In my role with iVoteAmerica, I find myself talking with a lot of candidates around the country. It’s an experience like no other. When I interview them and have the chance to listen to their life stories, and their hopes and aspirations for America.
At the same time, we talk about what it means to be an American, what’s right about the country, and what seems to be going wrong. We share, we laugh, and I let them know that iVoteAmerica is a new initiative in all 50 states and we’re dedicated to finding and supporting The Next Generation of Conservatives®.
On Monday of this week, I met with Derrick Evans via Skype. He’s an incredible young man with an awesome life story. He was born to a teen mother, who passed away tragically a few years later. Derrick was raised by loving and caring grandparents.
Derrick is a principled constitutional conservative. Mr. Evans is a young man who gave his life back to God while protesting at an abortion clinic, this after losing three children by miscarriage and his teen sister in a tragic automobile accident.
Derrick’s story of college life, the challenges of family upheaval and the loss of his sister inspired me. In him, I saw a young man now filled with a passion to make sure his children grow up in free and prosperous America. His commitment is to faith, family, and country…in that order.
Mr. Evans is a Republican Candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates, District 19, a seat held by Democrats for as long as anyone can remember.
I’m pleased to announce on behalf of iVoteWestVirginia and iVoteAmerica that we are endorsing Derrick Evans for office. I believe he has West Virginia’s best interest at heart.
He wants less regulation, lower taxes, and a government that is less intrusive. He would like to see West Virginia foster a climate that will attract new individuals, families, and businesses to his home state.
The Interview with Derrick Evans
Donald: Can you summarize your view of government?
The government we have is way too big. The government is supposed to be limited. It was never meant to be what it has become in my opinion. We always want to raise taxes to fund every little pet project that someone comes up with, and I think that we need to be working to lower taxes and trim the fat of government from top to bottom–I mean from federal government down to your little local municipalities. I think that we waste too much money.
Donald: What do you think the role of government is supposed to be in my life and your life? What’s the correct role for the government?
I’d like to say at the state level, it should be ensuring the Constitution. You have these freedoms, and they’re supposed to be upholding that. Outside of that, I don’t think it’s the government’s job to do any of the things that we’re doing. I mean, roads, obviously, we all use those, and services. Outside of that, I don’t think the government’s supposed to have a role in any of these other issues that we’re involved in.
Donald: What do you like most about the government in West Virginia?
Wow, that’s a tough question. As of right now, I do think we are working to decrease taxes somewhat over the last five to six years compared to normal. But no, I mean, our roads are falling apart. We have some crazy, outrageous taxes in my opinion. We’ve got taxes on everything–personal property taxes on your vehicles. Honestly, I’m trying to think. I love living in West Virginia, but it’s not anything to do with the government. I love living in West Virginia because of the people, the culture, the sense of community. We’re in the Bible Belt. It’s a quiet, slower pace of life. It’s safe to raise my children here. Those are the things I love about West Virginia. I can’t think of anything in terms of the government where I’d say, “Oh, they did a really good job with that.”
Donald: You mentioned a minute ago that they’re taxing automobiles as personal property. How does that work?
We have a personal property tax here in West Virginia, so when it comes time to renew your tags, you have to go your courthouse beforehand and pay your personal property taxes on each vehicle you own and take that receipt with you to the DMV to get your tags, to renew your tags on your vehicle.
Donald: Help me understand West Virginia a little bit more just from these opening questions. So West Virginia is now controlled by Republicans? And the Republicans seem to be continuing the tax-and-spend tradition that went on for the last 70 years before them?
You are 100 percent accurate.
Donald: So I noticed that you refer to yourself on Facebook and Twitter as “The Activist.” When you use that term, what does that mean?
I’m a pro-life activist, a Christian activist. I started that page–so let’s back up. I started going to the abortion clinic. We have one abortion clinic here in the state of West Virginia, and to make long story short, God called me to go to the abortion clinic and stand and hold a sign outside that abortion clinic, I finally listened and started doing that. They, at the clinics, had called the police and made up a bunch of lies and all this, and I almost got arrested, so I started live-streaming on my Facebook partly to raise awareness because a lot of people didn’t know about it and partly for legal protection. In case something like that every happened again, I could say, “Well, here’s the whole video. I did not do any of those things.” That’s kind of how it started. So the liberal groups started really attacking myself and my family through my Facebook, harassing my wife and taking pictures of my kids, doctoring them up, photoshopping them, posting them all over Facebook. So I created that page originally to just separate that type of thing away from just my personal page so that my family wouldn’t be connected to the page. People were getting confused, and so I just put “The Activist” at the end of it to make a distinction between that and my personal page. And it just kind of blew up. Honestly, I never expected–I just thought it would be the 500 people, the 1000 people who already knew me, who would watch it. I wake up one day, and there’s 18,000 followers or something on there. It just kind of happened.
Donald: Let’s talk a little bit about your competition. Tell me a little bit about what separates you from them as a candidate.
First of all, there’s two spots. We have two House members from our district. Two of us will make it through the primary, and only one of us will be left out. So there’s three of us running for two spots. In my opinion, the biggest thing that separates me from them–and I think they’re good guys, I think we probably share a lot of the same beliefs and values when you sit down and talk about it–but the biggest difference is that I’m a lot more vocal and I’ve got a lot more backbone. I’m not going to play politics. I’m not going to play patty-cake politics. I’m not going to dance around subjects. I’m going to call it like it is. I’m very actively involved all the time, not just election years or anything like that. I think that’s what separates me quite a bit. The biggest thing as far as being in the House is that people know I will speak my mind on these issues, and you don’t have to wonder what I’m thinking. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I’m going to stand firm in my beliefs. I’m not going to waver.
Donald: And so you feel that in some ways, these two other individuals–without knocking them, are not as definitive on their positions and willing to take a stand on things that are critical?
Yes, I believe that’s a good way to say it. Like I said, I don’t want to knock them, but yeah, I think that’s the thing. They’re not as openly for these things as I am. My biggest things are the Constitution and Christian values. That’s really what I think is the most important thing to me anyways. I’m very open about that. I don’t hide it. When liberals come to me and they start trying to bash me for it or whatever, I just openly tell them, “Look, you need to vote for somebody else then.” I’m not going to change, whereas I feel like most people would try to dance around and maybe backpedal a little bit, trying not to lose their vote or whatever. I’m just plain as can be about it: “Well, if you support abortion, you support infringement on the Constitution, you support red flag gun laws, then you need to go vote for somebody else because I’m not your guy.”
Donald: Would it be correct to say you’re a guy who believes that the United States of America and what we used to refer to as western culture is predicated on the Judeo-Christian value system?
That’s accurate. Our Founding Fathers were believers in the one true Creator, and the things the Constitution is founded upon come from those beliefs?
Donald: Are you a conservative, and if so, what is a conservative?
I’m socially and fiscally conservative. I believe in cutting taxes, I do not believe in the progressive, liberal agenda, and all of that comes from my values as a Christian. eing a conservaive is a way of life, I believe that. Conservative is a way of life. There is no separation of church and state, everything I do and say is influenced by who I am and what I believe. The funny and sad-at-the-same-time thing is, that people who separate their faith from life are the ones who want us (Christians) to keep our beliefs private. Nothing bothers me more than when a person says, “I am a Christian, but.” And then they explain why we need to do something, or believe something that contradicts the values they say they hold.
Donald: You ran is 2016 and lost…what happens.
When I was new to politics, everyone told me you have to be a Democrat…so, I did that. The question became, why are you a Democrate? I discovered I was young and didn’t put a lot of thought into where I needed land as a politicians. I ran as a Democrat because that’s what people do in West Virigina. When I realized that people who were registered Democrats didn’t believe what the Democrats were promoting. At the time, I didn’t even plan to run in the future…I finally landed on my political feet.
Donald: Tell me about the factors, people and events that shaped you into the person you are today.
My grandparents literally raised me. Words can’t describe what they mean to me. My mother got pregnant with me in high school. As I got older I lived with my grandparents. They are the reason I am who I am today. They have had the largest influence on me as a person. I am the oldest of five kids. When I was 21 my mother died in a car accident. I struggled with whether I should drop out of college and go home to take care of my siblings. One was in middle school the other was in high school. My grandparents forbid me dropping out of college, and they committed themselves to caring for my brother and sister. Their commitment enabled me to play college football and I became a first team All American. I signed a contract to play arena football with Milwaukee, and the week I went to Wisconsin my baby sister was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 16. Up to that point in my life that was the biggest life-chaning event. After that, I went through a period in my life where I wonderred why bad things happen to good people. I carried that for a long time until after marriage I realized I needed to be a husband and father who led the family spiritually. My wife and I los three children by miscarriage…this all led me to go to the abortion clinic to stand up for life and during my time there I rededicaed my life to God. All of these thinga led me to where I am today. This made me stronger, it was a turning point in my life.
Donald: Who are the most influential political figures in West Virginia today, Democrat and Republican? who’s running the show in West Virginia?
Shelley Moore Capito runs the show in West Virginia, very influential. And Joe Manchin is also very influencial. Far and away, the most loved politician in West Virginia is Donald Trump. I believe he only state where he won every county was in West Virginia.
Donald: What are the issues you want to address for the voters in District 19 when you are elected?
We need more business development. To attract new businesses and service the existing businesses we need better roads and transportation. The coal industry is a big part of West Virginia. I feel like we need to address the coal industry. Most of the people in my District are people of faith…we’ve been sheltered from a lot of the negative social issues such as the gender issues where boys play and compete in girls sports…but it is finally coming and I want to stand up for the values of my constituents in District 19. We have an equipment and inventory tax in the state of West Virginia, and that is really holding back business growth. Businesses can go to Kentucky and have no equipment and inventory tax.
Donald: Is West Virginia growing? Are individuals, families, and businesses moving to West Virginia? What would need to happen to attract new people and businesses?
No, in fact, we losing population to the degree that we might lose one of our Congressional seats. We could go from 3 to 2 House members. On top of that we have an aging population. To attract people and businesses we need to reduce regulatioins, red tape, and cut taxes. WE have a lot goingh for us. We have a great workforce…workers are loyal, our retention is high. But the bureacracy is not friendly to growth. Right across the river in Kentucky, the climate is more friendly to growth than it is here…I want to change that. WE have a natural gas boom in he norhern part of the state which is helping West Virginia keep afloat. Once again, we don’t have a business friendly climate that can attract new businesses and downstream jobs.
Donald: What is the most difficult thing you are facing in the campaign at this moment?
The most difficult thing I am facing is that District I’m running in has been Democrat for as long as anyone can remember. The good news is the previous Republican candidate only lost by 300 votes, and Trump one this District by thirty-percent. If I can get the word out by knocking on doors, I think we can get over the hump.
Donald: On a scale of 1-10 how intrusive it the West Virginia government?
Around 7 or 8…it’s up here. The tax situation is a big thing for me. We’re paying taxes on vehicle when we buy them, then we pay personal property taxes on that same vehicle each year. On the positive side we have probably the best gun laws and culture in the country, but as we saw in Virginia all that can change with one election and a couple of strokes of the pen. We have some annoying regulations that intrude on our freedoms. Every year your vehicle has to be inspected for a fee…it’s just a money racket.
Donald: At iVoteAmerica we place a high premium on the sanctity of life, the importance of family, community and self-sufficiency…what are your life views?
God created us in His image. Life begins at conceptions. Life is sacred from the beginning and we should treat it that way. I’m prolife, without exception.
Donald: Is West Virginia red or blue.
We’re red, still.
Donald: How’s healthcare working in West Virginia?
The state is taking money from the rainy day fund to subsidize their employee health insurance companies. We have four insurance companies, the state has one. Insurance is a hot topic of discussion.
Donald: How’s immigration working in Wet Virginia?
We have a growing group of people who are wanting to bring people to our state via the Refufgee Resetlement Program. There is a lot of resistence. We don’t have a lot of other immigtration issues. Our Governor opted in to the Refugee Resettlement Program for West Virginia.
My hobby is real estate…and spending time with my kids.
Donald: Favorite Color?
Donald: What do you love most about America?
Donald: Self-improvement goal?
I would like to be a better husband and father.
Donald: What time do you wake up in the morning?
Donald: What’s the most important thing in your life?
Donald: If you could drive any automobile, what would it be?
An old Chevy Nova.
Donald: What food do you constantly crave, but shouldn’t eat?
Donald: Favorite President?
Donald: What was your first job?
Working in a warehouse.
I have two dogs, Jasper and Freddie
Donald: Favorite WV politician in office or out of office?
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