Recently, I was attacked for posting about a Republican incumbent and my support for him. His opponents lost their minds because this far left Democrat and leader of the local Democrat committee supported Emmett Hanger.

I laugh because I’m probably one of the most conservative people you will ever meet personally and I haven’t been to a Democrat committee meeting since last year when I gave up the vice chair role back to Jennifer Lewis. While I’m personally conservative, I have enough sense to know that everyone does not think and believe like I do and that is OK. We still can exist and work together for a better community.

Let’s talk about what my understanding and knowledge is of some of the Republicans that will be looking for votes on Tuesday. Since our ancestors were denied for far too long to vote in a country that our ancestors built on their back, if it’s an election, black people should be voting. Why not cast your vote for the Republican that you would like to see on the ballot in November?

I will begin with the State Senate’s 24th District race between Tina Freitas and Emmett Hanger. Tina Freitas is challenging longtime incumbent Emmett Hanger. According to her interview with TV3, she is a homeschool mother and a grassroots activist. She wants to run because “the area that we live in is 70% conservative and Mr. Hanger has not represented the conservative constituents in our district.” The district is made up of Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, Green, Madison and Culpepper. She wants to adhere to prolife values. As I’ve read up on her, she extends prolife to organ donation and giving blood. This strikes me as odd, because that doesn’t seem to be an argument that is solely a conservative value or only Republicans believe.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Emmett Hanger to be a hard worker for all of his constituents. He does not have a problem with crossing the aisle and sometimes standing alone. He’s invested many years into the 24th District.

Normally, I’m not too supportive of career politicians. What makes Emmett Hanger different for me is he has evolved with the times and have been flexible to meet the needs of the majority.

He has taken into account the least fortunate within our community and tried to push legislation that strengthens our educational system and provide affordable health care to all. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I do think that we are at a pivotal place in our district that we need to be able to work across the aisle and be approachable to making the changes needed in our community.

The other race effecting Waynesboro, Staunton and part of Augusta County is the House of Delegate’s 20th District seat currently vacated by retiring Dickie Bell. Dave Bourne and John Avoli are being primaried on Tuesday. John Avoli has a longstanding history in Staunton. His passion and love for the city as mayor and then executive director of the Frontier Culture Museum is what many will remember about his leadership. I found him to be fair and committed to the citizens of Staunton. When no one saw the vision of the Frontier Culture Museum and the east end of Staunton developed as it is today, he did. That’s what you look for in a leader and who you would want to see on the ticket in November.

Finally, Dave Bourne is a bail bondsman in Staunton. I’m not sure how the crisis of the criminal justice system and black men subjected to mass incarceration at alarming rates will be decreased by a bail bondsman being elected. This may seem trivial, but it’s not to me. His distribution of his campaign signs is being illegally placed. I was appalled that he is placing them at the women’s health center at Augusta Health Care and at the main entrance of Augusta Health Care.

If he can’t follow simple campaign rules, how do you think he can represent us in Richmond?

Readers, I don’t just talk about Democrats. I talk about Republicans as well. I hope that both will attend the RISE debate on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. The people deserve to hear from you so that they can make an educated decision on Nov. 5.

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Chanda McGuffin, Co-founder of RISE, writes a monthly column for The News Virginian.

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