Yates rallies support as election looms

Posted: November 4, 2013

The Winchester Star

Larry Yates, independent candidate for Virginia's 29th District House of Delegates, speaks Sun. afternoon at a campaign rally outside the Winchester-Frederick County Judicial Center. (Photo by Scott Mason)

WINCHESTER — Larry Yates, an Independent candidate running for the 29th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, held a pre-election rally on Sunday to encourage his supporters to finish off the race with a “bang” and bring home a win in Tuesday’s election.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Yates said after the rally. “Right now, there’s more attention on my campaign than Dr. [Mark] Berg’s.

“For a long time, [Berg] didn’t take me seriously as an opponent,” he added about his Republican opponent. “Now I think he does.”

About 40 people, many holding signs in support of Yates, attended the event, which was held outside the Winchester-Frederick County Joint Judicial Center on North Kent Street.

Yates reiterated his stance on supporting the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia and marriage equality, while vowing to work with others in the House of Delegates.

He encouraged his constituents to testify in Richmond on issues about which they are passionate and knowledgeable and gave his promise that he was ready to serve the community in any way possible.

After the rally, Yates said he supports both big government and small government, depending on the situation.

Yates, 63, has a small publishing business, but for most of his career he has worked with nonprofit groups, including Witness to Innocence, the Virginia Housing Coalition and Virginia Organizing. That work has led him to lobby the General Assembly in the past.

Star Tannery resident Katy Pitcock, 59, said Yates has a “clear understanding of local politics and how the Virginia legislature works.”

She said Berg, a retired physician, on the other hand, is more focused on getting votes by being an active opponent of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which, she said, he can do little about.

“[Yates] can actually do what he says he can do instead of promising something he has nothing to do with,” she said.

Jack Jackson, 77, of Winchester, said he believes Yates when he says he is “here to serve” the area.

“At all levels, an awful lot of politicians ... don’t buy into that wholeheartedly,” he said. “He really believes what he said up there at the podium.”

Jackson said Yates’ knowledge of legislation will help him. “There’s not too much of a learning curve if he’s elected,” he said.

The 29th District includes Winchester, part of Frederick County and a small portion of Warren County — 58 percent of the district’s voters are in Frederick County, 29 percent in Winchester and 12 percent in Warren County, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

The seat is currently held by longtime incumbent Del. Beverly Sherwood, R-Frederick County, who lost the GOP nomination to Berg in the Republican primary in June.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com