It sure doesn’t feel like it, but right now we’re creating more wealth than ever before in West Virginia’s history. This should be our golden age.
The thing is that wealth doesn’t stay here, and it certainly isn’t put to use making the jobs, education, drug treatment, and health care systems that our families deserve. For too long, both parties have tried to build our economy by catering to outside interests and international companies. Never in American history has that strategy worked for anyone but corporate CEOs. The cashier at the Dollar General pays a higher effective tax rate than our billionaire Governor. It is time to bet on our own students, workers, and small business owners.
Here are our plans to do it, created by and for West Virginians.
Our employer-based healthcare system was not built for this challenge, but we can unite with our family, friends, and neighbors with bold, responsible action to build something better. We have a duty to ensure that West Virginians of all ages have the resources they need to weather these hardships… READ MORE.
We’ll create 40,000 good jobs in WV with a state-level Works Progress Administration, called the Mountaineer Service Corps jobs program, and through other initiatives. West Virginians will have the opportunity to thrive right here in West Virginia–if we fight for it… READ MORE.
Our tax dollars must benefit tax payers, not tax dodgers and profiteers. No more lavish office furniture, no more fancy retreats paid for with disaster relief money, no more government waste cover ups, and no more bloated payouts to politically-connected Good Old Boys…. READ MORE.
I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator. –Mother Jones
Right now, we have two criminal justice systems: one for the rich, and one for the rest of us. You fare better if you’re guilty and rich, instead of poor and innocent. Here’s how we… READ MORE.
West Virginia workers and surface owners have always worked harder and earned less than their fair share. Meanwhile, we’ve seen our pay, pension and the profits we’ve created shipped up and out of state to landholders, CEOs and the politicians they own. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can pay a dividend to West Virginians, not Wall Street… READ MORE.
Instead of being the 50th state chasing Amazon or Wal-Mart or Rockwool–let’s be the first state to fight for local entrepreneurs, small businesses, co-ops, and more. That’s how we diversify, bring our kids home, and make West Virginia not only a place people want to visit, but the best place for people to live… READ MORE.
Once upon a time “in non-union counties, houses [were] owned by the companies. Justice [was] administered by the coal companies. Constitutional rights [were] interpreted by the coal companies.” Their new tactic is to tell us that we are each other’s enemies–coal miner and kayaker, gas worker and public health advocate—because they know that the moment we unite is the moment they’ll have to stop stealing from us. We will demand that any company doing business in our state will leave us better off than we were before they came–not worse…. READ MORE.
If you feel like you’re working harder than you ever have, but taking home less, it’s because you are. The people who have the most, pay the least… and the people who have the least, pay the most. Worse, millionaires and billionaires make the rules and keep it that way, because they’re benefiting from the status quo. That’s why today, three American families at the top hold as much wealth as the bottom 160 million of us. It doesn’t have to be this way… READ MORE.
When our political leaders are dead set on shipping our wealth away from West Virginia, we can’t be surprised when our children leave with it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. West Virginia will be more than “a good state to be from.” It will be a good place to live, a good place to return to, and a good place to build a long term future. READ MORE.
All West Virginians will have access to a secure, healthy home where they can have safety and privacy. The challenge we face in WV is not volume, but a vast inequity, and the difficulty in overcoming negative labels like”hillbillies” (and other stereotypes), and additional long-standing myths about homelessness and its root causes…. READ MORE.
Absentee landowners are rewarded with low property taxes, and regulations that reward dilapidated properties. Meanwhile, small business owners are stuck, because our tax structure not only takes away their incentive to develop and improve their properties–they are punished for doing so. It doesn’t have to be this way… READ MORE.
Publicly-funded college and vocational education is not only worth fighting for because it will help restore our economy and our workforce. There’s a more basic, more fundamentally American value to pursue: eradicating generational poverty. Higher education must not be something accessible only to children whose parents are wealthy.… READ MORE.
We will have a government of the people, one that puts the voices of our communities first, before the interests of corrupt, Good Old Boy politicians. We’ll have a government by the people, one where our representatives consist of hardworking people across the state, not just the wealthy few. And we’ll have a government for the people, one that ensures we–not greedy out-of-state execs–benefit from our state’s resources…. READ MORE.
We can reinvest in farming–creating new jobs, healthier food, and more wealth for our people–by shifting toward small farms, local foods, and regenerative agriculture. Every West Virginia farmer should be able to make a decent living, and every West Virginian should have access to good food produced right here… READ MORE.
West Virginia will be the best place in America for public art, artists, arts education, and people who cherish art in all its forms. We have a strong Department of Arts, Culture and History; we want to give it the resources and freedom to cement West Virginia’s status as a national leader in the arts… READ MORE.
Imagine a state where people in recovery are installed at every level of government: where there is a cabinet-level position for trauma. Imagine a state where people in recovery and first responders have more control of our drug response than drug companies and federal bureaucrats… READ MORE.
Instead of sending all our wealth away to millionaires and billionaires who couldn’t care less about us, with a State Bank of West Virginia, we will invest in ourselves: in small businesses, small farms, entrepreneurs, rural infrastructure, sustainable industries, young West Virginians, veterans, and more. We’ll finally invest in the long term good of our people… READ MORE.
We cannot and will not allow any of us to be treated like second class citizens. Not only must state government protect the lives and civil liberties of West Virginians with disabilities and our families, but people with disabilities must also be a part of leadership at every level of our government to protect against future neglect and discrimination… READ MORE.
West Virginia will be a place where our kids can stay and build a decent, fulfilling life. We will unrig the system that’s driving generations of hardworking West Virginians out-of-state. This debt relief plan will rebuild our workforce to allow our children and grandchildren to stay here… READ MORE
… and more plans to come (keep checking this page for updates).
We have 30+ policy plans that are being released between now and April 2020; these are the plans that have been released so far.
Thousands of us West Virginians wrote this platform at 136 Town Halls, in 550 additional visits to small businesses, recovery programs, churches, union halls, and homes. We wrote this platform in more than 10,000 conversations–voter-to-voter, face-to-face. We wrote this platform in county team meetings and constituency team meetings. This platform quite literally contains the words and stories of thousands of West Virginians. Every dollar in this plan is accounted for. But we won’t win just because the math adds up. We’ll have to do what our grandparents did before us, and fight for the West Virginia we deserve. The harder we fight, the more we will win. Wealthy Good Old Boy politicians in Charleston will say these plans are impossible. It’s up to us to change what is possible. West Virginia Can’t Wait.