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Martin announces for House
Will challenge Marshall, Miller for delegate seat
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Mary Martin announces her candidacy Wednesday for the House of Delegates. (Bulletin photo)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

By SAM JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Mary Martin chose a spot close to where she grew up to announce her candidacy Wednesday for the 14th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in the Nov. 5 election.

“This is home,” Martin said, standing in front of the Irisburg Ruritan Building, about a mile from the tobacco farm where she grew up. “Everybody in every one of these houses on this road, I grew up with.”

Martin, 61, was the Ridgeway District representative on the Henry County School Board from 2004-2007 and ran for the board’s at-large seat in 2007, but lost to Joe DeVault, the current school board chairman.

With the intention to offer 14th District voters a choice outside the Democratic and Republican parties, Martin filed to run as an independent. She will run against incumbent Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, and Danville Democrat Gary Miller.

Martin referred to herself as a conservative.

“There’s a difference between being a conservative and being a Republican,” she said, noting that she had disagreed with Marshall on some of the legislative issues he supported, such as the Educator Fairness Act and the transportation bill advanced by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Martin said the transportation bill was the “largest tax increase in the history of Virginia.” She noted that the bill had “not one thing” that benefited Southside Virginia.

She said the Educator Fairness Act was “anything but fair to teachers.”

Passed in January, the act extended the probationary window for teachers, allowed for an extended mentoring period for new teachers, and provided “a definition of incompetence to include one or more unsatisfactory performance evaluations” to streamline the grievance process against teachers, according to a release from Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office.

The act did “not one thing to encourage teachers to come to Virginia, (and) not one thing to encourage them to stay in Virginia,” Martin added.

Martin also said if elected, she plans to fight rising utility bills, saying she had testified “at least eight times” before the State Corporation Commission against rate increases by Appalachian Power (APCo) in recent years. She said she now hopes that she can “sit down with both sides of the aisle” and change legislation she said allowed the company to raise rates “dramatically” since the General Assembly passed two bills to reregulate utility rates in 2007.

She also said she hopes to ensure that conflict of interest laws for state representatives are enforced so delegates who have business interests in areas where legislation is considered are not allowed to vote. “I know they have (conflict of interest laws),” she said, “they just don’t abide by them.”

Martin said she opposes lifting the state’s 30-year-ban on uranium mining, and she hopes to eliminate much of the “red tape” that prevents small businesses from operating.

Martin said she would avoid running a negative campaign, preferring to run on the issues. “You need to run on your record,” she said. “If you don’t think you can run on your record, you probably shouldn’t be running.”

Martin said she plans to run a “door-to-door” campaign to earn support, saying she expects to earn funding for her campaign “very slowly. If you have to have a half million dollars to win an election, you didn’t win it; you bought it.”

She lives in the Ridgeway District of Henry County and is the manager of Tarheel Tobacco on Commonwealth Boulevard.


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