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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Virginia House District 12

Includes Montgomery County precincts A-1-3; B-1-3; C-1,4; D-3(part); E-1,2; F-1,2; G-1,2

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  • Candidate picture

    Forrest Hite
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Chris Hurst
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What do you believe is the top priority for your district, and what is your plan to address it?

What measures, if any, would you support to ensure the right to vote and election integrity?

Regarding fair redistricting, 1) Do you support the proposal for a Virginia Redistricting Commission and why? 2) If the Constitutional Amendment is adopted, what legislation would you support to implement the Commission?

What solutions would you support to reduce the current level of gun violence in Virginia?

Biographical Information Born into a military family, Forrest lived all across our great country before settling in Radford nine years ago. He and his wife Tatiana, a police officer, love calling the NRV home and plan to raise their family right here. Forrest works for a Christian non-profit in Fairlawn and is committed to representing the people of the NRV well.
In addition to bringing back common sense amidst the recent chaos of Richmond and cultivating a healthy business climate here at home, education is a key issue for Forrest in this election. Having talked with many parents and teachers across the district, he agrees that education must be a top priority for our delegate. We must ensure that our schools get the funding they need here in the NRV and don't get left behind compared to Northern Virginia and other places in the Commonwealth. We also must take care of our teachers, increasing teacher pay at least to the national average over the next four years and giving our expert educators more freedom in the classroom.
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Biographical Information Chris L. Hurst is the Delegate for the 12th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing parts of Montgomery and Pulaski Counties and all of Giles County and the City of Radford. He was elected in November of 2017 to a two-year term and currently serves on the House Education and Science and Technology Committees. In 2018, he was selected to serve on the House Democratic Caucus Campaign Committee and as Communication Chair. He fights for all Virginians, including championing policies to increase teacher salaries and pass redistricting reform. During the 2019 legislative session, he passed nine bills including measures to address college affordability, increasing economic development for Southwest Virginia, and ensuring access for people with disabilities. Prior to serving as Delegate, Chris was evening anchor of WDBJ7 for six years, telling the stories of people in southwest Virginia. During that time he reported on mental health and criminal justice, which are now some of his top legislative priorities.
As I continue to speak with and listen to people throughout the 12th District some common priorities come to the forefront, all concerning the growth of the New River Valley. Montgomery County for example is expected to add thousands of new residents in the next two decades. We need to prepare for this growthy by continuing to advocate for increased broadband connectivity and bandwidth power. I was proud to vote for a budget that added more funds for this effort and this year, the NRV has received hundreds of thousand s of additional state dollars to provide quality internet access. But as essential as that infrastructure work is, we must advance other basic services to ensure our growth isn’t stifled; namely new units of affordable housing, resources to renovate and build new schools as well as increase direct aid to our school divisions and continue transportation improvements like delivering Amtrak service to Christiansburg We need regional cooperation and advocates in Richmond to make this a reality and I am proud to be a strong voice for the New River Valley in the General Assembly.
I support all measures to ensure the right to vote and don’t’ prevent any marginalized groups from being able to exercise their rights at the ballot box. Virginian needs several voting rights laws to fulfill that promise including, but not limited to, automatic voter registration no-excuse absentee balloting, expanded early voting, same-day registration and the repeal of Virginia’s voter ID law.
While I still very much prefer an independent redistricting commission, I support the bipartisan commission put forth in the proposal that will be back for the General Assembly next year for approval before it goes to voters in November, 2020. The major fight will continue to be over the criteria with which the commission draws our legislative districts. That criteria must include stipulations that partisan data and efforts to favor on party or another are prohibited.
Solutions to reduce gun violence must be backed with evidence and data. Fortunately we are continuing to see marked reduction in gun deaths as states that have implemented popular gun safety proposals. The first actions a willing General Assembly must take to protect the people of Virginia include expanded background checks to include private sales, implementation of an extreme risk protection order or “red flag” law, reinstatement of Virginia’s one handgun a month law , and increased penalties and possession prohibition for those who recklessly leave loaded firearms around unsupervised children and those who commit domestic violence.