West Virginia Executive Summer 2014 - Page 35

Congressional Race – 1st District David McKinley (R) Glen Gainer (D) Congressman David McKinley began representing West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District in 2011. Previously, he served as a West Virginia delegate for the state’s 3rd Delegate District. He was elected chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party Executive Committee in 1990. He has pursued market-driven reforms to help government operate more efficiently. He recognizes the importance of the coal industry and that the attacks on coal from Washington must be stopped. Glen Gainer was elected West Virginia’s 19th state auditor in 1992 and has been reelected five times. As state auditor, Gainer serves as the state’s official bookkeeper, securities commissioner, chief inspector and supervisor over public offices. Gainer is the chair of the board of directors of the National White Collar Crime Center. His direct deposit payroll system and other modernization efforts have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars while increasing accountability and transparency. A s k t h e C a n d i d at e A s k t h e C a n d i d at e What do you see as West Virginia’s biggest challenges? What do you see as West Virginia’s biggest challenges? West Virginia is just a microcosm of the challenge facing the whole nation, and that’s the economy. We can ill afford to lose our coal industry, and we have further threats to our natural gas. Almost every day in Washington, I explain to other members the impact of this threat to West Virginia’s coal industry because when you attack a coal mine, it’s not just a coal mine that gets hurt. You’re shutting down a town. Another challenge is the structure of health care. We’re already seeing premiums go up, which means companies are facing higher premiums. Families are under the gun; they were promised to keep their health care and can’t. There are some real issues to our economy and how we get this thing back again. I think the first thing is where we are with coal and the new EPA regulations, as well as the challenges we have in our ability to continue to be an energy supplier to this country and using coal to do that. Without question, coal affects every aspect of our economy in this state, and we really need to continue to work with and try to ensure that those standards can be mediated to the degree where we can allow West Virginia to continue to produce the energy this country needs. What are West Virginia’s most important assets? West Virginia has some positives, and I’m proud of those. These were begun by my predecessor down in Fairmont with the high-tech corridor. The West Virginia High-Tech Foundation is located there. In Morgantown, there’s a remarkable opportunity for West Virginia to diversify our economy. We have thousands of people working with scientists and physicists at the National Energy Technology Lab. The research they are doing in clean coal technology, fracing and carbon capture; software development for defense work and what the FBI is doing—we have a possibility of having a very diverse and robust economy as long as we can keep Washington’s hands off it and let it grow on its own. What will be your No. 1 priority as a congressman? I think it’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing: trying to find ways to push back against the EPA to make sure America understands what’s taking place. My No. 1 priority will be to keep doing the exact same thing—standing up for rural America, our coal industry, our senior citizens and our veterans. What are West Virginia’s most important assets? When we look at our state, West Virginia has so many abundant resources to offer not only America but the world. Our people are our No. 1 resource. This is a very resource-rich state from its people right on down to the resources God blessed us with. We have a great work ethic. We have a work force that can be trained. We just need to do better: to ensure that as we extract the resources from this state, we do it in a sound way, a safe way and a way that will maximize a return that will make folks want to invest in those industries here in the State of West Virginia. What will be your No. 1 priority as congressman? My first action in Congress will probably be ensuring we begin passing some of the legislation that’s been bottlenecked. One of the most burning