(Editor's Note: The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in this race. Their responses are printed in a simple question and answer format. Sue Thorn did not respond to our questionnaire.)
Democrat Sue Thorn is taking on incumbent Republican David McKinley to serve the First District of West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives. The First District includes Wetzel County.
McKinley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the First District of West Virginia in 2010. In Congress, he has a seat on the Committee of Energy and Commerce, as coal is a major industry in the First District.
McKinley served in West Virginia's House of Delegates from 1981 to 1995. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Purdue University. Prior to taking his seat in Congress, he was a principal of McKinley & Associates. This is a professional engineering and architectural design firm based in Wheeling.
A lifelong resident of Wheeling, McKinley is married to a critical care nurse, Mary, a native of New Martinsville. They have four children and six grandchildren.
Thorn, a resident of Wheeling, graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University with a Bachelor degree in organizational leadership development. Thorn most recently was an employee of the West Virginia Education Association.
Previously, Thorn has been associated with the former Ohio Valley Industrial Business Development Corporation; she also worked to form the Hopeful City coalition of churches in Wheeling.
Thorn was a regional field director for Organizing for America during the 2008 election. This was an arm of the Democratic National Committee and Barak Obama's presidential campaign. She has two daughters and a granddaughter.
Elaborate three main reasons you should keep this position.
McKinley: 1. Small business background: My background has given me a unique perspective in Washington. As one of only two licensed engineers in Congress, one of just 48 with experience running a small business, and the oldest member of the freshman class, my background helps me address the economy in a hands-on fashion. Forty-seven years of experience in the construction industry has instilled in me a common sense, fact-based approach and focus on getting things done.
2. Kept promises: From day one, my priorities have been clear: create an environment for the private sector to create jobs, cut wasteful spending, repeal ObamaCare, stand up for our coal industry and coal miners, and keep the promises we've made to our seniors and veterans. On all of these issues I've done what I said I would do. In the House we have passed more than 30 jobs bills to reduce uncertainty on businesses, voted to cut over $5 trillion in spending, voted to repeal ObamaCare, opposed the EPA's war on coal, fought efforts to cut Medicare benefits to seniors, and introduced and passed bills to help our veterans.
3. Bipartisan cooperation: In Washington, partisan bickering often gets in the way of solving problems. On issues such as energy, health care, and manufacturing I have worked across the aisle to find solutions, and haven't been afraid to vote against my party when it helps the citizens of West Virginia. The First District needs someone in Congress who is willing to put West Virginia first and work in a bipartisan manner.
Do you think there is a War on Coal? Please explain, including your plan, if elected, in regard to this issue?
McKinley: There is absolutely a war on coal being waged by the Obama Administration and the EPA. Those who believe there is no war on coal are in dangerous denial. Government regulations, not free markets, are affecting the economy and contributing to massive uncertainty in the marketplace. The war on coal has come in waves, from mine permits that are retroactively rejected, to unattainable standards that prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants, to attempting to regulate coal ash as a hazardous product, and discouraging coal exports.
The future of our economy is dependent on a long-overdue national energy policy that ensures businesses and families have access to an affordable and reliable energy supply. I am working to establish a bipartisan comprehensive national energy policy, based on an all of the above plan that includes coal and gas. America needs a regulatory system based on facts not ideology and a commitment to expanding energy production from all sources. Congress should be encouraging private sector energy development rather than have Washington picking winners and losers.