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Cline preps for Democrat-led House

Del. Ben Cline, R-Lexington, shakes hands with Krystina Robinson and her daughter Brynnlee, 1, in the rain outside the polling station at Strasburg High School on Tuesday morning. Cline made stops in Front Royal and Strasburg during a final push in the 6th Congressional District seat race. Rich Cooley/Daily

Del. Ben Cline, R-Lexington, won Tuesday’s election for Virginia’s 6th Congressional District but knows he will encounter a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

Cline, who defeated his Democratic Party challenger Jennifer Lewis, of Waynesboro, by roughly 20 percent, according to unofficial results, maintained Republican control over the district. Cline succeeds longtime U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, who won election to his first term in 1992 fending off Democrat James R. Oun. Cline is serving his eighth term representing the 24th District in the House of Delegates.

“It’s gonna be a very different scene from Richmond,” Cline said by phone Wednesday. “Republicans are a majority in the chamber, and we have a long tradition of reaching a bipartisan consensus when we work on bills, and so I would to try and do that in Washington (D.C.) but (Congresswoman) Nancy Pelosi is the likely speaker (of the House) and, given her track record, I’m not optimistic about much bipartisanship in the House.

“(Pelosi) has long championed higher taxes, more government intervention and more regulations that will kill this economic boom we’re enjoying,” Cline added. “So I’m hopeful, but I’m prepared to fight against any effort to put roadblocks in the way of this great economy we’ve got going.”

Cline acknowledged he faces challenges as a member of the minority party in the House.

Ben Cline

“I know that if the Democrats want to pass bipartisan legislation dealing with issues important to the district, I am prepared to work with them, such as I-81, agriculture issues, building our manufacturing sector,” Cline said. “But, if all they want to do is investigate (President Donald) Trump and launch impeachment hearings against him and his administration or Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh, then I’m prepared to fight them every step of the way, ’cause that’s not progress.”

Cline said he would oppose any new, “frivolous investigation designed to impede the administration’s efforts to drain the swamp,” referring to one of Trump’s presidential campaign slogans.

“Now I would like to continue to see a more balanced investigation that involves the role that political partisans within the FBI and other agencies worked to help the (Hillary) Clinton campaign during the campaign because I don’t think we’ve gotten all the answers from those questions that have been raised as a result of Bob Goodlatte’s Judiciary Committee hearings, and so I would hope that those would continue,” Cline said.

Cline also voiced support for any renewed effort to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

“I’ve long advocated for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare with more market-based solutions,” Cline said. “That’s in the opposite direction from my opponent’s position and Nancy Pelosi’s position.

“This district just rejected that … policy direction, and so I’m not interested in anything that further advances or cements in place Obamacare and all of the cost-hiking mandates and regulations that have come with it,” Cline said.

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