Meet the candidates: Kathy Byron
Byron runs unopposed for Virginia House of Delegates, 22nd district
As several political candidates fix their eyes on the news and hope for victory in their race, one Republican delegate can sit back and relax as she is running unopposed this election cycle.
Kathy Byron has been a Republican member in the House of Delegates since 1997. She represents the 22nd district, which includes Lynchburg, Campbell County and part of Bedford County.
This is the second time she has run unopposed, and Byron is enjoying not having to deal with the stress that comes with running a campaign.
“The best way to run is unopposed,” Byron said. “It has been a great opportunity to focus on other things. I have been currently engaged in some of the other races, but it still doesn’t have the mental fatigue from stress you get from running your own campaign.”
Although Byron has spent 14 years in the House of Delegates, she never had an interest in being a politician and actually declined when a former delegate first asked her to run.
“I always liked working behind the scenes, and my husband thought it was my destiny and he kept on encouraging me and we prayed about it,” Byron said. “There’s been a couple things in my life that I’ve known I really felt like it was something God wanted me to do in my life, and you can’t shake it when that happens, and this was one of those times.”
Along with her conviction from God, Byron felt that she had the administrative skills and the right values the district was looking for, so she decided to take the position.
“I’m pretty bold. I’m not afraid to stand up for things that I think that are right,” Byron said. “I was a lot more fearful in the beginning of things, but now I’m a little bit bolder. I think if I don’t stand up, I’m just as guilty.”
During her 14 years as a delegate, Byron has had plenty of issues to stand up for. According to Byron, some of her greatest accomplishments have helped fight against identity theft and protect children.
“I had the first law that made identity theft a crime. That was very big for me,” Byron said. “I also had the first law that made it illegal to use the internet as a means for child pornography. We also took social security numbers off of driver’s licenses and school I.D.’s.”
Despite her accomplishments, Byron’s passion is business. She and her husband owned a call-and-mail center, which gave her first hand experience to know what business owners want.
“As a business owner, I used my business experience to vote for policies that would promote business rather than kill business,” Byron said. “It’s a very big thing when you look 14 years down the road. That’s all we talk about, jobs and the economy.”
As part of her job, Byron serves as a member of the Tobacco Commission. The commission gave $12 million to Liberty University for the upcoming school of health sciences.
“I was very excited over the possibility of the people of the Southside to have such a world- class facility so close by,” Byron said. “It’s such a tremendous opportunity, and I think it’s going to be one of our signature investments that we and the Tobacco Commission will make.”
As Byron gears up for the next session, she said she looks forward to continuing to work on workforce training. Although her job as delegate brings along a busy schedule, she has no plans to retire soon.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity and a journey for me to meet so many wonderful people and for me to experience some things that I would have never experienced before.”