Travis Hackworth was sworn in Friday to the Senate of Virginia. State Senator Hackworth (R-Richlands) was previously the Chairman of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. He currently operates multiple businesses in the Richlands area, where he lives with his wife Angel.
The Tazewell businessman shocked the Virginia political establishment by shellacking his competition in the January party canvass held shortly after Senator Chafin’s passing. Senator Hackworth was elected in March to fill the vacant seat of the late State Senator A. Benton “Ben” Chafin (R-Russell County), winning a massive victory for Southwest Virginia and the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus with 76% of the vote.
With the election of State Senator Hackworth, the power divide in Richmond has tightened, with the Virginia Senate barely in Democratic hands with a 21-19 majority. This comes as the Virginia General Assembly prepares to gavel back in Wednesday morning for the veto session, where the Governor’s vetoed bills will be heard before the House of Delegates and State Senate.
For the first time since COVID-19, the Senate Chamber in Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol was opened for the ceremony. Under the watchful and ever careful eye of Senate Clerk Susan Schaar, the Southwest Virginia native took his oath in service to the Commonwealth. In attendance was former State Senator’s family, along with his children and four grandchildren. His pastor, business partners, and friends from across the district also joined in the ceremony, along with retired State Senator Bill Carrico (R-Grayson County). Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson also attended the ceremony.
The Virginia Senate Republican Caucus released this statement.
Republican Party of Virginia Chairman, former Delegate Rich Anderson (R-Prince William), was on hand to celebrate the swearing in ceremony.
Congrats to Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-38th) on the occasion of his swearing-in today on the floor of the Senate of Virginia. RPV congratulates the newest member of the General Assembly and looks to the future with confidence. Well done, Travis and Angel—we’re proud of you! pic.twitter.com/r0njP6XGXf
— RPV Chairman Rich Anderson (@DelRichAnderson) April 2, 2021
In an interview with the The Virginia Star, Senator Hackworth started by saying: “I don’t want to just wear the Senate pin, I want to show up to work for the people of Southwest Virginia.”
When asked about legislative priorities, the Richlands native said, “No matter if I am Wise County or Radford City, I want to protect gun rights. I want to protect the unborn. I want to do everything I can, but I cannot eat guns. I have to focus on economic development.”
Tazewell businessman added, “I want to find a way to help incentivize local small business growth. I want to focus on small business more than focusing on the massive businesses. We will definitely look for those big companies, but my main focus, let’s shore up those small businesses. They are heartbeat of our community. We don’t go to Amazon to sponsor your kids t-ball team, or to get soccer cleats for the local soccer league, we go to the local small business. We have 500 small businesses in Tazewell County, what if we added just one job to the community? Our main focus is on the small business.”
Another priority of the new state senator is finding ways to curb unfunded mandates. He told The Star, “I have the unique experience as being the Chairman of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, I understand what it is like to get an unfunded mandate from Richmond and you have to get creative to fix the problem. You have to listen to your constituents to make sure that they get the best services that they can.”
Senator Hackworth has met with his Senate caucus multiple times already, and is working with the Senate GOP caucus in preparation for Wednesday’s veto session. After his primary win, he was invited to meet with the Virginia State Senate Republican Caucus in February and has spoken with most of his colleagues regularly, during and after his election.
The Richlands native said he will locate an office in Pulaski on the eastern side of the district, in his hometown Richlands, and the city of Norton at the far western part of the district. He is working with his business so that he can devote as much time as possible to the people of the 38th State Senate district.
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