Worth Focused On Health Care, Schools

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Christian Worth, Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates, offers three basic reasons for why she’s running for the 24th District seat for the second time in less than a year.

“I have deep concerns that we have an advocate in Richmond who understands the needs of our district,” said Worth. “What’s come into focus are issues I ran on in the special election. We need access to affordable health care. We need to restore funding for education. We need jobs. Ask voters what matters most and they’ll say these three things.”

Added to this list, she said, is a need to bring high-speed internet to even the most remote parts of the district. “We need rural broadband – this is the missing piece of the puzzle to make progress on all three [of the issues listed above]. Students need to get online – many people in this district don’t even have this option. We need it for workforce development.”

As for access to health care, she points to the Rock-bridge Area Health Center as an ideal model that could be replicated elsewhere. “I’m a proud patient there,” she said. “The care is second to none. We need more options like that throughout the 24th District.”

She expressed concern that there is presently no hospital in the district that has a birthing unit. She would like to work to change this and to bring other health care services to the largely rural district. The state, she suggested, “can provide incentives for medical professionals who are paying off their student loans. Many would want to come here and raise their families.” Also, she said, broadband can make it possible for rural areas to access telemedicine.

Providing full funding for education is her No. 1 priority, she said. “It’s the key to everything else we do. Teachers are not being paid enough. Schools are in need of repairs. If we don’t tackle this head on we’re going to continue to fall behind. In a state that’s known for its higher education we don’t want to be known for not supporting K-12 education.”

She said workforce training is the key to economic development. “When I speak to business owners their biggest concern is employee retention and recruitment. They can’t fill all of their shifts. Too many businesses that are ready to expand can’t find workers [with the proper skills].” She suggests looking for more opportunities to partner businesses with high schools and community colleges. “The payoff will be a strong workforce,” she said.

Worth wants to promote the agricultural community. “We need to do what we can to keep farmland productive and the water healthy. We don’t give enough credit to farmers for investing in best management practices and passing on their farms to the next generation. Young farmers are approaching agriculture with new and fresh ways. I’m committed to farmers. I don’t want to lose any more agricultural land to development.”

Clean energy, she said, “has been in my platform from the start.” Renewable energy like solar and wind provide “a path to diversification for farming,” she said. “It has a low environmental impact and it adds a revenue stream. It lowers the rates for utilities. We need to eliminate the caps and [allow for the] ability to sell back electricity. This would be a win-win for rate payers and farmers, rather than a win for Dominion. Public utilities should be for the public – not the shareholders.”

Worth, an attorney who lives in Lexington with her husband Ben, academic vice president at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, said she’s formulated her positions by talking to her potential constituents. “I’m trying to stay focused on the issues I hear about that will have the maximum impact on the people of the 24th District,” she explained.

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