Cline, Lewis discuss issues impacting Va.’s 6th District at Tuesday forum

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WHSV) - Two people are vying to represent most of the Shenandoah Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives: Incumbent Republican Congressman Ben Cline and Democrat Jennifer Lewis.

It’s not the first time the two are up against each other. Rep. Cline and Lewis first squared off in 2018 with Cline taking nearly 60% of the votes. He has been representing the Valley since then and served in the House of Delegates for over 15 years before that.

Big issues for Rep. Cline include growing the economy and reducing inflation, reforming Congress which he says is “overreaching,” and supporting an “all of the above” energy policy.

Lewis is a mental health worker living in Waynesboro. She supports Medicare for all, opposes the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and prioritizes clean and renewable energy.

On Tuesday evening, the Lexington Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidates forum that included Rep. Cline and Lewis, along with candidates for Lexington City Council.

The first question was about getting rural Virginians connected to broadband internet.

“I’ve worked on several initiatives and legislation related to rural broadband. I most recently co-sponsored the Broadbank for Rural America Act and the Gigabit Opportunity Act which would create opportunity zones, and provide tax incentives for investing in broadband services in rural and low-income areas,” Rep. Cline said.

“Lack of affordable, reliable rural broadband in the 6th District should have been resolved years ago but in 2022 we still have families, businesses, and families without what is now considered a standard utility,” Lewis said.

The two were asked about mental health, and what measures can be put into place to assist people experiencing a mental health crisis.

“We need to make sure that the cost of getting help is never the reason someone doesn’t get the help that they need. We need to expand telehealth options,” Lewis said. “Those providers are providing lifesaving work. Our mental health hospitals are at max capacity because the funding is cut continuously.”

“In fact, I voted to provide $35 million in grants to expand services and support for mental health, for children and youth. $21 million for the Zero Suicide program. $24 million for the suicide lifeline. $3.8 billion for substance use treatment and research, including money to combat the opioid crisis,” Rep. Cline said.

Lewis and Rep. Cline discussed how they would bring businesses to the commonwealth, lowering the cost of college, and their stance on Medicare.

Election Day is Nov. 8. You can vote early at your local general registrar’s office on weekdays, as well as the two upcoming Saturdays on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5.

For a recording of the Tuesday night forum, click here.