“Actually my first interest in politics was in November,
1960,” says Sue Thorn describing her first venture into the world of politics. “I
was in first grade and I sat on my bike outside my school and told people going
in to vote for Kennedy. My mom was a little shocked when I came home and told
Thorn says her more recent political endeavors have been
also on behalf of other candidates. Working for the Democratic National
Committee she traveled around listening and talking to constituents’ concerns,
but she’s never really aspired to serve, herself, until others began suggesting
“It was probably June or July of 2011 that I was at a
barbeque in Grafton and somebody was complaining about our congressman and I
said that if we don’t have anyone to run against him, it doesn’t make any
difference. Someone said, ‘Why don’t you run?’
"I didn’t really think that they
were serious but we started exploring it and I would go places—to Parkersburg
or Clarksburg and people would have shirts on that said, ‘Ask Sue to Run,’ or,
‘I told Sue to run,’ and it ended up culminating last fall in late November. We
had an announcement in Morgantown.
So this truly was a grass-roots movement. I was drafted by people throughout
the district. And that’s what makes it a really unique campaign I think.”
When asked what some of her major concerns are and what
issues she’s likely to focus on, Thorn says rebuilding the middle class is
paramount. She says rebuilding infrastructure with American-made products is a
key to creating jobs throughout the country.
“My grandfather, great grandfather, worked for the Works
Progress Administration in Wheeling
during the depression. So I tell people, my family survived the depression
because the government created jobs. And they weren’t hand-outs. They built
roads, and bridges, and dams, and public facilities, and I think that is exactly
what the federal government needs to be doing now.”
Thorn is also passionate about social security issues.
“We have got to make social security secure for the next
decades and decades. That is a guarantee. People worked for it, they paid into
it. It is not a time when we need to be cutting back the benefits on that or
eliminating people from that.
"In fact if we simply raised the limit, right now
it’s at $110,000, people don’t have to contribute anything after that of what
they earn. If we raise that limit it would keep social security secure for
another thirty years, I believe is the statistic on that.”
Thorn is concerned with the suggested GOP changes to
Medicare. She says moving seniors toward what looks like a voucher system is
the wrong direction and that instead she’d like to see Medicare negotiating
prescription drug prices as the Veterans Administration does for vets.
Thorn says defense spending is also a major concern of hers.
“There are now more no-bid contracts than there ever have
been historically, and I even hear veterans say, what that’s leading to is war
profiteering—that they feel that we are often going places to fight simply so
that Haliburton or some other corporation can make billions in profits.
talk to veterans who have to fight next to private contractors, and the private
contractors are making five to ten times what our soldiers are making, and we
have military families on food stamps? There’s something wrong there.”
When it comes to energy policy, Thorn believes changing
energy dynamics are putting strains on the coal industry. She hopes research and
innovation will alleviate economic strains in the state.
“While we need to be protecting the coal jobs that exist, we
also need to be figuring out what we are going to do. What are our children and
our grandchildren going to be doing? The same people, workers, who are mining
coal right now, they and the next generation could be the miners of other types
Thorn says, given the chance, she hopes to surround herself
with a competent staff in Washington, DC,
and in her district in West Virginia.
She says it’s her goal to stay connected to constituents. To date, Citizens to
Elect Sue Thorn has reported raising almost 150-thousand dollars, according to
campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. She says she
hasn’t received any large corporate contributions.
“I will not go to DC with a bunch of corporations that
expect my vote because they gave me money, and I’m thrilled about that. It
means we’ve had to do more work during the campaign, but it also gives a great
opportunity to stay connected with voters.”
Thorn says she’s excited that her focus now is
campaigning door to door and over the phone.