Home 2019 Elections Video: Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Tristan Shields Asks Why Fighting the...

Video: Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Tristan Shields Asks Why Fighting the Opioid Crisis Isn’t a “Top Priority for Our Rural State Leaders”


Nice job by Tristan Shields, one of two Democrats (the other is Laura Galante) vying to take on the godawful Del. Michael Webert (R) in rural, “red” (60%-39% Gillespie) HD-18 (Fauquier, Warren, Culpeper, Rappahannock counties). In the following video, Shields talks about accidental deaths in rural areas due to fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. As Shields explains, “Warren County alone has the third-highest mortality rate…in the Commonwealth.” The question is, “why isn’t this a top priority for our rural state leaders?” According to Shields, part of the reason is that it’s “hard to talk about,” as “the stigma of shame and guilt can be overwhelming.” Another part is political, namely that rural political leaders like Del. Webert have a “tail wagging the dog political mentality which distracts from confronting these deep and difficult issues” (e.g., “only to use it as a political football to vote against Medicaid expansion”). Shields vows that if he is elected to replace Webert, “we will confront this epidemic and get the help we need from Richmond.” I’m neutral in the Democratic primary, but I certainly hope that this November, either Shields or Galante are able to overcome the Republican tilt of this district and bring real help to its residents…something that Webert certainly hasn’t been and won’t be doing.


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