We're not so organized here at Create WV to have an actual voting guide, but we did want to outline some key themes that we look for in candidates who have the potential to affect positive change in West Virginia.
Before you hit those long lines on Tuesday, consider:
- Technology - Does the candidate understand the role that technology plays in today's economy and the absolute necessity for West Virginians to have high-speed broadband - including fiber optic - access for e-learning, e-commerce and e-government? Does he or she understand the potential of programs like "Bucks for Brains" to stimulate research and development in our universities, which leads to spin-off companies?
- Education - Does the candidate understand the need for 21st Century Learning skills? Is he or she willing to roll up their sleeves to work with educators, including teachers unions, to map a course towards innovation and excellence in our schools? Do they understand the need for lifelong learning and support a culture of academic achievement in our state?
- Quality of Place - Does the candidate support the need for programs that lead to vibrant, healthy communities? For protecting the "wild" in "Wild, Wonderful West Virginia" so that we build on our outdoor asset as an attractor of young talent? Does the candidate support historic preservation so that we can enhance what is unique about our history and communities?
- Diversity and Inclusion - Does the candidate support basic civil rights for all? Do they go beyond the basics and understand the value of diversity in West Virginia and how it links to innovation and creative, growing communities?
- Entrepreneurship - Does the candidate understand that long-term healthy economies are built from within through entrepreneurship? Does he or she realize the need for social entrepreneurship that supports creative risk-taking in non-profit and community organizations as well as business endeavors? Does the candidate understand the dire need for early stage investment resources in our state?
These are broad guidelines of course, but hopefully as we all become better versed at articulating the need for creative communities and new economy growth in West Virginia, candidates will get tuned in and begin to work hard for change. We've already seen some candidates include this language in their campaign speeches and advertising, and that is very encouraging.
Enjoy your constitutional right to vote this Tuesday!