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WV Local 69 Treasurer Running for State House
Local 69 Treasurer Kevin Parsons is running for the West Virginia House of Delegates to represent District 36. He took time out from contract bargaining and campaigning to talk to The Utility Worker about why he is running for office and what he hopes to achieve if elected.
The Utility Worker: Why have you decided to run for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates?
Kevin Parsons: I decided to run for the delegate seat after considering what’s been going on here in West Virginia the past two or three years — the attack on workers, passing “Right-to-Work,” getting rid of prevailing wage requirements. I decided to do something. These things don’t just affect union workers, they affect all workers. The goal of the people running the state now is to lower wages for all workers. They are accomplishing that at this moment so I figured I should do something about it.
The Utility Worker: Why do you think “Right-to-Work” is bad?
Kevin Parsons: The average wage is $6,000 less per year in “Right-to-Work” states. It is a proven fact that safety is worse in “Right-to-Work” states. Work-related fatalities are more than 50% higher in these states.
The Utility Worker: What do you hope to accomplish if you get elected?
Kevin Parsons: I would be there to represent working class people. I’m not against business. My opinion is that, when it comes to corporations and even small businesses, the employees are what make your company grow, or not grow. I think prosperity ought to be shared and I will work to make that happen.
The Utility Worker: What is your message to voters?
Kevin Parsons: I tell people, you don’t have to wear a business suit to make good decisions. Why not have common, working people make decisions? And, I tell them to get out and support what is right for your state.
The Utility Worker: What kind of support are you getting?
Kevin Parsons: First off, I have very supportive co-workers and our Local Executive Board voted to endorse me. Our local has never endorsed any political candidate before. This is the first time and I really appreciate it.
I’m looking to get endorsed by other local unions and the Kanawha Valley Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and by different Political Action Committees. Right now I am having Town Hall meetings. I’ve started going door-to-door.
The Utility Worker: What can people do to help you get elected?
Kevin Parsons: I can’t do this on my own. I’m looking for all the help I can get — support me, sponsor me. It takes money to run campaigns, especially in this type of a district. Our National Union has donated money and I’m thankful for that. I’m hoping the people who endorse me help me canvass hard for the position. The voter turnout this past election was terrible, horrendous. I’m
hoping I can get people to turn out and vote.
The Utility Worker: If elected, how could the people who elect you hold you accountable to live up to what you say you will do?
Kevin Parsons: I expect them to hold me accountable the same way I hold all legislators accountable: I contact them by phone, email, go talk to them. I would expect people in my district to contact me, too. I would welcome that.
The Utility Worker: Tell the reader a little about yourself.
Kevin Parsons: I’m a 26-year member of Local 69 and the treasurer there. We represent Dominion Transmission and Hope Gas. I’m a repair crew leader and do maintenance at compressor stations. I travel quite extensively; I put 45,000 miles on my vehicle in the last year. I’m married, have three sons, and one granddaughter who is almost six months old.
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