Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Rob Wittman Wins 8th Term Representing Virginia's First Congressional District

November 4, 2020


Rob Wittman Wins 8th Term Representing Virginia's First Congressional District

MONTROSS, VA -- Congressman Rob Wittman (R, VA-01) yesterday won Virginia's First Congressional District Race for re-election to his eighth term against opponent Qasim Rashid.

Wittman's win is a clear victory for the people of the region as he is the Commonwealth's senior-most Republican, serving as Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. He has a long history of environmental, broadband, infrastructure, defense, and veteran related wins in Congress, both legislatively and through funded projects. His experience, vision, and personal connection to the district proved to be what the people of Virginia's First District wanted and needed in the People's House.

Wittman has represented the First Congressional District since winning a special election in 2007 filling the seat vacated following the passing of Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis. Congressman Wittman has dedicated his life to the selfless service of his family, friends, neighbors, and all people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Wittman delivered the following remarks after his victory, in which he lays out his plan for the future of VA-01, the Commonwealth, and the nation, gives his sincerest thanks to the people of the First District, and reiterates his commitment to service, hard work, and complete representation of all people in our region.

Scroll below to read Wittman's remarks as prepared for delivery in full:

Good evening.

Tonight, it is with great humility that I'm honored to say I will once again be serving the people of America's First District in Washington in the 117th Congress. To the people of the First District, I thank you.

I want to thank my family, my wife Kathryn, my supporters, and the people of the First District for their tremendous work this year. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, I am extremely grateful for your support of my endeavors to once again serve the First District in Washington. Most importantly, I want to thank God for the guidance and strength He provided to us all through this year.

I also want to thank my opponent for a spirited race; I wish him, his family and staff the absolute best as they transition into the next chapter of their lives. It is now time for our region and our nation to come together as one America.

To say this year has been unprecedented is an understatement. To say that we are facing difficulties at nearly every turn is only beginning to understand the challenges facing our nation:
From a nuclear-strike-capable and ever-growing Chinese Navy to an emboldened and marauding Russia; to a lack of high-speed broadband coverage to a lack of freight and commuter rail capacity; to an economy still reeling from the effects of COVID-19 to families wondering how they will pay for their medical bills. We don't need to look far to find the difficult and the challenging.

Recently, the words of founding father, patriot, and native of the First Congressional District, Patrick Henry, have been on my mind:

"They tell us that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? … Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?... We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power."

He spoke these words during his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, in late March of 1775.

The colonists were facing seemingly insurmountable odds. They were considering the then-unheard-of act of Independence. And yet they persevered. In the face of those odds -- in the face of the dark times that followed -- in the face of bleak winters and hot summers -- the American spirit shone through. The United States -- Americans -- prevailed.

The same question posed by Patrick Henry can be asked of our nation now as we face the uncertainty of the coming weeks and year: When shall we be stronger?

I am looking to our future, and I remain steadfastly hopeful. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, folks of the First District have proven their resiliency. We have proven our ability to care for one another -- to utilize the resources we need to manage these times -- to ask for help when we need it and provide help when we can. It is this spirit that will see us through.

It is with this same spirit -- the spirit of our founders -- the spirit of our neighbors and families who have seen us through these times -- it is with this spirit that I will return to Washington to serve you.

As we face challenges ahead, I will continue to work tirelessly for you and for all people of the First District.

As we look to address the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, I've called on my colleagues in Congress to provide additional relief to Americans who need it most.

I have joined a discharge petition to release millions of dollars in aid to small businesses.

I supported vital relief bills earlier this year -- I believe we must continue to provide targeted relief to the people who need it, rein in wasteful spending, and eliminate unfocused programs.

I will continue to call on my fellow Members in Congress to do the same and more.

I'm proud to report that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper recently announced a new plan to expand and modernize our fleet to outpace our competitors and adversaries. This is something which I've advocated on behalf of for years.

I will be a vocal advocate as we look to implement this plan in the coming years. Through my leadership role on the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I will do my utmost to increase shipbuilding and provide for our military members.

This year, I have continued my work to improve access to broadband services, building upon the work I have undertaken over the past decade.

I firmly believe that we will see more done in the next two years than we have in the past ten. Much of that is thanks to the joint work I have done with stakeholders, elected officials, and members of the Administration over the past several years.

I will continue to support localities as they apply for grants and work with providers to allow our localities to fully capitalize on the technology of the 21st Century. Rest assured, I will continue to push my colleagues and the Administration to act swiftly on my legislation to bridge the digital divide.

In the same vein, I currently have a bill before the House aimed at relieving congestion on our roadways, providing greater capacity for commuter and freight rail traffic.

The Long Bridge Act of 2020 will allow for the construction of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac to increase rail capacity throughout the mid-Atlantic. If this bill is not passed this year, it will be one of the first bills I reintroduce in the 117th Congress.

In conjunction with this bill, I advocated for a successful US-DOT grant application from the Port of Virginia to increase their rail terminal capacity to boost our region's economy.

I will continue these efforts through advocacy for public-private partnerships and increased funding opportunities in the coming years.

This year drastically changed every aspect of our lives, and changed the way our campaign was run. It could not have been possible without the incredible work of my staff and volunteers throughout 2020.

I want to say a very special thank you to my Chief of Staff, Carolyn, for her outstanding work for the people of the First Congressional District at every level of engagement. I cannot express enough her tireless efforts for the people of our region.

I also want to thank my Campaign Manager, Nathan, for his work directly engaging with folks and stakeholders around our region, to help ensure that all people in the First District have their voices heard.

I have an amazing campaign team - Tiphanie, Joey, Brent, Reeve, Christie, Rob, Ashlee, and Sandy. They worked incredibly hard and I am so appreciative for all that they do.

Thank you as well to:

  • my District Director in my Congressional Office, Joe;
  • my Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff in my Congressional Office, Brent;
  • my Congressional Director of Operations, Jordan;
  • my Communications Director in my Congressional Office, Erika;
  • and Kim, our Digital Director for the campaign.

Thank you to the entirety of my Congressional DC Office staff - Max, John, Chris, Curran, Jacob and Sarah - for their immeasurable work legislatively.

Thank you to my Congressional District Office staff - Chris, Karen, Christina, Cheryl, and John  - from Mechanicsville, Stafford, and Tappahannock for their work serving the people of our region directly.

And an important thank you to all the campaign staff and volunteers who helped in so many ways throughout this year -- without your work tonight would not have been possible.

Folks who know me know I don't shy away from hard work.

From my time on the tomato farm, to the fishing boat, to college and the Corps of Cadets, to the Virginia Department of Health, local offices, and in Congress -- I have always worked with the same spirit of resolve and service that was instilled in me from a young age.

Throughout this year, I safely visited several locations around our region, talking with folks from all walks of life -- from Prince William to Mathews, from Stafford to James City, from Reedville to Mechanicsville -- The people I have interacted with have the same work ethic that I do.

We want to roll up our sleeves and get things done to help our communities.

It's because we grew up here. We know what it takes to help each other, and that is why I am so proud to serve you in Washington. We have hard work ahead of us, but I'm committed to working for you.

I say it often, and it's something I believe firmly: the people of our region -- our friends, neighbors, coworkers -- are the greatest people in the United States of America.

Thank you for the opportunity to once again serve you in Washington. May God bless you, may God bless the Commonwealth of Virginia, and may God bless our great United States of America.


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