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Forbes, LeGrow battle for House seat

In addition to local races in four of Suffolk’s seven boroughs, all voters in the city will find two candidates up for election in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District when the polls open Nov. 2.

Incumbent J. Randy Forbes, a Republican, is facing challenger Wynne LeGrow from the Democratic Party.

J. Randy Forbes

Forbes graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1974 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He then began his private practice, specializing in helping small- and medium-sized businesses.

Randy Forbes

In 1989, Forbes was elected to the Virginia General Assembly, and in 1997 he was elected to the Virginia Senate. In 2001, he was first elected to the House of Representatives to fill the seat made vacant by Norman Sisisky’s death. Since then, he has held numerous leadership positions on committees including the Congressional Prayer Caucus, the Modeling and Simulation Caucus and the Navy-Marine Corps Caucus.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Forbes is especially concerned about the potential closure of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

“I think that there’s no question that one of the things that’s most important to residents in Suffolk and the future of Suffolk is going to be the Joint Forces Command,” Forbes said. “It has helped raise the median income for Suffolk and the entire region. To come in and cut out thousands of jobs could have an incredibly detrimental effect on Suffolk and businesses in Suffolk.”

If Forbes is reelected and Republicans gain a majority in the House, he said, he would become chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee for the House Armed Services Committee, which would give him more leverage to prevent the closure.

Forbes said he also would focus on creating jobs by holding the line on taxes and “[making] sure we’re not strangling businesses with a host of new regulations.”

“We want to create the kind of environment that will allow employers to hire people,” Forbes said. “None of that’s going to happen if we don’t get this huge deficit problem under control.”

Forbes is one of a handful of representatives to vote against every bailout bill.

“They put us in a huge debt, which actually threatened our ability to create jobs in the future,” Forbes said.

He also noted he would like to keep energy taxes level and keep current tax cuts in place.

On the education front, Forbes acknowledged a strong public education system is important but said it does nobody any good if no jobs are available.

“We’ve always been strong proponents of a quality education,” Forbes said. “What we’ve got to do is not only work hard for people to have the educations they want for their lives, but also work hard for available jobs.”

For more information on Forbes, visit his campaign website at www.randyforbes.com.

Wynne LeGrow

LeGrow graduated from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Missouri. He was commissioned into the U.S. Army and served two years at Fort Rucker, Ala., as an Army physician. After leaving the military at the rank of major, he performed a fellowship at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Wynne LeGrow

In 1979, he moved to Emporia and started a practice in nephrology, the study of the kidneys, and internal medicine. In the early 1990s, he opened his own dialysis business.

LeGrow says he was motivated to run for office, because he is concerned about the economy, national debt, public education and global climate change.

“I never really considered it until the last few years,” he said in a phone interview. “A number of things that happened during the Bush administration made me reconsider. We have two major problems that we’re dealing with right now, and that’s the job losses and what I think is a crisis in public education.”

The main reason he began considering a run for office, however, is climate change.

“I’m absolutely convinced [it] is real and created by human beings burning fossil fuels, and Congress hasn’t dealt with it adequately,” LeGrow said. “Our children and grandchildren are going to pay the price of us not doing something if we don’t get on it very quickly.”

LeGrow suggested putting money into renewable energy sources to improve the problem and make America more independent of foreign funding.

“We’re spending all this money on fossil fuels, much of it coming from countries that don’t have our best interests in mind,” he said. “We’re getting further in debt to China and Japan.”

With regard to education, LeGrow proposes doing away with tenure benefits and offering better pay for teachers.

“The system has to be flexible enough where they have enough money to attract people into teaching,” LeGrow said. “We need better pay to attract more higher-quality people into teaching and the ability to terminate people if they’re not doing the job.”

LeGrow supports the bailout bill, saying it “helped localities retain teachers and firemen and policemen that would have lost their jobs.”

In reference to the U.S. Joint Forces Command’s proposed closure, LeGrow said it is “just what our district doesn’t need” and that he hopes at least some of the jobs can remain in the area.

Noting in a campaign press release on Thursday, however, that “(t)he military comprises over half of our discretionary federal spending,” he suggested that “scaling back” on military spending would help reduce the federal deficit.

For more information on LeGrow, visit his campaign website at www.legrowforuscongress.com.