Story by Chris Graham
Terry Kilgore thought his brother had a future in politics – as the next great GOP campaign strategist.
“Jerry actually ran my first House campaign 12 years ago,” said Terry Kilgore, the twin brother of Jerry Kilgore, the Republican Party gubernatorial nominee.
“He was so good at it, so organized. He had a real knack for it. I always thought that Jerry would be someone like a Lee Atwater or somebody like that running campaigns,” Terry Kilgore told The Augusta Free Press.
Jerry Kilgore’s handiwork helped his brother get elected to the House of Delegates, where he has served for a dozen years. Terry Kilgore has been returning the favor this fall – campaigning extensively in Southside, Southwest and the Shenandoah Valley on behalf of his brother, including stops in Waynesboro and Harrisonburg on Wednesday.
The Kilgore boys were the first in their Southwest Virginia family to attend college.
“Living in rural Virginia, I think it had a lot to do with our values,” Kilgore said over coffee at a downtown-Waynesboro coffee shop.
“It had a lot to do with hard work. We grew up on a farm, working in hay, tobacco. My grandfather would get us up early in the morning just to go work out in the tobacco or cutting brush or whatever. At the time, you fussed about it, but it really helped you out a whole lot. Because I know a lot about it, and a lot of times, kids these days don’t know a lot about it,” Kilgore said.
The Kilgores are Mountain Valley Republicans through and through.
“We are, I guess, more populist than some Republicans would be, because of where we’re from,” Kilgore said. “We believe in human nature, that people can-do.
“Jerry is going to spend a lot of time creating jobs for all Virginians, from Virginia Beach to the Cumberland Gap. But those of us in the more rural areas, the smaller towns, I hope folks realize that he can associate more with you because he’s been there, done that,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore, like his brother, sees transportation as being the issue that will define the next Virginia governor’s four years in office.
“The most important thing that is facing us will be transportation. What we do with I-81, what we do with widening 66 into D.C. Those folks there need to be able to get in and out in a more efficient fashion than they’re doing right now,” Kilgore said.
“We can’t sit back and wait. We need to do something right now. If we don’t, the prices just go up and up and up,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore said he will be around to serve as a sounding board for his brother if he wins.
“Being a twin, we’re close, and we’re going to talk three or four times a day. I hope he’ll take my advice on things,” Kilgore said.
“Jerry has a sense, he has a vision for Virginia. I hope I can just help him a little bit,” Kilgore said.
“When I’m in Richmond, I stay with him at his house. I won’t be staying at the governor’s mansion, but I stay at his house when I visit Richmond now,” Kilgore said.