Wanted: resident lawmaker

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

If voters give state Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, a promotion to Congress this fall, Farmville and Prince Edward County should be ready to claim the vacated Senate seat as our own.

Lack of a resident legislator in Richmond is a detriment for the Heart of Virginia’s anchor community and for its key institutions, such as Longwood University, which need more clout in the General Assembly.

Garrett has done a good job of “carrying the water” for Farmville on matters of importance in Richmond, but there’s no substitute for having a legislator who lives in the community, who knows its needs and opportunities, and is willing to fight for it when lawmakers go to divvying up the state budget.

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Garrett looks to be the oddson favorite to claim the congressional seat being vacated by Robert Hurt. The Buckingham resident is the most prominent and well-funded candidate in a Republican field that will almost certainly produce the general election winner in a solidly conservative 5th Congressional District.

Now is the time for our community’s leadership to consider — and recruit, if necessary — the best candidate to run for Garrett’s 22nd District seat. Because of the district’s demographic makeup and voting history, the successful candidate will almost certainly need to be a Republican with solid conservative credentials.

I won’t put them on the spot here, but several competent, highly qualified, electable people come to mind. Here’s hoping at least one steps up and accepts the challenge.

STEVE STEWART is publisher of The Farmville Herald. His email address is steve.stewart@farmvilleherald.com.