Richardson enters Dem race in Sixth
Story by Chris Graham
Drew Richardson is used to applying scientific principles to solve problems.
Running a political campaign, though, isn’t as much about science as it is effort, effort and more effort.
“My efforts in the next couple of months are largely going to be directed towards winning that convention,” said Richardson, who announced today that he will seek the Democratic Party nomination to run for the Sixth District seat in the U.S. Congress.
The nomination will be decided in a party convention in May.
Richardson, 56, a resident of Augusta County, a retired FBI agent and currently an adjunct professor of forensic science at Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University, is the second candidate to announce for the nomination. Blue Ridge businessman Sam Rasoul, 26, has been campaigning for the nomination for more than a year.
The Democratic nominee will likely face Republican incumbent Bob Goodlatte in the November general election. Goodlatte has not formally signaled his intention to run for a ninth term, but it is widely assumed that he will be in the running.
Richardson, like Rasoul, will have major differences with Goodlatte on the overriding issue of the campaign season – involving the war in Iraq, which Goodlatte has supported since its inception.
“I’d like to go back and look at how we got here to begin with – because it influences similar situations and other potential wars,” Richardson said in an interview for today’s “Augusta Free Press Show.”
“I’m concerned, from a forensic-science point of view, how we looked at evidence to begin with – that is, evidence of chemical and biological weapons – that led us to take the action that we did, that is, a preemptive strike against a sovereign foreign nation. I think obviously that that was a travesty, and we should do something different with that,” Richardson said.
“As a forensic scientist, I’ve looked at a lot of different casework – some big, and some small. But with regard to what would perhaps be considered more important cases, in the forensic-science world, that is a capital-murder case, of course, it was incumbent upon me, and it would be highly irresponsible for me if I were not to get the right answer to apply the right principles and so forth. And how much more important is a matter that’s going to lead to the deaths of thousands of our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of deaths of civilians and cost the amount of money that it has?” Richardson said.
As to the particulars of the Iraq situation, “As disappointed as I am with the initiation of the war and the prosecution of that war, we do have a responsibility to leave things properly,” Richardson said.
“It’s been talked about as though this war might be something like Vietnam – my generation’s war. I think a better analogy might be what happened following the death of Tito in Yugoslavia and the various ethnic factions there. I think we’ve got a problem that’s probably likely to exist for a long period of time, whether we leave tomorrow, or whether we leave 10 years from now. I think what we need to evaluate is how best to leave things – and probably realizing that we’re not going to leave things in the condition that we would like to have, or even perhaps in the condition that they were before we got there,” Richardson said.
The other hot-button issue of 2008 involves the economic slowdown – and the attempt by Congress and the Bush administration to combat it through an economic-stimulus package that is aimed at pumping fast money into the economy.
“I”m very concerned about the economy. I’m concerned about the inequalities that I see, the shrinking middle class, the immediate prospects for recession and so forth. So whether or not this stimulus is going to work or not remains to be seen – simply because it’s unclear that people may not be using the money to pay off already-existing debt. As to whether or not that will stimulate the economy, it’s a little bit hard to tell at this point. But it’s probably a good idea, something that needs to be done,” Richardson said.
“I think clearly we are going into a recession. I think probably we need to do some things both in terms of expenditures and in terms of the resources that we take into the government that would make for a more vibrant middle class – perhaps do away with some of the extremes that we have, perhaps allow for necessary infrastructure-building within the country, but to do it in a responsible way so that we’re not having great deficit spending,” Richardson said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.