April 4th, 2011

SB550 explained:

There is a great deal of misunderstanding related to SB550. Let me make one thing very very clear – it DOES NOT take taxpayer dollars and give them to gambling institutions.

At its basic explanation, SB550, returns the tax dollars paid by the institutions to the institutions. There was a fund established a few years ago to fund the housing of the lottery commission. The casinos and tracks were charged an additional tax (above and beyond normal business taxes) to fully fund this project. This money only came from gambling dollars. So if I go into MardiGras and order a hamburger but don’t gamble I am NOT paying this tax. It ONLY comes from actual gambling dollars. What SB550 did was create a new fund (now that the lottery commission fund was fully funded) that allows these tax dollars to now act as a matching program for reinvestment into establishments. If the establishment wants to update their tables and machines, they must complete the project and then may apply to this matching program (made up of their tax dollars – not ours) for a 2 to 1 match. So for every $2 spent you MAY receive $1.

As a capitalist, I beleve that if we had no need for the tax then it should have been elminated. WV businesses and employers are struggling enough as it is without an additional tax unique to WV which none of their competitors have to pay in surrounding states. We didn’t eliminate the tax but we did encourage reinvestment in WV to create jobs, growth and economic stability.

It is not my place to decide which job is more important or which industry is more important to WV’s economy. It is my job to protect every working family that I can! Let me also be clear on my stance on gambling – it is a voluntary tax.

Congratulations Mohigans!

March 16th, 2011

Way to go! Morgantown beat defending Class AAA champion Logan!


March 7th, 2011

Better known as the bullying bill….

Over the last 2 weeks I received hundreds of emails regarding a “bullying bill” that we were addressing in the House Education Committee and again on the floor.

These emails were the result of an inaccurate action alert that was distributed. There were numerous parents upset with what they believed this legislation to be when in all reality, it wasn’t even close.

This bill in a simple interpertation, only address either bullying on school property, during school hours or while using school property. This bill does protect any certain class over another and just simply tried to address the one(s) doing the bullying not the bullied.

In the days of social media, cyber bullying ( I have expereinced this myself recently) has beceome as real an issue as it used to be on the playground. It is hard enough to grow up without the added pressure of your peers. I am pleased to know that if bullying is discovered that it will be addressed in an appropriate manner without overstepping parental bounds.


March 6th, 2011

Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling

One of the most talked about subjects this legislative session. What are your thoughts?


March 6th, 2011

Amanda Pasdon Payne
Sometimes we tend to live in a bubble. We tend to only realize how things affect our immediate lives and those that surround us. We wear blinders and don’t notice moments where we could make decisions that would be for the greater good and sometimes – is just the right thing to do. As lawmakers those moments are rare.

Making sudafed products a Rx was one of those moments. In north central WV, we aren’t often faced with horror stories of a child being permamently maimed or scarred because his paren’t were cooking meth in the room next to the one he was sleeping in. All of a sudden he wakes up with his face melted to the mattress while paramedics try to rescue him in the most humane way possible.

While requiring these products to be a perscription will be a hassle to the law abiding citizens, it will also save taxpayers thousands of dollars. The average meth lab costs about $15,000 to clean up. That dosen’t include law enforcement, the court systems, incarceration, etc. Nor does it take into consideration the neighboring apartment in which perfect law abiding citizens lived but do to the nature of their neighbors activities they have now lost everything they owned due to contanmination.

In Oregon this law was instituted. In the first year, meth labs dropped by over 90%. In Mississippi – similar results.

If you are pro-life you believe that a child’s life is precious. As a helpless child they shouldn’t/couldn’t be responsible for actions of his/her parents. That is the same belief that should be applied in this case. These children are victims of their parents lack of judgment and bad decisions. You don’t make this choice thinking the parents are going to clean up, you make this choice believing you are saving a child. We have the chance to significantly decrease these incidents and save lives. How could you make any other choice?


March 6th, 2011

On first reading the language seems fair but after further consideration, I developed some concerns. HB3202 is in the Senate and we hope to have these concerns addressed. I have spoken with several students who have been closely involved and their feedback on these changes is positive. After we tweak the bill, HB3202 will have to come back to the House for a final vote – at which time it will have my support.

(Objection #1) In 37-6A-2 (c) of the bill it says the following: “The landlord shall notify, in writing, the tenant of any deductions to be made from the tenant’s security deposit during the course of the tenancy of which the landlord is aware. Such notification shall not be required for deductions made less than thirty days prior to the termination of the rental agreement.”

The first problem with this language is that it is often difficult to assess the totality of the damage until the apartment has been vacated at the end of the lease.

The second problem with this language is defining the meaning of the term “landlord is aware.” What constitutes awareness of damages while the tenant still lives in the apartment?

MORE IMPORTANTLY, if the tenant causes damages the tenant should be responsible for said damages. The tenant should not be able to escape responsibility because the landlord did not charge the tenant for the damage while the tenant still occupied the apartment. It is fair and reasonable for the landlord to access the damages and charge the tenant for the damages after the tenant has vacated the apartment so long as it is done within the time restraints for the return of the damage deposit. On the same note, if you are an out of state landlord, depending on the situation, the damages possibly may not be able assed in the timeframe allotted and certainly not while the tenant still occupies the property.

(Objection #2) This language follows in the same paragraph of the bill: “A landlord who makes any deductions from the tenant’s security deposit pursuant to this section may not use the circumstances related to the deduction as a basis for the termination of the tenancy.”

This sentence gives a bad tenant immunity from eviction if the landlord uses the security deposit to pay for the damages (in whole or part) caused by the tenant. If the damage caused by a tenant is willful, malicious or otherwise extensive, it is certainly reasonable for the landlord to use the tenant’s damage deposit and to also evict the tenant. It should not be an either/or situation.

A landlord should not, for example, be barred from evicting a tenant if the landlord uses the tenant’s damage deposit to help pay for the destruction of all the doors and windows in the apartment.

Please note that my vote didn’t change the outcome. Your energy would be better directed contacting your Senators and expressing your thoughts.

Recap – The first 10 days!

January 23rd, 2011

Trying to describe the past 10 days would be an enormous task; so I decided a recap would be better for both the writer and the reader! :)

Wednesday, January 10th brought a day full of excitement. One I was happy to share with my family and friends. After a visit with my Tea Party friends, we rushed to the House Chambers to get ready for the swearing in ceremony that began at noon. For those of you that know me well this will not come as a surprise to you – but as we stood there pledging our devotion and service to the people of WV, to the betterment of our state and our nation and promised to uphold the highest standard of ethics while doing so, I began to tear up. Was it reality sinking in? Maybe. Was it sharing this moment with my family? Definitely a contributing factor. But mostly it was a great sense of humility, pride, honor and responsibility. You chose me to represent you – and as I stood there it was THAT which I pledged to do to the best of my ability until exhaustion and beyond.

Wednesday evening brought a unique and historical State of the State address by our Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. As I absorbed this evening that would soon be included in modern day history books, I began to recognize a trend. A trend leading us toward a future that put the people first, not government. As I looked around the packed House chambers, I realized we (the conservatives) are gaining ground. The battle to return this process to the people has begun to turn in our favor and evident in both the State of the State address and by the people you have sent to Charleston to represent you. Have we won? Not yet! But I can tell you I am heartened by our 2010 victories and know we will only continue to be the winning team.

Thursday and Friday brought routine processes – all of which were foreign to me. I am still hoping that at some point in the next 50 days or so they do become routine for me. And the excitement has begun to settle in.

Monday, January 17 brought our first full week of Legislative Session and another historic week for WV. We had a supreme court ruling that calls for a special election for Governor before November 15th, 2011. I was a co sponsor of a bill that called for all WV’ians to be allowed to fly the American Flag wherever they should so please without retribution. We experienced one of the largest rallies I have ever seen for WV Coal. We hosted young leaders from all over WV and had a frank debate on the direction of our future and how we can attract and retain young talent. Just an interesting side note – WV is one of 2 states that exports more young professionals and college graduates on a yearly basis than any other state in the nation. As an effort to change that, I have co sponsored legislation that would offer a state tax credit on student loan interest if you chose to remain, live work and play in WV. We watched WVU lose to Marshall (boo) and our Marshall friend at the Capitol are quick to gloat in a kind way of course. :)

We wrapped up the week with a celebration honoring Major General Allen Tackett who is retiring after 48 years of service. Tackett has served as the state’s top military officer for the past 16 years and is the longest-serving adjutant general in the nation and in state history.

Other information to share:
Committee assignments:
Health and Human Resources
Roads and Transportation
Veteran Affair’s and Homeland Security

Feel free to visit – My office is 228E (in the east wing)
Or call – my office# is 3043403153.
Or write –

Our battle to best represent you continues. Stay in touch – I want to hear from you. How can I serve you better? Your issues? And concerns?

Looking forward to hearing for you!

Amanda featured on!

October 27th, 2010

How Can Women Make a Difference This Election Season?

Today I am very happy to welcome my friend Amanda Pasdon as our guest blogger. Some of you have probably seen the (gigantic) billboards of Amanda around Morgantown (she is running for the West Virginia House of Delegates), but I didn’t ask her to post today because of her political leanings. Instead, I wanted to know why a 29-year-old woman with a great job and handsome husband would thrust herself into the spotlight of politics. Here, Amanda tells us why! — Hollee 

With the 2010 mid-term elections just days away, I feel like I’m having a bit of an “out of body experience.” I see and I hear and I feel, but I know I have little control over the outcome. As I float through the final days, I find myself reflecting on my decision to run for office, and I can’t help but wonder about the future. 

Amanda and her husband 

I appreciate every new friend, am grateful for the overwhelming support, and hope to have proven that one woman (surrounded by a great group of people) can make a difference. 

I am passionate about politics and policymaking and how each affects our future. But while contemplating running for the West Virginia House of Delegates, I was wary. I challenged my ideologies. I questioned myself, my beliefs and my foundation simply because I was wary. Could I stand up to the criticism that being a young female candidate brings? 

Amanda on the campaign trail… 

In searching for the answer, I made a few calls to my closest friends. The questions from these talented, strong women were the same questions I was asking myself:  “Are you crazy?” “Do you realize what this will open you up to?” “Why would you want to put yourself through something like that?” 

What I found during my soul searching, before solidifying my candidacy, was this: My political ideologies are not defined by a label on my voter registration card. For me, it is not about a political party; it is about my life and my choices. I have longed wished that our political leaders would asses their political ideologies and be true to their beliefs instead of promoting party politics and reinforcing partisan division. 

As we have seen from recent events, female political ambitions are especially vulnerable to mockery and criticism. In our current political climate of scandals, heightened partisan discourse, and a struggling economy, politics is certainly a risk for any candidate. While women in political roles are more common today, being a woman with political ambitions and interests is still frowned upon. Sadly, many young women cannot imagine themselves as elected officials. 

Too many people still believe a woman belongs in her home, taking care of her family — not out making a career for herself. Just a few weeks ago, I had an older gentleman tell me that he thought Sarah Palin was a horrible person – not because of her politics or beliefs mind you – but because she was not at home taking care of her family where she belonged. He actually said, “Who does she think she is? She needs to be at home, not out politicking. If I was her husband, I would put her in her place.” 

My inner self was yelling, “Bite your tongue, Amanda!” And I did until it bled. But I was amazed! Some Americans actually believe that women are not capable of holding government positions or that they shouldn’t have such ambitions. They would rather toss their votes to the male candidates, even if their skill level and experience do not match that of their female opponents. 

Like me, many of you were probably born believing that there were no limits to our success, and yet we are surprised when we hit the glass ceilings that our mothers warned us about. Voters and pundits will scrutinize our appearance and bodies, our personal lives, and our emotions to disqualify us. 

As women, we continue to doubt our qualifications, but our male equals continue to overestimate their resumes. Young women already struggle to balance career and family. Faced with these barriers to our success as young female candidates, we have reason to be wary of entering a career as risky as politics. 

Despite the unique struggles that young women politicians face, the best solution to improving government is not simply changing the party in power, but rather changing the demographics of power by electing more concerned women to political office. 

Amanda Pasdon is the Director of Business Development for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and a candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates. A yoga and outdoor enthusiast, she is also a newlywed. 

Featured on America’s Right!

October 20th, 2010
Here we are – entering the final stretch of the 2010 mid-term election showdown. What a crazy ride this has been but I have truly loved every minute of it! I am constantly amazed and quite humbled and certainly very grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received. From the beginning I have said – you are only as good as your supporters. And I am GREAT! I cannot begin to express my appreciation for each of you!
As a candidate partaking in the final showdown, I am always a bit nervous when my name pops up in my Google alerts settings. But as I opened this alert, clicked on the link and began to read, I was once again reminded why I am running for office. There is very little left of modern day politics that reflects the principals, beliefs and ethics that I (and most of America) believes in. I am ready to see us get back to our founding fathers’ principals. What better way to do that than to get involved and help?
I was honored to be a featured story on America’s Right. Yes – as I read this I cried. I am blessed to have such a talented, loving and supportive family. But more than that – I am proud to have come from such good stock. Just like having such a wonderful crowd of supporters, having a strong foundation has helped to shape me, my candidacy, my work ethic and my committments. I am committed to Monongalia County, to West Virginia, to our future and to YOU!  
Please take a moment to read Support My Wife’s Cousin, Amanda Pasdon, Candidate for the WV House of Delegates!!  And remember – Vote Pasdon for House on November 2nd!
Warm regards,
Amanda Pasdon 

Aren’t we all Americans?

October 12th, 2010

As we edge closer to highly watched and anticipated mid-term elections, I find myself amazed and disappointed at the partisan division among not only West Virginians but our entire nation. What is this? Republican, Democrat or other – Have we forgotten that we are all Americans?

Political campaigns have gotten as ugly as an all-star wrestling match in a landfill. It isn’t just the candidates who are misbehaving. It’s all of US! What follows is my nonpartisan rant against us, the CONSTITUENTS, those who don’t vote, those who vote foolishly, and those who vote like I do — correctly. <—-an attempt at being humorous! :)

Truthfully, I don’t know who is worse; those who sling the mud or those who catch it and pass it on. That would be YOU . . . or me, depending on which mud is being slung — because of course, we always believe slanderous messages about the other candidate. We never believe them about our own. Is it any wonder the candidates exaggerate and inundate? It WORKS! That’s why candidates feel compelled to do it! In case you were wondering it goes something like this – I can say that about you, because I know you’ve said worse about me — or anyone else enlightened enough to agree with me. Admit it! If you’re children spoke about their siblings the way you talk about the “other side,” you’d send them to their rooms without supper, and rightly so. Of course, you could just send them on the campaign trail!

Have I been attacked? Of course. I think that goes without saying and I am saddened that those doing the mud slinging are ones you would want to consider allies not enemies. Instead their concern for their own campaigns and a successful outcome in November has clouded their ability to think independently and smartly. What do I do? I have chosen to rise above the attacks and be the better candidate – funny thing – that seems to be downright intimidating and the mud slinging increases.

Until we as AMERICANS take responsibility for our future and choose to move beyond partisan divisions we will always be a country divided. Only we, the CONSTITUENTS, hold the power to improve our future. You and I must rise above the fray and respect each other’s beliefs — foolish as they may be. We must demonstrate to our leaders that we want truth, integrity, and civil behavior in political campaigning and in elected service as much as we say we want them — or else we must stop saying we want them.

Let’s back to our founding fathers’ fundamentals. Let’s all join together in a celebration of the human spirit, the spirit of life, of our ability to be our own people. Not one that subjugates and serves, but one that listens, thinks, reasons, cares, loves and respects. And we must always remember how truly wonderful it is to live in a land where everyone can think exactly as he or she wishes.

In ending my rant, let me challenge you to research your candidates; to not vote party lines but to vote for the best candidate for the job. And I hope you will find me a candidate worthy of casting a vote of confidence for on November 2nd.

“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.”
–H.L. Mencken