Today, Virginia Beach businessman David Nygaard announced his candidacy and will join a growing group of Democrats vying for Virginia’s Second District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Representative Scott Taylor.
Nygaard joins five other Democratic primary candidates, adding to the group’s diversity not only as an openly gay man (a first for the office), but as an evangelical leader and former conservative Republican running in a traditionally conservative district.
His path to becoming a candidate for office began over a year ago after enduring business failure, divorce, coming out of the closet, and suffering a near fatal heart attack.
“In this past year I’ve discussed my business failure, bankruptcy and how I rebuilt my small business,” he said in an interview with Outwire757 yesterday. “I came out publicly as a gay man and found a way to reconcile my sexuality and my faith. In this journey, the gay community has been amazingly supportive and welcoming, and I will never forget or take that for granted. I’ve watched the Republicans attempt to repeal marriage equality and as a gay man these are our issues, but there are also other issues just as personal.”
Nygaard went on to to say, “The Republicans have made this personal. That is why I have changed parties, and I am running for Congress.”
As a newly out gay man, marriage equality and LGBTQ rights are important, but not the only issues he advocates. Nygaard’s personal recent experiences inform his stance on many policies. Among his major policy concerns are healthcare, restoring rights of felons, tax reform that would favor small business, banking reform, decriminalization for the medical use of marijuana, and a strong military.
“I’ve watched the Republicans attempt to repeal Obamacare, and scale back Medicaid and Medicare,” he said. “After my heart attack and my son’s heart condition, these programs have provided my family with health insurance we can afford at a time when our lives depended on it.”
“I’ve watched Republicans waffle on restoring felons, like my son who have served their sentences, to full and productive citizens,” he continued. “The recent Republican tax bill did nothing to address small business, but favored big business over the elderly, like my dad who is paying higher taxes so that Apple, Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft can pay less tax on their overseas profits.”
Although Nygaard did not serve in the military (he received a medical waiver), he comes from a long line of U.S. Navy veterans and has one son currently serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I understand the need for a robust national defense” he said. “Today, we face a world in crisis that requires a strong investment in national defense, which is vital to our region economically. We also need softer words that don’t provoke unnecessary challenges, like Theodore Roosevelt advocated. When we face international conflict, it will be many of our neighbors here locally who will place their lives on the line.”
Nygaard joins Gary Hubbard, Elaine Luria, Ernest Porter, Shaun Brown and Karen Mallard in the Democratic primary scheduled for June 12, 2018. The deadline to register as a candidate the in June primary is March 29, 2018 with the general election will be held on November 6, 2018.
To register to vote, please visit the Virginia Dept. of Elections.