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Hurt 'welcomes challenge' in race

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fifth District U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt disputed Lawrence Gaughan’s assertion that he has done little to help revitalize the district economically.

Gaughan, a Democrat from Charlottesville who said he has established a residence in Danville, is challenging Hurt in the Nov. 4 election.

Hurt, R-Chatham, said his involvement in efforts to persuade the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide a permit needed to start development of the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre is a “perfect example” of how he especially has tried to boost Henry County-Martinsville’s economy.

After the permit originally was denied, Hurt, 9th District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem; and Democratic U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner got involved in efforts to change the minds of Corps officials.

With the permit, grading and other site preparation work can move forward at Commonwealth Crossing, which will be developed off U.S. 220 south of Ridgeway near the North Carolina line, officials have said.

“Hopefully, we can get some economic development prospects in there” after the site is developed, Hurt said.

Hurt also took issue with Gaughan’s claim that he is more concerned with “the interests of money and power” than those of most people.

He and other House members have been trying to get measures passed to help people who need help, he said. He mentioned, for example, measures dealing with “disastrous health care polices” that hurt the middle class.

But many of those measures have “been killed in the Senate,” Hurt said.

Hurt said he “welcomes the challenge” from Gaughan for the 5th District seat.

“This congressional seat doesn’t belong to any one person,” he said.

Gaughan said he has challenged Hurt to participate with him in debates or other public forums. Hurt said he had not heard that.

“I haven’t had any (personal) communication with him,” Hurt said.

Asked whether he would participate, Hurt said he will wait and see how their campaigns unfold.


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