Firehouse Primary set for April 24 to pick GOP nominee for Rush seat

Seventh District Del. Nick Rush announced Wednesday via a Facebook post that he has decided not to seek a sixth term in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“It is with great appreciation to the voters of the Seventh House District that I formally announce my decision to not seek re-election this November for the Virginia House of Delegates,” the Republican delegate said. “It has been a true honor and incredible privilege to have served in the General Assembly for the past 10 years and I will forever be humbled by the trust placed in me to carry out the people’s work.”

Rush’s announcement prompted comments and praise from local and state Republicans.

“Nick Rush has been a truly great leader for Southwest Virginia and has done a tremendous job representing Pulaski County and the rest of the 7th District for 10 years,” said Joe Guthrie, Chairman of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “On behalf of the Board of Supervisors I can say that we very much appreciate his many years of public service, and his presence in Richmond will be greatly missed.”

Guthrie has been mentioned as a possible candidate in the event Rush chose not to seek re-election. He said he would consider a run.

“I will say that I will certainly consider running for it and I will give it careful and prayerful consideration,” Guthrie said. “However, I also take very seriously my commitments as Chair and Cloyd District representative on the Board of Supervisors. I truly enjoy the work we are accomplishing for the county in that office and that is my focus at this time.”

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert thanked Rush for his service.

“On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, I would like to thank Delegate Nick Rush for his nearly a decade of service in the General Assembly. Nick has been a tremendous advocate for the economic prosperity of the New River Valley and our entire Commonwealth is better because of him.

“While we will miss our colleague, we wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors.”

Kirk Cox, former Speaker of the House and candidate for Governor, commended Rush for his service.

“For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege and honor of counting Delegate Rush as a close friend and colleague in the House of Delegates. Delegate Rush served as the Majority Whip during my Speakership and because of his steadfast service to the Commonwealth we were able to balance the budget, make Virginia the best state for business, cut taxes, and reduce regulations.

“Delegate Rush is the true definition of a servant’s heart. I thank him for his service to our great nation in the United States Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. His tenure in the House of Delegates was marked by his commitment to making college more affordable for Virginians, and his leadership on behalf of the New River Valley that will not soon be forgotten.

“I wish Nick and Jennifer continued blessings from the Lord as they begin a new path beyond the House of Delegates.”

According to Andy McCready, Chairman of the Pulaski County Republican Party, Seventh District Republicans will select a nominee in a Firehouse Primary on Saturday, April 24.

Voting will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in three locations in the Seventh District:

  • Pulaski County – New River Valley Fairgrounds in the Farris Building;
  • Montgomery County – Montgomery County Government Center, Christiansburg;
  • Floyd County – Floyd County Administrative Building, Floyd.

In his Facebook statement, Rush said his constituents’ best interests were always in his mind on every vote he cast.

“As your voice and vote with many important decisions that were made by the General Assembly, I can say without reservation that my constituents were always the foundation for each and every one rendered. I am proud that the Seventh District had a seat at the table when I was appointed to the most powerful money committee in the House of Delegates, the Committee on Appropriations, which included chairing the Higher Education Subcommittee; representing SWVA as Vice Chairman of the Major Economic Investment Project Approval Commission; and bringing more attention to the mental health needs of Virginians as a member of the Joint Sub-committee to Study Mental Health Services in the 21st Century,” he said.

“When the Republican Party was the Majority Party in the House of Delegates, one of my personal and most valued honors was being elected by my peers to serve as Whip, which was key in making sure that fiscal and conservative legislation passed through the House.

“It is also with great pride and fondness that I reflect on some of my legislative success stories that strengthened the New River Valley and SWVA’s economic impact well beyond our regional borders and throughout the entire Commonwealth, country, and global arena:

  • The Tech Talent Investment Program, which is now providing for 31,000 new technology degrees to students attending Virginia Tech and other state universities for the next 10 years
  • The Jefferson College of Health Sciences merger with Radford University, which has positioned RU to be a top producer of nursing, health, and human services, while providing for greater access to continuing and future research, collaboration, and greater educational opportunities for students and other regional stakeholders
  • The 10-10-10 Plan, which appropriated millions of dollars to struggling rural public schools in the Commonwealth, including many in rural SWVA

Constituents of the Seventh District often request their loved ones be memorialized or recognized for their service and impact to the community. I was proud to work with many families to help them accomplish these significant tributes, such as:

  • The naming of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge on Route 114 in Fairlawn
  • The recognition of October 22nd as the annual Cameron Crowder Pediatric Care Awareness Day
  • The celebration of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 100th Anniversary

“I am also proud of the excellent services my staff has provided over the years to the constituents of the 7th House District. We have helped hundreds of people navigate through state bureaucracy from VDOT road improvements to unemployment benefits. I was blessed to have been surrounded by an incredible team that worked together for the common goal of improving the lives of the people of the Seventh,” Rush continued.

“Over 30 years ago the people of Montgomery County trusted me, a 23-year-old Fed Ex driver, to serve them on the Board of Supervisors for over a decade. And later, the citizens of the New River Valley believed in me, and through their kindness, afforded me more opportunities than I could ever have thought possible. They never gave up on me and in return, I looked for ways that I could show my appreciation and give back to them. Along this incredible journey, I never imagined that I would sit in the same Chamber where tyranny ended and the birth of our nation began and write legislation that would, indeed, give back to those whose confidence in me was the true inspiration to follow my dreams.

“As I move forward into my final months representing the Seventh House District of Virginia, I am grateful for the generous and gracious encouragement and support that I received from so many constituents, friends, and most especially, my wonderful family. I look forward to finding new ways to make the NRV proud in the days ahead and keeping the New River Valley as the best place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. May God continue to bless the Seventh House District and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”