In August 2015, reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were killed during a live news report in Virginia. Two years later, Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, has been elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates after running as a progressive Democrat. In doing so, Hurst defeated the Republican incumbent, Joseph Yost, who happens to have been endorsed by the NRA.
Hurst, who was also a journalist at the time of Parker’s murder, has pledged to fight for increased gun control measures. His promise follows up upon an August 2017 interview with the Huffington Post, in which he detailed the “existential crisis” that led him to move away from he and Parker’s Roanoke, Virginia home and pursue a career as a lawmaker:
[This] prompted what Hurst describes as an “existential crisis” for him as he struggled to find the right way to move forward. He knew he needed to leave Roanoke, which haunted him with memories of his life with Parker. But he wanted to stay in southwest Virginia, where he had grown to love the people whose outpouring of support so moved him after Parker’s death.
Accordingly, Hurst decided that he was meant to represent a district in southwest Virginia, to which he says he owes “a debt of gratitude that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay.”
Although Hurst’s election strikes a symbolic note, it must be noted that Hurst has not expressed intent to ban guns in general or any type of weapon in particular. He’s actually a gun owner but believes that “modest increases” — including universal background checks to close gun show loopholes — should be made to regulate firearms.
Hurst’s election also arrives, sadly, in a timely manner. Although his proposal for increased background checks wouldn’t have prevented Devin Patrick Kelly from purchasing the gun that he allegedly used in the Sutherland Springs massacre, Hurst’s election can only continue a necessary discussion after the news cycle inevitably closes. In other Virginia news, Tuesday night also saw Danica Roem became the first trans woman to be elected to Virginia state legislature.