Candidate discusses issues of election
Published: Friday, October 22, 2010
Updated: Friday, October 22, 2010 01:10
A republican candidate for the House of Delegates 15th District outlined the three major issues he will address if elected.
Patrick Lucas is a first-time candidate and the owner of Century 21 Homes and Land Real Estate, Inc. in Barboursville, W.Va.
Employment is one issue Lucas said he wants to address.
"West Virginia has suffered for decades in job creation, and when we do create jobs, what kind of jobs are they? Telemarketing." Lucas said. "Where is the industry? Government doesn't create jobs. Government is supposed to create an atmosphere for businesses to create jobs, like decreasing taxes on businesses. There are several taxes that are really killing job growth."
The business franchise tax and the corporate net income tax are two of these taxes, Lucas said. The business franchise tax is "a tax on the privilege of doing business in this State," according to the West Virginia State Tax Department, Publication TSD-200. Both taxes are scheduled to phase out by 2015.
"They want to phase them out, but right now we've got to have that relief," Lucas said.
Lucas said he strongly opposed some aspects of home rule, a test program that increased power to selected local governments and allowed Huntington to change its tax structure to take 1 percent of all income earned in the city. The changed tax structure is being contested by the Cabell County Commission.
"I will be a vote against home rule," Lucas said. "It should have been ruled unconstitutional. It's taxation without representation. How about the people who come in to call Marshall games for ESPN? Are you going to tax them, too? How about every coaching staff that comes into town? They earned money in Huntington. That's how broad it is. I've talked to people who don't want to eat or shop in Huntington because of it. One percent won't repay that."
Home rule also included a simplified process for removing dilapidated buildings, which Lucas said should have been separate legislation.
Lucas said he supported the Jobs Impact Statement, a piece of legislation that would study each bill after it to see its impact on jobs. The bill was introduced in the House and Senate on Jan. 13, was referred to committee and did not make progress in the legislative session.
Another issue Lucas said he wants to address is education.
"I don't know of another place or issue I'd fight for more than Marshall," he said. "It's like fighting for my own house. The state has not fully funded Marshall University. Employees at Marshall University are paid 80 to 85 percent what people are paid at similar institutions. That's wrong."
Salary inversion, when new faculty member are paid more than existing faculty, is a specific issue Lucas said he opposed.
"WVU has been sued because of salary inversion," he said. "They may have had to do it to get the best candidate, but faculty are still filing grievances. It comes back to funding issues. The state isn't funding them so they can pay their professors properly."
He said he hopes to streamline the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency.
Drugs were the third issue Lucas said he wanted to address.
"We've got a big drug problem in this town, and it affects everything," he said. "It lowers property values. It makes housing that nobody wants to be around. It makes people move out to the suburbs and out of state to places like Proctorville."
Lucas said he favors tougher penalties for those who deal drugs as a solution to the problem.
"You'd have less thefts, less crime in general," Lucas said. "There are guys coming from Columbus and Detroit selling drugs. We need penalties that makes them want to relocate or get out of it altogether."
When Lucas led worship for a prison ministry at the Cabell County jail, almost every man there had been involved in drug crimes, he said.
Lucas is running because of what he sees as a broken system.
"We've always got a lot of good people in the state legislature, but we're not progressing or moving forward," Lucas said.
Lucas has worked at Century 21 Homes and Land Real Estate, Inc. for almost 12 years and bought the company in May 2009. He serves on the Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors, the Marshall University Alumni Association Board of Directors and Huntington Board of Realtors Board of Directors and served as president of that board twice. He is also a worship leader, deacon, moderator and administrative trustee of Highlawn Baptist Church.
He graduated from Marshall University in 1991 with a degree in marketing.
Lucas is married to Paula Lucas, professor of education at Marshall University, and is the father of Steven Lucas, 10, and Samantha Lucas, 5.
Luke Williams can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.