CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For the last 15 years, he's held criminals responsible. Now, Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia wants to hold state government responsible.
"My number one objective, if I become governor in West Virginia, is to reduce the size of state government," Sorsaia said. "That's really our only option."
Like many Republican candidates for West Virginia's top job, Sorsaia vows to cut spending, saying it has to start with state jobs.
Sorsaia says he's not politically ambitious but saw problems with the system.
He says this was not the time to give out raises to state employees.
"We have to be leaner; we have to be more efficient," Sorsaia said. "We have to inspire West Virginians to do better on their own instead of expecting government to provide jobs."
Sorsaia already has publicly opposed President Obama's health-care plan and says the main functions of government are simple -- public safety, infrastructure and education.
"I think one of the major reasons for low teacher morale is the fact that they've lost the ability to control discipline in the classroom," Sorsaia said. "If children don't have discipline, they're not going to learn."
Allowing teachers more flexibility is what Sorsaia sees as essential in order for success, but that goes for businesses, too, beginning with making West Virginia a more attractive place to set up shop.
"As governor, I would have a passion to reduce needless government regulations and reporting requirements to give our small businesses more flexibility and less administrative burden to grow," Sorsaia said.
Growing the private sector is something Sorsaia says will not happen on the backs of its citizens.
"We can't raise taxes," he said. "Taxes are too high."
Sorsaia blames the state Legislature for not reforming the tax structure nor making West Virginia more competitive in industries of the future, like Marcellus shale.
"We have to develop a pattern, a system of regulation, that gives those producers the most flexibility with the least restrictive regulatory system," Sorsaia said. "At the same time, protecting our environment and our safety."
As governor, he says he would be more responsible and help those having a tough time making ends meet.
Sorsaia is one of 14 candidates running in the special gubernatorial election.