Andrew Pullen, Lee Ware, Tom Garrett, Jim Gilmore, Nick Freitas and Mel Sheridan. Photo by Tricia JohnsonOver 100 guests flocked to the home of Mel and Donna Sheridan in Kents Store on Saturday (July 30) to attend a fundraiser for Tom Garrett, Republican candidate for the U. S. House of Representatives.

Garrett is campaigning against Jane Dittmar, a Democrat, for the seat vacated by the retirement of 5th District Congressman Robert Hurt. The 5th District, which encompasses all of Fluvanna County, is the largest congressional district in the state.

 

Former Governor Jim Gilmore, keynote speaker at the event, came out in strong support of Garrett.  “Tom Garrett is an excellent candidate; he’s got a good track record from the General Assembly; he is well-known; he’s a sound man – a U.S. Army veteran – and he is a good Republican,” said Gilmore.

“This is a critical time for the country, a critical time,” Gilmore emphasized.  “We are all focused on the presidency; but at the end of the day, we can’t forget the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and how vital those people are going to be in the years ahead.”

Gilmore described the race for president as the most unpredictable presidential campaign he had ever seen.  “This is a moment in which there is a choice between two different philosophies of government,” he said.  “One where the state is dominant and taxes are high in order to fund a dominant state, or one where you have people like Tom, who will speak up more for individual initiative, who will work more for freedom and liberty and conservative government.”

Also speaking in support of Garrett was Nick Freitas, who represents Virginia’s 30th District in the state House of Delegates.  “Tom Garrett is a fellow veteran,” Freitas said, “and I have served with people like Tom not only in the military, but now I have had the privilege of serving with him in the legislature. We need people who understand what the proper province of government is, and who understand their obligation to the Constitution, and Tom is your guy for that.”

Lee Ware, who represents the 65th District in the House of Delegates, said he admired Garrett’s commitment to his beliefs.  “He has been absolutely fearless in advocating for the principles that he holds and that we share, and I think that character quality is what draws the kind of crowd you see today, and it is why I am here to be supportive of Tom today,” Ware said.

“I always enjoy Fluvanna,” said Garrett.  “The last time I didn’t enjoy Fluvanna I think I was playing junior varsity football and somebody hit me hard,” he joked.

When it came to his campaign, Garrett was all business. “We are focused really on what is most important, and that is jobs and the economy,” he said.  “There has been a regulatory climate the last seven and a half or eight years that has absolutely destroyed the ability of individuals to exercise initiative,” he asserted. “What drives our economy isn’t the government, it is individuals who have ideas and initiative and who work hard – so we want to work on that regulatory burden; we want to acknowledge the role of individuals in making things happen for others,” he said.

“I’ve already represented Fluvanna for five years, and we’ve done a lot, I think,” Garrett continued.  “Two years ago we had three bills; one that rolled back SOLs, one that eliminated the 140 seat hour requirement, and one that allowed for expedited re-takes for near misses on those tests. Just in education alone, that is more than our opponent has ever done. I understand the challenges that face our schools, I understand the challenges – by having been a prosecutor – facing law enforcement professionals.

“Having grown up next door in Louisa, I understand what it is like growing up in a rural area, and then wondering where the economic opportunity is going to come from that lets our kids stay home for a change instead of moving away to pursue opportunities,” Garrett said.  “All of those things, plus my military service, separate me from my opponent.

Garrett took a moment to thank his hosts.  “It is overwhelmingly humbling to have a group of people who say they will do something and then do something 10 times better than you could have hoped for.  We are blessed,” he said, “God’s been good.”
The election is Nov. 8.