PEARISBURG, Va. — Giles County attorney Jason Ballard kicked off his campaign to run for the Virginia House of Delegates during an inaugural campaign announcement event held at Friends and Family Restaurant in Pearisburg, Va., on Saturday morning.

Ballard, a civilian trial lawyer with the law firm of Headley Ballard, LLC and a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, intends to run as the Republican candidate for the 12th District House seat currently occupied by Del. Chris Hurst, a Democrat from Montgomery County.

Ballard is presently running unopposed, although it is possible that another Republican candidate could announce between now and the filing deadline in March.

During Saturday’s event, Ballard officially announced his candidacy to the gathering, which was comprised of supporters, family members and members of the general public who had come to the Pearisburg establishment for breakfast.

Ballard has also launched his campaign website:

“The crux of my announcement this morning was, we will bring Southwest Virginia values back to this region,” said Ballard in a later interview on Saturday evening. “For far too long, our voice hasn’t been heard in Richmond.”

Ballard, who was born in Pearisburg and attended school in neighboring Monroe County, W.Va., obtained his B.S. in Political Science at Concord University and earned his law degree at West Virginia University. Ballard’s law career began as an insurance attorney in Charleston, W.Va., but shortly after the events of 9-11 and the United States’ subsequent War on Terror, Ballard left civilian life for military duty, joining the U.S. Army Judge Advocate Generals Corps.

During his time of active duty service, Ballard served two combat tours with the 10th Mountain Division — one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq — earning a Bronze Star for his service in Baghdad. Ballard eventually was selected by the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army to be the senior lawyer for the 160th Special Operations Aviations Regiment, also known as the “Night Stalkers.” During his time with the Night Stalkers, Ballard served two combat deployments to various undisclosed locations in the Middle East as part of a Joint Special Operations Task Force. In order to qualify serving in that airborne unit, Ballard successfully completed a gauntlet of some of the most rigorous and grueling combat training offered by the U.S. Army. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.

“Mr. Hurst has not represented what Southwest Virginia stands for. Part of our campaign is bringing that back to the forefront,” said Ballard, who serves on the Pearisburg Town Council as well as multiple boards and civic committees.

Ballard also serves the community coaching youth basketball, football, baseball and golf.

During the 2019 election, Hurst carried 25.67 percent of the votes cast in Giles County, as opposed to 75.30 percent cast for Hurst’s Republican opponent, T. Forrest Hite.