Unger stressed the importance of economic development of the Eastern Panhandle in an interview Wednesday, including upgrading W.Va. 9 and creating Exit 14 for Martinsburg off Interstate 81. He also favors a W.Va. 9 bypass and a U.S. 522 bypass for Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
"We need to revitalize the main streets of our towns, support local small and medium-sized businesses and agribusiness," Unger said. Building the region's tourism industry is also on his list of priorities.
Unger favors phasing out the food sales tax, which he said was imposed several years ago to get the state out of debt.
He said that growing the tax base is the way to avoid increasing taxes.
The candidate also criticized the funding formula for school systems. He noted that counties are funded based on student population increases from the previous year and said funding decisions by the state should be made after the start of the school year.
"We need to give our youth activities after school that are more than athletics and sports," Unger said. He said more activities must be made available by schools and communities between 3 and 8 p.m., when most juvenile crime occurs.
While favoring economic development, Unger said preserving the Eastern Panhandle's environment is important to attracting both quality jobs and tourism. Already the wealthiest part of the state, Unger said, "The Eastern Panhandle is the economic development engine that will drive the rest of the state in the 21st century."