Longtime state Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is very serious about running for Virginia governor in the 2021 gubernatorial elections, but he is steadfast on waiting until the rapidly-approaching general elections have concluded to officially announce his campaign.
Despite recently filing paperwork with the state of Virginia to establish a campaign committee, Cox feels the November election, specifically securing another term for President Trump and congressional seats for Republicans, take priority at the moment.
But Cox said he understands how important the governor’s race will ultimately be after taking part in the 2020 regular session and now the ongoing special session on the legislative sidelines.
“I’ve watched for the last eight months what happened when the Democrats control the Governorship, the Senate and the House, so in November that cannot happen,” Cox said in an interview with The Virginia Star.
If elected governor, Cox would bring with him 22 years of experience as a public school teacher and 31 years of experience in the Virginia House of Delegates, with almost a third of those years serving in a leadership position.
“I’ve been both Majority Leader and Speaker [of the House],” Cox said. “I would say during my leadership tenure, you can point to a Virginia that was very, very well run. When I left the speakership, we were the number one state to do business. We left with a $1.2 billion tax cut, and I think you can contrast that to the tax increases we saw from the Democrats this January.”
Cox believes that his tenure as Majority Leader and Speaker, and having to make difficult decisions while working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will be beneficial in his run for the governorship.
The veteran delegate described himself as a hard worker and mentioned that he has a track record of winning elections as well as a robust history of legislative accomplishments to draw from.
Some of those achievements are mentioned above and others include over 120 pieces of legislation for veterans and the establishment of the Virginia Online Network (OVN), an online consortium that offers degrees in high demand fields from Old Dominion University, George Mason University, James Madison University and the Virginia Community College System.
When asked what actions he would undergo if elected in 2021, Cox brought up three main policies: public safety, education and the economy.
In line with the feelings of many other Republican state legislators, Cox emphasized the need for increased public safety while criticizing some of the legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly this year.
Cox argued that some of those bills needed to be rolled back or modified, but did acknowledge that situations with bad cops do occur and should be addressed with reasonable legislation.
In terms of his vision for the economy, Cox talked about achieving economic development through tax cuts and reducing regulations, calling Virginia “way too burdened by regulations.”
Lastly, Cox asserted the need for more practical degrees at Virginia colleges to produce more plumbers, electricians, CDL drivers, etc.
Even though Cox is technically waiting to officially announce his bid for governor, he strongly believes that he has the requisite tools and experience for the job.
“I’m very motivated to run,” Cox said. “I think I have broad base support and I think I can appeal to all segments of the Republican Party.”
Cox Added: “I do think [I] can really identify with folks that are working hard, that are essential workers, and can really relate.”
For the gubernatorial primary, which takes place in June 2021, Cox’s only current competitor would be Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) who announced her bid for governor last February and has been campaigning ever since.
“Virginians should trust me because I have a reputation of doing what I said I would do,” Cox said. “I’ll be very candid with people in a civil way. I’ll tell them exactly where I’m at and I’ll listen. I think that is a quality that we’ve lost a little bit. I certainly have the ability to work across the aisle and get things done. And as Governor you want to be able to do that.”
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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Amadeust. CC BY-SA 3.0.