Advice for Washington politicians

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Franklin native and Franklin High School graduate Wyatt Durrett, Jr. wrote a recent article in The Richmond Times Dispatch regarding his respect and admiration for recently deceased former Governor Jerry Baliles. His article was significant for several reasons.

Durrette, a Republican, opposed Baliles, a Democrat, for the Virginia Attorney General election in 1981. Durrette lost that election, and the two opposed each other for Virginia Governor in 1985. Durrette lost again.

Durrette writes that he and Baliles became friends when they served together in the Virginia House of Delegates two years before they ran for Attorney General. They were fierce competitors who were civil and respectful to each other before, during and especially after their two statewide campaigns. The older they became the stronger their friendship became.

Durrette opines that politicians today seem filled with rancor and vitriol. Philosophical differences often escalate to personal vendettas. Blind allegiance to one’s political party seems the norm rather than an objective review of the facts.

If politicians would follow the path of the Baliles-Durrette model, what a huge difference that would make!

Robert N. Holt