Attentive representatives

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A concept that seems as old as time is that of a representative who is elected or appointed but then does not adequately serve his or her constituents. In a nation like ours, we have recourse in a situation like that — vote for someone else in the future in the effort to expel the negligent representative or the one who appointed them.

But we are grateful for elected and appointed officials who do show their faces, express an active interest in the issues that impact localities in their districts and then follow through to help those localities address those issues.

Virginia’s 5th Congressional District Rep. Denver Riggleman recently demonstrated the first and second of those characteristics, and we hope, in due time, he will demonstrate the third as well. The same praise and hope can be directed toward Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Bert Dodson Jr., who was appointed by the governor.

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Riggleman met with Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett and a trio of county supervisors, and the group talked about a variety of issues. One of them was the incomplete U.S. Route 460/East Third Street Interchange.

Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jim Wilck said Riggleman “seemed to think that he might be able to find some money for it.”

Riggleman did not give any promises, but he explained that the possible reemergence of earmarks in Congress would create an avenue allowing him the option to campaign for federal funds that could be sent Prince Edward’s way for the project.

Dodson made himself available for a car ride that functioned as a tour of the area where a completed interchange would be located.

Wilck cited the great value of this tour.

“I think that Bert Dodson was able to get a better grasp of what we were asking for on the Third Street Interchange because he could actually see that there were no ramps if you were going in a certain direction,” Wilck said. “… And we also were able to show Bert as you drive down 460 going eastbound that you couldn’t get off on Third Street, and you had to go down and make a U-turn to come back. And we actually did that, and we explained it to him that that’s fine for the car, but for the trucks that weigh 80,000 pounds … you can’t go from a standing stop and merge with traffic doing 60 miles an hour. And I think that was an eye-opener for him.”

If a completed interchange is going to happen, the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board will likely play a key role, which makes Dodson’s willingness to avail himself even more important.

We would also like to express gratitude to Riggleman for visiting the Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging (PSR). He toured the office, saw prepared meals that are given to senior citizens in the region, spoke with PSR leadership, visited seniors in the Farmville area and helped deliver meals.

We commend Riggleman, Dodson and other officials like them who take the important first steps necessary to ultimately make a difference in the districts they represent.