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Douglass draws contrast with opponent in South Hill talk

South Boston News
John Douglass, running for the Fifth District seat held by Rep. Robert Hurt, in South Hill Thursday.
SoVaNow.com / September 26, 2012
“Did you know this is the largest district in the state?” asked John Douglass, a retired Brigadier General and the Democratic challenger in the Fifth Congressional race to be decided Nov. 6.

Douglass, who is seeking to unseat GOP incumbent Robert Hurt, met with supporters at a town hall meeting in South Hill on Thursday night. The district covers all or parts of Greene, Campbell, Albemarle, Nelson, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Cumberland, Appomattox, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Lunenburg, Franklin, Henry, Pittsylvania, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties. The Fifth District alone is larger than the state of New Jersey.

Despite the unwieldy size, Douglass finds “the diversity of the district both challenging and exciting.”

Douglass has been stumping across Southside Virginia in an attempt to pull off an upset of Hurt, and he touts the contrasts between himself and the first-term representative: “I am not mealy-mouthed, and I don’t beat around the bush.”

One topic he is not afraid to broach is the need for money to keep his campaign afloat and purchase television airtime: “We don’t get our money from big corporations. When people meet me or come to a town hall, I have a 6-9 point lead over the incumbent. That’s why I need to raise enough money to get on TV.”

Douglass will tell you he is not “your typical candidate.” He did not come from a life of privilege. He was orphaned and homeless as a child, until his football coach found him a foster home, a widow with small children. He went on to earn an undergraduate and two master’s degrees.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1992, Douglass spent four years as a senior staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

More recently, Douglas served as president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, where he says he pursued policies that “help keep our skies safe, and worked toward the preservation and expansion of American manufacturing jobs.”

Before taking questions, Douglass highlighted his plan for helping the people of the 5th District: “It was not made in D.C. by corporations.” He tells the audience the ideas in his plan came from them. “It came from over 300 meetings like this one, and over 20,000 phone calls.”

Foremost in the Douglass plan is education. He says the federal government has a role in education policy: “You should not have to suffer because you were born in a rural county. You should get the same educational experience as the person in Fairfax County.”

To that end, Douglass would reward teachers who boost college and career readiness among their students. He would also seek ways to expand college aid for those willing to serve the public, especially as educators.

Douglass says he is a firm believer in “second chances,” an opportunity for children and young adults to sidestep or overcome poor choices. Therefore, he supports educational and after-school programs that guide youth and that help them see opportunities instead of roadblocks, which come from poor life choices.

As a retired career military man – Douglass was the second in command for NATO forces during the 1st Gulf War, on the National Security Council under President Reagan and Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Clinton – he promises to fight for veterans. “Did you know one out of every four Iraqi and Afghani vets are without jobs, despite being highly skilled?” he asks.

For these men and women, Douglass says he will push a jobs program for veterans, and better funding for the veterans administration – providing it with the financial wherewithal to help all veterans, young, old, healthy and infirm.

His oft-repeated campaign slogan is proof that this candidate is not afraid of a fight: “Help stop our district from being hurt by those in Washington.” One fight he took on involves uranium mining in Virginia.

Douglass says that unlike Hurt, “who hides behind the statement that uranium mining is a state issue,” he publicly opposes lifting the ban on mining. He points out that his family does not stand to profit from uranium mining – a reference to Hurt’s father’s investment in the Coles Hill uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County.

As a candidate for federal office, Douglass says he has a duty to take a position, especially since the federal government will be involved in the operation, if mining commences. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees both storage and milling of uranium and tailings.

The rank and file in the Democratic Party did not always embrace Douglass. Early on, he sparked controversy due to his role as a Civil War re-enactor and founder of a local Confederate battery. Douglass has played both Union and Confederate soliders.

Before Douglass locked down his party’s nomination, Erin Monaghan, who managed the campaign of his opponent, Peyton Williams, said, “It’s important for Democrats to focus on the issues of the 21st century rather than joining those who want to re-fight the battles of the 19th century.”

Recently conservative bloggers accused Douglass of confronting and attempting to strike a camera operator filming a tea party event in Farmville. They posted the exchange on YouTube.

Virginia’s Fifth District is considered a tough seat for Democrats to win, due in part to recent redistricting.

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Comments

Did you know that Douglass claims to be a farmer? Did you know that douglass was a lobyist? Did you know Douglass has no ties to Southside, but to surban Washington? Is this what we want representing us? VOTE HURT!

Comments

Here's the video to which this article refers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSeIH4I_Bv8

As allpoitical12 has stated, Douglass actually resides in Alexandria (for a good reason: his son has some special educational needs that can be best addressed by that school system), and uses his country home in Hume VA as his "political" residence. Someone needs to ask Douglass to release his IRS tax records so we can see where he actually and officially resides.

Comments

Also, this video is posted here as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48RDHSkaJDE&feature=fvwrel

If you add both viewer counts, this video has gone viral with over 10,000 views AND it's posted on almost 100 sites and blogs. Douglass cannot hide from this incident, and he should apologize publicly for this public event.


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