On a quintessential fall day, I attended a meet-and-greet for Don Langrehr at the Pallisades Restaurant in Eggleston, VA yesterday. We headed west on the 460, wound through Blacksburg and then into Giles County, past the turnoff for Mountain Lake. At the Pallisades, well known for its good food and music, we heard Kat Mills) play. I spoke with the candidate, as well as with others there. As we drove back home, I thought about what I most take with me about this race. And how would I characterize this candidacy? And this is what I know: Don Langrehr is the only candidate with the leadership, knowledge, experience, pragmatism and motivation to do the right thing for our district and the people of the Commonwealth.
I have met and known many politicians. Nearly all had good intentions and were fairly well accomplished, and did a number of good things in office. For many of them, I had considerable excitement at first. But often there is disappointment, disappointment born not by expectations of perfection or always having my way. Rather the disappointment, even disillusionment, is rooted in the electeds often forgetting why they went to serve in the first place: Making their locality, or district, or state a better place. Don Langrehr is different. He remembers he is a public servant, a steward of the town’s resources, and a leader of its people. (Several other current members of our excellent town council, fit this description as well, but this blog is not about them.) It is about something pretty extraordinary, especially in this economy. I think the video above captures it. Watch the video segment to the end… and then join me after the fold.
Our town has been run so well in recent years, it has almost become ordinary, the expected, the taken-for-granted. What a difference from the controversy-strewn years just before Don ran! It is not that there has been no controversy since. We do not have a perfect town. BUT Blacksburg is probably one of the best run towns anywhere. It’s beautifully run, its leaders and representatives, listen to and respects the citizens, and are responsive each and every time I have had to contact a town office for something. That’s true for everyone with whom I have spoken. You can easily forget what things were like before, when one questionable decision after another was handed down by council.
And that is probably why things are so quiet electorally here. It had been almost inconceivable that a Know-Nothing/Do Nothing candidate with so accomplishments worthy of a HoD candidate could compete with one who had done everything right, a candidate with known results and a reputation for integrity and exceptional government service to the citizens. They did not think the election could be bought. They still believe the better candidate can win. And so do I. A look at what Langrehr brings to this candidacy illustrates what I mean.
After all, civic leadership isn’t about racking up another notch on a belt. It’s not about power plays or rigging elections through malicious gerrymandering to wipe out any representation Democrats have in the HoD, without which this joke of a Yost candidacy would not be possible. It is about forging a coalition to accomplish together, citizens and leaders, things that could not be achieved otherwise.
The Roanoke Times endorsed Don Langrehr for the House of Delegates District 12 position. Said the Times:
In balance, we favor Langrehr, whose two terms as a Blacksbug Town Council member give him greater breadth of knowledge on issues such as transportation, land-use planning and economic development.
Yes, Don Langrehr has the knowledge to lead. (His opponent does not.) But this race is about much more than knowledge, though that is important. As is apparent if you know Don’s history of accomplishments in town government, Don has been doing while his opponent has been doing – nothing. You do not build a town with the list of accomplishments in the accompanying video by accident. It requires a group of constructive, cooperative, sound and prudent leaders who both understand and practice good stewardship. The same applies at the state level.
When our state must address job growth, unemployment, education, transportation, health care, revenue shortfalls caused by years of ideological and reckless tax cuts (advantaging disproportionately the wealthy and corporations), who would you want in the HoD? The Know-Nothing/Do-Nothing opponent candidate utters Club-for-Growth mantras (tax cuts; more deregulation) and pretends to care about real jobs. But Don Langrehr has shown that growing our state with its many complex issues takes experienced, dedicated, ongoing effort.