Phil Hudok is one of three third party candidates running for the gubernatorial seat. Hudok represents the Constitution Party. He touts his Christian values and his message of freedom as some of his qualifications for governor, and he says if elected, he would help get West Virginia on the right track.
Phil Hudok was born in Cleveland, Ohio but moved to Randolph County, West Virginia with his family when he was six-months-old where he still lives today. In 1980, he married his wife, and they have four daughters.
Hudok is a retired school teacher and taught chemistry, physics, biology, and human anatomy for 40 years.He’s also the vice-Chairman of West Virginia’s Constitution Party.
“I feel that it’s my duty to run for office even though I’m 66-years-old and I’ve never actually held an office; I’ve run several times, but I feel that our country’s in trouble,” he said.
Hudok ran for governor the first time in 2012 and for U.S. Senate in 2014. He collected more than 10,000 signatures over four years to be on the 2014 ballot and in this year’s governor’s race.
One of Hudok’s main messages is freedom, making West Virginia a freer state by keeping government in check. When it comes to the problems facing West Virginia, Hudok points to a moral meltdown as a root cause.
“When you don’t have a good moral compass, no contracts work," Hudok noted, "I don’t care if it’s husband and wife. I don’t care whether it’s parents and children, or people in their government. You know, if you are not a person of your word, if you don’t have convictions, if you don’t have a moral compass, then society degenerates, and I think that’s what we have.”
If elected, Hudok would be faced with a number of issues like balancing the state budget. Hudok would like to see West Virginia invest in an agricultural product.
"I would like to see the state’s number one, or number two, or number three cash crop be industrial hemp," he explained, "We have a hard time eradicating something that actually has tremendous value in so many ways."
Hudok also believes in the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes, but he says it shouldn’t be an economic driver.
“I wouldn’t do it for economic reasons," he said, "I’m doing it, because I believe you should be responsible for what you do. Your choice, your responsible.”
The education system is another area Hudok says he would want to reform. He believes the state passes down too many unfunded mandates to the local level -- things they are required to do, but don’t receive money to take on. He’d encourage less regulation, less surveillance, and more control at the local level.
“I believe the principal should have more power, the teacher’s should have more power, the students should have more responsibility,” he noted.
Hudok also says many of the problems with education can’t all be fixed in the classroom. Teachers spend their time dealing with students who don’t have parents at home or who are dealing with substance abuse, pointing back to his stance on strengthening the family structure and upholding religious values.
Economic diversification and the creation of new jobs has been one of the biggest issues in this race, but Hudok says that’s not the governor’s duty.
“The only jobs government can create are government jobs," he said, "I don’t think the government should be in competition with private enterprise.”
Hudok's Message to Voters
Hudok says he’s not a career politician, but he’s running for governor, because he thinks the state is in major trouble, and he says he’s the one to fix it.
“I want to be the candidate that roared, that spent less than a couple thousand dollars. Didn’t spend millions. I’ve done a lot of research, and I was originally just science oriented, but, and I wasn’t interested in government. Now, after I had children, and I started looking where we were headed, I said, wait a minute, something’s really wrong here. ”
Early voting is already underway across the state. Election Day is just one week from Tuesday.