On November 2nd, citizens in Virginia’s 26th District will have the opportunity to vote for their representative to the House of Delegates. The man currently representing District 26 is Republican Tony Wilt, who is running for reelection.

However, newcomer and lifelong resident of Rockingham County, Bill Helsley, has recently entered the scene as Wilt’s Democratic challenger.

Commemorated as a “champion of the valley” by his supporters, Helsley has been heavily invested in the Rockingham community.

Bill claims that he understands the experience of the working class in a way many political candidates can’t. His grandparents lost their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to make way for Shenandoah National Park, and neither of his parents graduated high school. Bill’s father Noah was the longest serving police officer in the Town of Elkton, and his mother Goldie worked in a sewing factory and served on Elkton's Planning Commission.

Based on their experience in the community and their own upbringing during the Great Depression, Bill’s parents knew their children would need two things to succeed in life - a strong work ethic and a good education.

Despite his outsider status, Helsley has already amassed major support from across the county.