Here are reviews and recommendations for U.S. Congress candidates for all of you West Virginia! For more information about Sustainable Politician Project, read our full intro here.
Voting in West Virginia
West Virginia’s primary is on Tuesday, May 8. Your state uses a plurality vote to progress a candidate forward. This means that a candidate from each party needs only the most votes to win, not a fixed percentage of the votes. These top candidates move on to the general election on November 6.
Your state technically has a mixed poll type because the state’s legislature allows the individual political parties decide which poll type they’d like to run. Usually though, West Virginia is a semi-closed poll type. Basically, if you are registered with a party, you can only vote for a candidate in your party. If you are not registered with a party, you can vote for whichever candidate you want.
Keep in mind that this review covers only candidates running for U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. The other things you will be voting for on May 8 are State Senate, House of Delegates, Local judges, school boards, and ballot measures.
As you’re probably aware, West Virginia is big on coal mining because there’s a lot of coal here. This puts candidates in sticky situations because supporting eco-friendly legislation often reduces coal mining jobs here in your home state. So we have a lot of recommendations that aren’t the best, but just the best at what we’ve been given.
Remember that you’re voting for just one senator in this election, for a total of two senators serving terms in D.C. You have some really shady options as far as eco-friendly candidates go, so we recommend you clicking the links to their websites and looking for some other issues that matter to you.
Our recommendation: Seriously look at other issues because you have some really bad options here.
Joe Manchin III – Incumbent [D]
First, we’ll give you a run-down on what your current Senator is doing for sustainability lately. Note that he serves on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, so he makes decisions related to all this energy stuff, which deals a lot with fossil fuels in his case.
Manchin wants coal miners to keep their jobs. Making sure people have jobs isn’t a bad thing, but the mining industry fuels industries making money off of nonrenewable energy sources. Coal is a fossil fuel, folks. The longer we keep ignoring this, the harder the switch to clean energy will be. That being said, Manchin is not against exploring renewable energy sources. He claims to search for becoming an energy-independent country by harnessing both energy types.
Another thing to note, Manchin supports the construction of the Appalachian Storage Hub. This petrochemical complex is in the early-planning stages, but looking to settle in West Virginia. It would store lots of natural gas (another fossil fuel!) and create a pipeline infrastructure to carry energy along the Appalachians. Some concerns with this match concerns with any pipeline: leaks or spills causing pollution, water contamination, etc.
Manchin is also against federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (source).
Bo Copley [R]
This guy feels pretty strongly about the federal government not getting in the way of West Virginia’s energy production industry (coal mining!) He acknowledges the industry’s “pressure from changing demand, technology, and overregulation,” and promises to keep the feds out. This kind of implies that he does not think coal mining should change in demand, in technology, or the way it’s regulated. Additionally, he has vowed to promote fossil fuels as the “common sense solution” to fulfilling America’s energy demands.
Copley also promises to protect the natural resources of West Virginia. A little odd, considering he also vowed to exploit the fossil fuels of the state under no regulations.
Evan Jenkins [R]
According to his website, Jenkins is “strongly opposed” to EPA regulations. He is a big pro-coal advocate and intends to keep coal miners mining. Manchin was also against a cap-and-trade bill, which proposed a gradual reduction of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, cutting down emissions by 82% (from 2005) by 2050.
He also supports the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta Canada across much of the plains region. This might not affect your state directly, but still poses a number of environmental concerns (source).
Other Senator Candidates (who barely even mentioned coal or environmental concerns):
- Paula Jean Swearengin [D]
- Don Blankenship [R]
- Patrick Morrisey [R]
- Jack Newbrough [R]
- Tom Willis [R]
U.S. House of Representatives
Find your district here.
Our recommendation: Tom Payne
- Supports federal regulation of environmental issues
According to a political courage test run by Vote Smart, Tom Payne is against the Keystone XL pipeline. He supports funding developing clean energy options, like solar and wind, and acknowledges that the continued use of fossil fuels could damage the planet.
He takes note of a human-caused climate change and supports federal regulation of greenhouse emissions to determine the effects of climate change. (And whether or not they are detrimental.)
Other District 1 Candidates:
- Ralph Baxter [D] – He spends a lot of time on his website talking about his “accessibility” and vows to attend town meetings, listening to your concerns, and making himself as accessible as possible. If elected, make sure you’re voicing your environmental concerns.
- Kendra Fershee [D]
- David McKinley [R] – Incumbent. Your current representative has vowed to fight against the EPA for the coal mining industry. McKinley supports the Keystone XL pipeline and increased funding for renewable energy sources, but does not support federal regulation of greenhouse emissions (source).
Well District 2, you have some candidates that either eco-unfriendly, or haven’t mentioned anything regarding sustainability or environment in their platform at all.
Our recommendation: Look at the candidates’ other issues before you vote.
Candidates in District 2:
- Aaron Scheinberg [D]
- Talley Sergent [D]
- Alexander Mooney [R] – Incumbent. Some information about your current representative:
Our recommendation: Richard Ojeda
- Current state senator
- Continue coal production, but also develop renewable energy further
Ojeda’s website discusses his support for the coal mining industry in West Virginia. This candidate believes that miners should keep mining, but he also wants the Mountain State to lead in all types of energy production, namely biofuels, solar, and wind. He would like to develop other alternative sources while the coal mining continues, which makes him a decent option.
In Ogeda’s political courage test, he indicated support for increasing the use of renewable and nonrenewable fuel in our country. He also supports funding contaminated industrial site clean-up initiatives (source).
Other District 3 Candidates:
- Ayne Amjad [R]
- Marty Gearheart [R] – This candidate does not support funds for developing alternative sources, regulations of fracking, or regulations to reduce climate change effects (source).
- Conrad Lucas [R]
- Carol Miller [R] – Miller is against funding the development of alternative energy and domestic fossil fuel sources, against regulating fracking, and against regulations to reduce climate change effects (source).
- Philip Payton [R]
- Rupie Phillips [R] – He wants to continue fossil fuel production in West Virginia and fund development of technology to extend the life of these nonrenewable resources. But regardless, these resources will run out eventually.
- Rick Snuffer [R] – Snuffer does not support regulating greenhouse gas emissions (source).
- Paul Davis [D]
- Janice Hagerman [D]
- Shirley Love [D]