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Democrats And Republicans Have Choices For Congress

By Staff | May 5, 2010

Democrat Alan B. Mollohan is seeking re-election to represent the First Congressional District. He is being challenged by Mike Oliverio, who did not respond to the Wetzel Chronicle’s questionnaire.

On the Republican ticket six candidates are seeking their party’s nomination to the position: Cindy Hall, David McKinley, Sarah M. Minear, Tom Stark, Andrew M. “Mac” Warner. and Patricia Levenson, who did not respond to the Wetzel Chronicle’s questionnaire.

Mollohan was born in Fairmont, W.Va., on May 14, 1943, to Robert H. and Helen Holt Mollohan. A graduate of Greenbrier Military School, the College of William and Mary, and West Virginia University’s College of Law, he began his legal career in 1970 with a Fairmont firm.

In 1976 he married Glenville native Barbara Whiting, who was working as a speech therapist in the Ohio County schools system. They are the parents of four sons and one daughter.

Mollohan was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1983, and has served in each successive Congress.

Mollohan is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which sets funding levels for all discretionary government programs. The Appropriations Committee consists of 12 subcommittees. Mollohan serves on three of them.

He is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. The subcommittee funds the departments of Justice and Commerce, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among other agencies.

Mollohan also is a member of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and the Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

Hall has a background as a30-year business owner of a real estate investment and management company,with a real estate brokers license and general contractors; a partner in an aviation company with a pilot’s license; a founder and director of a non-profit; a community and political advocate as president ofa citiesmediation program, downtown revitalization committee member, community council member, city council candidate, member of the NRA, chamber member.

Hall says she will impose term limits on herself. If elected she will serve a maximum of 12 years.

During her campaign, she has been working on bringing business to towns in West Virginia.She is in the process of forming a coalition of downtown business associations in the state and other regions.Being the volunteer organizer and director of the recently formed Wheeling Downtown Business Association,Hall has been involved in ways to revitalize aged towns, so as to accommodate and encourage new business. She is also involved in bringing charter schools to West Virginia.

Pastime activities have been as a race car driver, polo player, and ice hockey player.

A proud father of four children and five grandchildren, McKinley is a seventh generation resident of Wheeling and West Virginia. Born in Wheeling in 1947, McKinley attended public schools and worked his way through college graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Civil Engineering.After college he spent the next 12 years in the construction industry and taught night classes in local technical colleges.

He then established McKinley and Associates-an architectural and engineering company that has grown to include offices in Wheeling; Charleston, W.Va.; and Washington, Pa. He has been active with numerous civic, charitable, and non-profit organizations, hospital boards, and foundations in West Virginia. In his youth he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and later served on the local scouting council.

From 1981 through 1994, he represented the Third Delegate District in the West Virginia Legislature, serving primarily on the Finance Committee as well as the Banking and Insurance and Roads and Transportation Committees among others. In 1990 McKinley was elected as Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party Executive Committee. In 1996 McKinley lost to Cecil Underwood in the Republican primary gubernatorial race.

As an individual with significant hearing impairment and a grandfather to a child with special needs, McKinley is no stranger to overcoming the obstacles of disabilities.

McKinley is married to the former Mary Gerkin from New Martinsville. They regularly attend St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling.

Minear served three terms in the West Virginia Senate, 1994-2006. Her interest in politics came naturally. Her late father, John Mullennex, also held office in Charleston, serving in the House of Delegates from 1950 to 1952.

Born in Parsons, W.Va., Minear is a fourth-generation native of Tucker County. She has supported business development in her home county and the surrounding areas for many years. A charter member of the Tucker County Development Authority, she was also a charter member of the Allegheny Front Development Authority, which includes jurisdictions in three states: West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Minear was the founding president of the Tucker County Endowment Foundation and the founder and president of the West Virginia Grantmakers Association, which assists community-development grants. For her support of West Virginia businesses, she was awarded the President’s Award from both the Preston County and Barbour County Chambers of Commerce.

She is a member of the West Virginia Region VII Planning and Development Council, which involves local governments and the private sector in developing a community and economic strategy. Minear is also a board member for Monongalia General Hospital.

Her numerous civic activities include serving as board member and outgoing president of the Ohio/West Virginia YMCA, which provides leadership programs for high-school students in both states. She was also a board member and president of the Appalachian Mental Health Association.

Minear attended Fairmont State College, West Virginia Business College, and West Virginia University. She was married to the late Robert Minear for 23 years.

Stark is a62-year-old retired civil servant / active businessman / furniture-maker, resident of West Virginia since 1997, and he says he will remain a resident for the rest of his natural life.He has been happily married to a West Virginia native named Mary for the past seven years. Between the two of them they have five children and eight grandchildren.

Stark and his wife have beenmembers of Fellowship Baptist Church, Vienna, W.Va., since 2005.

Before coming to West Virginia he served for over 20 years in management positions with private sector employers and lastly within the Orange County (Fla.) government, initially as public services manager (security, safety, and transportation) for the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando; and later as assistant deputy clerk to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) where he was responsible for the records of the BCC and developing IT systems to allow electronic searching of those records.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1965 to 1969, including a year in Thailand and Vietnam.

He earned an Associate’s degree in Administration of Justice through the GI Bill in 1978, and a Bachelor’s degree from Barry University (Miami Shores, Fla.) in 1994. He is about seven credits shy of completing a Master of Arts in Organizational Management throughthe University of Phoenix. Tomark LLC is the family business started initially as a sole proprietorship shortly after his arrival in West Virginia, converting to a WV LLC in 2005.

Warner attended West Point military academy. He graduated in 1977 and was commissioned as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army. In 1979, Mac was one of 25 officers selected to attend law school for the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He returned to the College of Law to obtain his JD degree. He went into the real estate development business.

What is your opinion on Cap and Trade? How would you work for or against this measure?

Mollohan: I voted against cap and trade because it not only threatened West Virginia’s coal industry, it threatened our entire way of life. I will continue to oppose it. Coal generates nearly half of our nation’s electricity today, and coal will generate half-or more-of our electricity 30 years from now. The future for natural gas, which is so important to Wetzel County, is bright, but even its expanded use cannot-and should not-replace coal.

Hall: The Cap and Trade bill should not be passed.It would increase the size of government, with new agencies and departments, impede our freedoms, with inclusion into our private lives, as well as helping eliminate a major energy source and jobs in West Virginia.

McKinley: I am 100 percent against Cap and Trade. We must stop the war on coal being waged in Washington. Our current Congressman hasn’t done nearly enough to protect an industry that provides so many jobs for families in West Virginia. Unlike our current Congressman, I would not have waited until the last minute to simply vote against it quietly. I would have worked tirelessly day and night to see to it that none of my colleagues supported this disastrous legislation. I would have done everything in my power to keep this bill from passing the House.

Minear: I served on the Energy Committee in the West Virginia Senate and worked to promote and expand our state’s energy producing industries and I have the experience and knowledge to go to Washington and fight President Obama and Speaker Pelosi’s anti-coal agenda.I will not wait until the day of the vote to let them know I oppose their so-called “cap and trade” bill.I will demand explanations and access when they slow down and deny permits to mine coal.My top priority will be to get passed an energy bill for America thatprotects coal, invests in clean coal technology, expands domestic production of oil and natural gas, and provides resources for nuclear, wind, solar, Biomass, and alternative energy sources.

Stark: Cap and trade is nothing more than an attempt to tax something out of existence and to change societal behavior and is all based on the fraud of man-made global warming.Itwill devastate West Virginia’s coal industry which will eventually ruin the entire country by escalating the costs of energy to the point where people will not be able to afford to heat their homes or drive theircars.One of the most insidious provisions that denies the existence of private property rights in America is the requirement that a residence undergo a government-approved inspection process before it can be soldunder the guise of requiring the upgrading of insulation and energy efficiency.This is totally unconstitutional and a denial of the existence of the right of every person in this country to be secure intheir possessions.I would do everything within my legal power as a representative to encourage other members of Congress to vote against such a disastrous bill. It would move our country back to the 1800s by denying it the energy it needs to flourish.

Warner: The premise upon which this legislation is based has not been proven scientifically correct.There are several layers of basic scientific inquiry that need to be addressed: Is there in fact, global warming?Is it something other than typical cycles of earth cooling and warming?If there is warming and it’s other than typical cycles, then is it man-made?If it is man-made, would the Cap and Trade legislation actually produce the desired effect to reverse global warming?To answer these questions, there needs to be a truly open scientific dialogue, subjected to the scientific method that includes testing hypotheses and then supporting such conclusions with a verifiable process.Then, and only then, should Congress start considering legislation that would have such a devastating negative impact on so many American jobs and lives.Until such time as there has been true scientific evidence not the “cooked books” that have been the basis so far let me be absolutely clear: I will do everything in my power to protect West Virginia jobs and kill Cap and Trade legislation.

Name one other major national issue that affects West Virginians. Give your opinion and what you will do to work toward that end.

Mollohan: Jobs is the most important issue. There is not a close second. A year ago, we were losing half a million or more jobs every month. Congress responded with important economic recovery measures that have begun to turn those numbers around. In March, for example, the U.S. created 162,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate in West Virginia dropped significantly. We’re headed in the right direction on jobs, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.

I will continue to bring federal investments in transportation, water and sewer projects, broadband, and other projects that not only create jobs immediately but also lay the ground work for sustained economic development in the future.

Hall: Deficit. Although I oppose a national VAT sales tax (value added tax), it is the most efficient way to accumulate huge amounts of money. A quarter percent tax can generate a trillion dollars.To reduce federal spending requires a change in the political outlook, only by changing the party in office.Cutting back on entitlements would reduce the deficit but cause huge problems with the elderly, sick, and poor.

McKinley: Spending in Washington is out of control. The federal government simply cannotsustain the current rate of spending. The solution to this problem is for the federal governmentto start operating from a balanced budget again. The federal budget was balanced by a Republican-controlled Congress in the late 90’s and it can be done again. We must eliminate from the budget costly earmarks, duplication between bureaucracies, and foreign aid that does not directly impact international relations or nation security. Lastly, we have to reduce the spending on certain social programs and eliminate funding for any bureaucratic organizations that are inconsequential.We must do everything we can to keep from passing on this liability to our children and grandchildren.

Minear: I do not believe that healthcare reform bill Nancy Pelosi forced on the American people will reduce cost or premiums for average Americans.It will create the largest government-based entitlement program that will continue to drive up spending and threaten our financial stability. That is why I have signed the Repeal It Pledge.When I go to Washington, I will work to undo the long-term economic damage of this bill and replace it will be meaningful reforms that will actually reduce costs and lower premiums like the medical liability reform, allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, ending the ban on pre-existing, and creating Small Business Health Plans.

Stark: The Second Amendment is still under assault.The current administration has already publicly supported the adoption of an international treaty that requires the eventual elimination of private ownership of firearms.For an American administration to support such a bill while fully aware that it conflicts directly with the Bill of Rights should be cause for impeachment as a direct violation of his oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution.I would also work to prevent this treaty from being ratified by the Senate.While I cannot influence it with my own vote, I can “lobby” our state’s Senators and rally public opposition to this treaty.

Warner: Don’t vilify job creators. Entrepreneurs, investors, and job creators are the heartbeat of America. They are what makes America work.They provide the means to generate wealth, improve our quality of life, and pay taxes that build infrastructure and fund the defense of our country.Without people willing to put their personal wealth at risk, capitalism ceases to exist.Digging coal, moving it to market, building power plants, and properly disposing of the byproducts are all essential to our being able to turn on lights, watch TV, and get on our computers.We can’t have it both ways: make villains out of people involved in the coal business, but still expect cheap energy in an endless supply of power. We need to balance the interests of people who put their time, money, and energy into the production of coal, and environmentalists who fight for a clean, healthy environment. There is common ground: coal operators also want a clean environment, and environmentalists want affordable energy. Both sides have good aspects, so let’s find the middle ground that has West Virginians living and working together. I will work to educate people on both sides, and stop trying to make villains of the very people we need to pull America out of recession and put West Virginians back to work.

There are many candidates seeking this position. What makes you the best person for this job?

Mollohan: West Virginia’s future depends on decisions we make this year. I have devoted my life to building West Virginia’s economy-protecting our traditional extraction and manufacturing industries from cap and trade and other damaging proposals, unfair foreign trade practices, and other measures that would hurt West Virginia’s economy. Not everyone is going to agree with every vote I cast, but from the minute I get up in the morning until I go to bed in the evening, I am working for my constituents.

Hall: -Term limit pledge of not more than 12 years

-Grassroots candidate with no alliances or favors owed to special interest groups

-Experience over 30 years, as a business executive, owner-manager in real estate management, aviation, and non-profit

-Lifelong political experience in city and county governments in city revitalization, business development, mediation program, community council member, leadership program

-Community involvement with memberships in Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, director of the Wheeling Downtown Business Association, Wheeling Jamboree Board of Directors

-Civic business entrepreneur with the formation of the Wheeling Downtown Business Association and the development of the Micro Business Co-op in West Virginia

-Traveled all over the world and lived in Europe for a brief time

-Specifically, I have not received donations from groups whose views are different from mine; I have no political complications or baggage; I have no oneissue that I am pushing; I have a background of public and community service; I have not held elected office and am not beholden to anyone, except the citizens of West Virginia.

McKinley: I believe my experience creating hundreds of jobs across West Virginia combined with my legislative experience sets me apart from the other candidates in this race.I am the only candidate in this race who has experienced continued success managing a company, meeting a payroll, and creating jobs. During my 14 years in the West Virginia House of Delegates I was a staunch conservativefighting for lower taxes, reduced spending, and less regulation. I will use this experience to challenge the status quo in Washington and fight to protect West Virginia jobs.

Minear: Washington is broken and Alan Mollohan is part of the problem.He has been in congress for almost 28 years-five Presidents and six speakers-and he has left us with record deficits and a legacy of debt. I believe my diverse background in business, community service, and public office makes me uniquely suited to help set our country on the right course.I am the only experienced candidate in this race who never voted for a tax increase in Charleston, and I never will in Washington.

Stark: I am the only candidate who has provided specific and realistic ideas, positions, thoughts, and plans for correcting what is wrong with the way our government does business, creates a budget, and collects taxes (among other things).I have made it a point to be specific, truthful, and open.I have no political experience and therefore offer totally new and fresh approaches that are not bogged down with “that’s not the way the system works” mentality.The system is what is wrong and needs “new blood” to correct the excesses and faults that exist. We should not be sending politicians to Washington if we want corrections to be made.It takes someone from the outside coming in and calling others to task for what is wrong.Only with principles, backbone, courage, and commitment can it be fixed.I am prepared with all of those to get the job done. If enough people vote intelligently throughout our country, we can do it together.

Warner: Leadership is a commodity missing in Washington, D.C. We need leaders, not managers. As a West Point graduate, 23-year military veteran, and small business owner, I understand leadership. I also know what it takes to meet a payroll and to endure the ups and downs of the business world. That is missing in our elected officials today. Career politicians are not looking out for the residents of West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, something I pledge to do.