Brent Finnegan hosts town hall in Harrisonburg

Published: Oct. 28, 2019 at 9:32 PM EDT
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More than two dozen people gathered at the Northeast Neighborhood Community Center Monday night for a town hall with 26th House district candidate, Brent Finnegan.

Finnegan, who is running against Republican Del. Tony Wilt, said the purpose of the town hall was to engage in conversations with the community about issues they experience everyday.

"The people of this district deserve to hear directly from anyone seeking to represent them in Richmond," Finnegan said.

The Democrat sees affordable housing as one of the biggest issues in the community and wants to change the system. He said one of his main goals, if elected, is to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. He said there are too many people living on the street and in cars, and he plans to ensure a bolder program to address the issue.

The audience also brought up concerns about affordable healthcare, equal funding in education, mental health services, and environmental racism.

"The environment is a hot topic because of climate change, but people forget the fact that is disproportionately affects historically oppressed people," said Grayson Tucker, who attended Monday night's town hall. "Specifically with the Atlantic Coast pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, we need to just say no. And, we need to look at the historically black neighborhoods that are being torn apart."

Tucker said events like this town hall ensure that the community's voice is heard.

"What impacts us most directly is state and community level politics and legislation," Tucker said. "It's essential that we learn that and we know that and come out for our voices to be heard."

According to Finnegan's social media page, Del. Wilt refused every offer for a debate in 2019. However, WHSV reached out to Del. Wilt and received the following statement:

"The fact is I've had five joint appearances with my opponent this campaign cycle. In fact, at the last appearance I was the only Republican in attendance among three Democrat candidates. I have maintained an open door policy throughout my time in the House and have rarely been unable to accommodate a meeting request with a constituent to discuss issues important to them and share my positions - I often tell folks I will give you your own personal town hall. Even so, I've faithfully held a public town town hall meeting every year prior to the General Assembly Session."