House of Delegates Election – District 23

Natalie Short and Wendell Walker are battling to represent District 23, which includes part of the city of Lynchburg and part of Amherst and Bedford Counties.

Wendell S. Walker

Wendell S. Walker is currently the Republican representative of the 23rd district in the Virginia House of Delegates. 

Walker has been in the General Assembly since 2020 and  has been active in local politics and the Republican party throughout his life. According to the Virginia General Assembly’s website, he was born and raised in Georgia and he initially came to Virginia for college. After graduating from Liberty — then known as Liberty Baptist College — Walker began his involvement in politics. 

Walker became involved with the Lynchburg Republican Committee in the 1990s. He has served there on many levels. Walker has been involved in campaigning and recruiting in elections both local and federal. Most recently, he served as the chairman of the committee, according to The News & Advance.

In addition to his political involvement, The News & Advance reported that Walker made a career in the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry as a registered apprenticeship consultant. 

After winning the GOP nomination to run for the 23rd House District seat in the General Assembly in 2019, Ballotpedia records show that Walker faced David Zilles in the general election. Walker won almost 64% of the vote and was elected in 2020.

Additionally, according to Ballotpedia, Walker served on the committees of Health, Welfare and Institutions, House Privileges and Elections and Transportation during his term. 

While serving in Richmond, Walker’s top priorities have been pro-life and family values, protecting the Second Amendment and restoring fiscal responsibility in the state capital. 

Walker is a resident and active member of the Lynchburg community. He lives and goes to church here with his wife Patsy.

Question and Answer:

1. If elected, what position would you take on legislation concerning social issues where public policies go against dearly held religious beliefs, specifically concerning abortion and religious liberty? 

The Bible has taught us that as Christians, there will be moments where we will have to go against the grain and stand up for what we believe in. We are commanded to show truth and life to the world that does not know the way. Contrary to the common thought that politicians are out of touch with these principles, these have been ingrained into my heart and my way of thinking for decades. One of the biggest reasons I first ran for office was the push I saw to advance the legalization of abortion all the way up until the moment of birth. I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. In Richmond, I have fought for the life of the unborn and pro-family values. I am honored to receive the endorsement of and support of pro-life organizations like the Virginia Society for Human Life and The Family Foundation. As your delegate, I will continue to defend the unborn and be the voice for those who have no voice of their own.

2. As a representative of this district in the House of Delegates, what steps would you take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant? 

The effects of COVID-19 have been serious and real for many Virginians, as many have lost friends and loved ones to the virus. With the introduction of a free, safe, and effective vaccine for all Virginians, it is time to return to normal life in Virginia. We’ve seen many of the lasting effects of the pandemic on our businesses, schools, and personal lives, and we cannot afford to let the current restrictions continue into perpetuity. It is time to put COVID-19 in the rear-view mirror. If you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, I encourage you to continue monitoring your health and wellbeing through the various mitigation recommendations offered by the CDC. 

3. What position would you take on legislation concerning vaccine mandates and passports that would affect college students in Virginia? 

I am a constitutional conservative, and I remain committed to fighting for your individual liberties. While I support the vaccine and encourage Virginians to get it, it’s your right to make your own choice and I respect that. As your representative in Richmond, I will not support legislation that calls for vaccine mandates or passports. Vaccine mandates have impacted many students across Virginia, as hundreds have been disenrolled from university classes because of their choice not to participate in vaccine requirements. I believe the decision to participate in the vaccine is a personal and private decision that should be made between a student, their family and their doctors – not one required by university leadership. 

4. Many Liberty students proudly exercise their Second Amendment rights. What position would you take on legislation that restricted gun rights of Virginians? 

As a lifetime member of the NRA, with a 100% rating from the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), I will stand against any effort to restrict your Constitutional rights to keep and bear firearms. Our Founding Fathers were very clear when choosing the words of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution, and just like them, I believe that the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed”. As your delegate, I will never support progressive legislation that restricts gun rights and has the potential to rob law-abiding citizens of their rights without proper and thorough due process.

5. School districts in Virginia have recently made national news regarding the teaching of critical race theory in public schools. What position do you take on CRT, and does it have a place in Virginia’s public schools? 

One of my top priorities in this election cycle has been to stop critical race theory and expand school choice in Virginia. Current Virginia state law has no restrictions on CRT curriculum, which is indoctrinating our children in the belief that America is an evil country. CRT teaches that race comes first, before anything else. That race is a paramount characteristic of everyone.

We need to ensure that our students are being taught how to think critically, not what to think. CRT has only sown the seeds of division within our nation’s youth, and we need to focus our education system on what makes America great so they can understand our history in a way that fosters grace and unity, not hatred and division.

6. Why should a Liberty student vote for you?

As a graduate of Liberty University, I have always sought to be a Champion for Christ in everything I do. It means I must always remember the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ and I must always live my life as he would want me to live it – in honesty, integrity, kindness and truth. During my years at Liberty, I had teachers and professors who modeled what it means to be a good leader, and I have applied these principles in the work I have done over the years in the political arena. As your current representative in the House of Delegates, I have the unique opportunity to serve the student body with the same commitment to the principles, values, and leadership that are being taught to this day. 

Natalie Short

According to her website, Natalie Short lives in Lynchburg and is the finance chair at the James River Council for the Arts and Humanities.

While she has not held public office in the state, Short has been very active in the public sphere. After graduating from Rocky Mountain School of Photography, Short has held a variety of positions related to politics and public policy. 

This is not Short’s first attempt to represent District 23 in Richmond. The News & Advance reported that in 2017, she ran against T. Scott Garret and lost. Additionally, Short unsuccessfully ran for Lynchburg City Council in 2018. 

According to her LinkedIn profile, Short held the role of Legislative Lead for the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The organization said they exist to demand action from elected officials, companies and educational institutions to demand action and promote gun control in America. 

Additionally, Short served as the campaign manager for David Zilles when he unsuccessfully ran against Wendell Walker for the District 23 spot in 2019. 

Short also serves as a board member for Rosel’s List, a Virginia organization dedicated to helping women be elected to public office, according to their website.

Natalie Short did not respond to requests for answers to our interview questions.

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