With a long history of public service and with professional experience as a businessman, Chris Runion brings a solid resume to his race for delegate in the 25th House District.
Mr. Runion got an undergraduate degree in accounting, then a master’s in business. He’s worked for others, and he’s run his own business. And as the son of farmers with his own ties to the land, he understands the needs of small-businesses owners and of farmers — and we make that distinction only for emphasis: Farmers are small businessmen and -women, something Mr. Runion knows from experience.
“Agriculture is a critical component of the district,” he said, and understanding farmers’ particular problems is an important part of serving the district.
Add to this his accounting and business acumen, something the General Assembly deeply needs.
Then add to that his conservative approach to government spending, and, again, his philosophy of government closely aligns with the majority in his district.
Does that mean an inflexible approach to spending? No.
“The state has a responsibility to put more public dollars into higher education now that the recession is easing up,” he told The Daily Progress.
Tuition increases implemented by schools to compensate for lack of state funding have burdened students. “We’ve got to figure out how to get you where you want to be,” he said, speaking about students, “without a lot of debt.”
Mr. Runion would work to boost vocational education, including removing a lingering stigma against vocational-technical careers. Helping students see that their best choice might be to enter the trades — which offer them both lower educational costs and quicker entry into the workforce as money earners — might shift attitudes.
He believes in more local control for K-12 education and more focus on providing resources directly to the classroom. He says Virginia should strive to move teacher pay toward the national average — and that state funds committed to this push for parity should come from economic growth, which in turn would increase tax revenues.
And he supports current efforts to re-evaluate the state’s over-reliance on standardized testing. “The goal is to give students an education,” he said, “not just a piece of paper.”
Mr. Runion also emphasized that “we need to commit the resources to rural broadband,” in collaboration with private entities or public co-ops.
Broadband is an issue that transcends several boundaries, being important to the delivery of an equal education for all students, the viability of rural businesses such as farms, and the feasibility of such services as telemedicine for people young, old and in-between living in rural areas.
With his traditional conservative approach to government, Mr. Runion added: “I believe in creating venues for people to achieve what they want — and that entails free enterprise.”
Mr. Runion’s platform fits well with the character of the majority of the 25th District. This newspaper endorses him for election.