April 25, 2009
Delegate Ben Cline (R-Lexington) chose the new Central Virginia Community College center in Amherst as the place to announce his candidacy for reelection yesterday afternoon. He was introduced by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, as a crowd of about 25 people (including his wife Elizabeth) and a couple reporters listened in the warm spring sun. Both Goodlatte and Cline talked about the need to preserve the free enterprise system, the viability of which these days is being challenged. Cline emphasized in particular the role played by community colleges in providing Virginia workers with the training they need to get skilled jobs in today's competitive market. Cline was instrumental in getting funding for the new CVCC branch unit, which opened in January.
This was an unusual situation for me, mixing my usually-separate roles in academia and party politics. I tried to convey to the students in my U.S. Government class what a big deal this was, but I'm not sure it registered, as only one of them stayed around long enough for the announcement. Delegate Cline made a special effort to welcome the students when we made a field trip to Richmond in late February. Ben works as an assistant prosecutor in Harrisonburg, and is earning great respect both in his career and for his work as a state legislator. In the Republican Party, he is identified as a mainstream conservative, not inclined toward any particular faction. He is facing opposition from the Democratic side this fall (see March 3), but he can count on strong popular support when Election Day arrives. The 24th District which he represents in the House of Delegates covers all of Rockbridge County, nearly all of Amherst County, and the southern part of Augusta County.