After winning one of the most anticipated races in the state, Republican Jason Ballard is preparing to represent the 12th District as its newest delegate.
Ballard responded last week to some questions sent to him by The Roanoke Times the day after the Nov. 2 election.
The Giles County native kept Del. Chris Hurst from his third term on Nov. 2—beating the incumbent in a district that can trend blue due to the Blacksburg vote—and helping the Republicans take back control of the House of Delegates by one seat.
The attorney and war veteran from Giles County ran a campaign that was heavily critical of Hurst’s 2020 run in with Christiansburg law enforcement, but another incident the night before the election also made headlines across the state.
Hurst and his girlfriend were caught turning over and bending signs of Republican candidates at a polling site in Radford by one of the city’s sheriff’s deputies who happened to be driving by at the time.
Neither were charged in the incident, and Hurst said little about it following the election, save for a short response to his former employer WDBJ7-7, stating “We flipped over a couple of yard signs, took them, put them upside down and then put them right side up, that’s what we did.”
While many were critical of Hurst’s Behavior, Ballard believes it did not ultimately affect the outcome of the election.
“In no way did Chris’s actions change the ultimate outcome of this election. We had a clear path to victory because voters were ready for a change for the better,” Ballard wrote. “His actions did, however, remind voters of the need for new, mature, responsible leadership.”
Instead, Ballard, who garnered 55% of the votes, attributed his win to a “much broader movement” where “voters have rejected the last two years of Democrat control.”
The delegate-elect is still in the beginning stages of preparing to take office, but he believes “a smooth transition is essential to hitting the ground running.”
“I plan to work with all vested parties to ensure as smooth of a transition as possible. The transition process will also include administrative items within the Virginia House of Delegates, our House Caucus, as well as hiring staff and establishing an office within the district,” he wrote.
Ballard wrote that while he has given it some thought, he is not sure where his district office will be, and that the hiring process for his legislative staff will begin shortly.
He also wrote that he has legislation he will introduce in the upcoming state legislative session, but did not give any specific details.
“I have several things in mind, but in the months leading up to session I want to meet with several stakeholders to ensure I move forward with what is best for the New River Valley,” he wrote.
Ballard was a bit more specific in his response to what he wants for the district that includes all of the town of Blacksburg, Giles County, the city of Radford and a small portion of Pulaski County.
“My goal as delegate will be to faithfully represent our community and to empower our local municipalities in the 12th to make as many decisions as possible on the local level.
“I also plan on looking at statewide funding options that have historically and overwhelmingly favored Northern Virginia and Richmond and see what we can do to bring some of those funds to the 12th District.”
He also has an idea of what committees he’d like to be a part of going forward.
“As a lawyer, I believe I am well suited to be on courts,” Ballard wrote. “I would also like to be on the education committee because that was a major campaign for me and I believe much more needs to be done to improve public education in Southwest Virginia. My third pick would be public safety.”
Ballard believes juggling his work and home life with his new responsibilities as a delegate will actually be a strength.
“We often, rightfully, refer to the General Assembly as a ‘Citizen Legislature.’ Having to balance my responsibilities as a Delegate with my law firm and family ensures I remain grounded in the reality of everyday life in Virginia. Over the course of my campaign, I have become accustomed to this balance,” he wrote.