Before The Vote Q & A: District 9 candidate answers questions

One challenge with holding a special election is the short amount of time between the announcement and vote. Residents don’t have as much of an opportunity to learn about the candidates. To help with that, we reached out to both campaigns in the District 9 State Senate race and asked the candidates to answer a written 5-question segment. 

To date, only the Republican candidate, Tammy Mulchi, has responded to our request. The Democrat candidate, Tina Younger, has not answered email, phone and DM (Facebook direct message) requests. Just as we did in the fall election, if we hear back from Younger before the election, we will put her answers online and in the paper. 

Here are Tammy Mulchi’s answers to The Gazette’s questions. Remember: The special election is set for Tuesday, Jan. 9. To cast a ballot, just go to your regular polling place, which will be open until 7 p.m. that day. 

Q. Many of the counties in our district are struggling economically. Beyond school funding, what is the Assembly’s role in helping counties with economic development? How can you help in this area?

MULCHI: Virginia’s Economic Development Partnership is the vehicle that works with localities, locally and regionally, to help bring economic development opportunities to different parts of the state. This works both ways, with them being able to reach out to VEDP to help find incentives and programs suitable for those who reach out to the locality directly. I would work closely with the VEDP and each locality to make sure no opportunity is missed and that we are actively seeking every possible solution for growth. Sometimes, that might mean something as simple as hiring the right person in our small towns to promote what we have to offer, like we are doing in Clarksville with our new Economic Development/Tourism Director position.

Q. In his budget plan, Gov. Youngkin proposes an income tax reduction by 12%. This would cut the income tax burden by $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2025 and $2.3 billion in 2026. But to do that and still pay for schools and other needs, the plan would increase and expand both sales and use taxes. Do you support this change and how does it reflect your beliefs on taxes? 

MULCHI: I support the income tax reduction efforts. However, when we assess sales and use taxes, I believe we need to examine this extraordinarily closely and study the impact, particularly on low and moderate-income individuals, before passing any kind of tax swap. The impact across ALL income brackets needs to be a reduction in taxes. I will also support legislation that also eliminates the state and local share of the grocery tax and the car tax.

Q. Since 2019, the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors has been seeking permission to implement a 1% sales tax, to cover much needed school renovations. During that time, multiple other counties and cities in Virginia have been given permission by the Assembly to do the same, but Prince Edward’s request keeps dying before it even goes to a full floor vote. Would you support Prince Edward’s effort? And if so, how could you help move this bill through the Senate? 

MULCHI: I have discussed the history of this attempt by the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors to implement a 1% sales tax to cover school renovations with Senator Ruff. Knowing the history of Delegate Edmunds legislation that passed to add 1% to the sales tax for Halifax with a referendum of the voters and knowing that Danville, Pittlsylvania, and Mecklenburg all have the same, I would support Prince Edward’s efforts if asked to do so.

Q. Gov. Youngkin has raised the concept of a 15-week abortion ban as a consensus he believes voters would support in Virginia. As this will likely come before the Assembly in next year’s session, where do you stand on the idea?

MULCHI: I believe life begins at conception, and every life is a precious gift from God, even though many are not born into ideal circumstances. I don’t think life can be negotiated at some stage, however I do believe in reasonable exceptions to protect the mother’s life. Where we need to have this conversation is in creating a society that protects life and does more to support women in difficult circumstances. More women should want to choose adoption or to have their child, and this is where our society has failed. 

Q. We do have a controversy in the area to discuss. In the 2023 budget, the Department of General Services placed language giving Prince Edward permission to run water lines into neighboring Nottoway County, providing water for the Nottoway Correctional Center, the Piedmont Geriatric Hospital and the town of Burkeville. To be clear, Nottoway County neither requested nor wanted Prince Edward to run a water line. The town of Crewe in Nottoway currently provides all three with water, and losing those contracts will seriously damage the town’s yearly revenue. The town of Burkeville, however, did request Prince Edward’s help, as they want to expand and say Crewe can’t provide enough water for expansion. The state also wants to expand the Correctional Center and Geriatric Hospital. As a funding request for this project could come for a vote in the Assembly, how would you handle it?

MULCHI: I would need to see the specific proposal and would work with local leaders to ensure the state’s needs, locality’s needs, and town needs are addressed while keeping in mind Crewe’s revenue situation. This is a project where we should be able to work collaboratively as a region and my office would seek to facilitate that.