Meet "our" Jason Barrett…
Jason Barrett was re-elected as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
from the 61st District in 2018.
BCDA's next event of 2019 is…
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We’ve talked about your work as both a small business owner and as a legislator, but can you tell us a little about your charity and community service work?
I’ve served on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center (formerly known as the Shenandoah Women’s Center) for more than 10 years, and am now serving once again as board president. EPEC helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking get back on their feet by assisting them with housing, counseling, employment opportunities, medical treatment, legal advocates, and more. EPEC offers a vitally important service to our area. Unfortunately, demand for services has gone up exponentially in the last decade, which has led us to the point where we are now working to raise sufficient funds to acquire a new shelter.
What do you think Democrats in Berkeley County should focus on in 2020?
I would like to see us focus on local and state issues. Unfortunately, in presidential election years, our local issues oftentimes get overlooked. As we saw in Jefferson County in 2018, local issues can have a major impact at the ballot box. Most importantly, we must work to find real solutions to our state’s crippling opioid crisis. This issue impacts every single West Virginian and is not something we can continue to simply put a band-aid on. I also think we, as West Virginia Democrats, must address our atrocious road conditions, emphasize job creation, and work to ensure every citizen has access to affordable and efficient healthcare.
You can contact Jason by emailing him at email@example.com or calling him at 304-340-3188.
For your Calendars…
Copyright © Berkeley County Democratic Association.
An interview with Jason Barrett…
Did you grow up in Berkeley County?
Yes, I was born and raised in Berkeley County. I truly loved growing up in this area, which is why I decided as an adult to start a business and put down permanent roots here.
Since you’re a small business owner, do you think the climate in WV is one that attracts new small businesses?
The Tax Foundation ranks West Virginia 19th for overall state business tax index. So while we could certainly do better, that does put us in the top half. While we should always look to do things to improve the business climate even further, we have other glaring issues like providing a trained and drug-free workforce, which gives some business owners cause for concern when considering starting a business here. Thankfully, here in the Eastern Panhandle, we have steady population increase, so we continue to see more and more business growth. But we still face those other issues that we must work to curtail.
What do you think have been your best achievements since you’ve been in the legislature?
One of the things I am most proud of is being the lead sponsor on the bill that raised the minimum wage. As a small business owner, I believe it is vitally important that we provide our employees with a living wage. Some other bills that I sponsored and worked very hard on are:
• Legislation to ensure we finally legalize medical cannabis. This will provide much needed alternative treatment to citizens facing cancer treatments and various other serious illnesses.
• A bill to allow armed robbery and murder to the list of reasons law enforcement can request the use of wiretapping from a judge, after a detective with the Martinsburg Police Department approached me with concerns.
• Pregnant Workers Fairness Act which allows for certain accommodations for pregnant workers.
• A bill that defines dyslexia and dyscalculia in our schools. Local parents approached me with concerns about how the school system was handling students with these struggles.
• The Small Business Emergency Act, which provides certain accommodations to a small business in the event of a flood or other natural disaster or hardship.
• A bill to require human trafficking hotline notices in all public restrooms in West Virginia, which I championed at the request of the Martinsburg Rotary. We also involved Martinsburg High School Rotary Interact students in the process by having them send letters to other legislators advocating on behalf of the legislation.
What are your future political plans?
I plan to run for re-election to the House of Delegates in 2020. I haven’t made any plans beyond that, however I’m open to exploring the best way possible to serve both the Eastern Panhandle and the entire state of West Virginia.
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