Fighting for rural Virginia

There’s a saying you hear on the Eastern Shore where I grew up: I may talk slow, but don’t let that fool you. Rural Virginians know when they’re getting a raw deal — when other parts of the state get attention and resources and folks on the Shore or in Southwest are fighting just to get access to reliable internet. It’s hard to see your kids move away because they can’t find decent paying jobs in their hometowns. It’s hard to watch communities be ravaged by opioid addiction. And it’s really, really hard to feel like your representatives don’t hear you when you ask for help.

With my brother Tom at home on the Eastern Shore. That’s me on the left!

This week, I spent some time in southwest Virginia, listening to folks who live there, in communities like Tazewell and Lebanon and Castlewood. And here’s what they told me: They want good jobs. They want quality, affordable healthcare for their families, and they want their kids to have access to our world class education system. They just don’t want to have to leave home to find it.

As a rural Virginian, I understand that. And as governor, I’ll fight every day to make those things a reality for all Virginians — no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from.

That means investing in workforce development training. It means expanding Medicaid and improving access to broadband internet; improving the quality of our schools and ensuring Virginia kids can access our best universities; making Virginia a place people want to build businesses; upgrading our infrastructure, like our roads and bridges; and addressing the opioid epidemic head on.

When my wife Pam and I got home from our deployment overseas, we settled down in Hampton Roads. We wanted to be close to my parents and wanted our kids to enjoy the same life I had growing up on the Chesapeake Bay. That’s a choice every Virginian should be able to make, without feeling like they’re sacrificing the well-being of their families to do so. And as governor, that’s something I’ll take to heart.