First District Delegate candidates speak

Incumbent: Terry G. Kilgore

It is an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of the 1st District in the Virginia House of Delegates. In my time as delegate, I have proudly fought for a job-friendly environment in Southwest Virginia, lower taxes for our citizens, better, more affordable education, dependable energy, and a diverse economy.

Because of my love for our region, I was grateful for the opportunity to attend Clinch Valley College, which is now the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

After graduating Clinch Valley College, I, along with my twin brother Jerry, attended law school at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. I then chose to return to Southwest Virginia, where I have remained devoted to raising my family and serving the citizens here.

It is through that service I have been able to continue my close relationship with UVa-Wise.

This university is the largest economic driver in Southwest Virginia, and I am committed to continuing my role in its growth and expansion. As delegate, I am proud to have been a part of the progress our university has achieved. I proudly introduced the bill that successfully changed the name of the school from Clinch Valley College to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.Kilgore

Since then, I’ve been able to help secure funding for a much-needed, new library, renovations on the science building, and the construction of the David J. Prior Convocation Center.

Since first being elected, I have witnessed the university double in enrollment and bring many new opportunities to the region. My plan for the future is to bring graduate and Master’s programs to our university, so we can offer even more opportunities for our students.

Outside of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, I have focused my attention on job creation and the future of our youth.

I have focused my time on creating a job-friendly climate in Southwest Virginia that attracts new industries and empowers small businesses.  I serve as chairman for the Virginia House of Delegates Commerce and Labor Committee, which allows me to make crucial decisions on legislation that affects the Commonwealth and Southwest Virginia. I have been successful in securing funding to attract both start-ups and established businesses to the region.

As chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, I’ve been able to award millions of dollars in funds for infrastructure and economic development projects in Southwest Virginia.

One recent enterprise I’ve been pursuing is the creation of a hydro-pump storage facility in Southwest Virginia that has the potential to produce millions of dollars in tax revenue for our communities and create thousands of jobs for current and future generations.

I believe our future generations should graduate ready to compete in the global economy. I’ve worked to pass laws that hold schools accountable for student performance, expand local colleges and workforce training programs, and ensure our region receives its fair share of school funding.

Through my work with the Tobacco Commission, we’ve been able to offer each Southwest Virginia student annual scholarships of $3200 per year.

Southwest Virginia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. To that end, I have worked on initiatives to promote tourism to market Southwest Virginia to the rest of the world.

My life has been dedicated to serving Southwest Virginia. As a husband and a father of two, I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish. But, there’s still much work to be done.

I am asking for your support on November 7 so I can continue to progress our university and our region.


Challenger: Alicia D. Kallen

 

By running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, I am standing up for the Healthcare, Education, and Jobs of our region. I am fighting for Healthcare through an expansion of Virginia’s Medicaid program, a bill that has been on the House floor every year since 2013 and has been voted down every time by the Republicans of the Legislature. This bill would be paid for by federal tax funds from the Affordable Care Act and would not cause an increased burden to Virginia’s taxpayers for the first three years, after which the state would pick up 10 percent of the cost of the expansion. This bill would cover 400,000 of Virginia’s hardest working citizens, and it would provide an economic boost the state needs. Hospitals would be more readily reimbursed for their services upfront, and it would bolster their ability to hire the hands needed to support their patient volumes.

This issue is non-partisan. States with Republican governors such as Ohio and Arizona have seen the benefit of expanding their Medicaid programs. They see that the needs of the citizens are greater than the needs of their party.

I want to ensure that Virginia’s teachers are paid an apt salary for their important work. They dedicate their lives to shaping the future of our state, our country, and our world, and for that dedication, they deserve an increase in wages.Kallen

For education, I fight for Virginia’s teachers and students. Virginia is currently ranked 37 in the nation for teacher salary, and when you take Northern Virginia out of the mix, that ranking drops much further. I want to ensure that Virginia’s teachers are paid an apt salary for the work they do. They dedicate their lives to shaping the future of our state, our country, and ultimately our world, and for that dedication, they deserve an increase in their wages. I am also fighting for the schools of Southwest Virginia. I want to work for an increase in state funding to the schools in our region so that our students may be afforded every opportunity the students in the northern part of the state have. There are many ways to accomplish such a task, but the first place I would start would be working to shift some of the economic responsibility from the localities to the state. Localities in the North have the population and tax base required to drive their schools’ growth and success, but the case is not the same for the South. Our populations are small, but our children deserve the same opportunity for success nonetheless.

II believe that taking the time to focus on Healthcare and Education will have an effect on Job growth in our region. By seeing to it that everyone has the healthcare they need and they have every Educational opportunity available in childhood as well as in adulthood looking into new lines of work, I know that job growth will follow. When we have the ability to take care of our health routinely instead of fighting crises when they can no longer be ignored, we can focus on finding meaningful work to support ourselves and our families.

When we have the best education, and we have the ability to go back to school worry-free from insurmountable debt, we can move with the changing tides of life without worrying about what may come down the road.

I will also work to make it more appealing for sustainable industries to move into our region, such as solar energy installations. These jobs will be plentiful due to the cycle of maintenance required for the installations, and they will be well-paying and safer than traditional energy jobs.

I want to take this fight to Richmond. I want to make sure that the good people in the place I call home are seen for the potential they have to offer. I want people to know that we are here and we are proud of our roots and culture. I want to put SWVa in the spotlight again instead of being Virginia’s best-kept secret. But most of all, I want the world to know that Virginia starts right here with us.

 

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