Ed. — The following are responses to questions posed by The Independent News to candidates for 7th District of the Virginia Senate in the election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Answers to our questions in this series generally are not edited, aside from obvious punctuation issues, spacing and formatting, or for clarity. Our full voter guide is now on stands.
JEN A. KIGGANS (R)
The candidate did not respond.
CHERYL TURPIN (D)
Residence: Lexington, Virginia Beach
Occupation: Public High School Teacher
Endorsements: AFL-CIO, Virginia Education Association
Social media: @CherylTurpinVB on Facebook and Twitter
What are your specific qualifications for this office? I have been a champion for Virginia Beach with a track record of successes. In the General Assembly I passed Medicaid Expansion, got public school teachers a pay raise, helped struggling schools and advocated for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. On day one in the State Senate I will champion to make sure that that schools are properly funded, protecting access to affordable healthcare, and protecting Women’s rights.
What, to you, is the most important issue facing your district and how will you address it in office? Many of the schools in my district are over 50 years old, and are not scheduled to be upgraded or replaced in the next 50 or 60 years. I will fight to ensure that more money is provided by the state to help fund new school buildings and maintenance. While the Town Center area is thriving, Kempsville and College Park areas need to be a part of an economic stimulus package for small businesses.
What are your three main legislative priorities? As a high school science teacher I have a unique perspective on education issues. I proudly served on the House of Delegates Education Committee where I was able to pass teacher pay raises and a bill that helps struggling schools get the resources they need faster. In the State Senate I intend to be a passionate advocate for public education and public educators just as I have been in the House of Delegates.
What priorities do you have that will help support the agriculture community? How have worked (or how will you work) on issues impacting this industry? I joined my General Assembly colleagues Delegates Knight, Convirs-Fowler, Lindsey, Davis, Bloxom, Miyares, and Stolle, and Senators Lewis, DeSteph, Cosgrove, and Wagner in supporting the relocation of the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center to the southern portion of Virginia Beach. The Center would better serve the southern and western agricultural farming industry in the Hampton Roads Region with this move. The proximity to the agricultural operations provides greater connectivity and research cooperation in the areas of plant nutrition, irrigation, disease, insects, and weed control. This center would not only provide an economic boon to the region, it would ensure that the best new technologies would be made easily available to the very farmers who need them.
How will you support local efforts to address sea level rise and recurrent flooding? I will push for Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative to get funding that will help us combat recurrent flooding and sea level rise.
How will you support Virginia Beach in its long term recovery from the May 31 mass shooting, including the needs of survivors? We must work to keep our community safe. In the State Senate, I will take action to enact common sense gun reforms that prevent future tragedies like the one that took place on May 31st.
Do you support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting? Why or why not? I fully support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting. Voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around.
Do you support access to sexual and reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion access? Give an example of legislation you might support or oppose on this issue. I believe women’s healthcare decisions should be decisions made by women and their doctor.
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