Gloria Witt gets strong support in 5th District Democrat primary

Published 3:44 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Democrats in Virginia’s 5th District want Gloria Witt to be their candidate. That much was made clear in Tuesday’s primary, as Witt dominated a three-person race, collecting 57% of the vote against opponents Gary Terry and Paul Riley. 

The President of the Amherst County NAACP, Witt collected 13,932 votes, to Terry’s 5,467 and Riley’s 4,963. She thanked both her own voters and those who cast a ballot for her opponents. 

“This victory is not just mine, but ours,” Witt said. “(It’s) a testament to the hard work, dedication and belief that together we can create a brighter future.” 

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Witt also thanked both Terry and Riley for taking part in the primary. 

“Their passion and commitment to our shared values have strengthened our movement and reminded us all of the importance of unity in our fight for progress,” Witt said. “Thank you for your contributions to this race and for your dedication to our community.” 

Education was a big focus

Democrat voters in Buckingham and Prince Edward counties singled out Witt’s education focus as one of the key reasons they supported her.
In previous debates, Witt said we need to rethink the way education is set up.
“We are dumping 60% of our young people on the streets with a diploma and no skills,” Witt said in a June 1 debate. “And I know there are no skills because the business owners are complaining they can’t find a skilled worker. We got our children locked down for 13 years. It’s creating a system of unskilled people who can’t make a living wage. We’ve got to make high school productive. If you don’t go to the Army or college, you at least walk out of there with a skill.”
Witt said companies need to see a ready workforce before they move into an area. That’s part of the problem she sees across the 5th district.
To fix that, she feels there needs to be smaller class sizes, so that students and teachers can interact more one-on-one. Also, teachers need to be paid more. But beyond that, she wants to see real world programs connect with the schools. That includes apprenticeship and internship programs, co-ops and job shadowing opportunities. 

Gloria Witt wants to see growth

She added to that on Wednesday. In a statement sent out after her victory, Witt said she believes with hard work, counties in District 5 can grow and develop. 

“Growing up on a small farm in Amherst, I learned the value of hard work and perseverance,” Witt said. “From carrying water from the spring and working in the tobacco fields to earning a degree from Randolph College and building a successful career, every step of my journey has prepared me for this moment. I have always believed that we can achieve a more just and equitable society through dedication and collective action.” 

Witt and the other candidates put that message into practice Wednesday, appearing together at the Danville Juneteenth Summer Celebration. Riley and Terry told the crowd they would work with Witt to help her become the next member of Congress from Virginia’s 5th District.