hard about that.   I believe that the voters should consider a change.  I want to be an agent of change.  I believe I’m an agent of change. If you want more of the same, I’m not your guy,” Schwartz concluded.