Tom O'Neill will seek election to the West Virginia House of Delegates' 39th District in the Republican primary, promising to make jobs and the economy his first priority and pledging to oppose any efforts to raise taxes on local residents.
"Government doesn't make jobs, people make jobs," O'Neill said. "The answer to our economic problems is to get the government off the backs of our small businesses and let them do what they do best - put people to work. Don't raise their taxes. Don't regulate them to death. Economic freedom means jobs and a better economy."
O'Neill, a 1995 graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, is a graduate of West Virginia University and the West Virginia University College of Law, where he earned a law degree and MBA. He and his wife, Megan, live in Buckhannon with their four young children.
O'Neill, who grew up in a union household, owns a small real estate law practice located in the Upshur County Business Center.
"In every decision I make as a legislator, I will think about what is best for Upshur County jobs," he said.
O'Neill said that in the Legislature he would oppose any bill that would raise taxes, and would work to reduce taxes on individuals and businesses. He also said that he would fight efforts by organized labor to eliminate secret ballots in certification elections and impose mandatory binding arbitration, legislation commonly known as "card check."
He also opposes so-called "cap-and-trade" legislation which threatens energy production, a major industry in Upshur County.
"I have four children. I want them, and all of Upshur County's children, to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, but I will fight tooth and nail against the war on coal, and the war on oil and gas we see coming out of government today," O'Neill said.
O'Neill said that he would support innovative ways to promote the development of good paying jobs in high technology, such as tax credits for those who develop new technologies, and aid in workforce development programs.