Republican challenger Wayne Clark and Democratic incumbent Sammi Brown. Here’s what they said during a WRNR-TV10 forum on Sept. 29.
Clark: I am best known as the owner and operator of Locust Hill Golf Course in Charles Town, West Virginia. Formerly I was on the City Council of Charles Town from 2011 and 2015, where I had a 97 percent attendance record and a steady voting record.
As a small business owner I have the struggles that other small business owners are going through, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I will actively help small business owners create an environment where small businesses can build and, in turn, continue to make the community vibrant and diverse. …There’s no doubt that currently right now social inequality and diversity is very important to everyone. As a small business owner, I live it every day. I have every type of person coming in my door, from every nationality, from every religious difference. Being in my position I have to treat them all the same. Everybody is treated the same at Locust Hill Golf Course. Running and representing Jefferson County, everybody’s the same. They have their opinions. They have their views. I need to listen to them. I need to respond to them. And I need to help them fix their problems the best I can. … With my wife being a teacher, I’m more for schools than anybody can imagine. I find it difficult that Sammi [Brown] voted against charter schools. Charter schools is an option for West Virginia to do something better with our education system. Our education system is severely broke, and we need to fix that. …
Brown: It’s been a hell-of-a two years guys. Just in 2018, and it feels like yesterday, we ran the little campaign that could. It was scrappy. It was tough. And we knocked on thousands of doors to make sure that we reached the voters of Charles Town and Ranson. And in that time I really got to know the people of my hometown and my community and what really resonated with you. But I also saw deep disparity. Some folks were doing incredibly well and some folks were hurting still.
And that’s been my drive for the past two years. I’ve sponsored over 100 bills in my first term. I was appointed to the committee on judiciary. Within the first week of being in the capitol, I was appointed to the committee on criminal justice reform, and now you’ve seen that legislation come to fruition through expungement.
What we’ll talk about today is how we want to move West Virginia forward. I personally believe that the way that you build a robust economy is through its people. And so we’ll discuss those policies—people-based policies—and hopefully debate the facts. …
The premise behind progressivism is truly rooted in social justice. In every frame that you can imagine, we’re looking for the possibility to create equity within the policy, and I’ve done that. Regardless if it was as simple as, let’s say, education. We’re looking for spaces in order to make sure that all of our families have the same equitable access that they are able to receive the education that they deserve, that folks that want to be here in West Virginia to survive and thrive.
If they want to be educators here in our schools, we want to make sure they have every means possible in order to survive here.
And that’s really the frame, now how folks have deviated from that around the country I would have to say so, but that’s my route and that’s how I feel about it. And you see that in all of the pieces of legislation that I’ve sponsored. …
Some of the issues that we’re taking on have really revealed themselves within the pandemic. In my opinion, the pandemic didn’t necessarily create some of these issues but instead exacerbated the issues that were already existing. Two premises that I want to attack head-on particularly for the 65th have to do with public health. I did introduce legislation that is called Any Willing Provider so that is to create open access to individuals and make sure that they are not denied health care.