Editorial: Our man in Washington

Source map courtesy of National Journal.

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.

Walter Nicklin


  1. From the lead, I can certainly tell who you voted for. He may be YOUR candidate, but he certainly is not MINE, or thousands of others. As a leader of now the majority party in the house, he has but one way to vote — and that is as a PARTY LEADER. Whether it be good or bad for the voters, it will go right down that party line. What a shame that anything at all like that ever happens. The Republicans are now intending to overturn every step of this the last congresses advancement in health care, and other items that WE THE PEOPLE voted for 2 years ago. Yes, we the people, since the majority put in the current President, plus both the house and senate members. How quickly we forget the target that we set for ourselves, when things get a little tough on us. Poor us. That was a step promised by BOTH parties decades ago, and for which neither one ever had leadership with the courage to follow through. Finally a leader stepped up, led us thru it, only to have Mr Cantor and his Ilk act like little children, wanting to stop the game and take the ball home, without ever giving a new method of care or support the chance to be tested.

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