by Mary Rose Corkery
Republican Virginia State Sen. Ben Chafin, Jr. has died from COVID-19 complications, his office announced in a statement.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Virginia Senate Republican Caucus confirmed Chafin’s death, The Hill reported. Chafin represented Virginia’s 38th District in the last six years and was 60 years old.
“With the passing of Senator Ben Chafin, Southwest Virginia has lost a strong advocate – and we have all lost a good man,” Northam said in a press release.
“I knew Ben as a lawmaker, an attorney, a banker, and a farmer raising beef cattle in Moccasin Valley, working the land just as generations of his family had done before him. He loved the outdoors, and he loved serving people even more,” Northam continued. “He pushed hard to bring jobs and investment to his district, and I will always be grateful for his courageous vote to expand health care for people who need it,” Northam said in the press release.”
The Virginia governor said he ordered the state flag to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Chafin’s burial date in order to commemorate him, the press release said. Northam said he and his wife are praying for Chafin’s family.
“This is sad news to begin a new year with the loss of a kind and gracious man. May we all recommit to taking extra steps to care for one another,” Northam said in the press release.
Chafin is the first lawmaker in Virginia to die from COVID-19 complications, even though other state lawmakers had the virus, The Hill reported.
Chafin was from Russell County, had three children, according to a tweeted news release. Chafin’s family thanked the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Medical Center in Richmond for treating him for two weeks and since Chafin asked for no “formal burial service,” his family won’t have one.
Virginia State Senator Ben Chafin becomes the first member of the General Assembly to die from COVID-19, after spending two weeks in the hospital. Here's the statement his office sent out earlier this evening: pic.twitter.com/hRswn5L0Gl
— Eric Miller (@EricMillerWDBJ7) January 2, 2021
Lawmakers and those in political circles learned of Chafin’s illness when the state senator was hospitalized at the Richmond hospital in December, the Roanoke Times-Dispatch reported. Numerous lawmakers and the Senate Democratic Caucus issued statements regarding his death.
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Mary Rose Corkery is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “State Senator Ben Chafin” by Ben Chafin.