WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
As a trial attorney, Brandon Waltrip works on cases ranging from criminal defense to divorce, but he said it’s the child custody cases that are the most rewarding.
“From a community standpoint, you’re really trying to help make decisions for the family that’s going to affect them over the long term,” Waltrip said. “I just really enjoy helping those parents have a voice.”
Waltrip is aiming to expand his role as an advocate in his bid for the 96th District House of Delegates seat – a race he entered after seeing how his neighbors were affected by the commonwealth’s decisions on job creation and health care.
“When I look at what’s going on in Richmond, they don’t seem to care about any of that,” Waltrip said. “I want to be a voice for the people in James City County first.”
Waltrip, 34, grew up in James City County and, after moving out of state for college and law school, settled in Toano. He said proximity to family, schools and quality of life motivated him to return home.
The 96th District includes parts of James City County and York County.
He said his educational and professional experience give him a “unique ability” to develop policies that can become applicable laws. Waltrip, who is running as an independent, said he would take a pragmatic, solutions-based approach when deciding how to vote on legislation and would not allow his personal beliefs and convictions set his agenda.
“Our whole campaign is tied around ‘What is the best policy?’ Not what’s the Republican policy or the Democratic policy, but what is the best policy to affect the best outcome for the people in the district?” Waltrip said.
Waltrip identified expanding Medicaid in Virginia and reforming the state income tax as his top two priorities, noting that addressing these issues could produce the most immediate, positive effects on residents.
Waltrip said his competitor, incumbent Del. Brenda Pogge (R), has not made her policies clear to residents. As a prospective delegate, Waltrip said he would send out monthly newsletters about policy issues and stay up-to-date with resident concerns by continuing his community involvement as a high school wrestling coach and church-goer.
Losing the opportunity to debate Pogge during a now-canceled League of Women Voters forum is not a blow to his campaign, but rather, he said, a disservice to voters.
“I would like a representative who is willing to engage in debate about why their policies are the most important and best for our district,” Waltrip said. “It affects the ability of the voter to make an informed decision.”
If elected, Waltrip said he will work to develop a diversified economy that encourages job creation and attracts high tech industries.
“If we’re doing all these things and our economy is moving in the right direction, we’ll have the funding for our schools, we’ll have the funding for our roads and we’ll be able to maintain a quality of life while also opening up the opportunities that I think are promised by both our federal and our state constitutions to every American,” Waltrip said.