Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega was inspired to be a law enforcement officer after a friend was killed and her brother was injured, victims of an MS-13 gang initiation, and she wants to bring an immigration-focused law-and-order approach if she’s elected to Congress. She’s seeking the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District.
She shared her top priorities with The Virginia Star: “First and foremost, it’s immigration and border security.”
She thinks that Democrats have purposely left the U.S. border with Mexico open so that more Democrat-leaning people will come into the country. Vega said that’s harming American communities with an influx of crime and drugs.
“When you look at what’s happening at the southern border, it’s about creating new Democratic voters and power for the Democrat Party. They don’t care about the record rate of drug overdoses that their policies have caused. They don’t care about the women and children that are being victimized,” Vega said.
Vega said to solve the problem by enforcing existing immigration law.
“First of all, we’re a nation of laws, right? I’m a law enforcement officer. So my job is to enforce the law,” she said.
She said that President Donald Trump handed the Biden administration “the safest and most secure U.S. border we’ve ever seen,” but that Biden’s policies have made a crisis at the border. She wants to revisit the U.S.’ agreements with countries whose citizens are migrating to America. She also wants to make sure that even legal immigration allows Americans to have the first, second, and third shot at jobs. Vega’s parents immigrated to the U.S. during the El Salvadoran civil war; Vega and her siblings were born in the U.S.
Her other top issues are ending government spending that is driving inflation and addressing the labor shortage.
“In my capacity as supervisor, I’ve always asked for data and for facts before making any decisions. And when we look at the unemployment rate versus the actual participation rate of people that are actively looking for work, the contrast is mind-blowing. And so, this administration is literally incentivizing people not to work,” she said.” When you have an over-supply of trillions of dollars, or fake money injected into the economy, you create the double whammy of labor shortage and inflation.”
As one of three Republicans on Prince William County’s board of eight supervisors, Vega has been at the center of partisan disputes on the board. In 2020, Vega and the other Republican supervisors walked out of a sensitivity presentation. In 2021, the three supervisors complained that one of their Democratic counterparts used county law enforcement to intimidate a conservative resident.
Other GOP Contenders
For the GOP primary on June 21, Vega is facing former law enforcement officer State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania,) who previously ran for lieutenant governor in Virginia and is well known in the district and across the commonwealth. She’s also facing newcomer Derrick Anderson, a military veteran who is so far leading the fundraising battle across the most recent two quarters. Stafford County Supervisor Crystal Vanuch is also running, and her ability to loan her campaign $400,000 has made her financially competitive.
The Virginia Star’s Publisher John Fredericks has asked the four candidates if they would support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) for leadership or Speaker of the House. In interviews on The John Fredericks Show only Vega and Reeves have said they would oppose McCarthy.
Vega told The Star her strength is reaching out to overlooked voters, which she used working to elect Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“I was the chairwoman for the Latinos for Youngkin Coalition, where we successfully brought out 54 percent of the Hispanic vote. You know, my thing is, you can’t expect to win if you don’t show up. Half of the battle is won simply by showing up, and so for a very long time, I guess we can say the Republican Party hasn’t had a presence within certain communities, and we’ve allowed the Left to define use and to hijack, you know, certain topics,” she said.”
“So when you have somebody that’s actually willing to go to uncharted territory to engage, you know, voters that wouldn’t traditionally consider a Republican candidate, let alone switching over to the Republican Party, that gives me the edge, and there’s nobody else vying for the nomination that can do that. Nobody can say that they can improve upon the numbers that Governor Youngkin, Winsome, and Jason put on this last cycle. Only I can do that,” she said.
She noted that she won in a Democrat-leaning county during a Northern Virginia blue wave in 2019.
“I didn’t do that by shying away from, you know, our conservative values or our message. I did that by championing them and by talking to people about the solutions that I wanted to bring forward,” Vega said.
Whoever wins the nomination will have to face Spanberger, a moderate Democrat in a swing district that may lean Democratic. A former CIA officer, Spanberger has worked to combat progressive defund-the-police messaging and emphasized wins for the 7th CD in recent congressional spending. She has also voted “Present” instead of voting in favor of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-VA-12) for Speaker of the House.
Vega said Spanberger is headed for certain defeat and, as a result, is backpedaling.
“See, this is the thing with Abigail Spanberger is that she is the worst kind of elected official, in my opinion. One who votes to support a far-left-wing agenda in Washington, yet comes back to the district and pretends to be a moderate during election season, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here,” Vega said.
She said that Spanberger has decided to stay silent instead of speaking up for small businesses during COVID-19, for children during mask mandates, or for the police.
“Our strategy is talking about her voting record and how the failed policies that she supported have negatively impacted folks in the 7th district, and that she is not fooling anybody anymore,” Vega said. “They are well-informed of what she’s been doing, and her time is up.”
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