The Candidate Forum in Marshall last week was the first time nominees for Delegate in Virginia’s 18th District faced-off. I’d heard candidate Laura Galante previously as she energetically campaigned across our district. Wednesday’s debate was my introduction to the elusive incumbent Michael Webert, who restricts his interactions to select audiences and holds few public forums. Seeing the candidates side-by-side highlighted the striking differences between them. 

Galante’s positive messages of inclusion and unity are refreshingly welcome in today’s clutter of partisan rhetoric. Her plans to improve our rural economy, make healthcare accessible and build internet access will benefit all of us. She’s clearly a compassionate and visionary leader.

Delegate Webert, on the other hand, seemed weary, or perhaps bored, and often parroted party talking points. His recitation of “accomplishments” was brief and narrow and I expected more from someone who has represented us for eight years. He offered no proposals for the future. The contrast between the two candidates in terms of dynamism and imagination was remarkable.

It’s time for a change in Richmond. That’s why I’m voting for Laura Galante as Delegate on November 5.

J.J. Zimmerman


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