In August of 2015, Alison Parker, 24-year-old WDBJ7 reporter, was shot and killed while she was on a live morning broadcast in Roanoke, Virginia.
She and cameraman Adam Ward were killed by a former reporter named Vester Lee Flanagan II, who videotaped the shooting, and posted it on Facebook and Twitter before he killed himself.
Her boyfriend, Chris Hurst, who also worked with WDBJ7 as an evening anchor, quit his job to pursue political office. Since her death, he has been an advocate for mental health care.
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In an op-ed for The Daily Beast, Hurst wrote, “In 2015, my girlfriend Alison Parker was executed on live TV. Now, I’m leaving my career at the station where she worked to fight for the causes she and I value the most.”
He continued, “Going into the newsroom each day began to numb me to the humanity on which I was supposed to be reporting. The only way I could read news of murders, protests, hatred, and loss was to insulate myself from that human emotion. Even as I connected with people in a new, profound way on TV, I was becoming a shell. The man Alison loved began to fray at the edges.”
On Tuesday, he unseated three-time Republican incumbent Joseph Yost in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Yost was backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Hurst won with 54% of the vote. This successfully flipped the House of Delegates from red to blue.
BREAKING: Chris Hurst (D) has unseated Del. Joseph Yost (R) in Blacksburg's #HD12. Dem pickup. Brings Dems to +12, need 5 more for control.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Hurst was backed by gun-control groups but it wasn’t his main campaign issue. He focused his campaign on education, healthcare, and the environment.
Hurst’s victory comes two days after the mass shooting in Texas. Many gun control advocates see this as proof as a possibility for progress on the gun crisis in America.
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