A loss of real representation

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On the front page of today’s newspaper you will find a story regarding proposed changes to Virginia’s congressional districts. The proposed changes, which were intended to address issues with the racial makeup of the 3rd Congressional district have also included unexpected and significant changes to the 4th district as well. The new district lines, if they stand up in court, would move both the City of Franklin and Isle of Wight County into the 3rd district, which has been represented since 1992 by Congressman Bobby Scott (D). Southampton County would remain in the 4th district, which Congressman Randy Forbes (R) has served since 2001.

The long-term political ramifications of this move could be substantial, as it is designed to change the makeup of Virginia’s Congressional delegation. The immediate and practical impact for Southampton, Franklin and Isle of Wight would be just as drastic.

Political bent and policy preferences aside, it would be hard to argue that Congressman Forbes could have been a better ally for Western Tidewater as its congressional representative over the years. In recent decades, our region has lost much of its political muscle in the state houses, but Forbes has worked as diligently to represent our neck of the woods as he has the more populous areas of his district. He and his staff have been responsive to the needs and requests of this area, and has shown a tremendous willingness to be available to his constituents here. His approach to representation has been a far cry from that of the power hungry in congress that seek only to position themselves to take the next step up the political ladder. He has truly been there for the little guy, in this particular case the residents of Western Tidewater. The loss of such a champion would be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.