Two Veterans Seek Nod To Run In Fifth

Published 5:22 pm Thursday, March 22, 2012

FARMVILLE – The new Fifth Congressional District, stretching from the North Carolina border to Fauquier County, north of the Washington Monument, has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

And two Democrats have formally declared their candidacy for the party's nomination to run against incumbent Republican Robert Hurt.

Both Democratic candidates are retired military officers.

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John Douglass, a retired Air Force brigadier general now farming in Fauquier County, and Peyton Williams, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Special Forces, of Charlottesville, who has now retired as a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin, are vying for the Democratic Party's nod.

Fifth District Democrats will gather at Nelson County High School on May 19 to select their candidate to run against Hurt, who is serving his first term in Congress after defeating Tom Perriello in 2010.

Hurt Responds

Rep. Hurt responded to the Justice Department's approval of the new Fifth District boundaries, saying, “I welcome Madison, Rappahannock, and Fauquier Counties to the Fifth District. It is an honor to serve the people of the Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives and to represent this great district that belongs to them.

“Though our district has expanded, I am glad that it will retain its historically rural character. I look forward to getting to know the citizens of the new areas,” Rep. Hurt continued, “and to build on the tradition of great representation and constituent services their representatives currently provide.”

Douglass And Williams

Ironically, the redistricting that expands the Fifth District northward is responsible for the candidacy of Douglass because he had previously planned to run against 10th District congressman Frank Wolf until Fauquier County was shifted into the Fifth District.

Fifth District Democratic Party chairman, Fred Hudson, has praised the character and quality of the two candidates seeking the party's nomination.

Douglass served in the military for nearly four decades and was so involved in President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Modernization Program that he “briefed the president directly on key defense and national security programs,” according to Douglass' website.

After his retirement, Douglass was asked by President Bill Clinton to serve in the Pentagon as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.

“We all know that we need a Democrat in the Fifth now more than ever. For two years now the Fifth District has been hurt by the sort of politics that seeks to divide Americans and shift more and more power to the corporations and Wall Street interests that control our economy,” General Douglass states in a video statement at his campaign website.

“The pre-recession mindset of the anti-reform fringe would take us down the path to economic disaster again,” he says, explaining is candidacy. “For two years our district has been hurt and we're here to help Virginia families get a fair chance at a better future.”

Williams was raised in Norfolk and moved to Charlottesville in 1974. After retiring as a lieutenant colonel in the Army's Special Forces in 1999 he went to work for Lockheed Martin.

“My strength is getting people together to talk about problems and finding solutions that are acceptable, workable, and likely to achieve a good result,” Williams says in a statement on his campaign website. “I am a team player in the best sense: on a team, everyone has a job to do and contribution to make in order for the team to be successful in its mission.

“I recognize that the first and foremost important job of a member of Congress is to serve those you represent, not to compete with other politicians or political parties to the detriment of Americans and our country,” he said. “The only place where that sort of competition belongs is in elections…”

Williams also looked to Washington, D.C. and said “what we have all witnessed for the last year is a House unwilling to compromise, opposing all bills that do not meet their narrow and rigid views.”