In order to help dispel voter apathy and promote active citizenship, The Roanoke Star emailed questions to a number of Roanoke Valley candidates this campaign cycle. As explained here, new lines and candidates from recent redistricting have caused great confusion. Because some regions either tilt strongly left or right, many races are not competitive, and many are uncontested. However, one the highest-profile competitive race in our region is the newly-created State Senate District 4. It combines Democrat-heavy Roanoke City with Salem and parts of GOP-leaning Roanoke and Montgomery Counties.
You can see an overview of this district’s lines and composition here.
This race features Sen. David Suetterlein (R) and Roanoke City Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd (D). Because neither candidate answered the questions submitted, the information given below comes from either the candidate’s previous statements, voting record, or their party platform.
Q: As reported here, the General Assembly and former Governor Ralph Northam (D) have already passed a law to force Virginia to follow car regulations that bureaucrats in California pass. Is your position to keep that current law that forces Virginians to follow California regulations, or would you overturn that law and let Virginians keep being able to buy gas-powered vehicles?
A: As reported here, the Democrat-led state Senate killed a bill in February 2023 that would have overturned Virginia’s electric vehicle (EV) law and let Virginians keep buying gas-powered cars in future years. Suetterlein supports other Republican legislators and Governor Youngkin who have tried to overturn the law that makes Virginians obey California law mandating that 35% of all new cars and trucks sold in Virginia with a 2025 model year must be electric and 100% by 2035.
Protections for Unborn Children:
Q: Since the US Supreme Court has returned the abortion issue to the states and their voters, what restrictions on that procedure would you vote for, or none at all?
A: The Republican position which pro-life Suetterlein supports seeks to protect unborn children after 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and saving the life of the mother.
Protecting Children from pornography in Libraries:
Q: As reported here, we have seen bills seeking to limit pornographic books from school libraries, make sure content is age-appropriate, or guarantee parental oversight of such materials. Do you support or oppose giving parental oversight over such library materials?
A: Such parental rights bills were passed by the GOP House of Delegates but shot down in the Democrat-controlled State Senate. Suetterlein has pledged to support parental rights and protections of children from pornography in schools.
Protecting Private Spaces for Girls:
Q: Do you support or oppose restricting bathroom and shower access in schools, public gyms, etc. to people of the natural gender they were born with?
A: Bills to protect female athletes died in the General Assembly last winter. At the September press conference at Hotel Roanoke, one speaker quoted a politician who explained his “no” vote by alleging no female athletes had ever been harmed or suffered loss. However, as seen in Parts One, Two, Three and Four, members of the Roanoke College female swim team told gut-wrenching stories of the mental and emotional abuse they suffered at the hands of Roanoke College and NCAA officials. Republicans supported the “Fairness in Female Sports Act,” and Suetterlein’s positions indicate he agrees with those protections.
There are countless other issues at stake in this election, but this is a sampling. The Roanoke Star regrets that the candidates did not respond to the questionnaires themselves, which would have let the voters hear from them directly.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, with polls open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.
To watch the video of the Oct. 19 campaign forum between White-Boyd and Suetterlein hosted by Cardinal News, click here.