- Name: Roger Dean Huffstetler
- Age: 42
- Years in public service: 4 years active duty United States Marine Corps
- City/County of residence: Charlottesville
- Virginia congressional district: 5th
- Party affiliation: Democrat
- Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
Tell us about your top three legislative priorities and why they are important to you and your constituents.
FROM ROGER DEAN HUFFSTETLER
Things weren’t always easy for us growing up. We lived in Section 515 housing for a time, and my parents struggled with substance abuse, which killed my dad. But, I was able to go to the Harvard Business School on the GI BIll and live the American dream. I want the same for everyone. I want to ensure that everyone in the 5th district has access to high-quality, affordable healthcare; world-class digital infrastructure; and the education they need to compete in the changing economy.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a household with union healthcare, so I never had to worry about being able to afford a prescription or a trip to the doctor. This district has some of the highest insurance premiums in the country. People should not have to choose between paying their mortgage or paying their health insurance premiums, which is why I support Tim Kaine’s Medicare X plan, which would put a public option on our rural exchanges right away. Our current healthcare system is failing our rural communities; Madison County just lost their last primary care physician. This is why we must also invest in programs to incentive healthcare providers to set up shop in our rural areas, to ensure that everybody has access to the care they need.
The lack of access to the internet in many rural parts of this district thwarts economic growth at every step of the process. Without access to broadband internet, we have children in Buckingham County who, even when school was still in session, had to go to McDonalds to access the internet to complete their homework. Schools and public spaces being closed during this pandemic have only made it more clear that, if we don’t act soon, these children will have no way to compete in the changing economy. A lack of internet infrastructure also keeps businesses from starting, growing, and moving to the district, as commerce moves increasingly through digital spaces. To move the district forward, we need to make ensuring internet access a top priority.
Lastly, we need to make sure our children are getting the education they need to participate in today’s workforce. That is why I want to build strong community college-industry partnerships, or CCIPs. Our district is lucky to be home to a number of great community colleges, and if we can help create programs in partnership with local industry, we can ensure that people can find fulfilling employment in their hometowns while also creating a strong incentive for businesses looking to start in or move to the district.