Candidates for upcoming local election come to campus

College Republicans and College Democrats host event to engage students in state politics


Billy Eli Fisher (left), Christian Worth (middle) and Elliot Harding (right) speak during the candidate forum. Photo by Lilah Kimble, ’23.

Judy Park

Candidates running in the Virginia State Senate and Virginia House of Delegates races filled the Science Center at a local candidate forum on Oct. 28.

State Senate candidate Elliot Harding and Delegate candidates Christian Worth and Billy Eli Fisher participated in the forum. The audience was filled with interested students and locals alike.

The event was co-sponsored by the College Republicans and College Democrats. College Democrats President Noah Gallagher, ‘21, was one of the key organizers of the event. Gallagher explained that he wanted to bring in state candidates in order to raise awareness for local government elections.

“Oftentimes, I think that local government goes overlooked.  Most people have opinions on national politics but rarely does local governance get brought into the conversation,” Gallagher said. “I believe that it’s incredibly important to pay attention to local government. Typically, the decisions that are made on the local level will impact your life far more than any national political decision will.”

Jay Smith, ’19, who is working on Christian Worth’s campaign, watches from the audience. Photo by Lilah Kimble, ’23.

Lucas Flood, ‘21, former Vice-Chair of the College Republicans, added on to Gallagher’s comment.

“Despite the intensity of D.C. politics, many of the most personally impacting decisions can be made at the local level, ranging anywhere from taxation to school board appointments,” he said. “For that reason it is important to get involved at the lowest levels of politics.”

All of the seats in both the state Senate and the House of Delegates are up for reelection this year. Races are expected to be competitive.

“The election on Tuesday could have significant implications for the entire state of Virginia. If Democrats are able to win both bodies of the legislature, they will have the opportunity to pass their pick of legislation,” Gallagher said. “Healthcare, rural broadband and education funding are top priorities for many of the Virginia Democrats who I’ve spoken to.”

The candidates discussed numerous topics including gun control, local school standards, the growing disparity between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state, climate change and the implementation of local taxes.

Audience members could personally talk with the candidates following the conclusion of the forum, generating more conversations on the specific interests of each audience member.

The local candidate forum is one of numerous joint events between the College Republicans and College Democrats. The most recent joint event prior to the forum was on Sept. 11, when participants commemorated the victims and survivors of 9/11 by placing flags along the Colonnade.

“I have been very encouraged by the ongoing efforts by both clubs to work together,” Flood said, “especially in light of too many of our Congressional counterparts’ inability to have civil conversation with each other.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.