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

Read more responses from candidates by clicking on the links at right.

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NAME: Josh Holstein

CANDIDATE FOR: WV House of Delegates District 23 (most of Boone County)

PARTY: Republican


HOME CITY: Ashford


AGE: 18

EDUCATION: Sherman High School Graduate and will graduate from Marshall University in spring of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Social Media for the West Virginia Republican Party.

OTHER WORK HISTORY: Guitar Instructor for Clay Center for Performing Arts, WVGOP, United States House of Representatives (Congressman Evan Jenkins’ Office).

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Rumble Community Baptist Church, Boone County Republican Party, WVCDL (WV Citizens Defense League).

ENDORSEMENTS: West Virginians for Life, “A” Rated by the NRA, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, West Virginia Delegation to Republican National Convention, Congresswoman Carol Miller, Boots of Recovery, Family Policy Council.

FAMILY: Parents, Tonya and Terry Holstein; grandfather, Jerry Holstein (Hernshaw); siblings, Natasha and Xander Holstein.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: Are you tired of the same old same old? Are you tired of seeing people fleeing your town, struggling schools, and jobs nowhere to be found? It’s time for a change! I am NOT the only solution to our problems, but I believe I can be a strong advocate for you. I’ve never ran for office before and I don’t come from a political family. I am the only Pro-Life, Pro-Trump, and Strong 2nd Amendment Supporter in this race! We need a New Generation of Leadership with Christian-Conservative Values to represent us. God Bless You and Boone County!

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?

West Virginia should never again confine itself to one particular industry as we have in the past. Politicians have promised a saving grace concerning the Hobet property, but we need to focus on more than just this. We must invest in roads, cell service, and internet before we can ever expect businesses to set up shop across our district.

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

I support very limited regulation because some small regulation is necessary when concerning environmental protection. However, there are many unnecessary and burdensome regulations that we should look at cutting. Overregulation puts a strain on West Virginia’s economy as a whole and adversely impacts our effort to attract businesses to our state.

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

We’ve got to stop the bleeding of the population before we can begin to rebuild it. I can bring a fresh perspective, as a young person, as to how we can keep younger people in West Virginia. By rebuilding our infrastructure and lowering taxes, we can create good paying jobs and foster a community that won’t force people to leave.

Additional questions from HD Media:

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?

I think it’s important to recognize the effort that the WV Legislature has put forth with regard to this issue and passing foster care reform. It’s unfortunate that the foster care reform bill became a partisan issue and our current delegate voted against it. We’ve got to start tackling the reason for the influx of children in the system; the drug crisis.

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?

I do believe that the entire tax system in WV needs an overhaul. Taxation is rarely the solution to economic problems and for years WV has travelled down the rabbit hole of never-ending band-aids to the problem; Taxes. I support eliminating the business and inventory tax as well as working toward reform for individuals.

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

I think it is too early to tell. Due to the COVID-19’s interruption in the normal school schedule and teaching process, I think it will take a while before we see the results. I do believe that some parts of the legislation gave more freedom to parents to choose and alleviate some burdens on teachers.

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

Teachers are on the front lines of this issue. Teachers become quasi-parents to students and learn about the struggles their students face more than anyone else. We need to relieve teachers of this extra responsibility and invest in more support staff, especially in our elementary schools.

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

How can you have a strong workforce if you don’t have a strong local economy offering jobs? We need to invest in our future instead of patching the wounds of the present. We must continue creating education and technical training incentives that keep educated youth in WV. Furthermore, WV should expand small business loans as an investment in the future.

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 am very passionate about this issue, making it a central part of my campaign. As I’ve said, we need to focus on helping our local drug recovery groups, secular and religious, and expand our drug court system. We need to invest in transportation and advertisement for these local groups. People can find refuge in local community members and friends.

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

I think the state needs to work with the private sector to expand broadband across the state. The relationship would be mutually beneficial, creating jobs and creating a stronger economy. We need to create Wi-Fi stations throughout the state that help expand access to those in need throughout the state as well.


11. How would you prioritize using the funds provided to WV by the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief funds?

These funds should be focused on our schools and our small businesses that have had to lay off workers or cut workers hours, in order to get them up and running again and get our people back to their normal work schedule. We should also use these funds to invest in lacking infrastructure.

12. What changes in current election laws would you favor to make voting safer and more accessible?

West Virginia is fortunate to have three secure alternatives to Election Day voting. Absentee Ballots, Early Voting, and Electronic Voting for those with certain disabilities or those overseas. I support strong voter ID laws and support a move toward paper ballots at the polls to limit the chances of electronic malfunctions.

13. Lack of broadband access limits employment and educational opportunities in many parts of West Virginia. What should be done to make broadband available statewide?

Knowing that many students would opt in to virtual learning this year due to COVID-19, I questioned how students could receive quality internet access to complete their assignments. As I mentioned in the previous question concerning broadband, we need to work with private businesses that have a vested interest in West Virginia to expand broadband across the state.

14. Given COVID-19, how do you propose we protect our students, teachers and school service personnel while at the same time providing equal access to a quality education across the state?

I think our education system has done an excellent job providing parents with the choice as to how their child will be educated this year. Many parents and students want to be back in school, but others are concerned and have chosen virtual schooling. The staggering of groups by last name to reduce crowd size is a very effective approach.

15. What experience, training or education do you have that would make you an effective state legislator?

I am nearly finished with my degree in Economics which can be of great use for our district and have been heavily involved in the political process from a young age, working for Congressman Jenkins office and the WVGOP. I believe we need a fresh face of representation because our politician’s with so-called “Experience” are proving to be ineffective.