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Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger says economy is biggest concern for most constituents

WUSA9 sat down with the Democratic incumbent to discuss a variety of issues facing Virginians one week before the election including abortion and education.

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Editor's Note: This is the first part in a series of candidate profiles leading up to Election Day. Check back daily for additional candidate profiles, including Spanberger's challenger, Yesli Vega. 

The 7th Congressional District in Virginia is one of the most competitive races that could help determine who controls the House after the 2022 midterm elections. The battle between Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger and GOP newcomer Yesli Vega will act as the litmus test on where constituents in the newly re-drawn district stand on political and social issues. 

Ever since they won their respective primaries, the race has been embroiled in controversial remarks, varying political attack ads and disagreements that shut down a scheduled debate. 

Spanberger, a former federal agent who grew up in a law enforcement household, hopes to win her third term. She sat down with WUSA9 to discuss issues that matter to Virginians.

"People come to me on different issues, but the overall arching theme that impacts everyone are challenges related to the economy," Spanberger said when asked what the biggest issue is facing Virginians. 

From rising grocery and gas prices to supply chain disruptions, Spanberger said Congress must do more to ease the burden of the current economic climate. 

She touted her work in Congress this past year and explained what she plans to pursue if re-elected, which includes pushing for legislation that addresses a shortage of truck drivers. Spanberger says the shortage is one of many issues contributing to inflation. 

"We need to recruit more people into that job and keep them there and respect and acknowledge the valuable work that truck drivers do and valuable role they plan in our supply chain," she said. 

Spanberger stressed her role in lowering prescription drug prices, urging the White House to expand short-term oil refinery capacity to reduce gas costs and challenging large meat companies to hopefully bring down meat and poultry prices. 

"I've led bipartisan legislation that passed in the House," she said. "It passed out of committee in the Senate with bipartisan support to crack down on these anti-competitive behaviors that not only impact people at the grocery store negatively, but farmers and producers across the 7th District are seeing their share profits for the products they're selling go down."

The economy is the biggest concern among Virginia Independents and Republicans, according to a recent CNU poll. For Democrats, the main issues are climate change, racial inequality and abortion. 

Spanberger has always supported codifying Roe v. Wade, which President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress to do if Democrats keep control

"I support a woman's right to choose," Spanberger said. "I recognize that decision that women are making about their own health and about their lives are decisions that should live between a woman and her doctor and the government should never be mandating pregnancies."

Despite many Republicans who accuse Democrats of being soft on crime, Spanberger has seemingly stayed ahead of the conversation by advocating for more police department funding. In her words, a safe community needs strong law enforcement. The biggest challenges facing local departments include retention and recruiting. 

"When we're looking at how to keep our communities safe, it is trough important programs that keep localities funded," she said. 

Another issue facing Virginia families is education. She stressed how she supported the American Rescue Plan which helped invest billions of dollars in school. She has also criticized Gov. Glenn Youngkin over his modified education policies that restricts rights of transgender students. 

"Every circumstance is an interesting one and I think that parents and schools and teachers should be working together to make sure kids are facing acceptance and kindness in the best learning environment," Spanberger said.

In what has been a competitive race against Vega, Spanberger has received support from other Democratic leaders and even a few Republican figures. 

When asked if she has considered asking for President Joe Biden's support, Spanberger said, "I'm the one on the ballot and I'm speaking to what I have done. There's no reason to nationalize our race because the work I've done across the 7th district is work I'm proud of."

RELATED: VERIFY: No, Rep. Spanberger has not voted with Pelosi 100% of the time, as campaign ad claims

RELATED: Democrat Abigail Spanberger outspending Republican Yesli Vega 4.5 to 1 in Virginia election

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