CULPEPER — A Culpeper computer scientist has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the 17th District Virginia Senate seat.

Ben Hixon resigned Tuesday from his position as chairman of the Culpeper County Democratic Committee to pursue his second bid for state office.

The 36-year-old ran in 2017 as the Democratic nominee in the 30th District House of Delegates seat held by Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper. Hixon is a Louisiana native who moved to Culpeper in 2016 from Seattle when his partner got a position at the Library of Congress Packard Campus on Mount Pony.

In a statement, Hixon said he has worked the past two years “towards a politics defined by decency instead of divisiveness, guided by a fundamental belief that we are all neighbors at the end of the day.”

He said his 2017 campaign was one of ideas, civility and finding common ground.

“I will bring that same commitment to civility, bridge-building and mutual respect to the Virginia Senate. It’s time to end the divisiveness and partisanship that cripples us and instead work together as neighbors and concerned citizens to expand opportunity across Virginia,” Hixon said.

Hixon named among his priorities expanded vocational training opportunities, better solutions to the opioid epidemic, legalized marijuana, criminal justice and voting reforms, food freedom and tools for small farmers, and greater access to health care and mental care.

“Above all, I will fight for freedom, opportunity and equality for all,” he said.

Since 2011, Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, has held the 17th District seat, which covers Fredericksburg, Orange County and parts of Spotsylvania, Culpeper and Albemarle counties. He announced last year that he would seek a third term. A U.S. Army veteran and insurance agent, Reeves, 52, said in a news release at the time that the state has made “tremendous strides” for the military and veterans.

“We have carried and passed common-sense legislation that impacts and [affects] working families across our region,” he said. “We have remained focused on the fundamental elements that Virginians hold dear: freedom, fairness and liberty.”

Reeves won re-election in 2015 but unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2017.

Rich Breeden of Spotsylvania County, an Air Force veteran who is now vice president of Kingfisher Systems, a government contractor, has announced plans to challenge Reeves for the GOP nomination. Breeden’s age could not be determined by press time.

Primaries are being held June 11 in advance of the Nov. 5 general election.

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