On the Issues

Natalie E. Tennant continues to put West Virginians and their families first.

Reform


There is too much corruption and greed in politics. I will fight hard to pass reform measures to clean up Washington.

  • When confronted by the possibility of election fraud, I led the investigation into the allegations… Three people were convicted on felony charges and went to jail for election fraud.
  • Lobbyists and special interest insiders have too much power in Washington, which leads to waste in the federal budget. When we take on Washington’s free spending ways, we will cut the excess from the federal budget and return money to the taxpayers. In 2013, I returned $3 million from the Secretary of State’s budget and I will continue these cost saving efforts in the Senate.
  • As Secretary of State, I protected the rights of service men and women to vote while they are deployed overseas and made it easier and more secure for them to do so.

Results


West Virginians value results, and as Secretary of State, I have delivered.

  • As Secretary of State, I returned $3 million to taxpayers in 2013 by cutting wasteful spending. I will do the same with the federal budget.
  • As a small business owner, I understand that time is money. I am committed to making it easier to do business and create jobs in West Virginia. In 2013, 72 percent of businesses filed their annual reports online – a number that has quadrupled since I took office in 2009.
  • When confronted by the possibility of election fraud, I led the investigation into the allegations… 3 people were convicted on felony charges and went to jail for election fraud.

Accountability and Cutting Spending


West Virginians deserve leaders who take responsibility, not just credit. I have always worked to make life better for West Virginians and I’m frustrated about how Washington is making life harder for the people of West Virginia.

  • As Secretary of State, I have cut the red tape and bureaucracy to expand opportunities for businesses to file and search information on line, which makes it easier to build a company in West Virginia.
  • As Secretary of State, I returned $3 million to the taxpayers in 2013 by tightening the budget and cutting wasteful spending. I will do the same with the federal budget.
  • I have cut red tape while increasing services for small businesses, including implementing the first on-line chat to make it easier to start and grow a business in West Virginia.
  • My office has participated in more successful election fraud investigations with the U.S. Attorney’s office than any previous administration.

Coal and Energy


Read Natalie’s Full Coal and Energy Jobs Agenda HERE

God has blessed West Virginia with energy resources from coal to natural gas to wind and solar. With our research facilities and the know-how of our people, West Virginia can lead the way in American energy independence.

I refuse to accept that we must choose between clean air and good-paying jobs. West Virginia can lead the country in developing the technology that allows us to do both. Instead of working against West Virginia with reckless regulations that hurt coal jobs, Washington should work with West Virginia to bring new technologies to market that will keep coal strong.

I will fight President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and anyone else who tries to undermine West Virginia coal jobs. I strongly oppose President Obama’s regulations on coal-fired power plants because they are based on technology that either does not exist, or is too expensive to implement without causing significant job losses or jeopardizing electricity reliability.

I am pro-coal, pro-coal miner and pro-coal miner safety. The current gridlock in Washington has let down our miners. This is unacceptable. In the Senate I will fight tirelessly to keep our miners working and fight just as hard to keep them safe.

Responsible development of the Marcellus Shale will allow West Virginia to create thousands of new jobs and provide increased revenue for our communities and local and state governments. And we can do that while also protecting our water– as well as our roads, farmland, and communities.

I support a true all-of-the-above energy strategy. In addition to coal and natural gas, I support efforts to increase manufacturing jobs in wind and solar. These good-paying jobs will grow steadily in the coming years and we need to grow those jobs in the United States, not China.

Read Natalie’s Full Coal and Energy Jobs Agenda HERE.

Jobs, Business & Technology


Read Natalie’s Full Jobs and Business Agenda HERE

Supporting good-paying jobs will be my number one priority in the U.S. Senate.

Yes, I will protect our coal and chemical jobs and I will also propose new ideas to make West Virginia more competitive for the jobs of the 21st century.

As a small business owner, I know how government can get in the way of job growth. So as Secretary of State, I cut fees for small businesses and made it easier to file paperwork – saving time and money businesses can spend creating jobs.

When I am in the Senate, I will help bring the next wave of high-paying jobs in research, technology and manufacturing to West Virginia, by:

  • Promoting Research and Development projects such as the EPSCoR** Program that is developing bio nanotechnology and cutting-edge work in 3-D printing at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing at Marshall University.
  • Promoting efforts to expand the West Virginia High Technology Corridor by supporting biometrics development and advancements in Information Technology.
  • Working with state leaders to create manufacturing jobs using the success of the Toyota plant in Buffalo as a model.
  • Supporting legislation to close tax loopholes for companies shipping jobs overseas.
  • Putting middle-class working families first before Wall Street millionaires.
  • Cutting red tape and getting government bureaucracy out of the way, so small businesses can focus on creating jobs.
  • Investing in worker training to make sure West Virginians are ready to fill the good-paying jobs of the future.
  • Promoting Broadband access to our rural communities.
  • Leveling the playing field with China by closing the trade deficit and curbing China’s currency manipulation.
  • Promoting tourism to bring more investments into West Virginia.
  • Supporting investment in West Virginia’s roadways that will create jobs and improve safety, including completion of highways critical to opening up new opportunities for southern West Virginia businesses.

Read Natalie’s Full Jobs and Business Agenda HERE

Drug Abuse


As I travel around West Virginia, all too often I meet someone who has been affected by the prescription drug abuse epidemic that is sweeping our nation. This plague is taking an especially tragic toll on our state as we have the highest rates of prescription drug overdose deaths in the nation.

Families are being torn apart, children are being robbed of their future, seniors are living in fear of drug-related crime and our citizens are dying every day. Tragically, all too often, innocent children die while in the care of drug-addicted parents. Many seniors are being forced to raise their grandchildren, often on fixed incomes.

A few months ago, I participated in a town meeting in Oceana, in Wyoming County, that brought together residents of all ages, community officials, religious leaders, educators, local and federal law enforcement officials, and elected representatives, to begin a coordinated effort to address drug abuse. It was heartening to see an auditorium full of residents and leaders come together on a Friday night to develop an action plan for their community.

Across the state, law enforcement, educators and health officials are pulling together to fight this epidemic, but this problem is complex and will require significant action at the federal, state and local levels. That’s one of the reasons I’m running for the Senate.

Everywhere I go I hear good ideas from West Virginians about how to solve this terrible problem. In the Senate, I will work to get these things done for West Virginians:

  • Develop more effective drug education programs for our young people.
  • Create a national drug prescription database to stop addicts and pill pushers from drug shopping.
  • Establish more effective drug treatment programs that are available in all parts of our state.
  • Promote the development of safer drugs
  • Increase opportunities for opiate disposal across counties.
  • Expand drug courts that focus on recovery and treatment.
  • Give law enforcement the resources they need to fight drug crime.
  • Promote physician education and crack down on doctors who work the system.

Prescription drug abuse is the worst public health crisis that our state has faced in many years. We have to come together to solve this problem for the sake of our children and our state.

Veterans


As the daughter and wife of veterans, I understand and honor the commitment and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. My daughter and I prayed everyday for my husband and his fellow soldiers while he served in Afghanistan during 2011. We owe a debt we cannot pay, and it is because of our veterans that America is the greatest nation on Earth.

I support programs that expand educational and job opportunities for returning veterans.  As Secretary of State I have worked with veterans leaders to make it easier for veterans to start their businesses. As Senator, I will fight for federal incentives to companies that hire returning veterans.  I will support improvements to West Virginia’s four VA Hospitals and their network of Veterans Clinics.

I will fight for a nursing home facility to serve our veterans in southern West Virginia as the Clarksburg State Veterans Home does in the northern part of the State.

I oppose efforts to use formulas to calculate Social Security cost-of-living adjustments for retired military and disabled veterans that do not take into account their higher health-care and prescription drug costs.  I will fight to reduce the unacceptable backlog at VA hospitals in West Virginia.

As Secretary of State, I made it easier for soldiers deployed overseas to cast their ballot in West Virginia elections.  As they fought overseas to protect our freedoms, they deserve to have their vote counted in elections back home.

As Secretary of State, I am always seeking opportunities for Veterans and their families to continue to lead and contribute to their communities.

Seniors


West Virginians believe in honoring the wisdom and experience of our senior citizens. They have worked hard and earned the right to respect and dignity as they age.

Social Security is an important income security program for Americans, and I oppose any effort to privatize the program. There are ways to help insure the program’s solvency without jeopardizing benefits to those who receive them.

For many of our seniors, including my father, Social Security is a sole source of stable income after retirement. I oppose any attempt to privatize or cut Social Security benefits for any reason.

I support the annual cost-of –living adjustment for Social Security and I oppose efforts to change the formula, especially formula adjustments that do not take into account the significantly higher health-care and drug costs our seniors pay.

I oppose efforts to turn Medicare into a voucher system, as this would result in fewer benefits, higher out-of-pocket costs to recipients and would force seniors to negotiate directly with insurance companies

Health care


As the mother of a child who has been denied health-care coverage because of a pre-existing condition, I understand the anxiety associated with not having access to affordable health care. I am disappointed about the implementation of health care reform because it has made it harder for West Virginians to get affordable coverage they expected. Changes must be made to the Affordable Care Act in order for the law to work for West Virginians.

  • We must work to attract additional health-insurance providers to the West Virginia marketplace so that West Virginians have more options and cheaper premiums. A single provider does not constitute a competitive marketplace.
  • I support delaying the individual mandate penalty. West Virginians who have previously tried to register and purchase insurance through the website should not be penalized because the site did not originally work as intended.
  • No West Virginian should lose their current coverage or be forced to see a different doctor because of the Affordable Care Act.
  • We must also provide additional relief to small business and streamline reporting requirements.
  • I stand with the 270,000 West Virginians without access to health care.

Education


Read Natalie’s full Education Agenda HERE

Helping businesses create good-paying jobs will be my number one priority in the U.S. Senate, and promoting world-class education from Head Start all the way through college and technical training is a key part of that plan. The fact is we can create all the good-paying jobs in the world, but it won’t do us any good if we don’t give West Virginia workers the skills they need to fill those jobs.

By 2018, nearly half of all jobs in West Virginia will require some degree of post-secondary training and the number of jobs that require a college degree will increase by 20,000.

The National Skills Coalition in 2009 found that only 45 percent of West Virginia workers had the necessary skills for a middle-skill job – things like air traffic controllers, truck drivers and police officers. That’s unacceptable. Middle-skill jobs make up a majority of the jobs in West Virginia’s economy – 54 percent – and they cannot be outsourced. By failing to prepare West Virginia students with the skills to fill these jobs, we are denying West Virginia workers and their families the chance to succeed.

I see the promise and possibility of West Virginia all around us, and I know we can lead the country if we commit ourselves to investing in our greatest resource: our people.

Make no mistake, we can afford to invest in West Virginia’s future – in fact, we can’t afford not to. The U.S. Senate Budget Committee has identified billions of dollars in savings. We simply have to choose West Virginia students over millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas. Budgets are about priorities, and West Virginia is my priority.

I will fight for smart investments in West Virginia workers by:

  • Promoting early childhood education programs like Head Start that have a proven track record of setting our children on a lifelong path to success;
  • Supporting the public school teachers who are the backbone of any quality education system;
  • Promoting student achievement through local control, so West Virginia teachers have the flexibility they need to teach individual students, not standardized tests;
  • Fighting for quality infrastructure, so West Virginia students can get a 21st Century education in 21st Century classrooms, with 21st Century tools;
  • Making our colleges and universities affordable, so West Virginia students don’t enter the job market burdened by debt;
  • Prioritizing our community and technical colleges and job training programs that are essential to making sure all students and job-seekers have access to the kind of education that best serves them; and
  • Investing in research that will power the next wave of high-paying West Virginia jobs.

Read Natalie’s full Education Agenda HERE

Second Amendment Rights


Growing up on a farm, guns were an integral part of my life; from the first BB gun I shot, to hunting with my brothers, to carrying a muzzleloader as the first female WVU Mountaineer Mascot.

My whole life there has never been a question of my support for the Second Amendment. Even now as Secretary of State, my muzzleloader is proudly displayed over my desk in the State Capitol.

My husband is a Navy Reservist who served in Afghanistan and is qualified on a 9 MM Beretta and is a sharpshooter with the M4 assault rifle. We use Erik’s Beretta and my Smith &Wesson’s M&P Shield to teach our 11-year old daughter about safety, respect and understanding of firearms. So you see, I am like most West Virginians who pass on the tradition of responsibility that I learned to my daughter.

My memory and scrapbook are filled with images of carrying, shooting or cleaning a gun long before I was a candidate or an elected official.

Just as I learned as a kid, there are rights and responsibilities that come with the ability to have and use a gun. I agree with the majority of West Virginians that guns should be out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and those who have been judged to be mentally incompetent.

West Virginians believe in fairness. I personally believe that if you have a criminal background check at a gun store, then it is only fair to have one at a gun show or for Internet sales. Our small businesses deserve that. I also believe those decisions should be made at the state, not federal, level so West Virginians can decide for themselves.

We should not require our law-abiding family members and friends who are giving or selling guns to each other to perform a background check.

I strongly oppose a federal firearms registry.

The amount of time a seller must wait for a response from the background check system before proceeding with a weapon sale is too long. It should go from three business days to 48 hours. And after four years, when improvements to the system are in place, the background check would be required to clear in 24 hours or less.

When I think of the Second Amendment, I think of our West Virginia values toward it; rights, responsibility, safety, respect and tradition. Guns are a part of my history, just as they are a part of West Virginia’s history.