Five ways the Fourth District is leading our nation

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014

At critical moments in our nation’s story, many of us find inspiration in places where we sense the life that is America. The uncertainty we see in Washington is tempered by tracking the steady heartbeat of our American story. In those moments, I am reminded of words that author C.S. Lewis penned: “What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing… .”

Washington may have lost track of the heart of America. But I know the heartbeat of America is strong because I am reminded of it every time I stand in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

Virginia’s Fourth District is unique. Sweeping from the south-central portion of the state and near the south-eastern shorelines, the Fourth District is home to major agricultural areas including large peanut and corn fields, treasured coastal waterways like the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth Rivers, and one of the largest military installations in the state. It’s one of Virginia’s most diverse regions.

The Fourth District is geographically diverse, but it’s not just our landscape that creates a vibrant region. The Fourth District is home to several industries that bring a wealth of value to our nation. In our day-to-day lives, these unique qualities may escape us. We see and hear of industrial sites, small businesses, family farms, and technology centers every day, either in our commutes, in our workplaces, or in our interactions with family and friends.  We see their individual value, but we may not see how they fit into the bigger picture of our nation.

However, the Fourth District plays an integral role in keeping our nation running. We have a lot to be proud of, and our ability grab hold of a vision for our future will determine our ultimate success as a region.

Here’s what the Fourth District is to me –

The Fourth District is defending our nation. The Fourth District and the surrounding region comprise some of our nation’s most important military assets and installations. Our region is a national leader in ensuring a strong defense and a secure America. The Fourth District isn’t dependent on defense; America’s national security is dependent on the Fourth District.

The Fourth District is an innovation hub. Our manufacturing industry is leading the way in incredible product development and production. It is ripe for global competitiveness, as well as national innovation and job creation. Likewise, the Fourth District is home to a modeling and simulation industry that allows entities to train for natural disasters with sophisticated technology or perform virtual surgery using state of the art robotics. America needs the Fourth District because its innovation is expanding our economy and enhancing national preparedness and security.

The Fourth District is steeped in agricultural heritage. Our region is home to multi-generation farmers who care for acres of cotton, soybeans, peanuts, wheat, corn, and others.  America needs the Fourth District because it provides important agricultural resources to the world. It encourages a love for our environment and countryside, and a resolve to work hard and succeed.

The Fourth District is technology-focused. Our universities are looking to advance STEM education and technology-focused programs, particularly in underrepresented areas. America needs the Fourth District because we are focused on equipping our nation’s future leaders to be the next generation of scientists, technologists, and inventors.

The Fourth District is community driven. At the heart of each of these industries is our people. The people of Virginia’s Fourth District are as diverse as the landscape of our region. Yet, all across our region, citizens come together to overcome barriers, rise to challenges, partner across communities, and fight for a strong future for our region.

The Fourth District is an important vessel in the collective heartbeat of American communities. My message to you is this: remember you are standing on a bedrock of value to our nation, because our nation thrives when we do.

RANDY FORBES represents Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. For contact information, see