Suffolk helps propel Forbes back to D.C.

Published 1:47 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Suffolk voters helped push Congressman J. Randy Forbes to another term on Capitol Hill.

Throughout Virginia’s Fourth District, Forbes swept about 62 percent of the vote away from challenger Wynne LeGrow. His margin in Suffolk was somewhat narrower — only 58 percent to LeGrow’s 41.

In the battle over the proposed closure of U.S. Joint Forces Command, Forbes has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents to its shutdown. He has repeatedly blasted Pentagon leadership, particularly Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for what he called a “tapestry of silence” the defense department is weaving around the proposed closure.

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JFCOM is a military command tasked with promoting and implementing cooperation among the various services and between the U.S. military and that of other countries. A large portion of it is based at a 2,200-employee facility in Suffolk.

Three constitutional amendment referendums also were on the ballot for voters to consider. The first two, which would allow localities to set their own requirements for property tax exemptions and allow veterans with a permanent, total, 100 percent service-connected disability to receive property tax breaks, passed by wide margins statewide.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, more than 75 percent of voters had chosen “yes” for the first amendment. The second passed by an even wider margin — 82 percent “yes” to 17 percent “no.”

The third question on the ballot, however, did not receive such statewide support. It asked voters whether to raise the maximum allowed amount of the state’s rainy-day fund. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, 51.5 percent of voters had supported the measure. About 48.5 percent said “no.”