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Virginia Senate District 40

The 40th District includes the city of Bristol and parts of Scott, Wise, Lee, Smyth, Wythe and Washington Counties. A Senator, one of 40 in the Virginia General Assembly, has legislative power with the 100 House Delegates. Senators must be at least 21 years of age, reside in the district he/she represents, and be qualified to vote for General Assembly legislators. A Senator's term is 4 years with a salary of $18,000 per year.

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  • Candidate picture

    Ken Heath
    (I)

  • Todd Pillion
    (Rep)

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 voting access, voter protection and election integrity?

Regarding fair redistricting, (1) what is your position on the proposal for a Virginia Redistricting Commission? (2) If the constitutional amendment is adopted on second reading by the 2020 legislature, what legislation will you support to implement the commission?

What measures do you propose to increase job opportunities and improve job training in your district? How are these different from or better than past measures that have been tried?

What is your campaign’s policy regarding campaign contributions?

What is the best way to reduce the high level of drug addiction in Southwest Virginia?

What legislation would you propose to keep hospitals competitive in rural areas?

How can the congestion and safety problems of Interstate 81 be reduced? How would the state pay for these improvements?

Do you oppose or support Virginia legislation regarding the ban of assault weapons and bump stocks and extended magazines?

Campaign Phone (276) 759-1102
Education Marion Senior High, 1980 Wytheville Community College, 1984 ETSU, 1986
Experience Twice elected to Marion Town Council. Certified VA Local Elected Official, VML Over 25 years in economic development and rural VA revitalization
Family Married to the former Pamela Wellman of Glade Spring. Papa to two dogs, Miss Reagan and Scottie
Our top priority for SWVA is economic Development, bringing Real Opportunities to Our Hometowns. I have a proven track record of over 25 years experience working not only in my hometown, but in hometowns across SWVA, across Virginia, and across the American South to help revitalize Main Streets, create new businesses, train new entrepreneurs, and inspire young people to have a voice in shaping the New Economy for their hometowns.
Fairness, openness, and transparency are tantamount to the American democratic system, and are keystones of my life and my campaign. For those who may remember, the establishment politicians had hand selected their "heir apparent" for coronation to replace the retiring senator, but for a last minute phone call, a quick drive down the interstate, and the Grace of God, I had a chance to even get on the ballot to give the voters a choice - and choice is what it's all about, unless we want to live in a dictatorship. I'm for every citizen being automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthday, for "no excuse" early voting, and for paper ballots in all polling places.
VA40 is as gerrymandered as any district in our Commonwealth, with streets, neighborhoods, and entire towns carved out even in a strong Republican region, just to favor the incumbents. The non-partisan commission is absolutely key in seeing that the legislature is out of the redistricting business once and for all, and that fairness is our ultimate goal in every election, including removing barriers for those not entrenched in the political establishment to even be able to consider running for office.
This is my wheelhouse! My entrepreneur boot camp program brought my hometown a table full of awards, including being named SBA Small Business Community of the Year, and more importantly, has helped train over 275 entrepreneurs from across the region, from Bluefield to Bristol, in my classes that I teach. Through this one program in Marion, we've sold eleven downtown buildings, filled an additional 22 storefronts, created 30 new businesses and 118 new jobs, spurred over $2.6 million in PRIVATE reinvestment, and plummeted downtown storefront vacancies from nearly 18% to under 3%. We're filled our old hospital with a graduate school, our old library/high school with a community college and a nationally recognized school of Appalachian Art and Music school. My Pop Up Program has been readily shared with communities from Altavista to Abingdon, Bluefield to Bristol, and now is used for Virginia's "Community Business Launch" program. My passion is working to create jobs and opportunities, and to build community by empowering locals to move from "couch to cash register" and rebuild our hometowns one small business, one job, one great experience at a time!
My absolute pledge is to never take a campaign contribution from PACS, corporations, big pharma, lobbyists, political parties, etc. I'm running to be a voice of the people, and believe that the people, not party or PAC, is to whom I will answer.
We cannot arrest our way out of this tragedy. Drug courts, intervention, stronger mental health and addiction services, and restoring hope back in the lives of our neighbors are all part of the puzzle.
First, we must keep our rural hospitals open and viable, providing services to our communities. Next, we have to ensure that the prices are competitive and affordable for treatment in these hospitals. Legislation to oversee these processes are integral in the viability of rural Virginia, and I will always fight to that.
Interstate 81 is simply over capacity. Tolls are not the answer, but neither is the cockamamie gas tax as it's applied. The new 81 Corridor Improvement Fund also exponentially increases registration fees on trucks and non-passenger vehicles - not only tractor trailers, but local delivery trucks that never even use the interstate! The fair way is to use the "Commonwealth" as it is designed, for all Virginians to share in the responsibilities. An across the board fuel tax, with a legislated guarantee that all funds raised will be used solely for transportation infrastructure improvements, including widening 81 from Winchester to Bristol.
I'm a 2A supporter, and a firearms owner. My earliest memories were going target shooting as a kid with my dad. But I fully understand the scourge of mass shootings, homicides, and suicides our country is facing. I'm open to a discussion on ways to address these, but not at the expense of lawful gun owners. I would not support any legislation that would infringe upon the rights of American citizens to own or possess firearms as long as they are legally able to do so.
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