Archive for September, 2017

Virginia House of Delegates 25th and 58th Districts Candidates Forum

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Candidates for the contested House of Delegates seats representing Albemarle and Charlottesville shared their positions and responded to questions from the audience.  The program was moderated by SSV board member Terry Cooper. A podcast of the presentations can be heard by clicking below.

Steve Landes and Angela Lynn with Terry Cooper moderating

The following candidate information is excerpted from the candidates’ campaign websites.

Steve Landes (R): Serving his eleventh term, Steve has been an able steward of taxpayer resources in the House of Delegates. During his tenure, he has focused on promoting economic development, fostering education innovations, and increasing healthcare choice, access and affordability. He has been a steady voice of reason heard above the noise that all too often clouds our political discourse. Steve serves as a House Budget Conferee. He is a Member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates, representing the House of Delegates, serves on the Education Commission of the States; and serves on the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. He is also Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Future of Public Elementary and Secondary Education; and on the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia.

Angela Lynn (D): This is a decisive moment in our Commonwealth. We need assertive leadership with the courage to stand up to entrenched interests in Richmond and do what is right for Virginia. I’m running for the General Assembly because I believe I can provide that leadership. As our government today gerrymanders the state to ensure their own power, and education and health care are at risk for our most vulnerable, we need representatives in government who understand our needs and will fight for the interests of the community. My family have been proud Virginians since the 1700s. After my husband’s career in the military, he and I moved here 25 years ago to raise our five children. I’ve worked as a higher education administrator and led efforts to improve our community. I’m running for the General Assembly to support and protect my home state.

Rob Bell (R): grew up in a Navy family.  He attended the University of Virginia on scholarship, and graduated with honors from both the college and law school.  Rob served as a state prosecutor in Orange County for five years, where he prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice. Since his election as a Republican to the Virginia General Assembly, Rob has written laws that crack down on repeat-offense drunk driving and keep sex offenders off school property. He has also worked to close loopholes in Virginia’s mental health laws after the shooting at Virginia Tech.  More recently, he wrote laws to expand Virginia’s protective orders and to require life in prison for those convicted of raping children. In 2015 he wrote the law to address sexual assaults on on college campuses, and in 2016 expanded Virginia’s stalking laws.

Kellen Squire (D): I’m a husband and a father to three beautiful children.  I’m an emergency room nurse and a proud graduate of the University of Virginia.  I’m a Christian, an avid outdoorsman, and a hard-working, middle-class American who’s fed up with the political system today. We’ve almost killed the working class in this country.  Wages have been stagnant for more than three decades.  Our government seems to work more for lobbyists and special interests than for ordinary people.  The worst kind of toxicity in our politics, pitting some groups of Americans against others, is a disease that threatens the future of our country. That disease is spread by political operatives and career politicians, some of whom have spent decades in office by gerrymandering themselves into comfortable little districts so that they never have to run against a serious opponent.

Program Summary

The following is excerpted from an article written by Michael Bragg which appeared in the September 14, 2017, edition of The Daily Progress. The entire article can be accessed on the Internet at:

With Election Day less than two months away, candidates for the 25th and 58th districts in the Virginia House of Delegates made their case to voters at a Wednesday forum. Del. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, and Democrat Angela Lynn, candidates for the 25th District, went first at the forum, which was hosted by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, and Democrat Kellen Squire, both running for the 58th District, spoke next.

The candidates had a chance to weigh in on subjects such as the Charlottesville-Albemarle County revenue-sharing agreement and voter ID laws. “The whole purpose of the revenue-sharing agreement was so the county would not have more territory annexed by the city,” Landes said. “So, really, it makes no sense. It’s not a logical solution to a problem that was there originally.” But Lynn argued that state politicians getting involved in the agreement is government overreach, saying it’s a local matter. Bell called the agreement a bad deal. Squire said it’s hurting the funding for Albemarle schools, and that the agreement needs to be addressed.

On voter ID laws, both Landes and Bell argued that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is a great way of preventing voter fraud. But Lynn and Squire both expressed skepticism. Squire said he thinks these types of laws can discourage people from getting out to vote, while Lynn argued that the issue today is not voter fraud but getting people out to vote. “A vote is the one thing that makes us equal,” she said. “It crosses over socio-economic lines, it knows no boundaries with race or gender or any of those things that make us feel that we aren’t as powerful as another person. But if we’re not all capable of being able to do it, then that would be stripping us of a fundamental right and a pillar of our democracy.”