When he is not representing the 9th in Washington, US Rep Rick Boucher works tirelessly, listening to his constituents and addressing issues affecting them. Decades before they became popular, Rick Boucher was holding Town Halls across his far-flung district. The district has been gerrymandered to make Rick’s life tougher. Ironically, that means Morgan Griffith cannot hope to know it. Rick was back in town on Monday.
Come election time, all Blacksburg roads lead to Jim Shuler’s home and his get-togethers for our Democratic candidates. The splash of signs in this Dem-rich district (Hethwood usually votes around 60% for our candidates) led the way. As I approached Shuler’s home, the now-gold leaves floated to the ground. And then I heard the familiar sound of bagpipes, “trademark” of Jim and Margaret’s warm hospitality. Easy conversation, another trademark, makes it hard to live blog. Running into people I know and greatly like will do that. The guest of honor, Rick Boucher, talked easily with guests. When the time came for speeches, Jim highlighted the importance of our electing someone with a track record of effective representation of the 9th in Congress.
Rick Boucher has significant seniority. Unlike his opponent, Rick has actually brought jobs to the 9th. Unlike his opponent, Rick seeks constructive solutions. His opponent seeks obstruction (my aside, and a mighty track record he has at that!). The stakes are so high, reminded Jim.
Earlier Monday, Rick had been on hand to help break ground for Phase 2 of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Park, for which Rick had helped secure matching grants. A little more than twenty years ago, he’d been there for the original funding and groundbreaking of Phase I. Now full, Phase I has brought thousands of jobs in small businesses and local offices for large corporations alike working collaboratively on research with Virginia Tech scientists and engineers. Additionally, the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine is located there. Combined with the new Carilion-Virginia Tech Medical School in Roanoke, and the various partnerships VA Tech has with other med schools (such as Wake Forest), this may make Virginia Tech one of the rare colleges to support such diverse medical relationships. It also makes medical care for the local area and far beyond far more comprehensive and high-quality. Across the 9th, Rick has showcased Virginia localities for companies looking to expand. He’s help increase tourism, encouraged small business formation and local small business incubators, and provided community development assistance.
Rick Boucher has secured federal backing to bring broadband internet throughout this mostly rural part of Virginia. Viewed as a Congressional expert on internet- and communications-related issues, Boucher has been instrumental in making it possible for firms to locate here and residents to gain employment and enjoy high speed internet, something residents of more urban areas take for granted. Boucher has led on internet privacy protection and other internet-related issues as well. Distance learning and telemedicine are just two of the useful applications of the high-speed infrastructure. He’s also a strong proponent of net neutrality.
Boucher spoke of the hundreds of thousands (3/4 of a million dollars) dumped into the 9th by outside groups for Rick’s republican opponent. (My aisde: The resulting ads bring falsehoods, scare-mongering, demonization and sick and slick innuendo. So significant is that amount of outside money dumped here that the Roanoke Times editorial referred to the effort as a “shadow descends on the 9th District.” Indeed.) Additionally, the divisiveness and hostility that is endemic to the Griffith campaign is a sorry legacy. Boucher has run positive campaigns, on his positive record of accomplishment, his entire tenure in Washington.
To 9th District voters, remember this: Agreeing with our candidate 60% may not be 100%, but it sure beats 0% with Morgan Griffith. As for the zero, Morgan Griffith is in a class by himself. He can’t even vote for himself because HE DOESN’T”T EVEN LIVE HERE. Sorry for the shout. But it bears shouting and repeating. That Griffith would presume to run in this district is an affront to every voter in the 9th. He is most certainly trying to use us for his own ambitions, whatever they may be (I can only imagine). Were he viable, he’d be off to the next thing. One thing is certain, he could never come close to working a hard for his district as Rick Boucher. No one but Rick Boucher himself could. And voters here know that well.