Delegate Terry Austin (R) has announced his bid for re-election for the 19th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Austin is serving his fourth term in the House representing the 19th District, which includes the counties of Alleghany, Bedford (part), Botetourt (part) and the City of Covington. He currently sits on the committees of Appropriations, Transportation, Rules and Joint Rules. Austin is a member of the Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), a nationally recognized nonpartisan organization that audits, reviews and provides recommendations to the legislature on topics related to state government agencies, policies and programs.
Austin was first elected in 2013 and has served four terms. He and his wife, Kathy, have four children and 11 grandchildren. They reside in Buchanan.
A news release announcing his re-election bid reads:
“It has been an honor to serve the 19th House District and I look forward to continuing to represent the interests of our region. As your delegate, I will continue to represent our conservative values and protect our 2nd Amendment. My focus will continue to be economic development, strengthening our infrastructure to unlock growth, and ensuring our education system teaches our children the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.
“I have always been a strong proponent of transportation and its ability to strengthen our economy and enhance the quality of life in our region. Which is why I supported improving Interstate 81 two years ago, and this year worked with my colleagues to expand passenger rail service to Christiansburg, and had language placed in the budget supporting an AMTRAK station in the Town of Bedford. There is positive economic growth in the region, and it is important that we coalesce behind a shared vision to ensure that we are getting the attention we deserve.
“Infrastructure is more than just transportation. The past 18 months have shown how important broadband is for everyone, and I will continue to focus on expanding access to this 21st century utility. Reliable access has proven to be a necessity. It is unacceptable to have people driving to their local library for Internet access so that they can work, and their children can learn. Rural areas have long been at a disadvantage when it comes to health care services. Telemedicine can dramatically improve this, but only if we continue expanding access to broadband.
“As a small business owner, I understand the effect of burdensome business regulations. During budget negotiations, my Republican colleagues and I were successful in increasing the initial Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan deduction cap from $25,0000 to $100,000. When the bill was presented to the House to forgive PPP loans at a level of $25,000, we understood that this would not be enough. For small business owners, their company is their life’s work. They should not be taxed for funds that were necessary to maintain operations while having to implement closures and other practices that were no fault of their own. This is also why I supported the effort to increase the amount of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds going to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which funds unemployment benefits in Virginia. Had nothing been done to address the shortfall caused by the historic spike in unemployment rates small business would have faced an untenable effective tax increase.
“Our economy is dependent on a well-educated work force. Ensuring our children are successful begins with implementing policies that prepare them for future jobs. This is why I patroned HB1827, which expands geographic representation on Virginia’s Board of Education, and put in a budget amendment to establish a health sciences education pilot program in our region. Our educational needs and our economic strengths differ from other regions in the Commonwealth. HB1827 will give our region the opportunity to provide a different perspective as policy is considered on the Board of Education. The health sciences pilot program will leverage our region’s unique and invaluable health sciences industry assets to prepare our students to take advantage of the opportunities developing right here at home.
“Thank you for placing your trust in me to represent your interests and values. I look forward to continuing to advance the interests of the 19th House District and our region. Early voting began September 17th and I encourage you to make your voice heard at the ballot box now or on Election Day.”