Chris Runion is running for the 25th District House of Delegates seat. But on issue after issue, his positions seem ill-informed or inconsistent. I’m not sure he’s done his homework.
As a volunteer for Jennifer Kitchen, his rival in the Nov. 5 election, I’ve spent months talking with state agencies, scrutinizing budgets, and studying statistics to help her campaign craft realistic, effective policies. The more I learn, the more I worry that Mr. Runion—who’s said he’s ready for “a spirited debate” with Ms. Kitchen, but as of this writing has yet to accept any invitation to actually debate her–hasn’t made similar efforts.
He says he’d champion transparency by pushing the House of Delegates to record subcommittee votes. A quick Google search reveals that it’s already been doing so since 2018.
Last January, he encouraged the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors to support Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to fix I-81, even if it involved a fuel tax, emphasizing that the problem urgently needed solving this year. Three months later, on talk radio, he attacked the governor for passing that plan—and the fuel tax funding it—too swiftly.
And on issues that affect the health of Virginia’s citizens and budget, Mr. Runion seems deeply confused. Medicaid expansion is paid for 90% by the federal government, 10% by Virginia hospitals aiming to reduce their losses from caring for the uninsured, and 0% by your yearly state tax bill. It’s saving Virginia hundreds of millions of dollars annually, covering costs the state once bore itself, and allowing Virginia to add more than $600 million in much-needed education funding.
Mr. Runion wrongly accuses expansion of costing us money for education. His solution—rolling back expansion–would not only deny us that vast annual budget benefit, but also take health insurance away from roughly 1,500 people in his own district. As of January, 45% of them were caretakers for children or family members. Sixty-five percent lived below the poverty line. Mr. Runion’s approach would leave us poorer, financially and in spirit.
I volunteer for Jennifer Kitchen because she cares about getting her facts right. In my experience, she seems driven by principles, not a party line. I’m impressed by her efforts to find practical solutions that will help others—whether they support her or not.