60 years old; Lifelong resident of Jefferson County; Republican candidate
Community Service Experience — Past president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Rotary Club of Charles Town. Past board chair of the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle and previously served as a member of the Jefferson County Development Authority.
Work Experience & Education — Public Affairs Manager, ROCKWOOL. Previous roles in banking, management and communications. BA, West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The candidate’s responses below were edited only for clarity & spelling.
What made you decide to run again for Delegate?
I believe the experience I’ve gained, and the relationships and respect I’ve developed with my legislative colleagues, the Governor’s office and agency leadership during my 10 years in the legislature have enabled me to serve as an effective representative for the 98th District. Serving in a House leadership role has enabled me to effectively advocate for fiscally conservative state government and I’d welcome the opportunity to continue represent my constituents in the 86th Legislature.
What should local residents expect from a state Delegate?
My constituents can expect me to continue advocating for student-centered education, economic growth, greater government accountability & transparency, and controlling government spending. I will remain accessible and will welcome their perspective on issues that come before the legislature.
What priorities would you advocate for in the legislature?
I’ll continue my efforts to eliminate the impediments to job creation that for too long have caused West Virginia to lag behind the rest of the country in many economic indicators. I’ve been pleased to co-sponsor civil and criminal justice reform legislation intended to help those seeking to re-enter the workforce to do so, thereby enhancing our workforce participation rate. As a member of the House Finance Committee, I’ve been pleased to help craft and work for the enactment of flat budgets that have positioned us well to enact meaningful tax relief. With the ratification of Amendment #2, I look forward to working for the elimination of the car tax and other taxes recognized as impediments to job creation. I’d also support a reduction in the personal income tax as part of comprehensive tax reform.
Is there specific recent WV legislation (enacted) that you disagree with and would look to modify?
It’s not uncommon to identify issues with enacted legislation that requires refinement through subsequent legislation. I’ve been pleased to sponsor and work for passage of significant reform of ABCA regulations and based on feedback from stakeholders, will continue my work to ensure that our tourism industry can meet the expectations of their guests.
Is there specific recent WV legislation (not enacted) that you would like to re-introduce?
I support legislation that would index unemployment benefits to the unemployment rate. When the unemployment rate is higher, benefits would be extended. When the unemployment rate is low, benefits would be adjusted accordingly in order to avoid providing a disincentive to employment, to ensure we can provide benefits to the truly needy, and to enhance benefits for those willing to accept part-time or temporary assignments as a bridge to full employment.
The legislature is likely to take up debate on several issues affected by recent court decisions or left unresolved from prior sessions. What thoughts can you share with voters?
I was pleased to support pro-life legislation during the recent special session after the Unites States Supreme Court properly, in my opinion, returned the issue to the state legislatures. I believe the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals properly found our Hope Scholarship legislation – which I was pleased to co-sponsor – to be constitutional, ensuring that our students and parents have options prevalent in neighboring states and around the country.
Why should voters elect you?
I remain confident that West Virginia can continue to realize the prosperity the rest of the nation enjoys as we continue to become more competitive with our tax code, our regulatory climate and our legal system. I believe Jefferson County needs an experienced, fiscally conservative representative who will continue to serve as an advocate for the issues the 98th District cares about including economic growth, student-centered education, government accountability & transparency, and controlling government spending. With the support of my constituents, I’d be honored to represent them in the 86th Legislature
Paul Espinosa – West Virginia Delegate District 98
Web: EspinosaForDelegate.com; Facebook: Espinosa For Delegate;
Email: Paul@EspinosaForDelegate.com; Tel: 304-728-8139
Experience & Education — Owner / General Manage of Locust Hill Golf Course. Previously served on Charles Town City Council. AA Degree from Baltimore Community College.
About West Virginia House of Delegates District 98
The 100 members of West Virginia’s House of Delegates are elected every two years. The 98th Delegate District includes the City of Ranson and the unincorporated areas in the southern part of the county west of the Shenandoah River (including Johnsontown, Kearneysville, Leetown, Middleway, Summit Point, Ripon, Kabletown, and Meyerstown).
In the 2022 general election, Paul Espinosa, the Republican Party candidate, is running unopposed in this district for a two year term.
Read More: The Observer’s Guide to the 2022 ElectionBy Staff Contributor