MEET Starla Kiser
Why I’m Running
I grew up on a small farm in Dickenson County. My father was a teacher and farmer. My uncles and grandfathers were coal miners. I wasn’t born into a wealthy family and I didn't have things handed to me, but I learned valuable lessons from my family and community.
I was an outsider when I first started in medical school at Harvard, but I soon realized that my Appalachian upbringing is what prepared me for success. Our citizens possess an important attribute- grit. We are self-sufficient and adaptable. We are authentic, and see through inauthenticity in others. We also put our faith in God, which keeps us grounded and focused on what really matters, building up our communities and not just our own legacy. It’s time we capitalize on our area’s strengths and realize our own power as we steer our area toward the future.
Living in cities across the country also taught me that there is just as much intelligence and talent in our coalfields as there are on the coasts. Knowing this, I moved back to the area nearly two years ago with a dream to start my own health care business. I wanted to start a clinic and build medical technology with smart young people from my hometown, and help other entrepreneurs in the area build companies. I wanted to show other young professionals who have left the area that they can take the leap and move back home, and all of us work together to change the narrative of SWVA.
I am running because I truly believe in the people of SWVA and want this area to thrive. It is up to us, all our citizens, to re-write the story of SWVA. I legitimately believe that we can transform our area to its own city on a hill; to a place that is renowned- not for its poverty or drug use, as the media likes to portray- but for its hard-working, intelligent, and gritty people, for its beautiful landscape, and for its transformative technology and innovative industries. I want to show the rest of the state and even the country, what I already know about my community.
Starla Kiser MD, MPA
Democratic Candidate for State Delegate, Virginia House District 4