BY STEPHANIE TIPPLE
As Election Day inches closer, the candidates for the 88th district House of Delegates race, incumbent Delegate Mark Cole and Kathleen O’Halloran have begun reaching out to voters on the UMW campus as they gear up for their first debate on September 18th.
Cole, the Republican candidate, a Kentucky native and UMW alumnus, has served as a Navy officer and Project manager for a defense contractor before he was elected to the Spotsylvania Board of County Supervisors. After redistricting in the 88th district Cole won an open seat in the House and also currently serves as the Deputy County Administrator for Spotsylvania County.
O’Halloran, the Democratic candidate, originally from New York, has lived in Virginia for the past 35 years working for the EPA, where she helped to write the Superfund law. The delegate race is O’Halloran’s first campaign. She got her start as a member of the Stafford Democratic Committee, working on the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
For O’Halloran, one of her main platforms is women’s rights.
“Women’s bodies are not chattel property of the state. We are the decision makers, together with our doctors and our families,” said O’Halloran.
Another cause that O’Halloran plans to champion as delegate is Medicaid Expansion.
“Medicaid Expansion is good for Virginia – and it’s good for Virginia because it’s going to create 33,000 new healthcare jobs and it’s going to cover 400,000 low wage earners,” said O’Halloran
Cole believes that jobs and the economy need to be the focus in Richmond.
“I think it’s important that we have Republican, pro-business leadership at the state level to counter what is going on in Washington,” said Cole.
According to Cole, finding ways to increase the amount of jobs in the Commonwealth has been one of his focuses for the past five years.
Both O’Halloran and Cole are just getting started with their campaigns, and have started to reach out to area voters.
“I’ve been attending events, going out and meeting people. I’m door-knocking and fundraising as well. It’s still early in the campaign, so we’re still getting things rolling,” said Cole.
On September 18th, in Lee Hall at 7:30 p.m., the two will face off for their first debate on the UMW campus.