Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My plans for 2015 - & beyond


Election to public office should not be a goal in itself, rather a means for effecting positive change


In June of 1990 I walked into a local campaign headquarters and asked, "How can I help?" Having started my business a couple years earlier, I was frustrated with the policies imposed on employers that impeded job growth and mounting regulations that drove manufacturers abroad.  More importantly, these and other factors forced many Americans to become dependent on government.  We were losing sight of the very ideals upon which our nation was founded and I sought leaders who would get us back on track. That was 25 years ago.  By most measures, these concerns are greater today than they were then.


As my company evolved, I ventured to find a more direct means of addressing these issues.  I surveyed business and academic professionals, local and state leaders, and members of Congress, eventually taking roles in business and education advocacy organizations. It was not until 2011, after redistricting placed me in the 93rd House District, that I seriously considered a run for public office.


Winning this district would be difficult as it had generally supported Democratic candidates for state and local elections including the Delegate I would challenge.  Yet, with double-digit unemployment and my focus on economic growth, you elected me to be your voice in Richmond.  Few words can convey the honor of serving in the oldest legislative body in the New World while representing the citizens of America's birthplace.


I went to Richmond with this goal; serve my district honorably while making tangible improvements on the issues I had campaigned. With bipartisan support, I fulfilled promises effecting jobs and education, prioritized improvements to I-64, and brought economic and education investments to our region.  I am proud of my service as Delegate, but most heartened by the kind words of community leaders, long-time supporters, and grocery store acquaintances who have urged me to seek this seat again. Because of our continued commitment to the causes that led me there, my family and I have weighed and prayed on this very thought.


The 93rd may be the most competitive district in Virginia; it is certainly the most fluid. The continual shift in constituency, turnout, and campus causes could conceivably elect a new Delegate every two years.  I've studied years of election trends and discussed ideas with constituent groups, students, and consultants who've determined that a run to regain this seat in 2015 would likely be successful. To hold it through future cycles however, would demand an endless campaign, leaving little time for work on real issues to improve the lives of Virginians.  This scenario neither helps the district nor remedies the serious concerns that I strive to address.


I am committed to serving the public, to defend these principles – that every citizen must have the opportunity to succeed, empowered by freedom and personal responsibility. Recognizing that we do not all start from the same place, I will always endeavor to ensure a credible path to success for those that seek it.  This mission however, requires a leader of ideas, not a perpetual candidate always planning the next election.  Serving as Delegate for the 93rd District has been one of my greatest honors.  However, a more effectual path to advance these principles exists. I intend to pursue it.


Nonetheless, the 93rd District deserves an effective Delegate.  We have pockets of poverty that can be revitalized, schools that needlessly lag others in the state, and an unhealthy dependence on a diminishing economic resource, government spending.  To advance opportunity in our region, we must pave the way for existing employers to expand while working to attract new ones.  And, we must prepare our students for these and new careers that lie ahead. To do so, this district needs a Delegate who offers unique ideas and the ability to produce results, qualities painfully absent in its representation today.  I know an individual who understands and can meet these challenges. I expect you'll hear from them very soon.


As for me, I will assist that campaign when needed while continuing my roles with the Business Development Caucus, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Higher Education Advisory Committee.  Each presents an opportunity to learn about pressing concerns across the Commonwealth while contributing to their solutions.  As to the question from many supporters who have placed resources and confidence in my public service future, please know that this answer will become clear soon enough.


Thank you for your trust and again, for the honor of serving in Virginia's House of Delegates.

Respectfully yours,


This message was sent to alexanderofyork@ofva.us from:

Mike Watson for Virginia | MikeWatson.VA@gmail.com | Mike Watson | PO Box 6628 | Williamsburg, Virginia 23188

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