Too many West Virginia residents are left behind

September 29, 2018

This is one of a series of columns written by candidates in contested races in the West Virginia general election on Nov. 6.

I am running for a position in the House of Delegates to represent the working middle and lower classes that have been left behind in the days of corporations funding campaigns and entire parties. I am a son of Marshall. I graduated with a degree in political science. I seek improvement for our people, not riches or fame. While politicians talk about smaller government to win votes, they allow their corporate campaign backers to pay our hard-working people the very poverty wages that leave folks working 40-plus hours to also rely on government programs. This is the driving force behind growing government. Working people must be paid enough to get off government assistance. Until then, we have to say no to the shameful rhetoric which leads us to blame one another for being poor. We are tricked into blaming the victims of corporate greed, rather than the perpetrators. We can achieve smaller government, and we can do it by paying full-time employees enough to live decently. Beyond being human, we are also all workers. How come we are sitting back and letting millionaire and billionaire candidates continue making laws that allow people in West Virginia to work full time and not make enough to put food on the table, gas in the car or the ability to pay life’s various insurance payments?

My running is not going to, and me winning will not, amount to a monologue about me and my special ability to make everything better. We economically average or below, we seniors or disabled, we still seeking to further our education, we who are teaching and working a second job — it is We, not I, who must be leading our fights for a more just and plentiful West Virginia. We may only be individuals, but this battle against poverty and corporate greed is one that makes a “We” out of the individual you and me and the over 336,000 other West Virginians living in poverty.

I have organized for years on the community, state and national levels, around the issues facing most Americans. I will not stop that once elected, but dramatically ramp it up. When I put forward a bill to end taxes on Social Security checks seniors depend on and military income, it will not just be my peers in Charleston that I work with. I will be working to organize, filling vans with seniors, vets and low-wage earners to fight for the causes that define their livelihoods.

I have not waited for a label nor asked for profit before serving our community. I have created and organized the multiyear community cleanup known as “Walk Uh Block.” The event is taking place for a second time this year, on Oct. 13 and 14. In a time of water contamination everywhere, I organized for and delivered reverse osmosis water filtration systems to local Boys and Girls Clubs and the A.D. Lewis Community Center. Mid-winter last year, I created and organized a week-long food and clothing drive at the A.D. Lewis Center, which was topped off by a band and community dinner. On my own time, I removed and dumped Christmas trees for seniors and physically challenged members of our community. Likewise, when bad weather hit, I volunteered to shovel snow for more than 25 seniors in our district.

I will remain loyal to our interests as everyday people. We the people, of all ages, must organize, organize and organize more if we are to move middle class interests forward.

Dakota Nelson, a resident of Huntington and a Democrat, is a candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 16th District, which includes parts of Cabell and Lincoln counties.

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