The competition within Virginia’s Second Congressional District is in full swing, with State Sen. Jen Kiggans challenging incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria.
This election is extremely important, as the winner could decide which political party holds the majority within the House of Representatives.
Virginia has already seen a shift toward conservatism with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s victory last year and this trend may continue depending on the results of this election.
I have always kept up-to-date with political news but had never personally involved myself with a candidate other than going out to vote. That has totally changed this semester as I have knocked on hundreds of doors with the VWU College Republicans, becoming increasingly invested in the result of this election.
As gas and food prices began to rise, the impact of policy became evident. While the blame for rising inflation has been highly debated, the disdain toward this significant increase has not.
This issue, along with military strength abroad and abortion, is important this cycle.
Both candidates share many outward similarities. They both are women who served in the Navy that had long careers before entering politics. They both also claim to support the strengthening of our military forces.
Luria presents herself as a candidate that has supported both Democratic and Republican initiatives in D.C. However, after further research, I found this to be untrue, as she voted with President Joe Biden 99% of the time according to FiveThirtyEight.
She has continually cemented her opinions on President Biden, supporting his decisions even as his approval ratings continue to drop.
Luria has focused a majority of her campaign on attacking Kiggans for being an extremist and a political opportunist, continually commenting on Kiggans’s supposed support for a complete ban on abortion.
In comparison, Kiggans has built her campaign on fighting these allegations and focusing on her constituents.
Kiggans’s motto is “Restoring America’s Strength.” She works towards this idea with her initiatives to cut inflation, increase job opportunities, prioritize national security, secure elections and implement many other policy objectives.
Throughout her campaign, Kiggans has constantly defended her position on abortion, reiterating her belief that abortion laws should be determined by individual states as decided by the Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade this past June.
I have been fortunate enough to meet Kiggans on several occasions and have gotten to know both her political motivations and her character. She is an extremely approachable individual with a passion for service.
Her career as a Nurse Practitioner came from a desire to help Virginia’s growing elderly population and veterans.
Kiggans is also forthcoming, willing to answer difficult questions about her opinions. Her most impactful characteristic is that she truly makes an effort to listen to her constituents.
She formed her campaign statement around solving issues that affect Americans’ daily lives.
At each volunteer meeting, she has gone around shaking every person’s hand, taking the time to have genuine, meaningful conversations about our concerns with the U.S. government.
In a country that distrusts the majority of public officials, Kiggans’ potential electoral victory gives me hope that there will be a member of Congress that focuses first and foremost on supporting their constituents and initiating true change within our country.
By: Abigail Peterson