Obenshain running for re-election

Mark Obenshain

Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, announced Tuesday that he is seeking a fourth term in the General Assembly.

Obenshain cited a desire to continue working on issues that matter most to him — stopping human sex trafficking, better schools and overall public safety issues — as his reasons for running for re-election.

“I’ve got the most beautiful district in Virginia,” Obenshain said in an interview Tuesday. “I love representing the Shenandoah Valley. In addition to its beauty, we’ve got a hard working population, a very positive business environment, robust agricultural economy, and the diversity of the district is incredible.”

Obenshain represents the 26th Senate District, which includes Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County and Warren, Shenandoah, Page and Rappahannock counties.

Obenshain narrowly lost the election for attorney general in 2013.

Obenshain listed his leadership in passing an amendment to the state constitution that makes it harder for government to seize land from property owners under eminent domain as one of his chief accomplishments. He also touted a recent law that requires a “real photo ID” for those voting in person.

Obenshain said he is encouraged by the progress of a constitutional amendment he is proposing that would make it easier to establish charter schools in Virginia. The proposal, which passed the Senate last week, would give the State Board of Education power to authorize charter schools within local school systems, a power that now is reserved for local school boards.

Some critics have questioned the constitutionality of the amendment and others have condemned charter schools for competing with public schools for state and local funding.

But Obenshain said charter schools can ensure “children have access to the best possible education and the opportunities that affords.”

Obenshain added: “Fortunately in the valley, we have pretty outstanding school systems. I think we really need to jump start our charter schools in Virginia, and I’ve fought hard for that and other school reforms.”

A constitutional amendment requires approval by two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly with an election in between, plus passage by voters in a referendum.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com