84th District House of Delegates candidate profile: Mike Dillender
Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Republican and Democratic primaries are set for June 20 to decide each party’s nominee for the new 84th House of Delegates District, which spans the Isle of Wight County-Suffolk border and includes Franklin and a small area of Chesapeake. Mike Dillender and Rod Thompson, both of Suffolk, are vying for the Republican nomination. The Smithfield Times asked 10 questions of each candidate.
Name: Mike Dillender
Occupation: Retired Navy Captain
Prior elected offices held: None
1. Can you briefly summarize why you decided to run for the 84th District?
I am running because parents like me are concerned about our children and grandchildren’s future. Politicians in Richmond have forgotten what it is like for so many Virginians who are struggling to make ends meet. I have 25 years of experience in the U.S. Navy fighting to defend the Constitution of the United States. I have been a fighter my whole life. I am prepared to take that same fight to Richmond and defend the people and values of the 84th District.
2. Who is your political role model? Why?
I have always looked up to President Abraham Lincoln. He was not only our greatest President, but he was a man of integrity from humble beginnings. He was the right man at the right time to lead us through the Civil War and reunite a broken and divided nation. It did not matter the fight or the issue, President Lincoln sought to bring people together for the common good. As Delegate, I would hope to embody even just a sliver of his courage to fight for the values that matter most and represent Hampton Roads with integrity and honor.
3. What change, if any, to state law would you like to see in the wake of last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade?
As a father, and a Christian, I am pro-life. This issue, and many others, should, in my opinion, always be handled by the states so that the voice of the individual voter can truly be heard.
4. Should school personnel be required to use transgender students’ preferred names, pronouns and/or not reveal their gender identity to their parents? Why or why not?
I believe that a child’s parents should have the final say in any matters involving their children. It is the responsibility of the parents to raise their child, however they see fit, not the government or the school personnel.
5. Do you agree with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order banning “divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory” from public schools? Why or why not?
As a member of the StoneBridge School’s Board of Directors, protecting the integrity of our schools is something I take very seriously. I do agree with Gov. Youngkin. The education of our children needs to be centered around reading, writing and arithmetic. The test scores of our children took a tremendous fall during COVID. Our focus must be in regaining what our children lost and failed to learn in that time period.
6. What more can Virginia do to prevent mass shootings?
By enhancing security measures at our schools, finding reasonable solutions to our mental health crisis and having a tough stance on crime, we can begin to decrease and prevent mass shootings across the Commonwealth.
7. Should the state get involved in stemming or encouraging the proliferation of solar farms in rural counties?
No they should not. The state and federal government should have no place in tipping the scales one way or another. There are other avenues of energy that we can adopt that do not take up hundreds of acres of land. Nuclear and modular nuclear energy is a safe and secure way to produce energy with the highest output and least impact to the land in rural counties.
8. Should Isle of Wight County have the option of raising its local sales tax by 1% by voter referendum to fund school construction projects? Why or why not?
Isle of Wight should have this option and make it available for the public to vote on. The Board of Supervisors is more in tune with the needs of its constituents than Richmond is. A referendum allows the residents of Isle of Wight the opportunity to have their voices heard.
9. What is one issue where you disagree with your political party’s national stance?
Republicans must present a united front as early voting began on May 5th. The time for squabbling is behind us and we must focus on winning votes and winning elections, so that the Republican Majority in the House of Delegates and Governor Youngkin can continue to do the work of the people who elected them.
10. How should retail marijuana sales be implemented, or should the 2021 legalization be overturned?
I am hesitant of legal marijuana use, there is clear documentation of the damage of marijuana use by pregnant mothers on their unborn babies and their developing brains. Furthermore, the long term effects of recreational use are still hotly debated and undetermined. Until there is clear data to show the real effects, or lack thereof of marijuana use, I am inclined to be against implementing retail sales.