Huntpac Candidate questions
Please explain your background, education and experience.
Marshall University graduate 2013, Owner and Software Engineer at Et Tu Compute LLC, recently described as a “Renaissance Entrepreneur” by the folks at Positively West Virginia, former Chair of the Libertarian Party of West Virginia
Why do you wish to serve on Huntington’s City Council?
I absolutely despise politics. Take a look at my HD responses, most of the crude language was a paraphrase of people in my district as I was speaking with them about issues in the district. We don’t really care about Pullman, Downtown, Marshall, Cabell Huntington, or anything besides public safety and infrastructure i.e. the most appropriate role of a city government.
My opponent was going to win without a Primary or General election challenger. That level of apathy really opened my eyes and I filed to run. Many of the conversations I have had in context of being a candidate have shown me why most people stay out, so I jumped in.
Describe your civic involvement with local organizations and any other community engagement. Be certain to explain why you serve in the capacities.
I work in the Chase Bank building in the CoWorks space. Most of my involvement has been with those looking to expand or start their business along with mentoring students from Marshall. I have been participating in the Gallaher Village Neighborhood Association along with the Neighborhood Institute, in the hopes that my bringing some ideas or at least being there to listen to others can turn into some progress on the problems we are experiencing. Before Corona, there were some plans to start the Huntington Adult Baseball League, but I don’t think I am the only one who had their plans go awry,
Do you have a connection to the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce? If so, please explain this connection.
My mother is a postmaster and convinced me to join the Greater Kanawha Valley & Southwest Virginia Postal Customer Council, and that gets me membership into the Huntington and Charleston chambers through them. Otherwise, not really.
Are you supportive of the City of Huntington’s Open to All Campaign? Why or why not?
My district needs more businesses to open before “Open to All” means anything.
That campaign is only used against people who don’t put a sticker on the window to shame them in the eyes of the politically correct establishment. The mayor doesn’t manage the city, and then is too lazy to talk to the LGBT community himself, so he hires a virtue signal liaison. I’m not impressed.
Should city employees be allowed to unionize? Why or why not?
With it being a right to work state, they shouldn’t be banned from doing so. I’ve heard only good things about those who do real work in our sanitation and public works department, not so much about those behind desks doing work that any company looking to stay competitive has already automated away.
I’m not big on government workers having unions as conflict with their employer digs into the public purse. It's very telling that a Democratically controlled city is having problems with unions.
What do you see as the most significant challenge to economic development in the City of Huntington? How would you use your position on City Council to address this challenge?
Public safety, both from a practical angle and in terms of the city’s image. Wanting to work and start business here follows wanting to actually come here. A police force that has enough officers in the budget then fields the amount required for public safety would make progress in solving many issues. We are in damage control mode and are hemorrhaging good people, stopping that would make all kinds of things possible.
Population loss is a tremendous issue, not just for the City of Huntington, but throughout most of West Virginia. How should this issue be addressed on a local level?
Stop telling young people that their only option is college. A $50k noose around your neck as a recent graduate prompts them to leave, and if they can’t get out because there are no internships to make them attractive entry level candidates in other cities, the prospect of getting married and starting a family is almost impossible to realize.
Our Chamber sees Marshall University as a critical economic driver for our region. With that role in mind, how can the City of Huntington enhance the economic return from Marshall, and facilitate more collaboration and development of a Division 1 learning institution of higher learning within our city?
It can be critical, but it seems that Marshall graduates are making Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte great places to live rather than Huntington.
The communication gap in the city is so wide that hardly any local institution knows how to leverage Marshall University, which is why no one does. National companies with local branches have procedures and professional recruiters to come sort that out, whereas small businesses have to do all the legwork themselves.
I would start with an internship program for the city, every department can find some major or set of students they could leverage to make things run more smoothly. If the younger people were let loose on the city’s problems we wouldn’t just this year have gotten automatic payments for the Sanitary Board.
Please share any additional information that will assist us in this endorsement.
The Herald-Dispatch asked some questions, and I have posted my full answers on my campaign website.