7 controversial things Virginia politicians have said

By Keya Vakil

August 20, 2019

Virginia’s General Assembly elections are a few months away, and you know what that means: politicians saying crazy things. Below is a round-up of the more extreme statements candidates have made in the run-up to this election.

  1. During a Facebook exchange about gun safety laws in July, State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian) said that people who are “naive and unprepared end up raped.”

  2. Del. Dave LaRock (R-Hamilton) said this week in a phone interview with the Winchester Star that the state should not provide special rights or protections for “chosen sexual habits.” LaRock previously said transgender people have a mental disorder and that it would be “very disturbing” if they were able to teach a kindergarten class. LaRock also wrote an op-ed in 2017 in which he compared gay people and “gender impersonators” to smokers, saying “Like smoking, homosexuality has many serious health-related consequences.”

  3. Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) made waves in 2018 for suggesting on the House floor that “the abortion industry” could be a cause of mass shootings and accused Democrats of being the historical party of slavery and Jim Crow.

  4. Sen. Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City) introduced a bill in 2017 that would have reduced the current penalties for the production of child pornography. Norment’s bill, SB 1560, would have decreased the mandatory minimum imprisonment for producing child porn from five years to two and the maximum from 30 years to 20.

    The National Association to Protect Children accused Norment of introducing the bill to help out a sex offender client of his, prompting an angry response from Norment. “That’s absolute poppy cock and it has nothing to do with my practice. In fact I take exception, umbrage at that. That’s very disingenuous by some people who are just trying to attract some attention without regard to the factual basis of it,” Norment said.

  5. After a gunman killed 12 people in Virginia Beach in May, Republicans ended July’s special session on gun laws in under 90 minutes. Speaking about Republicans’ decision to end the session so abruptly, Del. Chris Head (R-Botetourt) recently bragged that Republicans devised a plan to “neutralize the conversation” around Virginia’s gun laws until after this November’s election. “We needed to make it go away,” Head said of the issue.

  6. State Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) coordinated with a hate group in 2010 to write a letter to then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying that a proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan represented “grotesque symbolism” and would serve as a “victory shrine” to celebrate Muslim supremacy and 9/11. DeSteph later posted a video on Facebook featuring an anti-Muslim activist and claimed without evidence in 2013 that a proposed Virginia Beach mosque was a threat to national security and had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

  7. Del. Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) called “sea level rise” a “left-wing term” in 2012, despite the fact he represents one of the communities most vulnerable to flooding in the United States.
  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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