A familiar matchup is taking place in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, where the Republican who earned the title of congressman for one term in 2016 is hoping to gain back the seat he narrowly lost to a Democrat two years ago.
U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and Scott Taylor will once again be on the ballot in Hampton Roads, both vying to represent parts of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, York County, Hampton, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City County and the Eastern Shore.
Taylor, a Virginia Beach Republican who lost to Democrat Luria in 2018 by more than 4,000 votes, is hoping to flip the district back to red after briefly running for U.S. Senate last year. He’s a former U.S. Navy SEAL turned investor and international business consultant. Luria, a retired commander in the U.S. Navy, spent her first two years in office serving on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. David Foster, an independent, is also running.
The Virginian-Pilot asked each candidate to tell voters about themselves and what they’d do if elected. (Some answers have been edited for grammar and length.) We’ll have stories on the congressional races coming soon, but for now, here are the candidates in their own words.
Foster did not respond to questions from The Pilot, but said in an email that it seemed the reporter was “more concerned about cornering a candidate with questions that target half of the voter base.”
“I obviously don’t mind answering questions on current issues before us, but your questions are targeted to half the voter base population,” he said, instead directing the reporter to his website and Ballotpedia survey responses.
He said he wants to propose a 12-year maximum term limit — for what office, it’s unclear — focus on growing the booming hemp industry and “prosecute corrupt politicians and white collar crime.”
Elaine Luria, Democrat
Occupation: retired commander in the U.S. Navy
Previous office held if any: U.S. Representative, Virginia’s second congressional district (2019-present)
Education: U.S. Naval Academy, Old Dominion University
How do you plan to respond to the COVID-19 economic crisis moving forward? We must continue to build on the relief already delivered under the CARES Act which I was proud to co-sponsor, vote for, and secure additional funding for our district. This legislation helped preserve tens of thousands of jobs in Coastal Virginia, but we have a lot more work to do. I am working each day in Congress with members of both parties to create a package that serves all Americans and addresses key segments of our community who need support. We must also ensure that our small business owners have the tools they need to not just reopen, but stay open. In Congress I’ll continue to support creating a livable wage, work to roll back the burden of student loans for our teachers who are facing a new normal themselves, and support our essential employees by ensuring they have the resources they need to pay their bills and feed their families.
How would you work with a Trump second term or Biden administration? Regardless of who is in the White House, I am committed to putting Coastal Virginians first. My top priority will always be taking care of our veterans, service members, and their families, ensuring access to affordable quality health care, and protecting our natural resources, like the Chesapeake Bay. There is so much more work to be done and I am willing to work with any administration that wants to deliver for Virginians.
What is a key issue facing your district specifically? Virginia’s Second Congressional District has the largest number of veterans, service members and military families of any congressional district in the country, and we must ensure that they get the benefits they’ve earned. As a member of the House Veterans' Affairs committee, I work closely with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find ways to support veterans and their families. I’ve also advocated on behalf of Gold Star families harmed by the 2017 tax law. Together with a bipartisan group of cosponsors, I introduced the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act, which would repeal an error in the 2017 tax reform bill that was causing some Gold Star families to pay thousands of dollars in additional taxes on their survivor benefits.
Scott Taylor, Republican
Occupation: former U.S. Navy SEAL, investor, international business consultant
Previous office held if any: House of Delegates 85th District (2013-2017), U.S. Congress (2017-2019).
Education: Old Dominion University, certificate from Harvard University
How do you plan to respond to the COVID economic crisis moving forward? Having helped secure metric tons of PPE for our Sentara Hospital health care workers and others in the commonwealth, I know too well how dependent we are on China for critical medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. I will propose legislation to get manufacturing back home, preferably within the Opportunity Zones that I voted for in the 115th Congress. Additionally, there is money that has been appropriated, but not yet allocated, from the CARES Act. Providing more flexibility for the small businesses most hit by COVID and political decisions is paramount. Lastly, the worst thing for these businesses and workers is my opponent’s planned tax hikes.
How would you deal with a Trump second term or Biden administration? On every bill that I introduced in Congress, I ensured that I had a Democrat co-sponsor on the bill. I was the first Virginian in history to be appointed to the Appropriations Committee as a freshman, a necessarily bipartisan committee that oversees all federal spending. Further, while less than 3% of bills introduced are passed into law, the government is consistently funded which allowed me to incorporate effective, helpful language into law via Appropriations bills. I am confident that given my experiences as a Virginia delegate, U.S. congressman, and on the Appropriations Committee, I will work with either administration for the benefit of my constituents.
What is a key issue facing your district specifically? Our district, like the nation, must move forward from COVID as well as move forward with COVID. We need policy to move the economy forward, get our kids back in school, and figure out how to live with this virus as humankind has always done. For veterans, my number one priority is getting a new VA hospital built on the Southside to relieve the overwhelming pressure on the existing Hampton VA hospital in order to take care of our veterans. Before I left Congress, we had secured the property in Virginia Beach via the mayor for the hospital to be built, and we were on the cusp of an RFP being announced ... but it has stalled since my leaving office. When I return to Congress, I will push through the bureaucracy and ensure that this VA hospital is built.
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