West Virginia Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Natalie Tennant visited Snowshoe on Saturday to speak with voters and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Wine and Jazz Festival.
Tennant was traveling with her husband, Erik, and daughter, Delaney. The candidate said her family enjoys visiting Pocahontas County.
“I’ve been here many times and I appreciate the scenery,” she said. “I appreciate what it has to offer. That’s what’s so unique about our state. We have different pockets of the state that offer so much rich tradition and so many rich opportunities. My husband and daughter are with me, and she just gets the chance to look out the window and take in all of West Virginia and really appreciate that.
“That’s how I grew up. I’m the youngest of seven and raised on a farm. So, our vacations were all around West Virginia. The way I grew up was in the way back of the station wagon – just taking in the sights and activities and events of West Virginia. That’s what makes us so special and so unique.”
Tennant wants to see improvements in the Affordable Care Act.
“As I take a look at it, I recognize this law needs to work for West Virginia,” she said. “When you look at this, we only have one health care provider, only one insurance company. That means we don’t have competition and we don’t have choices, so the costs are higher. There needs to be a common sense approach to it when it comes to small businesses. There shouldn’t be burdensome reporting.
“At the same time, I know what it’s like, as a family, to be denied health insurance. That same daughter I’m talking about had open-heart surgery when she was a week old and that surgery saved her life. But she had a pre-existing condition and I remember the day when my husband and I were opening our own small business – just starting out. He called to buy insurance for our small business. I came home and he said, ‘Natalie, the insurance company said that they would cover me and you, but they will not cover Delaney.’
“So, when you think about this, what parent takes something that their child can’t have? She couldn’t have health insurance. So, I will stand up and most certainly not allow us to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny insurance for sick children or people with pre-existing conditions.”
Tennant supports an increase in the minimum wage.
“I’m most certainly for an increase in the minimum wage,” she said. “That’s because – when someone works 40 hours a week, works a full-time job, you should be able to provide for your family – to be able to put food on the table, to be able to pay rent or mortgage, and to pay your car payment. They are earning it when they are working; they are earning it and we should be increasing the minimum wage.”
Tennant said she would support a constitutional amendment to reverse the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions.
“There is too much money in politics,” she said. “You see me going around all 55 counties and meeting face to face with people, because their voices need to be heard. I am doing that by shaking hands, by talking to people and listening to people. That’s how I’m putting West Virginia first. That is what’s so important about this campaign and how I am running it.
“Because when you don’t listen to West Virginians, you get something like the flood insurance rates that have sent flood insurance through the roof. So, it’s important for me to be face to face and hearing people and shaking hands. That’s the way campaigning should be done. There’s too much money in it, so certainly, I will sign on to have an amendment to Citizens United.”
Tennant grew up on a farm in Marion County. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University in 1991, and a master’s degree in communication from WVU in 2002. Prior to her election as Secretary of State in 2008, she was a television reporter and co-owner of a video production company.
Tennant overwhelmingly won the Democratic primary election for the U.S. Senate with 78 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Shelley Moore Capito in this fall’s general election.