Editorial: Nobody to kick around anymore?

When I was in high school, I briefly dated a girl who went to Chatham Hall, just north of Danville near the North Carolina line. That part of Virginia is known as Southside, and it always felt like a foreign country. Except for its rural roots, it has very little in common with Rappahannock County, yet . . . .

And yet we’re both now part of the same congressional district, according to a redistricting plan passed by the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates last week and expected to pass the state senate this week. That means U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor will no longer be Rappahannock’s representative, and we will now be in Virginia’s fifth congressional district, stretching like a snake from North Carolina to Northern Virginia.

It also means that this editorial page won’t have Rep. Cantor “to kick around anymore,” as Richard Nixon famously referenced his relations with the press when he lost an election.

Rep. Robert Hurt, freshly elected to Congress in 2010, will now be Rappahannock’s Republican voice in Big Washington. This assumes that the lawyer and former state senator will be reelected this year – a fairly safe assumption, since the purpose of the gerrymandering of voting districts is to create so-called “safe seats.”  

His home is in fact in Chatham, where he started his political career on the town council. He was elected to Virginia’s house of delegates in 2001, and then the state senate in 2007.

Perhaps Hurt’s most noteworthy legislative achievement during his short time in Congress was to co-sponsor a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from cracking down on farm dust. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Dec. 8.

I can’t yet start kicking Rep. Hurt around, however. It turns out that he (albeit he is considerably younger) attended the same Alexandria high school I did! But being true to one’s school won’t matter much this election year, I suspect, as both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama went to the same university.

Walter Nicklin