Will King wants to represent the people of the 18th District, not a party.
The Green Party candidate will challenge Republican incumbent Michael Webert and Democratic challenger Tristan Shields in the November election for a seat in the general assembly.
The retired US Federal Air Marshall and U.S. Navy veteran from Bealeton said that he wants to give constituents from the 18th District a choice.
“After serving my country for 25 years, I wanted to be more involved in my community,” King said. “Being a veteran and a police officer, once you’ve served people it’s hard to stop.”
He decided to run as a Green Party candidate after meeting campaign manager Tim Cotton, but said he’s not beholden to any party. He agrees with the 10 key values and four pillars of the party, but is his own candidate.
“You get to mold those 10 key values to you,” King said. “The one thing that really attracted me, is that the national and state party have zero influence on how I run my candidacy. The platform I have that is specifically meant for the 18th District.”
Having a background in public safety, one of his key issues is battling the heroin epidemic by giving more funding to local law enforcement.
“Instead of introducing new legislation, I’ll use the existing legislation to fund county sheriffs and police departments to give them the tools and the manpower to fight drug epidemic,” King said.
Increasing salary will help attract and retain officers and King also stresses that improving their equipment is key in fighting crime. He has already met with Fauquier County Sheriff Bob Moser and expects to meet with the other sheriffs throughout his campaign.
While Fauquier County is his homebase and he’s already made several connections there, Rappahannock County has welcomed him as well. He said he’s still branching out into Culpeper and Warren counties but said that people are already recognizing him.
“People have had plenty of literature to read about us,” King said. “We’ve had a lot of people recognize us in the parade. Culpeper is still growing, but it’s happening naturally.”
One issue that connects all Green Party candidates, King said, was their belief in solar power. He describes his philosophy as Green conservative.
“Enacting agricultural, environmental conservation programs with the emphasis on small business and job creation,” King said. “Let’s take solar power, the 18th District does not have its own solar power company. Going into solar, for every one person that works on a solar panel that creates three or four jobs. So just imagine if we can bring something like that in Fauquier County.”
He said that by focusing on the local workforce and bringing new jobs to the district, not as many people will commute an hour north for employment.
King said he wants to protect the environment and put people over profit.
“If you have a strong environmental platform, people are going to vote for you regardless of what party you belong to,” King said. “We oppose all pipelines, all fracking, all coal ash and uranium mining.”
He said fracking could pollute well water and that is a major concern.
“Clean drinking water is not a privilege, it’s a right for everybody,” King said.
Despite having worked in law enforcement for several years, he believes in hemp production and stresses the differences between the plant and its cousin cannabis.
“I’ve talked to local law enforcement and they agree that hemp is not cannabis,” King said. “If you take a 10 acre lot of hemp and decide you’re going to be sneaky and put in an acre of cannabis, you just destroyed the crop for both. Twenty-five thousand different products, and if you can somehow get a processing plant in the state going, you can have a head start in the rest of the country.”
King said Kentucky is the only other state attempting to open a processing plant and that Virginia could have a head start on the rest of the country.
King said that the current political climate has become toxic and the Green Party act as the “marriage counselors.”
“We’re the rational alternative,” King said. “The big parties are pointing figures at each other. What I represent is a swing vote. I’m there for the people, nobody is going to tell me how to vote.”
King said that in six years Webert has not taken any chances and has voted along party or committee lines 96 percent of the time.
“Look at his record, tell me what stands out,” King said. “It’s nothing personal against him, but when you look at him you look at an established bought and paid for legislator.”
To be successful, King said his strategy is connect with the people.
“People are always going to lean a certain way, when you are able to talk to a person at a ground level and find out what’s important to them, and explain how you’re going to help them, they are more than happy to listen to it,” King said.