2018 election of Elaine Luria ‘not a referendum on Trump’

Elaine Luria (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Elaine Luria for Congress)
Elaine Luria (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Elaine Luria for Congress)

NORFOLK — Following her upset win over Rep. Scott Taylor, Congresswoman-Elect Elaine Luria is looking forward in the 2nd District.

Finding common ground among Democrats and Republicans, fighting sea-level rise, and representing the military interests of Hampton Roads are just a few of her priorities.

And now, the Democrat says she’s ready to get to work.

“I really want to provide good support to the community and work across the aisle. Find out what reps at federal, state, and local levels need and then strive to make it happen,” Luria said. 

Although this reference alludes to possibly mending of fences, Luria said that probably won’t happen soon at the federal level.

“But there are issues at the state and local levels, like sea-level rise or infrastructure, that don’t need to be partisan,” Luria said.

Related story: Rep. Scott Taylor and Democratic challenger Elaine Luria square off in first public debate

Luria viewed her election as a referendum on Taylor’s behavior and voting record — not necessarily on President Donald Trump.

More than anything, Luria said it was Taylor’s support of the 2017 tax bill and his ambivalence about providing health care to people with preexisting conditions that turned voters off.

Now that she’s been elected, Luria sees her military service and the concentration of military assets in Hampton Roads as making her a good fit for certain congressional roles.

The 2nd Congressional District includes Accomack and Northampton counties, portions of York County, and the cities of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton.

“I think I could add value to the Armed Services Committee, with 20 years of service to the U.S. Navy,” Luria said. She also expressed interest in working with committees involved in transportation, appropriations, or sea-level rise resiliency efforts.

Ultimately, Democratic Party leaders will decide on committee assignments.

After Taylor’s staff was accused of forging signatures on petitions to get Democrat Shaun Brown on the ballot as an independent, Taylor said he would fire those four campaign staffers involved in the scandal. However, Luria noted, Taylor still had some of those employees on his payroll months later.

Related story: Taylor ‘refused to answer questions about who directed these fraudulent actions’

“I think it definitely made people question his involvement in the situation,” Luria said. “It appeared to a lot of people that he was trying to play dirty tricks.”

Still, after the votes were tallied, Taylor and Luria had a collegial exchange on election night when Taylor called Luria to congratulate her. Luria said Taylor ensured her he would do everything he could to facilitate a smooth transition.

The election will be certified by the state on Nov. 19.

Luria is headed to Washington, D.C. Tuesday for “freshmen orientation,” and will be sworn in as a member of the 116th United States Congress on Jan. 3, 2019.

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