“For me, it’s an honor and a privilege to serve folks. I really think this job is about service,” said Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) during his seventh campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. Having held the safe Republican seat since 2007, Wittman has had a more district-first approach to Washington politics, undoubtedly being one of the main drivers of his successful re-election bids in which he has won every one of his six races with results between 56 and 64 percent of the vote.
The 59-year-old former Virginia House of Delegates member says all of his campaign messages come directly from the people he serves.
“My political platform is what I get from folks back home,” Wittman said in an interview with WTVR. “And overwhelmingly, what they say is, ‘We need a strong defense. We need a military where we’re supporting strong men and women and their families.’ It’s important we don’t forget about families.”
Therefore, his re-election bid has been focused around building up the U.S. military and helping the economy grow.
“Rebuilding our nation’s defense is key,” Wittman remarked. “I would argue, in many areas, our adversaries have surpassed us. We need to not only keep up, but enhance what I think has been a strategic and tactical advantage,” adding that a well-funded, formidable military is a staunch global insurance policy.
The Republican congressman explained he is also focused on revamping the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, creating an easier transition for veterans from active-duty and upholding a sound healthcare administration for those who have served their country.
“This nation has a tremendous obligation to its veterans,” Wittman said. “Our veterans administration still has a ways to go to make sure we’re meeting that obligation.”
Concerning the booming economy, for it to have sustainability and longevity Wittman explained that children must be prepared to enter the workforce with a strong education.
“I want to make sure that we’re doing things for our economy and jobs. That means career and technical education being emphasized as much as college track education,” he said. “Making sure that our students, our children, are prepared for success, not only for the jobs for today but for the future.”
Meanwhile, Wittman is advocating for infrastructure changes in the primarily rural district regarding land area, including broadband access to communities lacking fast Internet connections. With scarce access, many facets of modern life like educational systems, healthcare facilities, and businesses are negatively affected.
“We see a lack of high-speed internet across Virginia, and that’s really one of the conduits for businesses to grow and start, for school systems,” and access to healthcare,” he mentioned.
Having served as an environmental health specialist, a field director for the Commonwealth’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation, and on the Agricultural, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources subcommittee in the house of Delegates in the past, Wittman has also stressed the importance of the health of the Chesapeake Bay for his district and the environment in the Commonwealth.
Recently, he introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution to highlight “Urban Wildlife Refuges,” which promote conservation, increasing access to wildlife-dependent recreation, and protecting local watersheds. According to a press release from Wittman’s office, the measure will provide opportunities for children and people of all ages to discover the outdoors and gain a greater appreciation for the natural world.
Throughout his time in Congress, Wittman has been readily available to his constituents as Brian Bayford, a district resident and Wittman supporter has explained.
“I’m a small business owner and each time I’ve called [Wittman’s] office, he has been there to help me. He added, “I’ve actually had meetings with Wittman in the past. I have been asked to speak at his small business meeting to know what small businessmen in the state need. I appreciate him including small businesses because it is important.”
As Election Day comes tomorrow, in the match between Wittman and Democratic challenger Vangie Williams, voters will have a chance to send their Republican representative back for another term in Congress and continue the district-first mentality Wittman takes in what is commonly and historically referred to “America’s First District.”