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Putnam GOP House hopefuls want less government, more infrastructure

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two Republican candidates for the West Virginia House of Delegates 13th District said Thursday that state lawmakers should cut business taxes and streamline state government, but increase spending on infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer projects.

"We just need to make our state more user-friendly to business," said Harold Landers, a Republican who runs a carpet-cleaning business in Poca.

Brian Scott, who's also running in the Republican primary for the 13th District seat, said the state should cut staff at agencies such as the Higher Education Policy Commission and Department of Education.

"The government should take care of things it's designed to do," said Scott, a substitute teacher in Mason County, "not try to take control of everything and not be able to do anything."

Scott and Landers met with Gazette editors in Charleston on Thursday. Two other candidates in the race, Nathan Westfall and Scott Cadle, were invited to the meeting but did not attend.

The 13th House District stretches through parts of Putnam, Mason and Jackson counties. Delegates Brady Paxton and Helen Martin, both D-Putnam, represent the district.

Landers said lawmakers must move quickly to reform West Virginia's tax structure and make the circuit court system "more predictable." He added that state leaders also must do more to keep businesses from closing or moving outside the state.

"We have to make our state more attractive to business," he said. "We need to put a top priority on infrastructure.

Scott and Landers said they oppose making U.S. 35 a toll road. They suggested that the state instead use budget surplus funds to finance the completion of the highway project. A 14.6-mile stretch of U.S. 35 would be converted from a two-lane to a four-lane highway.

Scott, who lives in Hometown, also criticized state legislators for voting on bills they haven't read.

"Something shouldn't be passed," he said, "unless you know what you're voting for."

The primary is May 8.

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.


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