Republican Shak Hill says he decided to run for Congress after Rep. Barbara Comstock’s July vote against federal legislation that would have prevented defense spending from funding medical care for transgender troops.
More generally, the 53-year-old Air Force vet said he thinks Comstock, R-10th, campaigns on conservative issues but then governs in a more liberal way, noting she’s received failing grades from several conservative organizations.
He also takes issue with Comstock’s decision, during the 2016 presidential race, to call for then-candidate Donald Trump to drop out after news of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced. In that video footage, Trump is heard making profane comments about women.
Hill, on the other hand, said he wants to move Trump’s “America First” agenda forward.
He believes in building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, saying he wants to end the concept of “anchor babies,” the idea that undocumented parents have children in the U.S. to try to get citizenship themselves.
Hill also wants to repeal Obamacare and is concerned about federal spending.
“We have to rein in federal spending,” he said. “We just have to.”
Those are among the reasons Hill, 53, has is pursuing a longshot bid against Comstock in the June 12 primary for the 10th Congressional District, which includes Manassas, Manassas Park and part of Prince William County.
The winner will face one of a six candidates vying for the Democratic nomination the same day.
The race in Virginia’s 10th District is one of the most closely watched in the country because it’s one of about two dozen Republican seats Democrats consider flappable this fall. Cook’s Political Report lists the district as a “toss-up” and ranks it D+1, meaning Democrats are considered to have a slightly stronger shot at winning the seat.
Hill is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and became a decorated combat pilot who flew missions in Operation Desert Storm and all over the world. He now runs inspirational publisher Guiding Light Books LLC and is the owner of Guiding Light University LLC, a web-based educational platform.
Comstock declined an interview for this article. Susan Falconer, her campaign manager, issued a statement in which she called Hill a “perennial failed candidate.”
“The congresswoman has a strong record of accomplishment that is improving the lives of men, women and children in our country, and she has delivered on common sense conservative results,” Falconer wrote. “She is the only candidate in this race who has voted to cut our taxes and increase our take-home pay and grow jobs. She is the only candidate in this race who has promised to fully fund our military and voted to do so and roll back the sequester cuts. She is the only candidate in this race to have passed two MS-13 anti-gang bills on a bipartisan basis that the president has already committed to signing.”
Hill is unequivocal about his support for the Second Amendment, noting that no one blames cars when they’re used in terror attacks.
The gun is not the problem in the case of mass shootings, he said.
“The problem is the mentality of the culture of death,” he said.
To fix that problem, America needs to strengthen the nuclear family, specifically by bringing back the traditional role of the father, he said.
One way Hill and his family tried to help families was by being foster parents. From 1997 to 2013, they fostered 46 children, eventually adopting four of them.
In this way, they gave the children a “loving home while the parents worked on skills needed to become proper parents,” according to Hill’s campaign website.
They started fostering because they were unable to have more children on their own. When Hill’s wife, Robin, was pregnant with their second child 25 years ago, she had a rare form of bone cancer, and doctors recommended termination of the pregnancy. But being pro-life, they refused. Today, that son is in the Army, and the family counts six children total.
The Hill family also received the Virginia Volunteer Family of the Year Award in 2013, presented by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). Shak Hill has been on numerous boards as well as being an elected member of the city council in West Melbourne, Florida.
In terms of campaign finances, Hill, who previously ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2014, said he has raised close to $250,000, and had nearly $80,000 on hand.
For comparison, Comstock had raised $2.8 million as of March 31, and had $1.8 million on hand, according to federal records.
Reach Jonathan Hunley at firstname.lastname@example.org.