HD Media is running submitted questionnaires from candidates in the 2020 elections.

Read more responses from candidates by clicking on the links at right. Candidates who have not received a questionnaire can send an email to acopley@HDMediaLLC.com with their name, candidacy and phone number.

NAME: Jody Murphy

CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. Governor

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Murphy4WV.com also on Facebook (Murphy4WV)

HOME CITY: Parkersburg

HOME COUNTY: Wood County

AGE: 47

EDUCATION: Fayetteville High School, Concord College.

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Courier Fed Ex.

OTHER WORK HISTORY: Pleasants County Development Authority, Pleasants Area Chamber of Commerce, Parkersburg News and Sentinel (reporter).

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, St. Marys Elks.

FAMILY: Wife, married for 23 years, with three sons.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: West Virginia is my Home. My mission is to make it home to my children and their children. I want the same for you and yours. To do that, I am driven to build relationships and launch endeavors that raise our profile, attract and retain residents, court new business, development and entrepreneurship, and grow existing businesses. I have decades of skills, contacts and know-how that can make this state a place to live, work and play. I am committed to working, tax-paying West Virginians. They are my No. 1 Priority. We need more tax-payers, not more taxes!

Questions from the West Virginia League of Women Voters:

1. With the decline in the extraction industries in West Virginia, what do you think should be done to diversify the state’s economy?

Give away land for manufacturing growth. Provide better infrastructure (roads, water, electric, sewer, internet) to our cities, towns and county industrial parks to promote and develop entrepreneurship. Work with existing in-state businesses on their growth and development. 85% of growth is not from new business, but existing, in-state business expansion.

2. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or why not?

NO. I live at the epicenter of C8 and the “Mid-Ohio Valley Crud” an annual sinus infection due to poor air quality. The EPA should Not be business friendly. But we need balance to grow and diversify our economy. Our businesses must be good neighbors, that includes paying its fair share in taxes and taking care of their surrounding environment.

3. What role do you see for state government in reversing West Virginia’s population decline?

Hand-in-Hand with local governments. The state can and will lead, but areas of the state that want to grow, MUST get on board and pitch in and that means change. State government will lead and provide a hand up to help, but not a hand out. The state can’t carry the burden alone. This must be a joint effort.

Additional questions from The Herald-Dispatch:

4. The state’s foster care system struggles to care for the 7,000 plus children who are now in it. Some action has been taken in recent months, but what further action do you think might be necessary?

Our population can’t support the weight of the foster-care system. We need to explore opening the system to allow foster kids to leave the state. We need to understand why our system is over-run and how we can prevent people from mass producing unwanted and neglected children and burdening the state. More action is needed, but so is funding.

5. There have been several attempts to reduce taxes on business in the state, including one failed in this past legislative session. Is it wise to keep pursuing tax breaks for business, at the possible expense of residential taxpayers? Do you think the state’s tax structure needs an overhaul?

It is Fool’s Gold to reduce business taxes. As we continue to lose population – we lose our working, tax-paying population – those working taxpayers who remain see their tax burden grow. This is an unsustainable model. The tax structure doesn’t need an overhaul, but it needs tweaked: We need to change the property tax rate set in the state constitution.

6. Do you think the educational reform bill passed in 2019 is working/will be effective?

No. Teachers need to teach. And we should take decisions about education OUT of the hands of state lawmakers. More decisions need to be made at the local level. County BOE’s need to have flexibility in the education of their children. The notion of the legislature leading the charge on educational change in WV is poorly thought out.

7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?

How are we paying for this? Who’s paying for this? The government can’t be all things to everyone and that is true of educational institutions. We don’t have the money to provide for all the at-home needs of every child at every school in the state. If this is something we want to do, how are we paying for it?

8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?

Give local educational systems MORE flexibility to improve and expand career and technical education. Open CTE’s to middle school kids. Expand internships, work-study and job shadowing into high school curriculum. Create free post-secondary education opportunities for residents and their children.

9. West Virginia has been especially hard hit by the opioid abuse epidemic. What do you see as the role of the legislature in addressing this crisis?

Decriminalize self-harm. Decriminalize possession and use. Blanket the state with Just Say NO campaigns beginning in pre-schools. Provide anti-drug abuse campaigns and increase educational opportunities to allow children from poor surroundings to improve themselves and break the cycle of poverty and addiction. Note: I’m running for Governor, not the legislature.

10. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?

Internet access is as vital as water and sewer. Families will not move to areas where they can’t access Netflix or Amazon Prime. Commerce is on-line and businesses need reliable service. Is broadband the answer, or will it be outdated in 5 years? We can’t afford to spend billions in updating technology if it is obsolete in a few years.