From student loan reform to job growth and immigration reform, there was a lot at stake for college students in this year’s election cycle. The results have left some on campus feeling hopeful about America’s future and others fearful.
Responses to some of the many surprises on November 8 have also been varied among Virginia politicians.
Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-9VA), whose district includes UVa-Wise, handily won his reelection, running against Democratic candidate Derek Kitts and Independent Janice Boyd Allen. Congressman Griffith had also campaigned several times with now President-elect Donald Trump and vice president elect Mike Pence in Southwest Virginia, including in Abingdon, Salem and Roanoke. Although Clinton won the state of Virginia, Trump received an overwhelming majority of the votes in Southwest Virginia, at a 3:1 advantage or more in most counties.
In a statement given to the Highland Cavalier, Congressman Griffith stated, “With a unified Republican government, we have the ability to do the things that we’ve talked about for the last eight years. We should roll back unreasonable and harmful regulations. This relief will allow job growth for manufacturing companies, small businesses, and the energy sector, including the coal industry, which will help the Appalachian economy.”
Griffith went on to state that he hoped Congress and the Trump administration could replace The Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare, and strengthen our national security.
“I am also focused on improving the rules in the House of Representatives,” Griffith added. “So we can work more efficiently and get legislation quickly to the new President to sign into law.”
Other Virginia politicians have had different outlooks on the election results. Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally, stated after the election that he was “totally shocked,” but willing to move forward and try to work with Trump to better the Commonwealth.
We’re done with politics,” McAuliffe stated days after the election. “And I look forward to working with the new president to increase the military assets here, protect the ones we have and keep the economy going. It’s critical for us.”
Virginia congressmen Bobby Scott (D-3VA), Don Beyer (D-8VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-11VA), all of which won their reelection bids, have signed a letter asking for President-elect Donald Trump to rescind his recent appointment of Steve Bannon as the White House chief strategist.
Bannon served as executive chair at Breitbart News, a far-right news organization closely associated with the white supremacist alt-right movement, before coming on as Trump’s campaign chief executive in August of this year.
The letter, which was signed by over 160 Democratic members of Congress, rips Bannon for previous statements he made and stories he endorsed which “promote anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism.”
“We strongly believe that Mr. Bannon’s appointment will not allow the country to heal and come together as one,” the letter states. “As one of your top advisors, the White House chief strategist will help set the tone for your administration. The person in this role must be prepared to serve the interests of all Americans, not those of a select few.”
Many local officials actively campaigned for and endorsed the Trump/Pence ticket. Virginia House of Delegates member Terry Kilgore, who represents UVa-Wise and most of Wise County, stated he was “shocked” in the presidential election results, but stated that it was because rural America and middle class voters turned out to vote.
Delegate Todd Pillion, representing parts of Wise, Dickenson, Russell and Washington counties, penned a letter to the editor in the “Roanoke Times” after the election tited “We don’t always get what we want.” In the letter Pillion criticized colleges and universities for “institutionalizing negative emotions,” by offering “counseling sessions and meditation rooms” after the election and implying that certain groups of people should feel scared.
Both Kilgore and Pillion campaigned with and supported Donald Trump for President.