Published 7:35 pm Friday, October 22, 2021
Editor’s Note: The Suffolk News-Herald sent the same slate of questions to House of Delegates District 76 candidates Mike Dillender, Clinton Jenkins and Craig Warren. You can see the questions and their answers here. The candidates were advised that responses would not be edited, except to truncate answers at the end of the 100-word limit.
Why are you running for the House of Delegates, or why are you running for re-election to the House of Delegates?
I have the senior executive experience and skill sets to represent our district in Richmond very well. I am a military veteran, a small business owner, and a church leader. In the Virginia House of Delegates, I will bring people together to solve problems and get things done for all people. I am a man of faith and action; I will represent our district with the honor, courage, and commitment that the Navy instilled within me for more than a quarter of a century. I will be very responsive to my constituents’ concerns and issues.
What would be your top three priorities if elected, and why?
Every one of us has been impacted in some way by the pandemic. First, I will take appropriate actions to ensure a balanced approach with regards to economic recovery and growth of small businesses. Second, we have also experienced a gap in educational performances of underprivileged students as a direct result of the COVID lockdowns, so I will work very hard to close this gap as part of the recovery. Finally, there are many who are struggling with health issues which were exacerbated by the pandemic. I want to modernize the way we deliver health care.
What would you highlight as your top legislative achievements, or if you haven’t held office, what professional accomplishments and experience would you point to?
I have served for more than a quarter of a century in the military and have worked very well with tens of thousands of Americans from all kinds of different backgrounds. Through volunteer work in a prison ministry, I have witnessed first-hand how effective financial education can be in helping former inmates get back on solid ground. As a financial advisor, I know that financial education is the key to helping all people achieve their goals dreams. Finally, I am very honored to have recently earned the endorsement of organizations like American Veterans Vote and the Hampton Road Black Caucus.
What are your views on how Virginia has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, and how would you handle the continued vaccine rollout?
Overall, I give Virginia mixed reviews on its handling of the pandemic. Virginia is a very diverse state, and far too much control was exercised by Richmond when the decision-making should have been pushed down to cities and school boards. Virginia was generally too restrictive and kept things closed longer than they needed to be. As far as the continued vaccination rollout, I want to prioritize making the vaccinations available to children, while concurrently providing the booster shots for adults. With the continued rollout, we always need to prioritize the most vulnerable among us.
What are the most critical issues facing the state over the next two years, and how would you address them?
First, we need to take actions to allow our economy to thrive again, with less taxes and fewer burdensome regulations. Second, our children are our future, and we need to revitalize the public school systems throughout Virginia and provide more school choice. Last but certainly not least, our 911 responders need our full support, and I will make sure that they have the training, equipment, and resources to serve the public very well.