House Speaker Howell visits Suffolk for GOP fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Eugene Sankey likes to spend his money. He doesn’t want someone else to spend it for him.

&uot;We as a group believe that the government should be very careful with spending taxpayers’ money,&uot; said the secretary of the Suffolk Republican Party at his organization’s annual fundraiser Thursday evening at the Sheffield House on Broad Street.

&uot;One of the most important things is that government officials spend our money wisely and give it back. I know that they have to have some to pay our fire department and police and I don’t mind paying teachers, but I’d like to help control spending.&uot;

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That’s just one of the jobs that Del. S. Chris Jones has been elected – twice – to do for Virginia.

&uot;I think we made some progress on transportation,&uot; Jones said of the Virginia General Assembly, which ended in late February. &uot;We removed 1.5 cents from the sales tax in grocery stores, and we’ve still got to sit down and approach the transportation issues. I-64 has choke points and never-ending construction, and we’re thinking of either making 460 a four-lane road or a limited-access highway.&uot;

Jones has also been involved much in local transportation recently – a few weeks ago, he attempted to secure financing from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the Kings Highway Bridge.

&uot;I’m proud of all the support that I’ve received from my constituents over the years,&uot; he said. &uot;There’s a lot of volunteers that will make a difference.&uot;

The fundraiser, which brought in roughly $1,000, is used to help pay for such things as postage for mailers sent out, as well as to sponsor several events, such as the Peanut Fest, Sankey said.

For one evening, state House of Delegates speaker William Howell became the Suffolk House of Sheffield speaker.

&uot;The reason that we won so soundly in ’04 was that we had grassroots campaigns to get people to get out and vote,&uot; said the guest speaker at the event. &uot;(The Suffolk party) is a good grassroots organization. We’d like local people to get involved in local, state and national issues. (In elections later this year) We’d like to maintain our majority, and hopefully increase it.&uot;

Republicans currently have a 62-38 advantage in the state House, and three seats will go up for election this year. Primaries will be held June 14, and elections for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general will be coming up in November.

Watching the crowd mill about his large home, Mickey Boyette remembered his own conservative beginnings.

&uot;Back when I was a teenager, watching Ronald Reagan, I thought he was the greatest person in the world,&uot; he said. &uot;He was the type of man I looked up to. I’ve never been politically active, but I consider myself a conservative, and I wanted to meet people who have the same ideas.&uot;