Spotlight on House District 58: Matchup between Willett and Shaia

Republican Riley Shaia is trying to unseat Democrat Rodney Willett in House District 58.
Published: Oct. 6, 2023 at 3:30 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - They both like to tout the number of doors knocked on in western Henrico County.

Republican Riley Shaia is trying to unseat Democrat Rodney Willett in House District 58.

“I really didn’t love what I saw. I’ve been working in health and wellness my entire adult life, and I feel like the health and wellness of our community isn’t as good as I’d like it to be,” said Shaia.

Shaia is a former physical therapist turned small business owner.

She says the state is in the middle of dealing with a mental health and substance abuse crisis.

Shaia says economic forces are hurting Virginian families, so she backs cutting regulations and taxes.

The mother says affordable daycare is a priority, if elected, along with helping an education system reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID learning loss is real and we need to be a lot flow laser focused on how we bring our children back from this.,” said Shaia.

Meanwhile, Willett says he’s laser-focused on helping children inside the classroom.

He’s served in the House of Delegates since 2020 and says school funding is a major issue he’s hearing while on the campaign trail.

“We’re underfunding our schools, in particular teachers. Virginia teachers are almost $7,000 below the national pay average. We’ve got to address that,” said Willett.

Willett comes from a family of educators and worked in the tech world before turning to politics.

If sent back to the statehouse, he says he will protect current abortion law and will try to move the needle even more to prevent gun violence.

“Both things need a lot of time protecting; in terms of the gun safety, we’ve passed gun safety laws but also abortion access,” said Willett.

The Virginia Public Access Project indicates that based on redistricting, the race for House District 58 leans Democrat.