Editor’s note: David Suetterlein, who is running for reelection to the 4th District seat in the Virginia Senate, agreed to answer the following questions ahead of the Tuesday, Nov. 7 election. -Aila Boyd
Q: What prompted your decision to run for reelection to the Senate?
A: Ashley and my children are in our local public schools and our youngest is expected to graduate in 2040. I believe it is very important that our community have an experienced voice with a focus on the future in the Senate. Salem only has one Senator in Richmond, Fairfax County has nine Senators. This January there is going to be historic turnover in the General Assembly. Although I’m only 38 years old, I would be among the more senior half of legislators if voters allow me another opportunity to work for them.
Q: What in your background makes you feel equipped to serve in the Senate?
A: Democrats have controlled the Governorship and/or the Virginia Senate the whole time I have been in office, but I have still been able to get more than four dozen bills passed with bipartisan support. During that time, I’ve successfully worked to eliminate the state grocery tax, provide income tax relief, allow Salem to provide car tax relief, increase career and technical education opportunities, support law enforcement, protect civil liberties, and win authorization for the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opening at Lewis-Gale this November.
Q: In your estimation, what is the role of a senator and how do you see that role lining up with your idea of leadership?
A: The very first time I spoke to the Salem Rotary, I said that if elected it would be obvious that Salem had a conservative senator that was willing to work with any of the other 139 General Assembly members to find common ground to advance Salem’s interests. This is what I’ve done in the Virginia Senate. We were able to win authorization for the NICU by finding Democratic Senators that helped us persuade Governor Northam of its necessity. We were able to keep Catawba Hospital open by building a coalition of legislators from other parts of Virginia. While working with people with different perspectives to achieve things for the Roanoke Valley, I have held true to my conservative principles.
Q: What will some of your priorities be if reelected?
A: I would sincerely appreciate voters support so I can continue fighting for working families by providing further income tax relief, working for fair electric rates, supporting law enforcement, increasing education opportunities, ensuring a clean water supply for the Roanoke and New River Valleys, and working with Governor Youngkin to increase economic opportunities.
Q: What challenges do you think your district will face over the next two years?
A: The most immediate challenges are inflation across the region and the tragic record-breaking violent crime in Roanoke City. If given the opportunity to represent the newly drawn district, I will continue fighting for tax relief for working families facing inflation and strongly support law enforcement while protecting citizens’ civil liberties. I will work to reverse the Democrats’ anti-policing laws and also seek to bring back tougher penalties for those use guns to commit crimes.
Q: What challenges will Virginia as a whole face over the next two years?
A: Economic competition grows more international every day. We need to continue increasing the number of advanced math, career, and technical education opportunities for our students to ensure they have a great path for success. We need to also continue working with Governor Youngkin to make the Commonwealth more economically competitive so we can have increased job opportunities like the new positions at Graham-White and at new small businesses that are just being formed.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like voters to be aware of before voting?
A: Salem has a very important choice between candidates with very different records this election. I would sincerely appreciate their consideration and vote so I can continue building on previous successful efforts lowering taxes, increasing education opportunities, and bringing important projects like the new NICU to our area.