Legislator of the Week: Virginia Delegate Kathy Byron

This week, ALEC and FreedomWorks introduce Virginia Delegate Kathy Byron. Delegate Byron has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 22nd legislative district, since being elected in 1997. Kathy Byron serves on the Board of Directors at ALEC and is on the Communication and Information Taskforce. Kathy is the Vice-chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee and House Science and Technology Committee. Delegate Byron also serves on various boards and organizations in the Commonwealth including the Virginia Workforce Development Board, Tobacco Community Revitalization, Unemployment Compensation Commission, Joint Commission on Science and Technology, and Manufacturing Development Commission. Kathy married Jack Byron in 1973, and currently has three children and five grandchildren. She and her husband owned and operated a small business together for over 26 years.

 Why did you run for office?

In my initial campaign, I focused on improving the state’s business climate and growing our economy.  As the owner of a small business, I believed that government at all levels was placing an unnecessary burden on businesses and stifling economic growth as a result.

In your view, what is the biggest issue facing Virginia?

For Virginia, it continues to be our ability to remain competitive and grow our economy.  Having disproportionately relied upon federal government growth to bolster our economy, we have made prosperity much more difficult for regions of the Commonwealth that do not have high numbers of government employees.  From our tax structure, to our regulatory bureaucracy, to our efforts to develop our workforce, we have to remain vigilant to advance economic growth – and in fighting efforts that prevent that growth.

If you could “wave your magic wand,” what would you like to see immediately implemented in Virginia?

If I could wave a magic wand, I would repeal our archaic Certificate of Public Need laws.  That one action alone would greatly reduce the costs of healthcare for millions of Virginians, advance economic growth, and increase individual choice and freedom.

Do you serve on any committees, if so which committees and why? How do you think you have impacted them?

I serve on many committees, boards, and commissions.  I currently chair the Broadband Advisory Council, where I believe we have made great – albeit deliberate – progress toward expanding broadband access to regions of Virginia that desperately need it.  I also chair the Health Insurance Reform Commission, which has worked to mitigate the (costly) effects of the Affordable Care Act on Virginians.  And, I have been a longtime member of the Board of Workforce Development, where I have focused on efforts to prepare Virginians for successful careers and make our state more attractive to manufacturing.

What project or law are you most proud of?

I worked for several years to create our state’s innovative Workforce Opportunity Grants, a program that places students on a course for certified and/or credentialed education. I’m most proud of this initiative because not only does it benefit the entire state by providing a stronger workforce, it changes the lives of those who take advantage of the program.

How has being a small business owner impacted you as a legislator?

The effects have been tremendous.  My experience as a small business owner has guided me through myriad issues related to taxation, regulation, and the size and scope of government.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people in government have such limited exposure to the real world of meeting a payroll or building a business.

How has ALEC helped you as a legislator?

The ability to meet with other legislators and learn about things that are working in other states is invaluable. Over the years, we’ve been able to pass many initiatives in Virginia that had their origin at ALEC.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself that’s not in your official bio?

I am the proud head of a decidedly mixed household, with two dogs, Max and Jake, and one cat, Henri, who are the best of friends – and very active.