Rep. Abigail Spanberger on Jan. 6, Virginia’s winter storms and her next election

Virginia News

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7) sat down with NewsNation for an interview on Jan. 5.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7) sat down with NewsNation for an interview on Jan. 5.

She talked about the winter weather’s effect on Virginia’s roads, the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and her decision to run for re-election in the newly redrawn 7th district.

Here are the highlights from Wednesday’s interview:

Looking back on Jan. 6, 2021

A year after the insurrection, Rep. Spanberger said she feels safe in the U.S. Capitol because of the bravery shown by Capitol and Washington D.C. police officers who responded to the incident.

“Certainly we know that the violence that we saw that day was significant,” she said. “Police officers were beaten with flag poles, with fire extinguishers, they were tased. More than 140 of them were injured, and those injuries of which many were very, very serious.”

The representative said Jan. 6, brought into focus how fragile the nation’s democracy is. When the insurrection happened, Spanberger said members of the House and Senate were certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“So the fact that there were thousands of our fellow citizens who were trying to disrupt our efforts to stop the very function of congress because they were displeased with the result of an election is an example of how fragile our democracy is,” she said.

Spanberger added this should be a call for every legislator to strengthen the country’s democracy and increase civic engagement with their constituents.

“I think that we continue to be in a challenging time for the strength of our democracy, certainly when we see that there are members of the United States House of Representatives who refuse to admit the horrors of that day, even when there are police officers talking about the brutal beatings they endured,” she said.

She said the select committee overseeing the investigation of Jan. 6, have collected hundreds of interviews and thousands of page of documents through subpoenas and voluntary interviews. In the coming months, the committee will hold public hearings which will reveal what they’ve learned to the public.

“I do think the public testimony that they will be bringing forth will be valuable for every American to have a better understanding of what lead to that day, and then the actual events of that day,” the representative said.

Spanberger said it is necessary and important to recognize the threats from that day to mitigate against similar ones in the future. She said there will be events for the one-year commemoration on Capitol Hill, but the U.S. House of Representatives will not be in session for voting.

“My hope is Capitol Police officers, particularly those that fought to keep us safe, those who were beaten and on the front lines of that horrible, horrible day, have a bit of breathing room to digest the day,” she said. “For the rest of us who were there, witnessed first hand how horrible the attack on our democracy and our democratic process and the Capitol building was. I think everybody is digesting it in their own personal ways.”

She said she would be mostly spending the day responding to constituents, especially after the bout of extreme winter weather that hit the state earlier this week. However, she would still take some time to reflect on the 6th with her family.

Winter weather vs Virginia’s roads

Spanberger also briefly talked about the commonwealth’s recent weather and that she’s already looking at the next winter snowstorm.

The representative said she’s in regular contact with the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and county leaders from areas she represents who have been impacted by the last storm.

“Our office is working to make sure that we are a good conduit of information,” Spanberger said.

She said some of her constituents are still dealing with power outages, and others were people stuck on I-95 Monday through Tuesday night. Spanberger said it’s important to recognize the impact of the last storm, but also keep an eye on the next one which is predicted to come through.

“My hope that recognizing the severity of what it is that we have experienced and will experience with this anticipated storm, that the state will take the necessary precautions to make sure that our local localities will really have state resources at their disposal and there to assist them, during what is really an emergency for so many of our communities,” she said.

Reelection in the 7th district

Going forward into 2022 Spanberger announced she would be running for reelection. This comes after changes in state elections maps that were approved by Virginia Supreme Court in December.

Now, the 7th district no longer includes Henrico or Chesterfield. The new district goes from Caroline County to Madison County and includes Fredericksburg and Dale City.

When asked about other democrats who have decided not to rerun, she said many of her colleagues who have chosen not to are in their 80s and had long political careers and “earned” their retirement. Spanberger said those representatives also want to pass the torch off to someone new in their community.

“And I think that is important as part of the larger democratic process,” she said. “I am in my second term. I am enthusiastically serving the people of Virginia’s seventh district and I plan to do so into the future.”

The representative said she has a lot of legislation she has written on behalf of the needs of the people in the community she wants to move forward and has more work to do. Some of these policies include lowering the cost of prescription drugs and addressing the need for recovery resources as overdose rates are on the rise.

“And the list goes on and on of things I continue to be focused on,” she said. “So for that reason, I am running for reelection so I can continue pushing on that legislation and representing the people of Virignia’s seventh district.”

Spanbereger said she is not worried about the president or Democrats’ polling numbers.

“I’m proud that I flipped my seat in 2018 and I maintained it in 2020 and I’m going work hard to make sure that every vote I get in Virginia’s 7th district is earned through my work on the ground and the positions and policies I pursue,” she said.

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