Story by Chris Graham
Scott Sayre wants to take his conservative values to Richmond.
He also wants to take the high road from the Shenandoah Valley to the State Capitol.
“This is going to be a very, very positive campaign,” said Sayre, who announced today that he will be challenging the three-term incumbent in the 24th Senate District, Emmett Hanger, for the Republican Party nomination in a June 12 party primary.
“As you know, I’ve never been in politics before – so my vision is going to be taken from my experiences, of creating jobs and creating solutions and finding things. It’s going to be a positive vision for the 24th District that will hopefully spread all over Virginia,” Sayre said.
Sayre, 48, is a native of Waynesboro and the founder of Sayre Enterprises, which has offices in Lexington, Buena Vista and Fishersville. He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Liberty University and a nine-year United States Army veteran.
Sayre addressed a gathering of 40 people at Waynesboro High School this morning – on one of six stops on a mini-tour of the district that began earlier in the morning in Rockbridge County and will conclude at 6:30 p.m. in Highland County after stops in Augusta County, Greene County and Rockingham County.
Sayre sidestepped questions from reporters after the event on most of the issues of the day – though he did offer some thoughts on the issue of growth in state spending, which has seen the Virginia state budget more than double in size in the last decade.
“I’m here today to say, There’s got to be a stop to this never-stopping increases in our taxes. That’s one of the issues that I’m going to be focusing on. We’ve got to put a halt to that and restore some sanity,” Sayre said.
“As a businessman, I know how to balance a budget. I know how to meet a payroll. And I think back to some of the issues that I’m looking at right now, especially the rising taxes, and I wondered, our state in the last 10 years increased its population only by 10 to 12 percent, and yet in the last 10 years we have doubled our state spending. You couldn’t run a business like that. You couldn’t run a family like that. You can’t run community programs like that. We’ve got to return some sanity to this process,” Sayre said.
Sayre stopped short both during his remarks to supporters and his Q-and-A afterwards with the local media of criticizing Hanger – who has come under fire from conservative and antitax groups for his work on tax reform and his support of the 2004 budget of former Virginia governor Mark Warner that resulted in an effective tax increase of more than $1 billion annually.
“I’m not going to be talking about negative stuff during this campaign,” Sayre said. “The incumbent senator is a very, very fine man. I respect him very much. We have differences. Those differences will come out during the campaign. But today, I’m here just to announce that I am running and to tell you a little bit about who I am.”
Sayre later talked around a question from a reporter on the hot-button topic of state spending for transportation – which has the bulk of the attention of delegates and senators in Richmond again this year after the two sides in the debate failed to reach agreement in last year’s General Assembly during a regular session, an extended spring session and a special session in the fall.
“The way that I answer questions is not boom, boom, here’s an answer to this, and here’s an answer to that,” Sayre said. “These issues are very complex. You’ve got to have both funding, and you’ve got to have a plan. Now, we’ve had four governors, and where are we today?
“When I get involved in this, and I will tell you where I’m coming from, I will come from a thinking process that will bring solutions, not just answers. And I will develop those and get them for you. Four governors, and here we are today. Give me four months, and I’ll explain to you where we can go,” Sayre said.