MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – Another major race in Virginia is the fight for the House of Delegate seat in the 12th district, which includes parts of Montgomery, Pulaski and Giles counties.
Democratic incumbent Chris Hurst is running for his third term. Hurst says he’s accomplished a lot during his time in office- focusing on infrastructure. He’s hopeful his next term he’ll expand on these issues.
[An interactive look at the path to victory for Chris Hurst or Jason Ballard in District 12]
“We have lots of opportunities, lots of jobs. What we don’t have are still is great transportation options across the board. We also don’t have enough housing. So we need to build new homes in this area but homes that people can afford- workforce housing. We are talking about $200-$250,000 and less.”
Challenging Hurst is Giles County native, Republican Jason Ballard. He’s a veteran, father of three and currently serves on Pearisburg Town Council. He says he wants to focus on improving Virginia’s public schools.
“Virginia is one of the wealthiest states in America as you probably know but we rank at the bottom for educational spending. We need to increase educational funding in order to have those long-lasting positive impacts on student learning,” said Ballard.
Hurst also has plans to focus on school-aged children- specifically mental health concerns.
“We need to eliminate as many stressors to our learning environment as much as we possibly can. That includes the pressures we put on teachers that then get passed on to students. The testing issue and tracking of testing is a complete problem that needs to be looked at,” said Hurst.
Ballard emphasized his support for law enforcement.
“Each year that I’ve been on town council, we’ve fully funded our police department. Anything they’ve asked for we’ve provided those resources for them,” he said.
The race between these two has come with over a million dollars spent in political ads. Some, focusing on Hurst’s drinking and driving incident in January 2020, where his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, but he was not arrested.
“I would tell anybody who is still on the fence to look at the video. Look at how I conducted myself. Look at what I asked for or more importantly didn’t ask for. Then I think make the decision for yourself. And also make it in consideration with the things I have tried to do for this district,” said Hurst when asked about the incident caught on a police dashcam.
“I want to bring honor and integrity back to the 12th district and I don’t think we’ve had that with Chris Hurst who’s displayed repeated poor judgment with his drinking and driving incident,” said Ballard. “We couldn’t be more farther apart in just the way we conduct our lives.”