After careful consideration, and a proposed "raise" that amounts to a slap in the face by the GOP-led Legislature, public school teachers and service personnel are getting ready to raise their voices at the state capitol tomorrow and Saturday.
As a small business owner and a proud product of Cabell County Schools, I owe so much to a number of great teachers; so do my sons. When I became a candidate, I decided to focus on three priorities for West Virginia: giving a voice to children and working families, fully and immediately addressing the drug epidemic, and reversing the exodus of our state’s young adults. The GOP’s de-valuing of our public workforce affects all three of these major issues.
I know it’s been brewing for several years. It started with giving away tax breaks to out-of-state corporations, putting a growing hole in West Virginia’s budget. Last year, the voices of educators and insured employees were taken off of the PEIA Funding Board, then the Legislature only funded half of the $20 million proposed to keep the agency solvent. They refused even to hold a public hearing in Huntington! And PEIA was essentially ordered to make up the deficit by holding you accountable for the rising costs.
From all I’ve heard and seen in the first half of the 2018 session, the GOP majority has been going in a negative direction. But public employees are standing up to say “we’ve had enough!” In marching on the Capitol and filling up those marble halls on Saturday, teachers and service employees are raising the voice of democracy over the paid influence of big money corporate donors. You’re making a difference now, and you have the power to make an even bigger difference in the 2018 elections!
I believe that to save West Virginia, we must grow and diversify our economy to keep our young adults here and productive. We must strengthen education from pre-K to post-secondary. And we must provide a living wage for those who provide vital human services. I stand ready to support you in your fight to stay, teach and serve the children and families of our great state, and look forward to hearing from you soon.
I was interviewed by the wonderful Mary Ann Claytor for her weekly 1-hour podcast - here's the link:
With West Virginia teacher vacancies already at crisis level, it's hard to understand how anyone can justify the benefit cuts being proposed by the PEIA Finance Board.
Labor representatives were recently removed/replaced on the PEIA Finance Board. The revised board has now proposed an array of measures that put the burden squarely on past, present and future teachers and their families, as reported by WV Metro News.
The board has scheduled only three public hearings this month - with none in Huntington - to get public input on these changes. Do you think this is acceptable?
Giving a raw deal to current and retired educators is no way to reverse the exodus of our young professionals, and is definitely not in the best interest of West Virginia's children and seniors.
Contact: PEIA Director: Ted Cheatham 304-558-7850, ext.52634
Chief Financial Officer: Jason Haught firstname.lastname@example.org 304-558-7850, ext. 52642
(Thanks to Diane Magnone, my sister Legislative candidate from Weirton, for sharing this alert.)
Let's hold me accountable.
Before I decided to run, I committed some "political rabble-rousing" to resist a lot of downright hurtful decisions being made at the national and state level. Most recently, I wrote a letter to the Herald-Dispatch that sums up my feelings on the matter of public servants and party values. I believe West Virginians are thirsting these days for representatives who won't pull the rug out from under them.
As a new candidate for public office, I know I will be under similar scrutiny. Fair enough! I'm setting out on this campaign with a conviction not just to be honest, but to be transparent and true—true to my faith, true to West Virginia children and working families, and true to seven "unshakeable core beliefs" that I hold to personally as a Democrat.
I'll roll each of those principles out in future blog posts—not just as a way to provide you with a clearer picture of this particular woman's name on the ballot, but also to hold myself accountable as a candidate—and a District 17 Delegate—you can count on.
Raising our voices
Issues, insights and day-to-day adventures along the campaign trail