Today, the Charleston Daily Mail editorial board will sit down with Meshea Poore and Nick Casey, the two Democrats running for U.S. House in the second district.
Follow along as we talk with the candidates and learn more about their platforms.
That wraps up today’s session. Look for an article in tomorrow’s Daily Mail.
Poore says Casey is a gentleman. “That may not really capture everything he represents, but you get what you get.” Casey would treat everyone the same today as yesterday. That’s important to have in a representative.
Casey says he and Poore share a common compassion for West Virginians. Serving others to improve the common good is something they both share. “We’re West Virginians. We have to apologize to no one because we’re West Virginians.”
Merrit asks the last question. What have you learned from your opponent?
Casey says a person’s faith will direct them where to fall on a lot of issues, but people can still be compassionate and treat people equally. “Equal means equal.”
Casey says education should include the consequences of action, individual responsibility, daycare opportunities, adoption.
Casey says it’s about equality–equal pay, equal opportunity and equal rights. “That’s the law.” Domestic violence is destructive to families, is an area where there needs to be “rigid and substantial enforcement.”
Poore a proponent of equal pay. Women spend more money than men. Reality is, they invest in economy. Conversations about economic development and health care need to include women. Poore says she will be a champion of women’s issues.
I asked about the Democratic school of thought advocating a Republican war on women. Poore says conversations about abortions, sex education, etc. need to happen to curtail teen pregnancy.
West Virginia has one exchange, Poore notes. That could hurt consumers. Law isn’t perfect. Would like to see resources, education to help people navigate their plans. “
Poore says it is the law of the land. Business owners haven’t been properly educated on how the law affects them. They should be educated properly. 150,000 state residents uninsured. That affects the quality of the workforce, education system.
Other parts of the plan are bad, Casey said. No employer would rather have 100 part-timers rather than 50 full-timers. His position on ACA is “it was implemented in an outrageous way.” Fixes should have been made on front end.
Casey, who is on a local hospital’s board of directors, says Obamacare is a “process failure, bad leadership.” Question now is what to do with it. Pieces of the legislation are good for people.
Topic turns to ACA.
Casey says it’s when lobbyists are “divorced from the constituency” that it becomes problematic. “My constituents are who I work for.” Would like to see a connection between the voter and the lobbyist.
Poore: We hunt here in WV. Many people are NRA cardholders. Said she makes clear what she supports and doesn’t support. “I’ve never done anything I felt was harmful to the constitution.”
Phillip Maramba asks about NRA influence.
Casey: “We haven’t had a fundraiser yet, but we’ve had an awful lot of ‘friendraisers.'”
Casey says he asks voters to 1) vote 2) say nice things 3) invest in the campaign however possible. That includes yard signs, door knocking, or the 1,500 people who have donated money.
Poore notes Sen. Byrd’s “humble beginnings,” but brought millions of dollars to the state.
Poore: staying in DC if necessary doesn’t mean you’re not a West Virginian. “I knew coming into this, my last name is Poore, but my passion is rich.”
Poore brings up Sen. Byrd and Rep. Wise–neither had much money “but were great statesmen.” Glossy ads doesn’t mean candidate will work harder in Congress. She attends meet and greets, etc. “We are where we need to be.”
Poore says money doesn’t matter. She’s a proponent of grassroots campaigning.
Merrit brings up fundraising. Notes Casey has the advantage.
Casey said his wife insists if he’s elected, they must live in WV.
Casey has taken 20-plus trips to Eastern Panhandle in various capacities, so many that he has a second house there. People want to be able to talk to you at the grocery store, church. “Geography is diverse.”
Casey says he’s been involved in political activities statewide. Traveled to every courthouse in WV as chairman of state bar association.
Poore: discussion varies from county to county, but its something all areas can identify with–drugs, education, agriculture. “You need a person who is willing to listen to those things.” Learned in Legislature that when you look at a bill, you have to determine if it’s for the benefit of the whole.
Merrit notes both candidates are from Charleston. He asks if they can identify with rural parts of the vast second district.
Poore: state needs to be open-minded. It’s hard to tell what businesses could be attracted to the state via immigrants.
Poore: “Why would we ever shut the door on someone who can add to revenue, add to culture in WV. That’s not appropriate.”
Poore says she reports immigration reform. When people come to WV and take citizenship, they should be embraced. That’s the way to grow business.
Casey says children and grandchildren of those immigrants were able to succeed. There was an immigration process at that time. Labor issues in the US create a need for immigrations. Illegal immigrants should pay the price. The children of those illegal immigrants should be dealt with in a positive way.
Casey says his mother’s family came from Italy, as did his wife’s. They came for opportunity. “Those people came here because they wanted something. They were ready to make a commitment, to take risks.”
Topic turns to immigration reform. Surber asks candidates what they would like to see.
Poore: voters want to send someone who is “very balanced, very clear” to Congress.
Poore: “You have to have someone there who understands the jobs.” Real conversation is about jobs. Would like to see the administration help transition former coal miners to new jobs with same income, help them acquire new skill sets.
Poore says she went to DC to meet with EPA to talk coal. Communication is key, she says. “You do have to have a champion of all the issues that affect WV.”
At state level, Legislature allows agencies to set rules and regulations that must be brought back to the Legislature. That’s not so at congressional level. Casey says Congress needs a process adjustment to add check on federal agencies. “It’s a matter of Congress exerting it’s muscle.”
Surber says other Democrats representing WV don’t seem to be getting the message through. Casey says he has a better fix than Manchin and Rahall.
Casey: coal is part of the energy solution and gas will be as well. “It’s all got to be looked at with rational voices.”
Casey: “I have an energy constituency. I have an energy understanding.” People like him can explain to others in the party how energy is an important asset. “Energy doesn’t come out of a plug in the all.” It comes from places like WV.
Casey says he’s represented coal industry over his career. WV is an industry state.
Surber asks Casey about the national Democratic Party’s general anti-coal stance. Brings up Spruce Mine permit revocation. Does he support policies?
Poore: “The reality is, we did have a water crisis.” No one could use water, affected business. “We have to be able to have a relationship and conversation that jobs have nothing to do with air and clean water.” People entitled to clean air and water.
Poore: the main endorser is the voter. Nothing in her record shows she’s against oil, gas or coal and she supports workers. “You see a balance.” Supported Marcellus shale legislation. Worked for mine safety, supportive of industry.
Don Surber asks Poore about some of her endorsements, especially the Sierra Club which ran an anti-coal ad and is now going after natural gas.
Casey: House of Delegates in WV is functioning, Washington is not. He says he’s at the stage of experience where he can add his assets to Washington. Legislature disagrees, but doesn’t shut down. US government isn’t there.
Merrit asks Casey about his political connections via past service in Democratic Party.
Poore says her district is illustrative of some of the issues all West Virginians face. “I believe in this state enough to say ‘take a risk on me because I will always fight for you.'”
Poore says she believes WV is “worth the risk.” She’s a servant, wants to help people. “I do see the need for a different voice in DC” especially one that represents working families.
Questions begin with Kelly Merrit asking Poore about why she choose to run for Congress rather than stay in the Legislature.
Poore went to school and interned out of state, but came home. She says she’s an example of someone who loves her state enough to return home. Started a private law practice, serves in the Legislature.
Poore wants to be the voice for everybody, no matter their communities.
Poore mentions untapped potential–entrepreneurs, tourism industry that was almost damaged by Jan. 9 chemical spill.
Meshea Poore currently serves as a delegate representing the 37th district. “West Virginians are strong. Our roots are deep.” Wants to go to Congress and show WV comes first.
Casey: if representatives disagree and can’t find solutions, they’re not doing their jobs. Diverse groups can be brought together if you find a common cause.
Casey: lawyers are problem solvers. All lawyering starts with someone wanting to achieve something. Sees dysfunction, lack of leadership in Congress.
We’re getting started with introductions. Nick Casey is up first. He’s been a lawyer and CPA for 37 years. Lifelong WV resident.
Today’s meeting will begin at noon rather than 12:30.
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