RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It was a bittersweet victory for one delegate-elect in Virginia Tuesday night.
Former Roanoke-area television news anchor Chris Hurst ran for office after the murder of his girlfriend on live television in 2016. Reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward where working a story for CBS affiliate WDBJ when a disgruntled former employee approached and fatally shot both while they were conducting a live shot.
“Alison and Adam Ward’s death connected me to humanity more than anything else,” Hurst explained. “That I – through tragedy – had a shared experience and a common bond with so many people who have gone through tragedy, who have gone through loss.”
The former TV anchor is now the top story after celebrating his win during a victory party in Blacksburg Tuesday night. Hurst, a Democrat, handily won the House of Delegates 12th District race over three-time Republican incumbent Joseph Yost. The area covers the New River Valley including Montgomery County, Pulaski County, Giles County and the City of Radford.
“Alison and Adam Ward’s death connected me to humanity more than anything else.” — Christ Hurst
It was the murders of Parker and Ward on live TV that galvanized him to try and make a difference. First as a gun control advocate, and then as a candidate for office.
“What could I do that would be a natural progression, to be able to give back to a community, to a people, that gave me so much strength, love, prayer and support when I needed it?” Hurst said. “And this seemed like the right thing to do.”
Hurst says he’s ready to get started at the State Capitol, and that gun control sits at the top of his list.
“Every single idea that could possibly address and reduce the number of people who are dying from gun homicide, suicide and accidental firearm deaths,” he explained. “I think now it’s finally on the table. And for so many people who have been impacted by gun violence across the Commonwealth, even here in my district, they are, I think, just humbled, grateful, and looking forward to the opportunity of passing legislation that will tangibly reduce deaths here in Virginia from firearms.”
Hurst said he’s also ready to tackle a living wage, expanding Medicaid and getting state funding for schools in Southwest Virginia.