84th District House of Delegates candidate profile: Rod Thompson

Published 5:39 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: Rod Thompson

Age: 42

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Occupation: Children’s Book Author / Defense Contractor / Small Business Owner / Retired Navy Chief

Prior elected offices held: President, Nansemond Swim Club

1. Can you briefly summarize why you decided to run for the 84th District?

I’ve been in the local area for over fifteen years, and have always given my time to the community when I had it to spare. Public service, coupled with my undying patriotism after twenty-three years in the Navy, is my fuel for running. I’m extremely dissatisfied with the current state of our governmental bodies, the infiltration by socialist regimes,  and the eradication of commonplace decency. We need less politicians and more public servants. I’m a Reagan-esque Republican who believes that the government should remain small, the People should be in control, and elected servants need to remember their place in the world. The day that I said, “This isn’t the country that I signed up to die for,” out loud after twenty years of service, was the day that I knew I was going to run.

2. Who is your political role model? Why?

President Ronald Reagan. Hands down. The man understood the constitutional role of government and adhered to it. One of Reagan’s greatest practices, which I’ve adopted for employment in the House, was that when any legislation crossed his desk, he’d ask, “How does this affect the American people?” He didn’t care about optics, parties, or the news media. Ronald Reagan always put the People first and that’s something we don’t find in many politicians these days. There are select elected servants who truly know their place and work on behalf of the people, but time and time again, we have watched our precious votes fall to someone who simply isn’t in the game for the right reasons. Ronald Reagan was America’s grandfather, and even now I watch his speeches, debates, and press conferences on YouTube, feeling a sense of apprenticeship and a call to do right by the People.

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?

I am 100% pro-life and agree that abortion should not be Federal Law, but I always come back to the question of what does abortion have to do with the day-to-day governance of the Commonwealth? I have said multiple times over, while I feel 15 weeks is a bit long, Virginia state laws on abortion are the closest thing to a centerline option that you’ll find on the issue. I’ve met very few Republicans in my travels who don’t accept the caveats of rape, incest, and the health of mother and child. As a pro-life conservative, I think the big government needs to step out and let medical issues be discussed between a woman, her God, and her doctor. I will definitely champion, sponsor, and co-sponsor any alternative measures, like the adoption initiatives put forth by Del. Emily Brewer in previous sessions, that offer expectant mothers a better choice.

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?

No. Transgenderism is the latest trend that opens up outcast youth to the deviance of sexual predators and groomers. I implore all voters to research Sage’s Law (HB2432), and the tragic backstory of how a school employee’s secret encouragement of transgenderism led to a young girl being human trafficked for the purpose of sex. Parents have the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY to accommodate a child’s growth. Not teachers. Not guidance counselors. Therefore, parents should ALWAYS be alerted to changes in their child’s behavior, development, and lifestyle.

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?

I do. The endgame of divisive teaching isn’t unity, and extinguishes the flames of patriotism in the hearts of our youth. Instead of being taught that anyone can make it in America, which is a very true statement, children are being taught that we’re no better in the 21st century than we were in all of the centuries past. Which isn’t true. Racial and economic disparity DO still exist in this country – and only a fool would tell you otherwise – but we cannot uplift each other if all we’re doing is teaching future generations that they’ll always be held down. America, with all of her historical faults, is still the greatest country in this world, and THAT is what we need to focus on teaching.

6. What more can Virginia do to prevent mass shootings?

I’m a proponent of Constitutional Carry (CC). Those fearful of firearms believe that CC would result in a “wild west” scenario, but that’s simply not the case. Criminals are less likely to attack anyone if there is a possibility that everyone is armed. We need to take a step back and reassess if we’re offering safety or what they call a “Soft target.” Similarly, “gun free” zones are stupid. The only guns that they keep out are those belonging to the citizens who follow the rules. I support in-depth, state-sponsored arms training for teachers with an allowance for concealed carry as well. Programs like FASTER exist specifically to offer educators mandatory firearms training, once a month, so that students are protected by highly proficient specialists with a response time of less than thirty seconds in the event of a school shooter.

7. Should the state get involved in stemming or encouraging the proliferation of solar farms in rural counties?

Being that I’m pro-small government, I think this is an issue for the localities – with a specific focus on zoning, owner’s rights, and limited land use. No one wants to see the entire district covered in solar projects, but when you compare the price of leasing a farm for crops to leasing it out for solar, the difference is enormous. So how do we justify denying that lease rate to the land owner who isn’t farming anymore? It can’t just be because we don’t like seeing solar farms. Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors has a good idea for the ordinance to put a percentage cap on land usage for solar, as it defines a pathway through which the landowners can maneuver while solar growth is limited.

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?

Since Halifax County first set the precedence for this kind of tax in 2019, only eight other localities have been granted permission from the General Assembly. I’m not a big fan of taxes, especially increasing them, but what we’re seeing in rural areas is a tax slippage that needs to be addressed. Local real estate tax revenues (don’t get me started on those new assessments) aren’t covering the costs of upkeep for older schools, let alone new builds. The 1% increase has proven beneficial in other rural localities. I would say that we also look to the Revenue Sharing law passed in 2020 as an alternative to taxation, whereby IoWC may increase the number of solar projects, but the city charges $1,400 per megawatt of the project.

9. What is one issue where you disagree with your political party’s national stance?

Marijuana legalization. Marijuana usage, by the numbers, is safer than alcohol but carries a negative social stigma, especially among conservatives over 50. Per the CDC, around 30,000 people die each year from alcohol-related deaths, while by the numbers, marijuana deaths are significantly lower and rarer, normally caused by synthetic drugs. Marijuana possesses no addictive chemicals, yet we openly promote and accept the cigarette industry that intentionally uses nicotine, which is more addictive than heroin, in cigarettes that are infused with cancer-causing carcinogens. With regard to the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug, the National Institute on Health declared “Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs.” The double standard is vibrantly clear, yet unexplainably accepted.

10. How should retail marijuana sales be implemented, or should the 2021 legalization be overturned?

Virginia fumbled the ball on the decriminalizing of marijuana under Northam and his democrat regime. There’s no getting around it. That said, we’re now in a reactionary state for outlining new laws and corrective actions. We need to gauge the full spectrum of the laws that should be implemented for the safe use of marijuana. Copying every law that we currently have for alcohol is a great start, but what happens if someone is pulled over while driving high? The only breathalyzers for marijuana simply gauge recent usage. Not the amount, nor the level of intoxication. That’s just one example of where the Northam-led assembly proved that they didn’t do their homework on brainstorming. There are hemp coalitions that have been chomping at the bit to work with the state on establishing regulations and laws, and we need to open our ears to what they have to say.