Senate candidates talk issues with Williamsburg crowd

When a heart attack ended John Miller's life in April, he left behind a Senate seat that three men now covet.
 
In an event hosted by the League of Women Voters, the candidates spoke at the Williamsburg Regional Library about what issues they find important and the nuance involved in solving them.
 
Monty Mason, formerly a House representative for the 93rd District, was a close friend of Miller. He called his fellow Democrat his motivation for leaving the House to pursue the vacant Senate seat.
 
"We were in lockstep on a lot of issues that mattered to us," Mason said. He claims education and transportation are two of his central concerns.
 
After decades of public service as a policeman and firefighter, Thomas Holston jumped into a new facet of servitude: politics.
 
Education is also at the top of the Republican's list, though he and Mason differ on where they should focus their efforts.
 
Where Mason wants to strengthen schools, Holston has his eyes on the children who prefer to enter the workforce directly.
 
"We have a lot of students that don't want to go to college," he said. "We don't have enough vocational schools."
 
Holston added that he also wants lower business taxes, which he thinks will encourage businesses to enter the state and jolt the economy.
 
John Bloom, a former Republican who left the party once it designated Donald Trump as its Presidential nominee, mentioned gerrymandering was his biggest concern.
 
To him, establishing a three-party system keeps the other two from dominating any particular area.
 
"Gerrymandering can't be done with three parties," the Constitution Party member said.
 
Bloom also stressed a preference for leaving more power in the hands of individual cities, instead of cities being superseded by the state.
 
He said Newport News, where he lives, voted against taking in Syrian refugees, only to find out they have no choice in the matter.
 
"We're absorbing a lot in bureaucracy and it needs to stay here," he said. "Bring the power back from Richmond and back to municipalities."
 
The race will appear down ballot from from the presidential candidates on Nov. 8.
 
Wright can be reached at 757 345 2343.

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