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Newcomer Nicholas Betts looking to upset Ben Cline in the 6th District

If elected, Betts would become the first Democrat to win the 6th District in 30 years

Democrat Nicholas Betts is taking on incumbent Cline for Virginia's 6th District
Democrat Nicholas Betts is taking on incumbent Cline for Virginia's 6th District

LEXINGTON, Va. – Nicholas Betts is a political outsider, but he believes that perspective makes him the perfect person to represent Virginia’s 6th Congressional District.

“Things change and I think people are tired of the status quo," Betts said.

The Democrat is running to unseat incumbent Rep. Ben Cline in the district that extends up Interstate 81 from Roanoke to Front Royal.

The Lexington-based law clerk is too young to run for president and has never held an elected position, but feels that his enthusiasm to serve will be an asset on Capitol Hill.

“I have a well-rounded educational and professional background," said Betts, who graduated from the Washington & Lee University School of Law in 2019. "I think I’m a person that would hit the ground running if elected to Congress.”

Watch more from our conversation with Betts:

Full conversation with Nicholas Betts
Full conversation with Nicholas Betts

Betts' said his main focus if elected is expanding affordable health care throughout his district and beyond.

“It’s a public necessity," Betts said. “I believe that if our friends and family have health care, we’ll all be safer.”

He said the coronavirus pandemic hammered home how important it is for all Americans to have access to treatment.

“Twice as many people have died in this pandemic as in World War I," Betts said. "While we’re in the midst of it, we need to help people keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.”

Betts also said COVID-19 highlighted the need for widespread broadband internet, especially for more rural areas.

“We mobilized in the 1950s to get the highway system done. We can mobilize right now and get broadband infrastructure put in place sooner rather than later,” Betts said.

Betts faces a steep challenge in the 6th District as voters haven’t elected a Democrat since 1990, when the late Jim Olin won his fifth term in Congress.

Despite the obstacles, Betts believes he has what it takes to unite both the urban and rural areas within district.

“Bridging that gap is just getting out, doing the work, and listening to what people have to say," Betts said. "It’s trying to bring their voice to Washington, and that’s what I’m going to do.”