Republican candidate Ben Chafin is currently running for a seat on the Virginia Senate representing the 38th district against Democrat Mike Hymes and Independent Rick Mullins. Polls will be open for the election next Tuesday, Aug. 19.
As Pulaski is part of the 38th district, Chafin expressed his interest in protecting farming and agribusiness in the county. As he is also concerned with the coal industry in Virginia, he said many of the same Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations affect farming as well.
“The last thing we need is the EPA is telling us what we can and can’t do on the farms that we have bought and paid for and farmed for generations,” Chafin said.
Chafin is a farmer himself, and said he has a lifelong background in agriculture.
“Pulaski is a major agricultural production county,” Chafin said. “That’s one of the issues that has to be pushed back on.”
Chafin added that agribusiness has been the strongest sector across the nation throughout the great recession. He also referred to Red Sun Farms, the county’s most recent industrial addition, as the future of farming.
“I think it’s great to see it located here in Pulaski,” said Chafin. “It’s a true showcase for the future of farming.
He also expressed that he hopes to reduce and eliminate estate axes on farms in Virginia.
“People can have a farm that they want to work for generations, and when they die and leave it to their children, the federal government comes in to make them pay the tax, and they can’t pay it because the farm can’t produce enough,” Chafin said, describing a hypothetical situation. “I’m against that, I think that’s wrong.”
In addition, Chafin also said he would be interested in creating an exemption on family farms.
“We’re talking about the farms that feed us, I can’t think of a more vital interest that’s out there,” Chafin said.
Editor’s note: The other candidates were approached for an interview but didn’t respond by press time.