Tamula "Tammy" Stemple is a candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates, 47th District.
Stemple is a graduate of West Virginia University with a bachelor of social work degree. She is married to Rod Stemple and they reside on Ruth Street in the Mansfield area of Philippi. They have a daughter, Kristin Nestor, a son-in-law, Jeremy Nestor, and two granddaughters, Harper and Adler Nestor.
Her father is retired from the military, so throughout her youth she was able to travel and was exposed to many different people and cultures having lived on both sides of the country. She has seen what is it is like to live both in urban and rural areas with the pros and cons of both. Stemple stated that she grew up being taught the importance of voting, of learning about the issues, becoming involved in the community and has always been interested in public service.
She has been the Philippi Main Street program director for the past 17 years. Philippi Main Street is a volunteer-driven business retention program that enhances communities through promotions, beautification and economic restructuring. She serves on the Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau as secretary, a member of the Barbour County Democratic Executive Committee and is past president of the Barbour County Democratic Women's Club.
Stemple has worked a variety of jobs including fast food, retail and as a substitute teacher. She coached cheerleading for 14 years. Part of that time she was a volunteer coach with Barbour County Pop Warner, but the majority of the time she was coaching with Barbour County Schools.
She also has held public office as the Philippi City Clerk. She was first elected in May 2000 and is currently in her fourth term. She has 17 years of experience in public service and 14 years with municipal government. She has experience in watching how things work in municipal government and how issues get solved. Therefore she would like to pursue the next avenue in public service, which includes the run for the House of Delegates in the 47th District.
Stemple said she has strong feelings about working to make the lives of the middle class and poor better.
"I want to work to lift people up through education, through closing the income gap that has widened over the past several decades between the poor and middle class and the affluent," she said. "I think it is very important, especially with so many women that are heads of households in our state and around the country who are raising families that they have the opportunity to have a fair, living wage which includes equal pay for equal work.
"To me, education is the key in being able to lift people up out of poverty. We also need to make a commitment to bring West Virginia's educational system to the forefront. We need to invest money to help make our teachers' salaries more competitive with surrounding states to be able to retain and attract the best teachers we can.
"We need to invest money into technology for students and put more money into school buildings and maintenance," Stemple said. "I believe we need to support the people of West Virginia anyway we can so that they can become self-sufficient; they can solve their own problems and support their families and education is the key. We need to invest in infrastructure to fix our roads and bridges which helps to attract new business. I want to see us work to solve issues that have to do with clean water and air. Also West Virginia has a huge drug problem and we need to work together at all levels with law enforcement and leaders to address that issue as well. West Virginia is No. 1 in prescription drug abuse and that's not good for our people or our economy."
A local issue that Stemple fully supports is the water impoundment or dam project. Representatives from Philippi, Belington and Junior are working with the County Commission to develop a water impoundment that the municipalities can fall back on in times of emergencies. It would provide a six-month water supply for citizens when there are droughts, storms or other disasters.
Stemple stated, "This project is especially important with what we saw happen in Charleston and the Kanawha Valley with the recent chemical spill in the water supply there. They were without water for some time and are still unsure of the safety."
"I do not have all the answers and I can't promise anyone anything," Stemple said. "The only thing I can guarantee is that I will work hard and I care about kids, about workers and about families. I care about the people of West Virginia."
Stemple has been endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America, the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, Operators Political Education Committee, Communications Workers of America, West Virginia Automobile & Truck Dealers Association PAC, West Virginia Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights, Home Builders Association-West Virginia, the AFL-CIO and the Transportation Division of the SMART Union.
"I would appreciate your support" on Election Day, May 13, Stemple said.