For all of us in the 5th District, Congressman Hurt’s announcement last week was not only unexpected, but marked a sad day for both our state and our nation. Those of us Robert has represented with distinction and honor know we are losing a true statesman. From the 5th District’s first congressman, James Madison, to modern era’s leaders like Virgil Goode and Robert Hurt, we have truly been blessed to have great leaders as our voice and champion in the nation’s capitol.
While Robert’s retirement from Congress leaves big shoes to fill, I am hopeful we will soon see him serving Virginia again in a future leadership role.
In 2010, at the same time then-Senator Robert Hurt stepped forward to unseat Democrat Tom Perriello, I was elected to serve as Chairman of the 5th District Republican Committee. I was honored to serve both the 5th District and Robert in that capacity, and was energized when Robert reclaimed the 5th for our party that year.
Having served four years as 5th District Republican Chairman, I know this district well. Our local Republican party is blessed with hard-working volunteers who believe traditional values should be preserved, our freedoms and liberties protected, and our nation defended. It is these citizens, representing the values and principles that have made America great, who make our region the finest place to live, raise a family, and achieve the American Dream.
I was humbled by the honor bestowed on me by the voters who chose me to succeed Robert in the Senate of Virginia in a special election in 2011. I was also honored when I was re-elected to Senate in a newly configured district later that year and reelected again last month. Having won three successive elections to the Senate in fewer than five years, I am forever in the debt of my fellow citizens for the responsibility and trust they have placed with me.
In the days since Congressman Hurt’s announcement, I have been honored to have been urged to enter the race to succeed him by committed conservative activists in the 5th District, and by national and state Republican leaders. While I would never presume the intentions of the voters, the outpouring of support has made me reasonably assured that I would secure the Republican nomination and continue conservative representation for the 5th District in Congress. But, this is a decision I do not take lightly and there are many considerations that must be made.
Discussing this decision with my family over Christmas, and after long and prayerful thought, I have decided I will not be a candidate for the Republican nomination to succeed Robert Hurt in Congress.
I am blessed with a young family I want to see grow and thrive. I want to be there for youth sporting events, for important milestones in their lives, and to thwart anyone from dating my beautiful daughter prior to her 21st birthday. I made a commitment to my wonderful wife and children that cannot be ignored. And, I cannot forget the responsibility placed with me just last month by my neighbors in the 20th Senatorial District.
I am committed to putting Southside and Southwest Virginia back to work, and to making our region the leader in Virginia’s future economy. I promised the voters I would fight to ensure Interstate 73 was built in our lifetimes, and I am a man of my word. I believe at this time I can better serve the people of our region in the Senate of Virginia. This is not to say I won’t consider a different leadership role or elected office in the future. But if and when I do, I must be confident it will benefit the citizens of Southside and Southwest Virginia.
Like most of the people I serve, I am constantly frustrated by our federal government’s inability to get the job done, as well as its unending failure to realize it is the government that serves the people, and not the other way around. Were I in Congress, I would fight tirelessly to make our federal government more accountable to the people, and to preserve the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Founding Fathers through our Constitution. But at this time, I firmly believe I can best serve the people of Southside and Southwest as their voice in the Senate of Virginia.
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