The 9th district is the second-largest congressional district in the Commonwealth and covers much of the southwestern part of Virginia. It includes the counties of Franklin, Washington, Montgomery, Henry, Tazewell, Wise, Smyth, Pulaski, Carroll, Wythe, Russell, Lee, Scott, Buchanan, Patrick, Giles, Grayson, Floyd, Dickenson, Bland, and Craig, as well as the cities of Radford, Bristol, Martinsville, Galax, and Norton, and parts of Bedford County and Roanoke County. The 9th district has been reliably Republican for over twenty years. Incumbent Morgan Griffith ran unopposed in the 2020 election.
This election will be held on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Morgan Griffith (R), an attorney from Salem, has held the District 9 seat since 2011 and is running against Taysha DeVaughan (D) who is the president of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and a Virginia Council on Environmental Justice gubernatorial appointee.
Taysha DeVaughan (D), is a resident of Wise County and a 2018 graduate of University of Virginia-Wise. She started her career as an organizer and is an active member of her community. DeVaughan is a former president of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and chairs the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice as a governor’s appointee. She is a coordinator for Appalachian Community Fund. She has signed the American Promise Pledge to advance the For Our Freedom Amendment, which seeks to take big money out of elections.
As chair of the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice, DeVaughan believes that environmental development must coincide with economic development. She views protecting the environment while strengthening the economy as a way to create sustainable jobs. She sees new businesses and retraining of the workforce as key elements to a just transition. DeVaughan supports the Environmental Justice 4 All Act. She also recognizes the challenges of Native American communities and how environmental issues impact their well-being. DeVaughan has also worked to bring attention to flooding issues, even assisting in mutual aid efforts.
DeVaughan believes everyone should have access to quality affordable healthcare. She maintains that access to quality affordable healthcare creates healthy and sustainable communities. Issues she recognizes include provider shortages, infrastructure limitations, and long distances to access care. To combat those issues, she supports services such as telehealth, healthcare workforce programs, and clinics that expand overall access. She believes more can be done in federal investments to support long-term sustainability of hospitals, recovery, and mental health facilities.
DeVaughan understands the need for economic justice and supports workers rights, as well as programs that make everyday life more affordable. She has voiced her support for unions, celebrated the first unionized Starbucks in Appalachia, and praised young workers for organizing and winning their vote to unionize. She supports the Inflation Reduction Act, which puts a cap on insulin for Medicare recipients and places a 15% minimum tax on the largest US corporations. She also looks at funding allowing the IRS to hire 87,000 employees by 2031, as a way for taxpayers to receive their return more quickly.
DeVaughan opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and believes that everyone should be able to make healthcare decisions for themselves. She notes the impact the overturning will have on marginalized communities who already have issues accessing quality healthcare. She participated in events that supported abortion access. DeVaughan has also assisted in fundraising for abortion funds. She believes abortion is healthcare and praises abortion funds and organizations that help increase access by assisting with resources for travel, housing, and procedure expenses.
DeVaughan is facing incumbent Congressman Morgan Griffith (R). Griffith voted against the Inflation Reduction Act. He believes there is a crisis at the border and wants to crack down on illegal immigration. He wants to revitalize coal communities by increasing coal production. He believes the Environmental Protection Agency is an overreaching agency.
Due to her commitment to environmental justice, her support for abortion access and affordable quality healthcare, and workers rights, Taysha DeVaughan is the more progressive candidate in the race for Virginia’s 9th Congressional District.