SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – Cathy Kunkel is running for Congress as a Democrat in the 2nd Congressional District of West Virginia.
In a recent interview, Kunkel said she believes that West Virginia deserves better leadership in Washington, D.C.
“For a very long time, West Virginia has been run more in the interest of out-of-state corporations than the people who actually live here,” Kunkel said.
Kunkel said she is passionate about the environmental protection of West Virginia communities. After the Elk River chemical spill in January 2014, Kunkel co-founded the organization Advocates for a Safe Water System.
Kunkel has a background in energy policy. Kunkel said she has testified before the Public Service Commission of West Virginia about lowering energy rates and using energy efficiency programs.
“I just really feel like West Virginia is potentially at a turning point,” Kunkel said. “Our economy has been changing a lot in the last decade with the decline of the coal industry, and we really need to fight for the resources we need here.”
Kunkel said she is also passionate about healthcare. According to Kunkel, healthcare is one of the main topics she hears about when talking to West Virginians.
“I hear all kinds of stories from people who have enormous medical bills they can’t pay, or who don’t have insurance or who are afraid to go to the doctor because of the cost,” Kunkel said. “It just shouldn’t be that way.”
Kunkel said she believes in a universal healthcare system that allows people to change jobs or start new businesses without having to worry about insurance costs.
Kunkel is also a supporter of public education. According to Kunkel, the federal and state governments have gradually decreased funding for higher education.
“Obviously, that just makes college increasingly unaffordable to a lot of people and puts a lot of debt burden on students,” Kunkel said. “I would like to see a greater commitment towards federal funding of K-12 and higher education.”
In November 2019, Kunkel visited a studio production class at Shepherd University. Shepherd alumna Melody Pickens interviewed Kunkel.
Pickens said that Kunkel emphasized the importance of speaking with college students.
“I thought that was pretty cool that I got to actually have the opportunity to ask her questions,” Pickens said.
Pickens said she felt that Kunkel was responsible and resourceful.
“She really cared about the issues that she was representing,” Pickens said. “Whenever I would bring up an issue that was near and dear to my heart, she was quick to understand and empathize to that issue, and I very much appreciated that.”