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GOP House candidates: Jobs still No. 1 issue
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Shown at Saturday’s grand opening of the Henry County/Martinsville GOP office are (from left) incumbent Del. Danny Marshall; state Sen. Bill Stanley; Martinsville Republican Party Chairman Jeff Williams; and 16th House District candidate Les Adams of Chatham. (Bulletin photo)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

By GINNY WRAY - Bulletin Staff Writer

Del. Danny Marshall first ran for public office in 2001. Since then, he said the No. 1 issue with voters has not changed — it is jobs and improving the economy.

Marshall, R-Danville, spoke Saturday before the opening of the Henry County-Martinsville GOP Headquarters on U.S. 220 South.

Party faithfuls gathered for a grand opening cookout before Marshall, the 14th House District incumbent; Les Adams, a Chatham Republican running for the 16th House District seat; and state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Glade Hill, were to canvass voters for the Republican ticket in the Nov. 5 election.

Marshall said in an interview that despite the fact that Martinsville was bumped from its No. 1 spot in the state’s unemployment rankings in July, “it’s always about jobs” and people trying to provide for their families.

He recalled going to a plant closing in Bassett several years ago with former governor and now U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.

“You could see the fear in their faces,” Marshall said of the displaced workers. That scene has stayed with him ever since, he added.

To try and help, Marshall said he has been appointed to almost all the House committees that relate to jobs, including Commerce and Labor; Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources; and Counties, Cities and Towns. He also asked to be on the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, Virginia Business Commission and other groups, he said.

“We’re making some progress,” Marshall said, mentioning the recent $6 million expansion of Commonwealth Laminating & Coating at the Patriot Centre industrial park in Henry County, which is expected to create 60 jobs.

Also, funds have been earmarked to help develop the Commonwealth Crossing Business Park in Henry County and Berry Hill industrial park in Pittsylvania County, he said, adding that those projects are “priming the pump” for future growth.

Adams also said jobs and improving the economy is the key issue people mention to him when he campaigns.

He said he tells people that the issue is his “ultimate priority,” and he acknowledges the challenges businesses face. Small businesses will be helped if government holds the line on taxes and regulations, Adams added.

Both Adams and Marshall said they expect campaign finance reform to come up in the 2014 General Assembly session as a result of the controversy surrounding Gov. Bob McDonnell and gifts he and his family accepted from a businessman.

Marshall noted that McDonnell was in Danville a month ago and “he apologized for that. He said he did nothing illegal, and that he did nothing smart.”

Committees have been formed to examine the reporting laws, Marshall said, and he expects proposals for reforms to be made by both the Republicans and Democrats.

“I always err on the side of sunshine,” he said, but added that his support will depend on how such reforms are “tweaked.”

For instance, if reporting requirements were extended to a lawmaker’s spouse and children, would a report be required if someone bought his son-in-law dinner, he asked.

Adams also said he would “give due consideration” to reform proposals if he is elected.

Also attending Saturday’s event was Mary Martin, an independent who is running against Marshall. She brought cupcakes for the cookout.

Afterward, she said she was there to show support for Adams and because many of the people present had been her friends for years.

Martin said she and Marshall said hello as they always do. “Danny and I are always cordial,” she added.


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