Barlow runs for re-election

Published 10:42 pm Saturday, November 5, 2011

After nearly 20 years in Virginia’s House of Delegates, William K. Barlow will be representing Suffolk for the first time in January if he is re-elected next week over opponent Richard Morris.

The 64th District, which Barlow has represented since 1992, newly includes a swath of the southwestern portion of Suffolk after the statewide redistricting process this year. The Holy Neck, Holland and Whaleyville precincts will vote in this race. The 64th also includes parts of Isle of Wight, Surry, Sussex and Prince George counties.

The Smithfield lawyer says he’s excited about the possibility of representing part of Suffolk. He already has connections to the city — his brother Joe is a longtime public servant in Suffolk, having done terms on School Board and City Council before retiring last year.

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“I’m the Barlow you don’t know yet, but if you like the other Barlow, you’ll like me,” he said.

The Democrat outlined his priorities as jobs, transportation, education and public safety.

“Jobs is the highest priority that we have at this moment,” he said. “The job situation is important to the whole region.”

He said it was gratifying to see Green Mountain Coffee announce 800 jobs in Isle of Wight recently, but added that the situation still needs to improve.

“International Paper just shocked the whole region by suddenly saying they were going to shut down their operation there,” Barlow said of the Franklin paper mill. “That came as a huge shock to everyone. We’re still trying to recover.

Transportation is another priority for Barlow. Gridlock on the issue in Richmond has prevented anything from getting done, he said.

“I’ve been at the forefront of trying to get something done on that for the last 10 to 15 years,” he said. “Our efforts on that have not been successful. There’s never enough votes to provide the revenue. Now, unfortunately, we’re not only in a recession, but a very severe, serious recession, and it’s very difficult to come up with the necessary funding at this moment.”

Barlow added he also is a strong supporter of education and public safety.

“I think it’s vitally important we maintain a strong system for our children and grandchildren,” he said of the public schools. On public safety: “I think that’s probably the basic essential the government needs to provide.”

Though he’s a Democrat, Barlow said he’s willing to work across the aisle to get things done.

“I’m a Democrat,” he said. “I’m not ashamed of that, but once the election’s over, we’ve got to work together. That’s one of the things that’s been important to me the 20 years I’ve served. It’s in stark contrast to what’s happening in Washington that’s caused such a complete paralysis.”

Barlow is a U.S. Air Force veteran and member of the Smithfield Rotary and Ruritan clubs. He and his wife Anne have two children, Amy and Todd, and five grandchildren.

His campaign website is