RICHMOND, Va. -- In the weeks leading to Election Day, candidates for Virginia's highest offices will answer questions about their qualifications on the CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.
Del. Hala Ayala is the Democratic Party candidate running for Lieutenant Governor. Scroll down for a transcript of her interview with Bill Fitzgerald.
BILL FITZGERALD: Tell us what is this election about?
HALA AYALA: This election is about one, making sure we talk about all of the wonderful gains that we've had during our Democratic majority and the work that we want to continue Medicaid expansion is on the ballot, November 2, reproductive health care is on the ballot, teacher pay, you know, raising the minimum wage protecting, you know, gun violence, protection, all of these wonderful gains that we have made, and protections we have implemented to move the Commonwealth forward is on the line November 2.
BILL FITZGERALD: Well, speaking of health, let's talk about COVID and 19 months into the pandemic, our vaccine mandates whether it's the government or big business, are they still the way to go?
HALA AYALA: Look, I'm vaccinated, I celebrate that because us as elected leaders, we must lead by example, and especially if you want others to follow, we saw Trump how he was stealing PPEs off the tarmac, telling us how to take Hydroxychloroquine. But the reality is, is that we're still in the pandemic, and we must do our part to be vigilant. And this means our leaders, especially those running for the second highest office in the Commonwealth must lead by example. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, because this is what is saving lives. 80% of Virginians have at least adult Virginians have at least one shot in their arm. That's to be celebrated. We want to reach 100%
BILL FITZGERALD: When you mentioned gun violence, Metro Richmond right now is kind of suffering a spasm of violence and homicides are up significantly from last year, Democrats have passed a raft of gun safety bills. Is that enough? Is it working? What is the solution here?
HALA AYALA: Well, I, this is personal to me. When I was two, I lost my father to gun violence. On the second day of my orientation on my first election cycle as the delegate for the 51st district, I lost a cousin to gun violence. This is deeply personal. And we this is a this is in itself, a public inhuman crisis that we're seeing play out across the nation. And we must do our part to protect Virginians. We have passed, you know, a bunch of legislation that is to be celebrated when we talk about gun safety reforms. And there's more to do like banning ghost guns. The work I did I carried legislation on, you know, if you have a lost or stolen firearm, to report it within a certain period of time, that was a win for us when we talk about making sure background checks and extending those background checks. That was a win for Democrats. We want to continue to build off those successes.
BILL FITZGERALD: You mentioned health care, how much would it cost to deliver equity to all the communities in Virginia Medicaid expansion, obviously an important aspect of that, but a lot of people wonder what is the price that cannot be done?
HALA AYALA: You know, I will tell you this that in the Commonwealth we our job as delegates is to battlements the budget, and we did that we came out with a surplus. Additionally, we delivered Medicaid expansion to 500,000 Virginians when we voted for Medicaid on the day that we voted because it's deeply again, a personal issue for me, I almost lost my life, my son almost lost his life. That is a huge cost. That's the human cost to not having access to affordable health care. Medicaid saved our lives. And there's 700,000 Virginians that still need to access 100,000 children we have to fight for those Virginians.
BILL FITZGERALD: A report today's suggests inflation could be a concern, particularly sharply rising rents. What would you tell Virginians who are worried maybe the young lower income? What can you tell them to say you're going to have housing that rising rents are not going to be more permanent than other COVID related increases might seem to be?
HALA AYALA: So I have this lived experience. I remember when I had to choose between paying my rent or buying prescription drugs or paying for health care that was so needed for me and my son or putting food on the table. This is the reality for a lot of Virginians, and this is why we worked hard in the General Assembly to allocate rescue dollars. We need to do more. This is the floor absolutely not the ceiling to make sure affordable housing putting monies back in the or increasing the Housing Trust Fund, using Medicaid dollars to allocate that money. working hard to make sure no Virginia and no Virginia and family is without a roof over their head and food on their table.
Go in-depth with more Virginia candidates in our Virginia Voter Guide to the 2021 Election.
🗳️In-Depth Coverage Election 2021: Candidate Interviews
Virginia Lt. Governor's Race
Winsome Sears (R)
Virginia Attorney General Race
Mark Herring (D)
To learn more about key local elections, click here for the CBS 6 voter's guide.
Watch CBS 6 News at 7 p.m. with Bill Fitzgerald on TV, WTVR.com/LIVE or now streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV. Just search "WTVR Richmond" in your app store.
Key Dates and Deadlines in Virginia
Friday, Sept. 17: Early, In-Person Voting Begins
Thursday, Oct. 12: Voter Registration Deadline
Friday, Oct. 22: Request Absentee/Mail-In Ballot Deadline
Saturday, Oct. 30: Early, In-Person Voting Ends
Tuesday, Nov. 2 is Election Day: In-Person Voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 2: Absentee/Mail-In Postmark by Date
Friday, Nov. 5: Absentee/Mail-In Delivered By Date