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Blanding offers alternative in Virginia Governor’s race

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY CO., Va. (WDBJ) - When Princess Blanding visited western Virginia in late September, her stops included land near the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

She is the only statewide candidate who accepted an invitation from opponents of the controversial project.

“I’m looking forward to the tour and listening and learning and getting more fired up,” she said as she met her hosts near Elliston.

Blanding visited the area where the pipeline is slated to cross the Roanoke River, and the land on Yellow Finch Lane where tree sitters blocked the path of the project for over two years.

“I needed to come out here and see first-hand, you know, what’s going on, hear the stories, listen to the voices, needs and concerns of community members who are directly being impacted,” Blanding told WDBJ7 in an interview.

Blanding has more than a decade of experience as a science teacher and an assistant principal.

Her involvement in politics followed the death of her brother Marcus-David Peters, who was shot and killed by a Richmond Police officer in 2018, while he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

She says she wants to be a voice for the unheard, but says her campaign is for all Virginians.

“We’re dealing with a pandemic and I’m dealing with people who don’t know where to lay their heads,” Blanding said. “They don’t know where they’re going to get their next meal at. So things such as housing security, food sovereignty and Medicare for All are very important to me as well, because I want you to understand that with all of our policy stances, they’re based on the foundation, are based on two main things, and that’s equity and humanity. And that’s all we’re fighting for.”

Blanding has struggled to bring attention to her campaign.

Excluded from a September debate, but invited to sit in the audience, she briefly disrupted the event.

She says she is not in the race as a spoiler.

“We absolutely will win. We know what we need to do,” Blanding said.

And she is asking Virginians to vote for the candidate who most closely aligns with their values.

“And so people are coming to the realization that, you know what, not only do we deserve better, that when we come together we can claim better,” Blanding told us. “So the time is now, and this time it is different. And I look forward to claiming the people’s mansion come January.”

We will complete our conversations with the candidates for Governor Thursday, when we hear from Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

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