The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism hosted a meet and greet for the candidates vying for the 3rd Senate District Seat at the Alleghany Highlands’ Discovery Center, Covington, Wednesday evening.
J. Lee Higginbotham, CEO of Lewis Gale Hospital-Alleghany and AHCC&T’s Board member gave a brief introduction of each candidate before opening the floor for questions and answers.
“At the age of 23, she was appointed to Glasgow’s Town Council and became the first vice-mayor in the Town’s history,” said Higginbotham of Jade Harris, Democratic Candidate, before he invited her to share her campaign vision.
“I’m not too much of talk at people and expect you to just go along with whatever I say,” began Harris. She explained that she is more of a conversationalist, and she wanted to hear the citizens’ thoughts and ideas for her to take to Richmond. She believes her job as a potential legislator is to help facilitate and execute those ideas.
Harris explained that her values are individual personal freedoms and nature conservation. A follow-up question asked her to be more specific about democratic values that she represents. She explained that one of her democratic values is inclusivity. She believes “everybody should have a seat at the table.” She later explained that her platform also includes infrastructure, public education, and workers’ protection. She’s 100% pro-choice and a supporter of the trans community.
She also believes that having a medical marijuana card should not interfere with owning a gun. She believes this is something she could work with the republicans on. She wants “to go ahead with the promise that was made to the Commonwealth and get the medical marijuana retail markets set up. Harris, a substitute teacher, believes much of the tax revenue from these markets could be put into the schools.
After Harris’ hour of mostly questions and answers, Higginbotham was back up to introduce Del. Chris Head, 17th District, Republican Candidate. Head’s time was spent mostly giving an overview of his path to the House and Delegates and now Senate.
“Chris has been representing the 17th District in the Junior House of Delegates since 2012 and currently serves as vice chair of the House Committee Health, Welfare and Institutions and he also serves on the committees on Commerce and Energy, Privileges and Elections, and Rules, and chairs several subcommittees.
He’s been a stalwart defender of the unborn, protector of the 2nd amendment, and champion for limited government. As your state senator, Chris will continue to be a strong conservative voice for traditional Virginia values in Richmond”, said Higginbotham.
Head opened by sharing a story of growing up in Commerce, GA, which he describes as very similar to Covington. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, and owner of a Senior Care business
This business, providing assisted living services at home, led him to serve as a legislator. “We ran into so many regulatory barriers,” said Head. With a background in ministry, he believes western civilization “is the only culture that doesn’t revere our elders.”
He explained that the redistricting map gave him an opening to run for Senate in his area. “It’s up to me to represent this area in Richmond,” said Head. “Life isn’t the same here as it is in Fairfax County, and it’s up to me to tell them.”
Both candidates were questioned by Mazie Green on their stance as to whether parents should be fully informed that their student-athletes may be seriously injured later in life from repetitive hits during sports. Green’s son was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a fatal brain disorder, after his death.
Harris said she would need to do more research on the matter but believes parents should be informed of the risks. “Parents should always have access to information about their child regarding their health, especially in situations like that,” said Harris.
Head admitted that he was unprepared to give a response other than to say he would be concerned if in her position. “I will look into it and see what we can do,” added Head.
Both candidates were also asked about their stance on the restoration of voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. Both believe their rights should be restored after the completion of their sentences. Head went a step further to say that while there is currently a pathway for the restoration of rights that is subjective to the governor. “I think we need a better system to tell incarcerated people that once they have completed their sentences and paid any restitution and fines, there would be no subjection to having their voting rights restored. He would also like to see a pathway to employment. “To bring them in as productive members of society.
The evening closed with some one-on-one conversations and light refreshments.
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