The struggle to stay isn't a new problem for West Virginia young people. Both of my parents were Harrison County natives who left the area together in the early 1970's. When my dad retired from the Navy in 1991, after living all over the country, we moved to Shepherdstown in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle the following year. It was a big change for an 11 year old who had only been to West Virginia on yearly visits to my grandparents and family, but it was a change for the better and I will always be proud to say I am from West Virginia.
After I graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2003, my wife and I moved to Salem and in 2006 we bought a home in Clarksburg where we have lived and worked since. In the 15 years that we have lived in Harrison County, North Central West Virginia and the rest of the state has seen some real ups and downs. Events like the Marcellus Shale boom and its effect on our local economy, wave after wave of drug epidemics, state budget issues and the recent teacher strike have created uncertainty and affected the entire outlook of West Virginia’s young people and the long term health of the state itself.
My decision to run for House of Delegates comes from my desire to stay and fight for West Virginia and our two year old daughter Audra has made that fight much more important. I want to see a West Virginia where she feels like she can be successful without leaving the state for better opportunities. I want her to see the same opportunity my Great-Grandfather saw when he arrived here in West Virginia from Lebanon. Somewhere along the way that opportunity has been lost and it's time to look for different solutions to bring it back.
Several years ago I became a Libertarian because I believe the majority of the problems that plague West Virginia and the United States are in large caused by the government itself. It's not about left or right, or conservative or liberal as both parties have shown that they have no respect for individual rights and liberty and continue to grow the state and local government beyond its means.
I think all West Virginians have a little bit of libertarian beliefs and principles regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. It's time our district sends someone to Charleston that will defend our rights, support our civil liberties, and help launch West Virginia into a recovery that will create desirable high paying jobs, fight our drug epidemics and retain and even attract young people to our great state.