News Channel 11 distributed questionnaires to all congressional and state candidates who will appear on ballots in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in the November election.

Below is the response we received from Taysha DeVaughan, who is running for Virginia’s 9th Congressional District seat.

Early voting in Virginia runs from Sept. 23 to Nov. 5. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Biographical information

Name: Taysha DeVaughan

Office running for: House of Representatives Virginia’s 9th district

Age on election day: 32

Town/city: Big Stone Gap

Party affiliation (if applicable): Democrat

Education: B.A from UVA-Wise in communication

Job history: Community with the AmeriCorps. Regional organizer/donor engagement coordinator/development coordinator with Appalachian Community Fund. Board president of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, and gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Council of Environmental Justice.

Political, community, or other relevant experience: Community organizer and activist for justice, social and environmental.

Family (married? children?): Not married; one son who is 14 years old.

Candidacy questions:

Why are you running for this office?

I want to make a difference where it is needed most.

What makes you qualified to hold this office?

I have life experience that is compounded with an educational background that allows me to advocate for community issues with community voices and support. I am skilled in bringing those most unseen, unheard and underrepresented voices to the table where decisions are being made.

Why should voters elect or re-elect you over your opponent(s)? What sets you apart from your opponent(s)? (Specify if unopposed)

What sets me apart from the incumbent is that I live in this district, I know the people in the community and I know how to bring many different types of people to a conversation, I know how to show up for community needs.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your top two or three priorities during your new term and what is your plan of action for each?

Working conditions and pay is a priority of mine. I will fight to ensure the workers’ right to unionize, which I will do by voting for the PRO ACT. Economic transition into a diverse field of opportunity is another priority for me. I will ensure investment in new technology, best practices and innovative jobs related to manufacturing, agriculture, energy and ecotourism. I will also address health concerns by making it a platform and legislative priority in terms of substance abuse and recovery efforts, mental health, environmental health of our water and air, along with lowering prescription drug prices.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know?

Win or lose, I will continue to do the necessary work to bring about change in our region for the betterment of our communities. Healthy, sustainable homes are what we all deserve.

What is your favorite thing about Southwest Virginia?

The mountain people and music.

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