Political clout needed

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

To date, three candidates have tossed their hats into the ring as contenders for Virginia’s 64th District seat in the House of Delegates, currently held by Republican Richard L. “Rick” Morris of Suffolk. John Wandling of Carrollton, Emily Brewer of Suffolk and Rex Alphin from Zuni have all announced their candidacies. Morris this week will conclude his third session at the General Assembly, and has yet to publicly announce if he intends to seek re-election.

The Tidewater News has a longstanding tradition of abstaining from endorsing candidates in local elections, and will continue to honor that tradition in the coming election cycle. That being said, we will once again encourage voters to become well acquainted with all of the candidates in the interest of electing the one this November who can best represent the residents of Western Tidewater.

Much time has now passed since the days of Paul Councill and Richard Holland, when our region wielded significant clout in the General Assembly. While in the years since we have managed to send responsive and attentive representatives to Richmond, none have had the political stature required to bring home the bacon.

It would be a stretch to assume, and maybe a little much to ask, that any of this year’s candidates for the 64th District seat be able to yield the same type of results as their predecessors in years gone by, especially since Virginia’s political power continues to consolidate in her more densely inhabited population centers. But it’s not unreasonable that we send someone to Capitol Square who, at the very least, represents our sensibilities and understands the unique needs of our region.

Local priorities, not political ideology, should be a key issue for voters in the spring primaries and, ultimately, the general election in November. A statesman or stateswoman in the old-fashioned mold of Councill or Holland, not a modern day partisan rabble-rouser, is the type who can best serve the residents of Western Tidewater at the highest levels of state government.