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Prince George woman runs for state Senate in 15th District / May 16, 2019

Virginia Smith, a children’s book author and educator, has stepped forward to claim the Democratic nomination for state Senate, setting up a November election contest for the 15th District seat now held by Clarksville Republican Frank Ruff. The 15th Senate District includes the eastern half of Halifax County.

Smith, a graduate of Virginia Union University and later the University of Virginia, spent her career as an educator in the Richmond Public School system. After she retired, Smith began writing children’s books and working as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is published by Tate Publishing Company.

Children have been a focus of Smith’s life, and she volunteers to mentor at-risk youths in Prince George County.

Smith said her campaign will focus on healthcare issues, particularly improving access to rural healthcare, increasing access to mental health services, and improving primary care in the district. She describes her approach as “value based, people centered, and common sense.

“Over the next several months, I will present a people focused and inclusive platform for the 15th District. I am humbled by the outpouring of support for my campaign and I hope to earn your vote on Nov. 5,” Smith said.

The emergence of a Democratic candidate sets up the first contested general election for Ruff since 2007. Ruff, who was first elected to the Senate in 2000, is seeking another term in the heavily Republican district, which includes portions of Halifax, Pittsylvania, Campbell, Brunswick, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties, and all of Mecklenburg, Charlotte, Nottoway and Lunenburg.

Before the general election takes place, Ruff faces a challenge for the GOP nomination in the June 11 party primary. Also running for Senate is Dale Sturdifen of Clarksville, chair of the Mecklenburg School Board.

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