by Amina Renee
Hola, divas ! I’d like to introduce you to a young man who is running for WV house of delegates 36th district: James Elam.
Amina – “James, tell the public a bit about yourself. Who you are? Your past, present, and why you are running for office? What goals do you hope to accomplish in West Virginia?”
James – “I’m James Elam. Openly gay candidate for the house of delegates district 36. I was born outside of Chicago and moved to West Virginia in 2012. I’m running for office because as a former corrections officer and an openly gay man, I feel like my insights would be valuable in the legislature and to help move West Virginia forward.
I want to see reduced taxes with economic development and job creation made a priority. We need higher wages, especially for correction officers. I support our law enforcement 100% and I want to eradicate the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. I’m a supporter of responsible marijuana legalization and would ultimately like to see revenue created from that market. I support our miners, and their safety underground is the number one priority, but I would like to also emphasize job creation in other markets (like renewable energy and hemp / agricultural products). I really hope WV will support me.
I love this state and its people deeply. It is Time For Equality in 2018. It is time for all West Virginians to be presented with a fair chance. I want to send out special thanks to my friends and family especially my partner Evan.”
Amina – “What is your definition of responsible marijuana legalization?”
James – “Recreational legalization. Over 21 can purchase a certain amount per day, depending on what amount is inserted into any language on potential bill. Taxed like alcohol. Profits for the state to invest in other state agencies.”
Amina – “With your current stance on marijuana legalization, how does that work with your desire to eradicate the dependence on drugs some citizens have?”
James – “Marijuana, in retrospect and regard to other substances, is much safer. Look at alcohol and tobacco, which are completely legal, yet terrible for public health and wellness. Compared to diseases and deaths related to smoking and countless DUIs that claim the lives of West Virginians every year, marijuana would be a healthier alternative. I believe it would help combat the opioid epidemic, if used medicinally to treat drug addicted West Virginians.”
Amina – “You work as a corrections officer. That must be very interesting. Tell more of that experience. How will your time as a correction officer help you as a delegate?”
James – “Our criminal justice system here in West Virginia needs reformed. We have overcrowded prisons and jails, understaffed corrections officers who work ridiculously long hours for incredibly low pay, and inmate access to contraband and drugs behind bars.
Furthermore, I believe non-violent drug offenders are more receptive to rehabilitative therapy versus incarceration. This would save our tax payers money, let us actually start helping those with substance abuse problems, and allow us to focus on keeping violent offenders behind bars. Plus, I’m the only candidate in district 36 with a corrections background. I am more qualified to speak on these issues than any other candidate in my district.
Amina – “One last question for you, James. A very pressing question. Vital really. Is Blake Shelton the sexiest man ever?”
James – [Laughs] “I’d have to say Evan is.”