MORGATOWN – Delegate Danielle Walker met with The Dominion Post Editorial Board on Tuesday to field some questions.
Walker, a Democrat, is one of five members of the 51st District. Under the new House map, with 100 single-member districts, she’s seeking the seat in the new 81st District.
Her Republican opponent, Steven Harris, did not respond to requests to meet with the board.
Walker was first elected in 2018. While the Legislature is part-time, she said, “I work 365 days for my constituents. They are more than constituents; they are my neighbors.”
After she lost a son to cancer last year, she said, she narrowed her advocacy focus to healthcare and its intersectionality with such issues as economic development, infrastructure and disparities among the citizenry.
She was asked her views of the two tax-cut proposals before the Legislature: the governor’s and House’s income tax cut, and the Senate’s personal property tax elimination.
She supports neither, she said. “These plans would do more harm than good to each and every West Virginian.”
Focusing on the Senate proposal, she questioned how it might affect public education and the political subdivisions. “There’s not a concrete plan. … We cannot and we will not have any equity in this tax cut plan at all.” The working poor and public education will suffer.
She was asked her views on spending state surplus dollars. She mentioned a failed Democratic amendment to the House income tax cut bill passed during the July special session, which proposed a $250 rebate for each resident taxpayer in lieu of an income tax cut.
“Put the money back into the people,” she said. Also, expand infrastructure to address food and child care deserts and roads. “We cannot claim a dollar store to be a full grocery store, to make sure that we are feeding our family and friends healthily.”
The final question dealt with what services the state should provide to mothers who will not be able to obtain abortions under the new abortion law.
Walker said she supports the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia – the abortion clinic that will no longer be able to perform abortions – continuing to provide comprehensive sexual education and other care services.
She plans to introduce a bill to require comprehensive sex education in schools. She believes the state should further expand Medicaid, offer stipends and assure housing, reassess child support, enhance
mental health support and beef up the foster care system.
Wrapping up, Walker said she will represent all in her district. “I do not play politics and I will never be a politician.” She is a “peopletician.”
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