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Sheriff's deputy to run for Chafin's Senate seat

Sheriff's deputy to run for Chafin's Senate seat

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A Dickenson County sheriff’s deputy announced Thursday that he plans to run for the 38th District state Senate seat previously held by Sen. Ben Chafin.

Jony Baker, a 44-year-old Wise County native, will make his first bid for public office in a special election to fill the seat open after Chafin, 60, died Jan. 1 due to complications of COVID-19.

Gov. Ralph Northam hasn’t yet set a date for the special election. The seat represents Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Pulaski, Russell and Tazewell counties, the cities of Norton and Radford and portions of Smyth, Wise and Montgomery counties.

“I have helped support other people. With the passing of Mr. Chafin — and my strongest condolences go out to his family — it left a spot in Southwest Virginia where we need to be properly represented,” Baker said. “With law enforcement being under attack like it has been and our Second Amendment rights and pro-life, I decided someone needed to step up and carry that banner, and that’s what I decided to do.”

He describes himself as a conservative Republican and pledged to represent the voters.

“People should support me because I will represent them. I won’t turn my back on them. I will listen to the people,” he said. “I’m not a career politician. I’ve worked like everyone else in this district, and I will carry the messages that need to be carried to Richmond and represent them properly.”

Baker has worked in law enforcement for about 20 years, including working for the Pound Police Department, the Department of Corrections at Red Onion State Prison and the Dickenson County Sheriff’s Office. He also operates a security business.

The candidate lives in Nora and enjoys riding horses in his spare time. He is a graduate of Pound High School and is married with four children.

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