TENNERTON — A candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Second District stopped in Upshur County last week as part of her 17-county Take Back West Virginia tour.
Talley Sergent met with people at the Upshur County Public Library Wednesday, Aug. 8, where she discussed her views on topics from education to the drug epidemic to health insurance.
“I think Medicaid expansion has probably served as one of the best tools and resources West Virginia has when it comes to combating the drug epidemic,” she said. “It provides treatment services for addicts that they otherwise would not get. Without that, it’s going to be even worse than it is right now, if that’s even possible, in some communities.”
Sergent said the drug epidemic needs to be addressed.
“To me, this is the crisis of our time in this state,” she said. “If we don’t wrap our arms around it we are going to lose another generation of West Virginians to it.”
Sergent said she has built a basic framework around ‘ABC’ that can be expanded on.
A stands for accountability.
“That means starting with pharmaceutical companies not only in West Virginia but in other states and not just allowing them to settle and payout, but actually holding their corporate CEOs accountable for those actions,” she said. “They know exactly what they are doing.
“I do believe we should put drug dealers in jail and we should start with the pharmaceutical companies,” she added. “In addition to our pharmaceutical companies, I think we need to ensure our doctors are held accountable.”
While addiction is a disease, Sergent also said there needs to be accountability for addicts, and also government officials should be held accountable.
B stands for Break the Cycle.
“For me, we have to really focus on our young people before they become addicted and fall into that cycle and have an addiction,” she said.
Sergent said programs started under former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodman are designed to go into schools and help children.
Sergent also said she feels that a social worker and a nurse should be in every school.
“Education is extremely empowering to people,” she said.
Sergent said she supports offering free two-year tuition to a four-year university and to community college and technical school.
“I believe that is a way to help break the cycle,” she said.
The C stands for Care and Recovery.
“We talked about the need for in-patient treatment centers here in West Virginia,” she said. “I believe we need one in all 55 counties. Enough of marginalizing this demographic of our population. When this demographic goes into recovery, we need to make sure they are doing that in our own communities.
“In addition, I think that building a public-private jobs initiative is really important,” she said. “When an addict is ready to get off the floor and go into
“The private sector has to be a part of that.”