Hines will seek Senate seat

Published 12:23 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rice resident Joe C. Hines this week announced his intention to run for the soon-to-be-vacant Virginia 22nd Senate District seat.

Hines, the principal and director of economic development at Timmons Group, a multifaceted engineering firm, said he’s running as an “independent conservative.”

Hines, who graduated from Fuqua School in Farmville and was raised in Prince Edward County, said that once he gathers enough signatures and officially becomes a candidate, “I’ll be sending out a formal announcement letter and launching a website.”

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The 22nd Senate District represents a large portion of Central and Southside Virginia, including Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties and the town of Farmville.

The vacancy follows the election of State Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, to the 5th Congressional District seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, a Republican who announced last December he wouldn’t seek re-election.

“I think there’s a strong feeling that if there’s a time for an independent to run a race like this, that this is the time,” Hines said in a telephone interview.

In an email, he added, “In talking with several people throughout the district, I’ve had overwhelming support to run as an independent. In reviewing the numbers for local government elected officials (town councils, board of supervisors and Lynchburg City Council), it appears about 80 percent of these elected officials are considered independents (i.e., not affiliated with either party). There appear to be only 12 Republicans and six Democrats out of 92 total local government elected officials.”

The special election to fill the vacant Senate seat will be held Tuesday, Jan. 10. The last day to file as a candidate is Monday at 5 p.m., according to an order issued by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

According to the Virginia Department of Elections, 250 signatures are needed to appear on the ballot as an independent.

“We need different leaders at different times,” Hines said. “Given the current legislative landscape, it appears there will be more economic development policy determined in the next three years than in the recent history of Virginia. As a seasoned businessperson, professional engineer and economic developer who has spent my career helping clients succeed in this arena, I firmly believe I can be the servant leader and voice the 22nd District needs to ensure long-term economic development success.”

According to the Timmons Group website, Hines serves on the Virginia Economic Developers Association and is a member of the International Economic Development Council and Southern Economic Development Council. He is a graduate of LEAD Virginia and Leadership Farmville and is a member of the Duke Fuqua School of Business Alumni Council and North Carolina State’s Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering Industry Advisory Board.

“Also, having grown up on a farm in Prince Edward and travelling throughout the district while working for my dad’s survey and engineering firm and in my current position at Timmons Group, I’ve developed a great appreciation for what the district has to offer,” Hines said. “Over the course of my career, my passion for economic development and rural Virginia has only grown and I’d like to translate that into creating greater economic opportunity for everyone across the district.”

Aside from Hines, two candidates are seeking to get the nod from the state Republican Party for the nomination to run for the senate seat: Lynchburg Attorney Mark Peake and Goochland County Supervisor Ken Peterson, according to Daniel Bradshaw, the chairman of the 22nd Senate District Republican Committee. The Republican candidate will be chosen during a convention on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Hampden-Sydney College’s Kirk Athletic Center. The deadline has passed for candidates to file for the party’s nomination.

Democrats have one candidate who has publicly declared to seek the party’s nomination: former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant L. Washungton.

The Democratic candidate will be chosen Saturday at the Moton Museum, with a caucus set to start at 11 a.m. The filing deadline for Democrats is Thursday at 5 p.m.

The district also includes the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Fluvanna, Goochland, and Louisa and the city of Lynchburg.