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Longtime SWVa. del. Terry Kilgore faces challenger, first time in 10 years

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A long-time Southwest Virginia delegate has a challenger for the first time in a decade. On Monday night, Democrat Alicia Kallen announced she's making a run for the seat that's been held by Republican, Terry Kilgore for 24 years.

Kallen is hoping to bring a fresh perspective to this race. The 26-year-old is the daughter of Greg Kallen, a former Wise County Commonwealth's attorney.

She formally announced her candidate at Jonesville Middle School in Lee County. She said she's running on two big issues: healthcare and education.

As an employee at Norton Community Hospital, Kallen said she sees first hand how many people struggle to pay their medical bills. Her solution is to get Medicaid expanded in the Commonwealth.

News 5 also asked Kallen what's her strategy to gain support in a predominantly Republican region.

"Healthcare, education -- Democrats and Republicans have kids who go to school," Kallen said. "Democrats and Republicans go to the hospital. So I think by being able to touch on those issues, then that's how we'll get support moving forward."

The incumbent, Republican Terry Kilgore, has been in the House of Delegates since 1993. He said he welcomes any opponents, calling it part of the democratic process.

Kilgore said he stands by his record in the House. He is also the chairman of the Southwest Virginia Health Authority, which was tasked with deciding whether or not the proposed merger between Mountain States and Wellmont benefits our region.

The committee approved the Cooperative Agreement, which Kilgore said is another example of his dedication to improving rural health.

"As part of that program, we keep our rural hospitals, make sure Lee County gets a hospital," Kilgore said. "And also in education, just this year alone, we stepped up since our coal counties were losing enrollment. We stepped up and gave an additional payment."

The First District seat represents Lee County, Scott County, part of Wise County and the city of Norton. Alicia Kallen and Terry Kilgore will face off in the general election on November 7th.

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