C.E. “Cliff” Hayes is the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 77. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.

Candidate: C.E. “Cliff” Hayes

Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 77

Party: Democratic

Website: cliffhayes.com

Biography: Del. Cliff Hayes, Jr. was born and raised in the 77th District. He attended Oscar Smith High School where he was the SCA president and excelled in sports. He was eventually recognized by the Tigers and inducted into the Oscar Smith Athletic Hall of Fame.

Hayes earned a baseball scholarship and played for Norfolk State University where he graduated in computer information systems. He obtained his master of management degree in business administration from Cambridge College. He furthered his studies by earing a certification as a chief information officer at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, he earned a certificate from Harvard University in innovation in government through information technology. Finally, he has earned a certificate in cyber security through Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hayes is married to the lovely Kecia Brothers Hayes, and they have two daughters: Felecia is a graduate student at the College of William and Mary, and Tonecia is a third-year law student at the University of Maryland. The Hayes family resides in Greenbrier.

Why should Virginians re-elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?

Virginians should re-elect me to the Virginia House of Delegates because I’ve proven to be an effective leader in the legislature. Since the last election cycle, I’ve successfully gotten Virginia law changed to authorize offshore wind and create enough clean energy to power greater than 600,000 homes. In addition, Virginia has become only the second state to provide comprehensive consumer data protection thanks to a bill that I sponsored. Because of the law, Virginians have a right to know what personal identifiable information is being collected about them when they are online. The bill also gives consumers the right to say no to companies sharing and selling their personal information. These are just two of the successes I’ve had as your delegate for the 77th District.

What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?

When elected, I want to continue fighting for advances in historic legislation such as access to affordable, quality health care for 500,000 families. Also, I’ll fight to bring Virginia’s teacher salaries above the national average. In addition, I’ll continue the fight to retain good paying jobs to the 77th District and invest in economic development, including jobs for the tech sector, special skills, and trades.

What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?

The absolute most important issue facing the citizens of the 77th District is combating the invisible enemy – COVID-19. As we’ve seen in the past year, this pandemic can continue to paralyze our children’s education, access to the doctors, suffocate businesses, contribute to loss of lives, and fellowshipping with one another; however, we also have the ability to overcome it, if we adhere to commonsense rules and guidelines from our health professionals.

What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?

As the only state with a governor who is a physician, I believe Virginia has fared pretty well in response to the pandemic. There is a careful balance between making sure that the Virginia economy continues to roar while we protect the 8.6 million lives here in our state. This virus is novel, so we had never experienced it before. Considering the variants that continue to mutate with this virus as it threatens us with another surge, I’m not sure that I would change the strategy that we’ve employed. As sworn leaders to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of Virginians, we cannot recklessly put measures in place to danger lives.

What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?

The top three issues created by the novel coronavirus in the 77th District are:

  1. Barriers to educating our kids
  2. Strained resources to our hospital and health care facilities
  3. Keeping the economy afloat while protecting jobs

The ways to address these issues are many:

  1. We’ve got to make sure that all persons, including students, wear masks while indoors at our schools. We not only must protect the children, but we must protect the more vulnerable workers that provide support for our great schools. In addition, I urge everyone eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves, as well as their neighbors.
  2. We need to keep our hospitals available for our priority patients that need critical care. If the hospitals and doctor offices are over-burdened with COVID-related patients, many more people will suffer. We need to follow the state’s orders so that we can all get the virus behind us.
  3. The best way to protect the economy during this pandemic is to work collaboratively to get the virus behind us. It’s painful to have businesses operate a half throttle, with many employees laid off from work. But, I can tell you by personal experience, it’s even more painful to lose a loved one or to watch them suffer from the affects of this dreaded disease.