Eric Cantor, at least for now, is our man in Washington — Big Washington, that is — and we couldn’t ask for a better representative of our own interests.
Someone pointed out the other day that Rappahannock County’s congressman has never been so high up in the House leadership as now — what with Cantor as majority leader. And so far that seems to be good news for Virginia and, more narrowly, Rappahannock County — if such news is truly good when it is in only our own self-interest.
To see our congressman leading the charge with “draconian budget cuts” makes us proud. And ought to make us feel good, since his party’s proposed budget cuts really won’t hurt us, his constituents, in any meaningful way.
Hard choices regarding Social Security and Medicare are not addressed — no doubt pleasing to Rappahannock’s aging population. Young people, who must ultimately pay their parents’ debts, typically leave Rappahannock before they can vote. Nor will be cut any federal agricultural subsidies to Rappahannock farmers.
The only real sacrifice we Virginians have been asked to make — eliminating all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding for cleaning up the Chesapeake — concerns what happens downstream from Rappahannock County, so why should we care?
Rappahannock residents can only hope that our new (after redistricting) congressman will be as cognizant of our wants and needs. As the accompanying map shows, Rappahannock County will in the future probably no longer be in Virginia’s 7th congressional district, which Cantor represents, but in the 5th district, whose congressman is currently Robert Hurt, a freshman Republican.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years, based on the latest U.S. Census data, and the political party in power traditionally maps the new districts. So it is that, according to Politico’s Rich Cohen and National Journal’s David Wasserman, an “incumbent-protection plan” in Virginia has been agreed upon whereby the GOP’s control of eight congressional districts would be solidified and Democrats would be packed into the remaining three.
Under terms of the deal, Rappahannock County would now be part of freshman Hurt’s 5th district — stretching from his home in Pittsylvania County along the North Carolina border all the way to the Northern Virginia exurbs.
Majority Leader Cantor’s staff was reportedly deeply involved in fashioning this redistricting deal. It’s not that he doesn’t want to represent Rappahannock County any longer; it’s just that he, like all successful politicians, understands power. Redrawing Cantor’s district to exclude Rappahannock is simply a way to ensure that the people in power stay in power.
So, no, don’t take it personally. It’s just business as usual.