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Spanberger Takes Moderate Approach in First Town Hall

Mallory Noe-Payne



New congresswoman Abigail Spanberger kept a campaign promise and met with constituents Tuesdaynight for a town hall. It’s the first public forum Virginia’s seventh congressional district has had in two years.

At a small rec center in Goochland, west of Richmond, Democrat Abigail Spanberger fielded questions on everything from Trump’s border wall, to third trimester abortions, to the issue of sanctuary cities.

“I don’t support sanctuary cities, I don’t support safe havens for criminals,” Spanberger said. “But I do also support ensuring that jurisdiction is upheld.”

Her answers throughout the night displayed moderate positions on most issues. She said she doesn’t support the Green New Deal, isn’t a socialist, and is working with Republicans to address rural internet access.

Near the end of the hour-long event she thanked the hundred or so participants for a civil conversation.  

“I know there’s quite a few people in the room who didn’t vote for me, and I thank you. Very sincerely, for being here,” Spanberger said. “I thank you very sincerely for challenging me.”

But Constituent Jeff Atkinson, from Henrico County, wasn’t impressed.

“In fact I don’t think she really did very much in answering any of those questions. She talked a lot, I’ll give her that,” he said after.

But Tina Winkler, who supported Spanberger’s campaign, is just happy she has a representative willing to take questions at all. Former Congressman, Republican Dave Brat, stopped holding town halls the final year of his term.

“She did listen and did give substantive answers. Which is a far cry from what we had before,” said Winkler.

Virginia’s newest representatives are taking different tacts to staying in touch with constituents. Republican Denver Riggleman posts videos regularly on Facebook Live. Democrat Elaine Luria is hosting an open house Friday in Virginia Beach.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.
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