Newly sworn Delegate Chris Hurst talks day one and early work in General Assembly

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) In 2018’s General Assembly Wednesday were a number of new delegates, including Chris Hurst representing part of the New River Valley.

Wednesday, he expressed excitement about his first day and said he’s already been at work, before being sworn in.

He said, “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by some amazing people in the New River Valley and support that I received all across the Channel 7 viewing area and all across the Commonwealth and now it’s time to put actions to words and to actually go and do the people’s business.”

Delegate Hurst said some of the primary things he wanted to work on while in office are making healthcare more affordable, expanding Medicaid, investing more money in education, and developing transportation projects in Southwest Virginia.

But in the first General Assembly, he’s focusing on two other legislative priorities.

With three colleges and more than 40,000 students in the area Chris Hurst represents, the newly-elected Delegate said he wants to study the impact bill collections have on students continuing their education.

“They have outstanding bills,” the new 12th District Delegate said. “When they go to collections, the interest rates are so high that they’re not actually allowed to continue on with their education and never get that degree to get the job to pay off their debt.”

He wants to find a solution for students if they’re in a pinch with bills.

Also in this General Assembly, Hurst is hoping to look at the Mountain Valley Pipeline, specifically the surveying process.

“Instead of trying to repeal the provision that allows natural gas companies to come onto your property, we’ve decided to revise that law to make sure that there’s more fairness in the process, that landowners really feel like they are at the table and not on the menu,” he explained.

One bill he pre-filed Wednesday morning would answer what happens if there’s a leak, identifying if leaks are happening, and how to make sure anyone who allowed a leak is held accountable.

But Del. Hurst was asked how he plans to get these items addressed in his first General Assembly.

“We have just this incredible opportunity now with this new power dynamic in the House of Delegates,” he answered. “My approach is always going to be one of trying to seek as much common ground as possible.”

Del. Hurst was already hand shaking and talking with other Delegates during the first General Assembly.

He also said all freshman delegates are in offices next to each other, so he has a chance to talk with them.

There are no other Delegates on these bills he pre-filed yet, but Hurst said State Senator John Edwards is presenting a similar MVP bill to the Senate, so they’ll likely work together on it.

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