Paula Jean Swearengin
For Senate
West Virginia
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Time To Invest In Ourselves

West Virginia coal powered a nation. Now it’s time for West Virginia to invest in ourselves. I'm ready to fight for Medicare for all, universal pre-K, free tech schools and colleges, and a multi-billion dollar investment in West Virginian infrastructure, industry and innovation.

"The industrial revolution was built on the backs of coal miners - our backs. We’ve provided power to America and now, it’s time to empower ourselves."

In the wealthiest nation in the world, nobody should have to beg for clean water, clean air and prosperity

The political establishment has monopolized our wealth and power for long enough. The American people are ready for a new movement that creates systemic change. We can't expect career politicians, who benefit from maintaining the status quo, to create change, and fight for the people. I'm part of a national movement to create a democracy that works for all of us and finally moves West Virginia forward in a positive direction.

Read My Full Platform Here

West Virginia deserves a working class leader

A native of Mullens, West Virginia, Paula Jean Swearengin’s coal mining roots grow deep. She’s a coal miner’s daughter. In fact, she’s a coal miner’s granddaughter. As a child, she felt a deep sense of pride in the state’s dominant industry. West Virginia’s coal powered the nation through the Industrial Revolution, and kept our factories running through World War II. America was built by West Virginia coal - built by families like Paula Jean’s. Yet, like so many from Appalachia, her family paid a steep price for coal. She lost her grandfather to black lung, and her uncles have since been diagnosed with the disease. The beautiful streams and rivers she loved growing up have become toxic, as runoff from the mines leached into the region’s groundwater. As for Paula Jean? The girl who believed she was a redhead found out her naturally brown hair had been stained all her young life by the orange water in which she showered. When her stepfather lost his job at the mine, the family moved to North Carolina and tried to find a new line of work. She returned to her home state after high school to take care of her ailing grandfather. Coming back to coal country, Paula Jean saw entire communities left in the dust when a mine shut down, small businesses drying up, miners and their children struggling with diseases brought on by the industry, and a whole generation struggling to find reliable, safe jobs that would put enough food on the table. As a single mom of four boys, she vowed to do something about it - and that's why she's running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.

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Time To Invest In Ourselves

A Living Wage and Workers' Rights

Minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. It has been nearly ten years since the last modest increase the federal government was willing to pass. Over that same time, the wealth gap grew larger than ever. This is about justice and basic human decency. If you work hard and you work full time you shouldn’t live in poverty. And all workers should have their rights protected! I support strong unions and collective bargaining. I am forever proud to have stood on the lines and at rallies at the Capitol with the West Virginia teachers and public employees who helped reignite the Labor movement across the country.

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Medicare For All

Every attempt made toward affordable health care, including the ACA, has been corrupted by the interests of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Many of the problems with the legislation can and should be fixed with little regard for the profit protection amendments introduced by members of both parties. We can't let the tantrums of corporate lobbyists and their sponsored members of Congress poke holes in our progress through legislative deal-making. We must start looking toward the future. The support for Medicare For All in Washington and among voters has grown to an all time high, but there's still much work to be done. Recent cost-analyses show an average annual cost savings for households and the elimination of unpredictable market-driven prices for coverage. A modernized single-payer system heads-off pharmaceutical price-fixing and takes away the insurance companies' incentives for denying your treatment to improve their bottom line. Also, universal preventative health care reduces overall costs! It's the right thing to do!

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Tuition-free Pre-K and higher education

In America, every child deserves a chance to succeed. Equal and unlimited access to a quality education should be a right, not a privilege. Educating the citizenry of a nation pays dividends in the long run, with the economy getting back much more than is initially put in. Crushing student debt for higher education should no longer burden young people trying to improve their lives through hard work. We have the tools to build the best education system in the world! We just need the will to do it.

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Ending Corruption in Washington

Voter turnout continues to be depressed because people feel defeated by the massive sums of money spent influencing politicians and elections. Our current campaign financing system is largely legal bribery. Representatives who gladly take huge checks from industry and special interests are not representing the will of their constituents. This has to stop! We have already seen the mess caused by dark money and unchecked corporate donations. Our goal to create free and fair elections should be a clean public financing system. A Constitutional amendment to overturn the corrupt Citizens United ruling will help stem the tide. Americans deserve free, fair, accountable, secure elections so we can trust that Washington is on the side of the people.

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Energy Diversity Creates Jobs

With forward-thinking initiatives and federal investment, West Virginia can release the grip extraction industries have on our state’s priorities. Our state can become a leader in the manufacture and installation of products in the booming renewable energy market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that solar and wind installation and maintenance jobs in the United States are growing twice as fast as ANY other industry. Solar alone expanded 17 times faster than the entire U.S. economy in 2017. Solar and wind jobs grew 12 times faster than in the rest of the entire market. Our state is also blessed with the best geothermal resources east of the Mississippi River and these remain largely untapped. The Department of Energy has also identified 18 sites in West Virginia for hydroelectric development. We can even reclaim mountaintop removal sites for hemp and solar farms. Tax subsidies for oil and gas companies must end and be transferred to initiatives for renewable energy to expand.

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Clean Air and Water for All

West Virginia rivers and streams are constantly threatened by drainage, dumping, spills, and run-off from all of the industries who get tax and regulation breaks in the name of jobs. Explosions, leaks, and five-day chemical fires have filled our air with toxins. What good are those jobs if you and your family are sick from it? Even worse, most of the companies guilty of these abuses are often headquartered out-of-state and are reporting record profits! CEOs are raking in millions in salaries and bonuses at the expense of our health. Clean air and water should always be part of the cost of doing business.

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A Progressive Revolt Is Brewing in West Virginia
There is a revolt brewing in West Virginia politics. Last Friday Lissa Lucas, an author and celebrated backyard chicken farmer from Cairo, i...
Meet the Coal Miner’s Daughter Taking on Joe Manchin for Sen...
Paula Jean Swearengin supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. Now she’s challenging Big Coal and the Senate’s most conservative Democrat.
“It’s Time For West Virginia To Rise Up”: A Q&A with Paula S...
Democrat Joe Manchin has represented West Virginia in the U.S. Senate for seven years. Manchin calls himself “pro-life,” voted to confirm al...
Can You Win in Trump Country with a Bernie Sanders Platform?
"We're going to War," Paula Jean Swearengin announces with a chuckle as we dip around winding roads in the thick of the Appalachian Mountain...
Manchin faces primary challenge from the left
Paula Jean Swearengin is no stranger to taking on West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D). She confronted the senator during a March town hall in...