Kellen Squire is running in the 58th District, gerrymandered out of having the University of Virginia inside, but including some beautiful parts of the Shenandoahs (but also the Trump Winery). Kellen is an ER nurse and an avid outdoorsman (obviously). He’s running against Rob Bell, a Trump buddy and the head of the Virginia GOP election committee. Hillary obtained 38% of the vote in this district. This would be a really big statement win for the Democrats. Sign up to Crew for Kellen here.
Describe the moment you decided to run for delegate.
There was a culmination of events; my general post-election feeling, reading an article written by Sam Rasoul out of Roanoke, seeing how divided our country was.
I was driving home from going out somewhere with the kids, and the song "Homegrown" by Zac Brown Band came on the radio. The refrain in that song says "I've got everything I need / And nothing that I don't". And I thought about it... that was literally true about me. I have everything I need, nothing that I don't.
But what were my kids going to have now? What about the kids and families not as privileged as I was, to have everything I need and nothing that I don't? Was I really going to sit back and do nothing when the Republic needed us more than it ever has in my lifetime? Was I going to sit around, bellyaching about it on Facebook... or was I going to stand up- and fight?
And here I am.
What is the #1 issue you want to work on in the legislature?
Healthcare. I'm an ER Nurse, and almost all of my family and friends are in emergency services fields (ER, Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement), so it's an issue near and dear to my heart. That, and the Republicans' entire healthcare mantra seems to be "Everyone can just go to the ER, problem solved", so they can avoid having to govern.
What is the worst thing about your Republican challenger?
There's plenty, of course; like the unequivocal way he went all-in on supporting Mr. Trump. I get why he made friends with the Trumps, since the Trump Winery is in this district, but going all-in like he did, enough to be the sort of person that's okay with his name being associated with the statement "Trump values are Virginia values"?
But if I had to pick one thing, I'd say it's how unaccountable he holds himself to his constituents. I had someone relay a story to me about how they asked Mr. Bell his thoughts on gerrymandering, and his response was "Well, it's not a bill in front of my committee, so I don't have an opinion on it." Which is total and complete BS, and the fact he would try and wordsmith an answer straight to someone's face like that is just galling beyond all belief. The people of my district deserve someone who'll talk to them straight, for better or worse.
What is uniquely cool about your district?
More than I could list here. This is the seat Thomas Jefferson once held; there is so much cool stuff to do outdoors here, from Shenandoah National Park to the James River; and I dare you to come out and sit, watch the morning mist and sunrise against the mountain backdrop, and not get a tear in your eye from how beautiful it is.
Selected Daily Kos articles by Kellen: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/7/6/1678313/-They-said-it-s-esophageal-cancer-inoperable-we-re-calling-hospice