EDITOR’S NOTE: It is the policy of The West Virginia Daily News to publish articles and columns written by the community’s elected officials as is; uncensored and unedited. The community has made its voice heard by electing these individuals and therefore should have the opportunity to hear from them on a regular basis. However, this policy should, in no way, be interpreted as The West Virginia Daily News’ endorsement of, or support for any candidate or elected official, regardless of political affiliation or ideology. The West Virginia Daily News remains impartial in all political matters and exists in the service of our constituency of readers. I, as the managing editor, firmly believe that a thoroughly informed electorate, regardless of how comfortable or agreeable that information may be, is the only true measure of defense against the enemies of democracy.
– Matthew Young
As our kids return to school this fall, I’m reminded of something my dad used to tell me: “Stand your ground.” Whether someone was picking on other kids, telling the teacher tall tales, or picking a fight with me, his advice was the same, “Stand your ground.”
That advice applied again this week. A barrage of personal attacks was launched against me in the media and on social media by a political group and their candidate who hopes to challenge me. They called me every name in the book, falsely attacking my record of service.
This is precisely why people are sick of politics. And precisely why I will not sit by silently and let it happen again. The truth matters. “Stand your ground.” I am proud of my strong record of being pro-veteran, pro-law enforcement, pro-all-life, and getting things done for West Virginia.
Supporting WV veterans is near and dear to my heart. I regularly meet with veteran’s groups to hear their stories, learn their policy suggestions, and find a way to better assist them. I’ve introduced bills to provide veterans with benefits such as free hunting licenses, reduced rates at state parks, and no personal property taxes on their homes. This year, after years of work making this a priority, we gathered full funding to build a veteran’s nursing home in southern West Virginia! I will continue to stand my ground for veterans.
Supporting law enforcement is vital in today’s world. Our police are severely underfunded. I’ve sponsored bills that have passed to increase police pay and incentivize young people to go into law enforcement. We need to do more, and I’m proud to have taken these steps in the right direction. I will continue to stand my ground for law enforcement.
Supporting life means supporting all life from womb to tomb. That means protecting children, mothers, the elderly, and the ill. For anyone to claim I support any death is a despicable political parlor trick. I will continue to stand my ground for all life.
Perhaps most bizarrely, I am being attacked for being “ineffective.” And I say…
- Tell that to the veterans who will live in the new veteran’s nursing in Beckley.
- Tell that to the employees of Anthony Correctional Center who are getting a new facility.
- Tell that to the 4,000+ hard-working citizens who were wrongfully denied their unemployment before I stepped in and got them what they earned.
- Tell that to the hundreds of families who are now in housing post-flood after years of pushing.
- Tell that to the people whose lives have been saved through vaccines and careful public health measures during COVID.
- Tell that to the municipalities and counties who are receiving a windfall of infrastructure dollars.
- Tell that to the hundreds of families for whom I helped obtain their delayed tax refund.
- Tell that to the citizens who are getting broadband for the first time.
- Tell that to the gun owners who aren’t paying tax on guns and ammo.
- Tell that to the residents of Page-Kincaid who have clean water in their homes for the first time in decades.
- Tell that to the kids protected by tougher laws for people who ignore school bus stops.
- Tell that to the people who have a “second chance” at life thanks to legal reforms.
- Tell that to the thousands of West Virginians who contact me daily thanking me for being a voice of reason in unreasonable times.
- I will continue to stand my ground achieving real results for this district.
There is also a larger issue at play here. In 1792 as President George Washington finished his second term, he delivered a farewell address. He challenged the American people to remain united despite threats of being torn apart. At that time, 229 years ago, Washington believed the largest threats to American democracy were political parties and “factionalism.”
As much as it pains me to admit it, that threat has become a reality in America today. Politics is a bloodsport. People are for you or against you, with no middle ground. Parties stand in opposite corners and lob bombs at each other. Compromise is a dirty word. Personal attacks far outnumber personal relationships. That must change. Our republic requires it to change.
It’s my prayer that we can move beyond petty partisanship and work together for the good of southern West Virginia. For American democracy to work, we must work together. As neighbors helping neighbors.