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Politicians work the festival crowd
State Sen. Bill Stanley, left, and 9th District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith talk at the peach festival. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, August 17, 2014
By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer
It wouldn’t be a Virginia Peach Festival without politicians.
Friday, several politicians, candidates and political activists were at the festival in Wayside Park in Patrick County.
Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, was talking with constituents — and buying peaches. Among the issues people were asking him about or he was talking about, he said, was his recent bipartisan congressional fact-finding trip to Israel.
During part of the trip, Hamas was shelling Israel, and at one point, Griffith said he looked into Syria at a distance and saw the civil war. He said he believes the trip reinforced the U.S. participants’ support for Israel’s defense efforts, including the iron dome, which helps protect against missile attacks.
Griffith also was talking with people about their concerns about proposed natural gas pipelines, including how much of their land could be used and if they would be truly fairly compensated. He expressed concern about what he calls the Obama administration’s war on coal (through increased environmental regulations) and predicted that, as a result of coal-burning power plant closures, there could be rolling brownouts in the East Coast electric grid within a few years if there are cold winters.
Among the candidates was Kim Adkins, Martinsville mayor, who has said that next year she will seek the Democratic nomination for the 20th District Virginia Senate seat now held by Bill Stanley, R-Glade Hill. She is not seeking re-election to Martinsville City Council in the November election.
“I’m here to meet people,” she said, adding she was enjoying the festival.
Adkins cited the need for state legislators to work with localities in economic development, education and public safety — something she feels is lacking now, she said.
Stanley, who also attended the festival, said he is working to create educational opportunities for people in poverty, to bring jobs and to develop alternatives to Medicaid expansion, including making health care more affordable, prevention, telemedicine and incentives to recruit primary care physicians. He also is working to complete the four-laning of U.S. 58 and to see I-73 built in his lifetime, he said.
He added he wants to ensure that construction of two proposed natural gas pipelines would be fair to landowners affected and that there would be tap-ins so the fuel would be available for local businesses.
Also on Stanley’s agenda was buying peaches.
“If I leave here without at least two bags, I won’t be allowed in the front door by my wife. She has texted me three times,” he said.
Janet Demiray, chairman of the Patrick County Democratic Committee, was talking and passing out literature urging people to help re-elect U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in November.
According to Demiray and a campaign brochure, Warner has focused on creating new jobs, has proposed ideas to make college more affordable, cosponsored bills to guarantee that women earn equal pay for equal work and believes women have the right to make their own health and reproductive decisions. He also has worked to protect Social Security and Medicare and to overhaul the Veterans Administration to ensure that veterans get quality and timely services.
Demiray said she also was trying to let people know about the new state voter ID law. It requires all voters who cast ballots in person at the polls to show an acceptable form of photo identification, such as driver’s license, passport or other government-issued photo ID.