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Monday, July 8, 2013
The vast majority of Virginians do not realize the commonwealth’s geography actually extends west of Richmond into the Central Appalachian Mountains; most do not relate to the expanse of mountains beyond Blacksburg’s Virginia Tech or the area northwest of historic Abingdon, adorned with several buildings of the Civil War era.
The region does appear in the federal census and various studies as the leading area for poverty, substandard educational attainment, poor health of its citizens, and the many miles of two-lane, curvy highways, sometimes with large coal trucks lumbering along the lanes.
The region sits at one edge of the so-called horseshoe now denoting the more isolated, less cosmopolitan Virginia, an area of lesser economic hope.
Unfortunately, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli does realize the area exists, as it is his target to create greater disparity, less hope for jobs and diminished health care.
Cuccinelli’s opposition to the state transportation plan put at risk construction of the so-called Coalfields Expressway, a $5 billion highway intended to connect the region to Interstates 77 and 66. The highway would break the isolation and create hundreds of public-private construction jobs and manufacturing job opportunities.
The attorney general’s shrill opposition to the Medicaid expansion plan would deny up to 400,000 Virginians health care services and creation of much-needed health care jobs.
The other Virginia — the area the majority of voters east of Roanoke do not really know — stands to be severely and negatively impacted by a Cuccinelli governorship.
Obviously, the attorney general cares not about underdogs in his dog-eat-dog world of laissez-faire public policy. He knows not the meaning of commonwealth, only that of survival of the fittest.
Virginia voters not only sit in judgment of a candidate, but hold the fate of the mountain people of Virginia’s coal-producing region in their hands.
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