Washington and Lee to host Commonwealth’s Attorney debate

wl-universityThe two candidates for commonwealth’s attorney for Rockbridge County and the city of Lexington will debate Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m., at Washington and Lee University.

Republican Chris Billias and independent Joshua Elrod will answer questions written primarily by students in W&L professor Kevin Finch’s State and Local Government course. Finch, a journalism professor, previously organized and produced some 24 political debates in Indiana, where he was a television news director.

The debate will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of Sydney Lewis Hall, home of W&L’s School of Law and is expected to last about 30-45 minutes, with time for additional questions to follow. Admission is free and open to the public.Both candidates have ties to W&L, and neither one sees himself as career politician.

Billias, a 1998 W&L law graduate, is the county-city chief ceputy commonwealth’s attorney, a position he has held four of his seven years under current Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert “Bucky” Joyce. He is running as a Republican though the race is officially non-partisan.

Elrod, son of Lexington mayor Mimi Elrod and late W&L President John Elrod, is a Lexington attorney whose practice focuses on criminal defense as well as family law, real estate law, and civil litigation. He ran for commonwealth’s ttorney four years ago, losing to Joyce.

W&L’s journalism department also invited the two candidates for the 24th district seat in  the Virginia House of Delegates to debate. Democrat Ellen Arthur accepted, but incumbent Ben Cline declined, citing a busy schedule and several joint appearances with Arthur to which he was already committed.

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