Eileen Bedell, the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 7th congressional district, visited University of Richmond to discuss healthcare, the minimum wage and other political issues on Tuesday.
Bedell, whom the College Democrats hosted in the Westhampton Deanery, addressed matters that affect the entire nation as well as issues that particularly apply to the 7th district, which includes the university.
Bedell said she found fair representation in Congress crucial, as she believed members of Congress must be able to represent both those they agree with and those they do not.
"[Representatives] have to listen because your job is to take the information and requests and the needs of the people you are representing," she said. "But also, in order to accomplish your job, you need to get legislation enacted that will then meet those needs.”
Aaron Harawa, vice president of the College Democrats, said he admired Bedell's flexibility and desire to represent her constituents.
“I think it was very interesting to see the way that she was willing to be flexible on different viewpoints," Harawa said. “Issues are so diverse that to actually be a successful representative you have to be a person who updates their prior information, so I thought that was a very interesting trait that we don’t often see on display.”
Bedell responded to questions about increasing healthcare costs, debt and minimum wage.
Bedell said she believed that the minimum wage should be raised. Her rationale is that, until more jobs can be created, citizens need a way to be able to provide for a family.
“I find it sort of interesting that we wouldn’t allow our kids to accept less than $10 an hour for babysitting and yet we seem appalled by the idea of raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour,” she said.
Jeremy Etelson, president of the College Democrats, said he thought Bedell’s visit was a success.
“We were very honored to have a congressional candidate speak tonight, especially in an election that is so important and so many people care about,” Etelson said. “I thought [Bedell] had a very powerful personality and a very deliberative approach to policy that I haven’t seen before.”
Bedell urged people to vote in the upcoming election.
“We need to remind Virginians that a lot of these issues I can’t affect,” Bedell said. “You have to go next year and vote for your delegate or our senator who is up for reelection. It’s going to be important for us to remember that, in Virginia, you have to vote every year to make a difference.”
Contact reporter Sydney Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org