Rex Alphin hopes voters will ‘send a farmer to Richmond’

Published 11:16 am Saturday, June 10, 2017


[Editor’s note: The Tidewater News recently invited each of the five candidates running for delegate for the 64th district to discuss their reasons for seeking the office. Today, the two Republicans are featured.]

Rex Alphin, a third-generation farmer and the current chairman of Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors, cites his rural roots and sense of community as his key motivations to seek the Republican nomination for 64th district delegate. As such, protecting southeastern Virginia’s rural quality of life is one of the main priorities he would like to bring to Richmond if elected.

“I find people in rural culture, they’ve been here a  long time and like what they have,” Alphin said. “They tend to value community very strongly… They grow up and start businesses together. I think people in general are looking for that. I see a similar culture in the 64th and I feel there’s a need for that voice in Richmond.”

When asked what specifically he felt the 64t district needed, Alphin said that transportation, education and law enforcement were all important issues.

“We went 30 years with no major investment in transportation because nobody wanted to be tagged with a tax increase,” he said. “Somewhere, we have to invest in our infrastructure; that has an implication on the ports in our backyard, ST Tissue, International Paper, Smithfield Foods, in how they get their products up and down the road.”

When asked how he would address and advocate for the more impoverished areas of the 64th district, such as the city of Franklin, in which about 60 percent of its population lives in rental properties and 30 percent are on some form of government assistance, Alphin said that it was important to identify and fix the root cause of poverty rather than the symptoms.

He added that meaningful economic development to the region and thus, good jobs able to support people and their families, was vital, and suggested leveraging the district’s quality of life to attract new businesses.

“Businesses ask, ‘What educational system do you have for our employees?’” he said. “What kind of transportation do you have to get our stuff to the port? What kind of employees will we be able to have?”

Finally, he discussed allegations made in recent editorials from Republican Party officials claiming that he was not conservative enough for their liking to be the party’s nominee, specifically concerning his support for raising taxes while serving on the Board of Supervisors. He responded that just prior to his being elected, the International Paper mill had closed, depriving the county of about $5 million in machinery and tools taxes in a single day.

“I don’t want to disparage any previous boards, but decisions were made with anticipation of that revenue continuing and the appraisal of housing, so there were a lot of investments made in Isle of Wight before I came on.

“So it was fiscal responsibility. Do we pass this along to another board or do we try to keep this in shape? There’s only two ways to do that, cut costs or increase revenues.

“First we started cutting costs. But we had to pay our bills… We didn’t want to go the route of Washington where you just push the debt to the next generation. Since that time, this will be our third year with no tax increase, and we actually cut stormwater fees this year. We had to make tough choices, but look where it put us now. We’ve got excellent schools. We’re the second fastest-growing county in Hampton Roads.”

For more information, visit his website,