West Virginia Executive Summer 2014 - Page 8

In Every two years, we Americans have the opportunity to critique our elected officials by way of a ballot. That one piece of paper helps determine the future of this nation. It acts as a voice for the people, and when all the ballots are counted and the winners are announced, that voice sends a clear message about the direction in which Americans want the country to move. Candidates for public office, regardless of the office for which they are running, have the challenge of reaching all voters with the principles on which they stand and on which they will serve if elected. Many voters may find the process daunting; there are many candidates and many issues to consider, a task compounded by the responsibility that comes with that crucial piece of paper. There are a lot of challenges facing both West Virginia and the United States right now. With the upcoming November election, Americans will play a critical role in deciding the direction in which the country as a whole will move from here. This is why at West Virginia Executive, we wanted to provide some alternative election coverage in this issue. We chose to highlight the four national campaigns that affect our state because these are the individuals who work in the heart of the nation’s capitol. From the U.S. Senate and Congress, West Virginia’s representatives have a panoramic view of the country and the challenges it is facing, which provides them with the valuable insight needed as they represent us and our values. These elected officials go to battle on Capitol Hill, and when they speak on behalf of West Virginia, their words travel farther. Our editorial team didn’t want to simply run another list of issues and the stance 8 west virginia executive Letter from the Publishers each candidate has taken on those issues. We saw an opportunity to get the firsthand perspective of the eight candidates who are competing for the chance to represent our great state in Washington, D.C. We conducted individual phone interviews with all eight candidates, and we posed the same six questions to each of them. We asked the candidates about their business backgrounds and how that experience will help them serve their state, what they identify as the biggest challenges facing both West Virginia and the country, what they consider to be West Virginia’s biggest assets, which personal characteristics will help them most in D.C. and what their No. 1 priority will be if elected. While all eight candidates cover a variety of backgrounds and experiences, they have similar goals and concerns. They want to address the struggling economy, put a stop to the war on coal, restore the people’s faith in the federal government, balance the national budget and take care of our veterans, senior citizens and children. They also share a common passion: the Mountain State. And the one thing they all agree on is the fact that West Virginia’s greatest asset is its people. Integrity, hard work, innovation, hospitality, patriotism, traditional values: these are the characteristics of West Virginians that inspire these potential leaders to run for an office where they can help the Mountain State build a better future. We hope “West Virginia on the National Stage,” found on page 31, will provide our readers with a more intimate look at these eight candidates and what they envision for the future of our state and our c