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NAME: Deidra Roberts
CANDIDATE FOR: W.Va. House of Delegates District 30 (most of northern Lincoln County)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook: Deidra Roberts for Delegate
HOME CITY: Hamlin
HOME COUNTY: Lincoln
EDUCATION: MA, Communication Disorders.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Professional Support Educator, Speech-Language Pathologist, Lincoln County Schools.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Councilwoman, Town of Hamlin.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: WVEA Building Rep, 4-H Volunteer, Girl Scout Leader, Lincoln County Friends of Marshall Club, American Speech-Language Hearing Association.
ENDORSEMENTS: WV AFL-CIO, Southern District Labor Council, UMWA, WV State Building & Construction Trades (Primary), WVEA, AFT, Mountain Mamas PAC.
FAMILY: husband, David Roberts; children, Lydia Roberts and Luke Roberts; parents, George and Darlene Colegrove.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: My career in education is dedicated to helping our children have a better future. Now I want to shape a better future for Lincoln County. Knocking on doors and attending meetings I listened to you. Clean water and cellular service are necessities. Schools, libraries, police and fire departments require resources. People need good paying jobs. Seniors deserve dignity and cost of living adjustments. We must protect the rights our veterans fought to defend. I will be a competent, resourceful voice for prosperity on important issues including education, health, and economic growth, while celebrating our cherished resilience and sense of community.
1. Do you agree with the Legislature's recent action to allow nuclear power plants in West Virginia, and why or why not?
Yes. This bill shows bipartisan agreement that we must invest in our future by exploring all energy sources. Legislative hearings recognizing valid concerns about safety and efficiency of nuclear power plants offered transparency. We need all forms of energy for the long term. This legislation offers a path towards diversifying our energy sourcing, making WV more attractive to investment.
2. What is your stance on the full legalization of recreational cannabis?
There are many points to consider regarding full legalization of recreational cannabis, including economic and safety. Public hearings are integral to the legislative process. Cannabis is fully legal in 18 states. As Michigan did in 2018, I’m inclined to let the voters decide. If legalized, revenue created from taxes could fund much needed programs for our citizens.
3. What should be done to diversify the state's economy and prevent population loss?
Recognizing and marketing our assets including our workforce, natural resources and geographic location. Diversifying our energy sources will help diversify the state’s economy. Many companies looking to invest in new locations have sustainability goals mandating the use of electrical energy from renewable sources. Continued investment in tourism will make sure that everyone knows about our wild and wonderful state.
4. The state’s foster care system struggles to care for the thousands of children who are now in it. What further action do you think might be necessary?
The number of WV youths in foster care has nearly doubled since 2013, taxing the system. Prioritizing an integrated social safety net to support our kids, focused on prevention. Working together to pass legislation that addresses vacancies by providing pay raises to social workers. The new child welfare dashboard provides data that can be used to improve outcomes for children.
5. How can West Virginia attract and keep qualified educators?
Our teachers are underpaid for taking on the important task of educating our youth. West Virginia teachers remain second to last in the nation in average teacher salary. We must offer educators competitive wages and benefits if we expect to attract and retain them while providing a level of professionalism that is appropriate for the position.
6. Do you support amending state law to provide anti-discrimination protections for West Virginia's LGBTQ community?
While a recent ruling by the state’s Human Rights Commission establishes precedent that West Virginia’s Human Rights Act protects people discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be overturned. I favor strengthening these protections by supporting LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.
7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?
Our response must be proportionate to the problem. Providing social workers to each school is the first step of a long journey. There must be resources available in our communities to address the wide array of problems encountered. Again, prioritizing an integrated social safety net to support our students, focused on prevention.
8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?
Workforce development involves investment in our most important resource—our people. Free 2-year vocational programs is an important step in developing a skilled workforce. Promoting education, including career and technical programs, will help educate and train individuals to meet the needs of current and future businesses.
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?
Lawmakers can monitor outcomes of current prescription guidelines and enact additional safeguards that may be needed to avoid prescription misuse that can lead to addiction and death. A multidisciplinary taskforce is necessary to research effective medical treatments for addiction.
10. Who is more qualified to handle education policy issues, legislators or county board of education members?
Education policy issues should be based on research and data, not political propaganda. Board of education members are elected for their knowledge and positions on issues important to education. Legislators should not micromanage education or any profession.
Additional questions for the general election
11. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, it triggered a West Virginia law dating from the 1800s that restricts abortions. Now the state legislature has a chance to refine that law. How would you like to see this law shaped for West Virginia? Would you support a statewide referendum on the question?
As West Virginians our motto is, “Mountaineers are always free.” This ban does not make women free to address personal healthcare with their physician. The legislature overstepped. We should follow our creed and let the citizens decide this personal, important issue. Put it on the ballot.
12. What should be done to diversify the state's economy and prevent population loss?
Investment in diverse energy sources and infrastructure promotes economic development. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act helps by rebuilding roads, bridges, and rails; expanding access to clean drinking water; and ensuring access to highspeed internet. With economic growth we will see improvements in family income, unemployment rates, educational attainment, and life expectancy, incentivizing our people to stay.
13. Many counties in West Virginia cannot fill teaching positions with certified teachers, particularly in math and science, which are critical subjects to ensure West Virginia students are prepared and competitive. What would you do to attract qualified teachers to West Virginia?
As a professional educator with 25 years’ experience I can say that we must pay teachers for the important job they do. West Virginia teachers are underpaid. Even with recent pay raises they remain 49th in the nation. Also, empower educators by treating them as the professionals they are, acknowledging their experience and expertise. Stop micromanaging education.
14. Do you support amending state law to provide anti-discrimination protections for West Virginia's LGBTQ community?
Everyone deserves fair and equal treatment. While a ruling by the state’s Human Rights Commission establishes precedent that West Virginia’s Human Rights Act protects people discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be overturned. I favor strengthening these protections by supporting LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.