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“Together West Virginians can achieve more than any single person or faction could ever do alone. It is time to realize all of the resources in people, location, geography, and relationships we possess to build a stronger tomorrow.”
The opportunity for children to access world class education is growing in West Virginia! Two of our public schools, including Hurricane High School, have been recognized as among the best in the country. With the conclusion of the 2021 legislative session, West Virginia parents, more than any other in the country, now have more freedom to tailor an educational path that best suits their child. I strongly support funding the child’s need rather than funding the system. That instills educational freedom and competition, ultimately improving the overall system. With regards to education beyond K-12, we recently strengthened last-dollar-in support by requiring fees of state funded community and technical colleges to be applied to scholarships. The technical trades are in high demand all over the country and especially in West Virginia. We can excel here. For our state-funded four year institutions, we are now demanding accountability. As Chairman of Finance, I required Marshall and West Virginia University Presidents to present their budget requests in committee. Prior to this, they were just included as an overall part of the higher education budget. There is still much more work to do here. The state needs a higher education funding formula with accountability measures related to performance and curriculum. We need our Universities graduating high percentages of admitted students and opening up opportunities for careers. Tax payers should not fund political indoctrination.
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Meet Eric J. Tarr
Thank you for your interest in supporting me for West Virginia State Senate! With this introduction, I hope to answer most of the questions that you will have when voting for the person you want as your West Virginia State Senator. I’ve been married to Natalie Tarr more than 30 years. We have two sons and a daughter that grew up attending schools in both Mason and Putnam County. I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified as an Orthopedic Specialist, and hold an MBA. Educational institutions that I have attended include Eastern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, Simmons College, Harvard, and Thomas Jefferson University. I have served as State Affairs Chairman, Federal Affairs Chairman, PAC Chairman, Secretary, Vice President, Liaison to the WV Board of Physical Therapy, and President for the West Virginia Physical Therapy Association. Currently, I serve as a Board Member for the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.
Since beginning my first Senate term in 2019, positions I have held in the legislature include Chairman of Senate Finance, Vice Chairman of Senate Health and Human Resources Committee, Co-Chairman of the Joint Committees on Health and Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Resources, and Chairman of the Interim Committee on Technology. Prior to being elected to the Senate, I have served as Policy Advisor to the West Virginia Senate Chairman of Senate Health, West Virginia Senate Majority Leader, and Advisor in Caucus, Joint Caucus, and several small caucuses. This mixture of business, health care, and policy experience has afforded me opportunity to speak as an expert at the state and national level on several topics including health care policy, business in healthcare and payment policy. I also volunteer time speaking to our high school students and college students on education, career, and entrepreneurism. I’ve served as adjunct faculty for West Virginia University, Marshall University, Wheeling Jesuit University, and the University of Kentucky.
I absolutely love West Virginia. I was born into a family of very little means surrounded by neighbors in the same situation. I was raised in a Christian home and taught the value of callouses on my hands and the value of caring for your fellow man. With this foundation, my family and I opened our first business in Putnam County in 1997, which is when I first took an interest in state and federal policy, seeking answers to questions about why and how we, as a state, do things.
As a Physical Therapist, I have served a lot of you in your home, in the hospital, and in my practice. I see every sort of person from the most destitute and challenged, to the very wealthy in times when life is most difficult. While there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, much of my policy work has helped our hospitals, made West Virginia more attractive to providers than it was previously, and slowed the increased financial burden of insurances on people when they are at their most vulnerable. Meeting so many different people in business and in service has also led to stepping out of my comfort zone into many different ventures.
Over the past 20+ years, through founding, partnerships, and acquisition, I now serve as CEO of more than 20 businesses in multiple industries including physical therapy, fitness, real estate development, storage, commercial leasing, retail, building materials, marketing, party and event management, equipment leasing, practice management, heating and cooling, plumbing, and construction. There is opportunity in West Virginia. We just need to realize our resources and relationships, not sacrifice the good opportunity in our hand for the greed of the perfect opportunity, look 10 years ahead, and proceed with an entrepreneurial mindset. I believe in the value and resilience of people when they are challenged and motivated. It is possible to thrive in a down economy. The beauty of that ability is how well that foundational efficiency and effectiveness leads to bigger and better things when the tide turns up and lifts all the ships designed to float in those shallow waters.
I hear so many people say they don’t want their kids to have to leave West Virginia. Many of us are also looking to build a road that brings back the sons and daughters who have left our state. I venture most would come back in an instant for a competitive opportunity. So, the main reason I see for anyone to support me for West Virginia State Senate is that I bring a very unique perspective and have demonstrated leadership that brings people together for a common cause and a common challenge. I have vision for opportunity that others typically miss and have demonstrated taking action on that vision to make West Virginia an even better place to live and work.