Me and Creigh

It’s going to be hard for me not to back Creigh Deeds for the ’09 Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination, if only for all the personal reasons that I ought to have for doing so.
Consider … we’re both from rural, rural, rural Virginia. As opposed to just plain ol’ rural Virginia. Bath County and Deerfield are a stone’s throw from each other. And they’re a million miles from anywhere else, physically and culturally and particularly economically.

We both grew up … fortunate. Neither of us thought living in a trailer home was unusual. You grow up thinking that the way you live is the way everybody lives. And then when you see how the other half lives, well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever longed for anything, and I wouldn’t put those words in Creigh’s mouth, either. We talked over coffee last week about growing up the way we did, and he said it the way I’ve long thought it. I’m wealthy, all right, he said, maybe not in dollars and cents, but just the same, it all counts for something, the friends, the experiences, the contributions that one gets to make in public service.

Now, this all said, I’m one who doesn’t like to think that where you’re from matters that much when you’re talking about considerations for jobs like governor. Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe could do us in the Valley right just like I know Creigh can. Both of them are talking about economic development for all of Virginia, about building a first-class transportation infrastructure that links rural Virginia to the hubs of commerce in NoVa and Richmond and Hampton Roads, about public education as the great equalizer.

But if I were voting strictly on the basis of who I thought would get it the best, it being rural, rural, rural Virginia, it would have to be Creigh and Creigh alone.

This could serve to be a hindrance for the Bath County state senator, of course. NoVa, in particular, drives the outcomes to Virginia elections anymore, and if it doesn’t drive the turnout in the June Democratic Party primary I’ll be quite surprised. It’s possible that all the posturing that will be done over the course of the next six months will come down to 5 percent of the electorate statewide, the great bulk residing in the Crescent, will decide who the Dem nominee will be. Rural broadband access and I-81 and adjustments to the Standards of Quality to equalize education funding in rural, rural, rural Virginia and clean coal and energy R&D development out this a-way and the rest aren’t likely to be the deciding issues.

Win or lose in June, win or lose in November, Creigh gives us rural, rural, rural Virginians a shot at having our voices heard outside the hills and the hollars. Not bad for a guy who’d still be Commonwealth’s attorney from Bath County if he was just a wee bit smarter.


– Column by Chris Graham

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