CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS, WVAH) — Paul Davis is a Democrat running for Congress in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Republican Congresswoman Carol Miller.
Davis is the general manager and chief executive officer of the Tri-State Transit Authority (TTA) located in Huntington. He also was past president of the West Virginia Public Transit Association and was named West Virginia Transit Manager of the Year in 2012.
He graduated from Marshall University with a degree in political science and a master’s in business administration.
Davis is from Huntington, where he lives with his wife. The couple has two adult sons.
All candidates running for Congress were asked to submit responses to an Eyewitness News questionnaire. Below are Davis’ responses.
1. Why have you chosen to run for West Virginia’s 3rd District U.S. House seat?
We deserve better! Like most Americans, I’ve watched our political representatives become so polarized that they are no longer governing for the people.
The political infighting has to stop or we will implode from within. We need to elect leaders who are looking out for everyone’s interests.
America was built on the backs of hard-working people. It seems to me that big corporations are totally devoted to the bottom line.
It’s time we concentrate our efforts on common everyday people.
2. What differentiates you from your opponents?
I come from a very poor working class family. When I was born, my mother and father lived in public housing.
A few years later, my father landed a job at C&O Railroad. Things were better for my family for a while. Then we were dealt another blow, as my mother became addicted to prescription drugs.
My family had the same struggles that many families do every day. I know what it is like to wonder were the next meal is coming from.
I went to work when I was 14 years old. I’ll match my work ethic to anyone. I am not afraid of hard work.
For the last 31 years, I have worked for Tri-State Transit Authority and only missed five days of work in all of those years and that was due to suffering from a kidney stone.
3. Explain what you see as the most important issue facing the state.
The lack of hope! The loss of meaningful jobs and careers has played a role in the addiction crisis. People must have hope and be able to have a vision for a future.
West Virginia continues to lose population because our young people don’t see a future here.
The federal government must invest in Southern West Virginia. We need infrastructure, roads, water, sewer, broadband and, most importantly, we need to invest in our students.
4. How you are uniquely qualified to address that issue?
I feel that it is my purpose to give back to my community.
I have personally experienced many of the things that the people I hope to represent need help with today. I have fought hard for everything in my life and will use that drive and tenacity to fight for the citizens. I understand their struggles firsthand.
Here are a few things I’ve done in my professional career:
* I played a role in building Pullman Square in downtown Huntington.
* Brought nearly $100 million to Cabell County and the city of Huntington.
My community and state service include:
* Past president of the West Virginia Public Transit Association.
* Named Transit Employee of the Year by the West Virginia Division of Public Transit in 1997 and named West Virginia Transit Manager of the Year in 2012
* Past president of the Huntington Kiwanis and the Rotary Club in Huntington
* Past president of Hite-Saunders Little League
* Membership in Masonic organizations including a member of Beni Kedem Shriners in Charleston
* Past Master of Masonic lodge in Louisa, Ky.
* Member of the board of the Scottish Rite Foundation Speech and Hearing Clinic at Marshall University and served as the past chair.
* Member of municipal and county economic development and business associations.
* Serve as a member of the Huntington Live committee of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce and as the chairperson of the Downtown Partners.
5. How would you address the following big picture issues? Please keep each answer to 200 words or less.
Our teachers are professionals deserve an income that recognizes their responsibility to prepare our children for the world of work and civic engagement.
Too many of the proposed federal reforms for elementary and secondary education move us backward. We need to listen to our teachers to learn how best to support public education.
I’m opposed to charter schools.
- Opioid Crisis
We need rational and systematic efforts to curb drug abuse. We need to arrest, prevent and treat.
I will work to grant greater coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to track and break the commercial markets supporting drug trade.
I will work to support the in-school and after-school programs to help children develop the skills needed to avoid addiction.
I will work to enhance programs that treat the addicted. These efforts include our fine drug courts and community-based treatment centers.
I will fight for mental health parity, after-school programming and job enrichment.
- Health Care
I’m a proponent of affordable health care for all. Congress should revise certain aspects of the Affordable Healthcare Act to find a way to make it affordable and accessible to the working poor, seniors and middle class.
Health care should be a right for every single man, woman and child in the United States of America.
- Jobs and the Economy
West Virginians do not want handouts. We want real jobs that pay a living wage.
I will work to bring emerging commercial opportunities for West Virginia, including the aeronautics industry, alternative energy, cybersecurity and the rehabilitation of exhausted mines and innovations in farming technologies.
I will revise the Appalachian Regional Commission budget and mission to provide development grants to allow local communities to develop new sources of commerce.
I will revise federal labor laws to ensure full-time employment that provides a fair wage and access to affordable care.
I will work to provide incentives for corporations that expand to Appalachia, hire veterans, provide job training and support family and catastrophic leave.
6. What do you think it means to be a public servant?
Giving back to this great nation and the people who live in the United States. As we say in the Rotary Club, “service above self.”
7. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Just be yourself, don’t forget where you came from and don’t forget the “Golden Rule.” Treat all people like you like to be treated.
8. What is your ideal vacation?
West Virginia’s vacation place – Myrtle Beach. Just hanging out by the pool.
9. Who do you cheer louder for – WVU, Marshall, someone else?