HD Media is running submitted questionnaires from candidates in the 2020 elections.

Read more responses from candidates by clicking on the links at right. Candidates who have not received a questionnaire can send an email to acopley@HDMediaLLC.com with their name, candidacy and phone number.

NAME: H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher

CANDIDATE FOR: West Virginia Governor

PARTY: Republican

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.WoodyThrasher2020.com

HOME CITY: Bridgeport

HOME COUNTY: Harrison

AGE: 65

EDUCATION: Engineering, West Virginia University, 1977

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: chairman of the board of The Thrasher Group

OTHER WORK HISTORY: started The Thrasher Group in 1983

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Harrison County Chamber of Commerce; West Virginia Chamber of Commerce; West Virginia University Hospital Board.

ENDORSEMENTS: West Virginia University College Republicans

FAMILY: three grown sons, Cody, Austin and Kaelin.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: West Virginia is hurting, and it has been for too long. We need strong leadership. We're losing population at an alarming rate. We need our roads fixed. We need broadband and school choice. We need more and better jobs. Most importantly, we need a full-time governor. We must protect the unborn and fight the drug epidemic. I'm a conservative who will always protect our values. West Virginians can have the American dream — do better than the previous generation and help our kids so they can, too. This is the West Virginia I see and I will fight for.

Questions from the West Virginia League of Women Voters:

1. With the decline in the extraction industries in West Virginia, what do you think should be done to diversify the state’s economy?

Broadband is a must. We also need to look at each region’s unique strengths and work with what we already have started, along with paying attention to trends. When I saw how many IT grads West Virginia exports, I got to work as Commerce Secretary recruiting tech companies.

2. Do you support recent weakening of EPA regulations concerning air and water quality? Why or why not?

We should always eliminate unnecessary regulations and make West Virginia an attractive place to do business. But that must be balanced with conservation efforts to keep West Virginia an attractive place to make a living,

3. What role do you see for state government in reversing West Virginia’s population decline?

I’ve seen firsthand when West Virginians have better opportunities, most of them will stay here to make a living. We need more and better jobs, and state government can absolutely help facilitate that through lower taxes, fewer regulations, incentives for existing small businesses, continuing workforce development and support for creative economic opportunities.

Additional questions from The Herald-Dispatch:

4. The state’s foster care system struggles to care for the 7,000 plus children who are now in it. Some action has been taken in recent months, but what further action do you think might be necessary?

We need to make being a foster parent much easier. Many of our foster families tell us the system can be impossible to live with –rules that make no sense and placement requirements that penalize good people and family members. Our case workers are beyond overloaded, and foster care is much too important to become lost within a dysfunctional DHHR.

5. There have been several attempts to reduce taxes on business in the state, including one failed in this past legislative session. Is it wise to keep pursuing tax breaks for business, at the possible expense of residential taxpayers? Do you think the state’s tax structure needs an overhaul?

Yes, and the business and inventory tax reduction should have passed. I’ve heard directly how it penalizes many of our small businesses and keeps them from expanding, like my friends at Oliverio’s Peppers. We needed a strong Governor to facilitate early discussions with local stakeholders to ensure they would have been made whole without those funds.

6. Do you think the educational reform bill passed in 2019 is working/will be effective?

It included lots of great things: allowing counties to pay teachers more in critical need areas, remote areas or areas with high turnover, along with master teachers, mentors or academic coaches; funds for teachers to purchase supplies; funds for support services; and funds for counties with smaller populations. I fundamentally believe in choice and competition. This was a good start.

7. How would you describe efforts so far to add more support staff in the state’s schools to help children in troubled homes?

A good and necessary start. As our school systems continue to be asked to fill in the gaps of so many of our broken homes, we must accept that many of our school children arrive at school with immense trauma that can make it impossible to learn.

8. What can the state government do to improve workforce development in West Virginia?

Listen to employers and educators and then connect all those dots. We can’t continue to treat each region of the state and each institution of higher learning the same – our resources are far too limited for that.

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?

I would work directly with the Legislature to lead efforts to recovery, including focused strategies for treatment, prevention, supporting law enforcement, workforce training and helping families. We will add treatment centers, increase long-term treatment beds, ensure prosecution of dealers to the fullest extent of the law and partner with the private and nonprofit sectors to help solve this crisis.

10. How would you improve the state’s access to broadband internet?

Too many politicians reward friends and donors with deals at the expense of our quality of life, and that's not how I would operate. I would facilitate more opportunities and competition in the market. I’ve supported legislation that would facilitate matching funds for private investors to bring broadband to communities. It's already been a success in Wardensville and Terra Alta.