Collins announces re-election campaign

Christopher Collins

Christopher Collins, delegate for Virginia’s 29th district, which includes the City of Winchester and the counties of Warren and Frederick, announced his campaign for re-election Tuesday evening at the Hilton Garden in Winchester.

Collins, a Winchester-based defense attorney, was named Freshman Legislator of the Year by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce following his successful 2015 campaign in which he defeated incumbent Del. Mark Berg in the Republican primary. Paperwork filing errors resulted in the demise of the Democratic candidate’s campaign and Collins’ win in the general election win.

Collins, 45, said that job creation ranks high in the kind of work he’s hoping to continue.

“One of my key aspects has always been job creation and education, which is why we work on workforce development and Go Virginia,” Collins said.

Go Virginia works to develop a framework for regions around the state to encourage economic development.

Collins was also the sponsor of the bill that led to the establishment of Winchester’s drug court, which combines the legal system with rehabilitation and treatment programs to serve as alternatives to jail sentences. The drug court also serves Frederick and Clarke counties.

He explained the intersection between the two efforts and how he hopes the drug court, the only one of its kind in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, can help get addicts back to work.

“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so one of the other aspects of workforce development is that we need to do some retraining,” Collins said. “Some of these people got addicted in high schools and never got any training. … We need to have an educated trained workforce. Through the drug court, these individuals get clean, hopefully get trained and break the cycle of addiction.”

Collins also explained his open-door policy when it comes to those he represents. He stressed his desire to be accessible to all residents of the 29th district.

“I have strived for the last year to be as approachable and have (as much of) an open door policy as I could with the constituents,” he said. “I’ve taken dozens of meetings, hundreds of emails from all over the 29th district. I want to continue to be a legislator that citizens can call and be someone down in Richmond who is actually there for them.”

The election will take place on Nov. 7.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com