Q&A: Charlotte Lane picks up the campaign pace - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Q&A: Charlotte Lane picks up the campaign pace

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Charlotte Lane, a Pleasants County native – Pole Cat Hollow to be exact — has spent time in the West Virginia Legislature, on the Public Service Commission of West Virginia and as a commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission.

She has lived in Charleston since 1973 and practices law with Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer PLLC.

The State Journal asked Lane, a Republican, five questions about her campaign for the 2nd Congressional District.

Following is the full transcript. 

The State Journal: You're well-known to some people, but not everyone. How would you introduce yourself to our readers?

Charlotte Lane: I'm a native West Virginian who has spent my entire life in public policy and working for West Virginians, both when I was in the Legislature and when I was on the Public Service Commission and when I was a commissioner on the International Trade Commission in Washington. As a legislator, I listened and helped solve problems; at the Public Service Commission I spent a lot of time working on making sure that people had water and sewer in the state and keeping utility rates as reasonable as possible; and at the ITC, I spent eight years making sure that I protected jobs both in West Virginia and in the United States against unfair imports, especially from China. … I am aware that I will need to re-introduce myself to the people of the 2nd Congressional District. I need to remind them of the times that I was on the Public Service Commission, came to their communities, making sure they had water, they had sewer; making sure their electric and their gas utilities were in operating condition and also making sure that the rates were reasonable, and listening to them about their concerns. And I know that once I get started out meeting folks that they will soon remember all of the good and all of the past experience I have in the 2nd Congressional District.

TSJ: Why are you running for Congress and why now?

CL: After my term at the ITC was completed in 2011, I decided to come back to West Virginia and practice law. During the eight years I was in Washington, I continued to be a West Virginia resident, and so I know a lot of everything that's going on and what the problems are and what the challenges are, so I came back and started practicing law. Then, when (U.S. Rep.) Shelley (Moore Capito, R-W.Va.) announced she was running for the U.S. Senate, I thought, ‘Oh, that's interesting, because that's an open seat in the 2nd Congressional District.' So I thought about it, and then in June of this year I decided, yes, this was a great opportunity. I had spent, since the late '70s, involved in West Virginia issues and public policy, and I decided with an open seat this was a great opportunity for me to do even more for the state, and so that's why I've decided to run.

TSJ: I know you've said you're in this for jobs, but what are your specific initiatives and platform?

CL: There are three reasons why I'm running. Jobs. First, starting with the coal industry. We need to recognize and get the President to recognize that coal is the backbone of so many industries in West Virginia and throughout the country. Electricity: 40 percent of our electricity comes from coal, and it's nice to talk about renewables and all of that, but renewables cannot provide enough electricity for the demand that we have, and it cannot provide enough electricity for the growth that we expect to have. And the President, by unilaterally attacking coal is hurting not only the industry in West Virginia but hurting the people. Those are people who work in those mines, and those are people who are getting those paychecks, and those are people who have families and children that the President is trying to put out of work. At the same time that he talks about jobs, he is trying to kill jobs in West Virginia. So I think that we need to, Congress needs to rein in the EPA, and I know that Shelley Moore Capito right now and (U.S. Rep.) David McKinley (R-W.Va.), from the 1st Congressional District are attempting to do that and I want to help them in their effort and with Shelley going to the U.S. Senate, then she will be able to help us in the U.S. Senate. 

And secondly, we need to repeal Obamacare because it is hurting small businesses, and when small businesses are hurt then they have to lay off people, and once again, those are people. It's not some theoretical corporation or whatever; they're real people.

And finally, we have to stop the runaway federal spending, and once again, that is hurting everybody. And so those three things are why I am running for Congress.

TSJ: What do you see as your biggest challenge for this campaign?

CL: The biggest challenge, probably, is raising money. Unfortunately, in today's environment campaigns cost a lot of money, and congressional campaigns cost a lot more than statewide campaigns. And in today's environment, also, people have already contributed a lot of money in the past election, and so I think raising money is going to be the biggest challenge, but I'm very hopeful. I have a lot of friends, and we want to keep the seat in the Republican lane, and a lot of people want to do that.

We recognize that (Barack) Obama doesn't need any more friends in the U.S. House of Representatives. … It's interesting, because I was in the House of Delegates in 1991 and 1992, and I was on the redistricting committee when we had to go from four congressional seats to three congressional seats, and we spent a lot of time on different configurations of the state. And so we eventually settled on the present configuration. Since then the 2nd Congressional District has taken off a couple counties, it used to be fewer counties. … but now it's 17 counties. And so I, from 1991-on, I recognized that this was a good district that Republicans can win in because it has a group of counties that look at the candidate and not particularly what party they're in.

TSJ: Win or lose, what comes next?

CL: Well, win or lose, what comes next is hopefully I'm going to win, but in any event, I now have a 3-and-a-half-year-old grandson, and my daughter and her husband and grandson Thomas live in Myrtle Beach, and win or lose I'm going to continue to spend as much time with them as I can. If I win, I will continue the great tradition that Shelley Moore Capito has done in this district. She has worked harder than any congressperson that I know of in my lifetime. She's back here every weekend, she's going to events, she's accessible, and that's what I will be when I'm elected.

Now, if I lose, then I will continue to live in Charleston, have fun and practice law at Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer.