After making campaign stops Saturday in Pulaski County along with the rest of the Republican ticket, gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin returned to the county Tuesday to tour Camrett Logistics’ Riverbend operation at the end of Viscoe Road in Fairlawn.
Youngkin, Lt. Governor candidate Winsome Sears and Attorney General candidate Jason Miyares stumped in four locations in the county Saturday, starting with a rally at the Pulaski County GOP Headquarters with 7th District Delegate candidate Marie March at The Barn on Route 11.
Then the candidates met with firefighters at the Dublin firehouse, followed by a stop on Claytor Lake at the Rock House Marina.
Later in the day the trio finished up their visit to the county by dropping by the new Fairlawn location of the Blue Ridge Fudge Lady.
During the visit Tuesday to Camrett, Youngkin toured the 580,000 square foot facility with Camrett’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Willis. Accompanying them were Camrett’s Melissa Dempsey, Director of Human Resources and Compliance, and Derek Poff, General Manager of the Riverbend facility.
Also, along for the tour were Jason Ballard, 12th District candidate for House of Delegates, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Chairman Joe Guthrie and Supervisors Laura Walters (Ingles District) and Dirk Compton (Draper District).
While touring the facility, Youngkin learned that the Riverbend operation is but one of Camrett’s several facilities with others being in Dublin, Bagging Plant Road, Wytheville, Rural Retreat, Atkins, Roanoke and Beaver, W.Va. near Beckley.
Founded by Chief Executive Officer Collin Peel, Camrett is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The Riverbend operation warehouses products for several companies, primarily Volvo and Gatorade.
During the campaign stop, Youngkin held an impromptu “meet and greet” with several Camrett employees, talked about issues facing voters in the fall in his race for governor and posed for photos.
Following the visit, the enthusiastic Youngkin discussed his campaign and prospects for victory in November.
“The campaign is going great,” Youngkin said.
“This race is neck and neck right now. The polls basically have us statistically tied. As we head into what really is a 2 1/2-month sprint, we feel really good. We’ve got a groundswell of enthusiasm across the Commonwealth. Northern Virginia is tightening up, we’re doing super well in Hampton Roads. Richmond has tightened up. And across our Republican counties that are always so strong we’ve got great support.
“We feel really, really good about it,” he said.
Youngkin, making his first foray into state politics, is opposed by former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Youngkin said the “big thing” that’s happened to his campaign in the past 24 hours had been the endorsement of his candidacy by 50 sheriff’s from across the Commonwealth.
“When sheriffs speak with that loud a voice, people listen,” Youngkin said.
“We’ve got a problem in Virginia right now. We’re at a 20-year high in murder rate. When Terry McAuliffe was governor, the murder rate went up 43 percent, and the rape rate went up every year.
“He didn’t even go to the Police Benevolent Association’s meeting that represents 7,000 law enforcement members. He just blew it off. This is what you get with Terry McAuliffe.
“Virginia doesn’t want that back, and that’s why we’ve got this great groundswell of support.
“We’re going to win our statewide races and we’re going to win back our House this year.
“We’ve got great candidates this year, like Jason (Ballard). We really do,” he continued.
Much of Youngkin’s message to the electorate centers around his opposition to the “progressive philosophy.”
“This is no longer just Republicans against Democrats. It’s Virginians coming together against this left, liberal, progressive philosophy that’s trying to drag Virginia into becoming California east.
“What Terry McAuliffe stands for is mask mandates and school closures and closing your business because he wants government to dictate to Virginians what we’re doing.
“And I fully believe that we, as individuals, should make those choices.
“There will be no shutdowns when I am governor. We can take care of both lives and livelihoods. And actually, get Virginia moving. And, yes, I encourage everybody to get the vaccine. I’ve gotten it. But people need to make that decision themselves. It can’t be a government-imposed thing.
“This is the difference. Terry McAuliffe likes centralized government telling everyone what to do, and actually making people dependent on government. I believe individuals actually have choices. They need to be able to make decisions for themselves.”
Youngkin said, “We can rebuild the Commonwealth and get Virginia moving forward like we’ve never been moving before. It’s just going to take a different kind of leader.”
Debates have been a minor issue in the race recently. But for Youngkin’s part, he said he was eager to debate his Democratic opponent.
“I can’t wait. We have a debate scheduled for September 16th at the Appalachian Law School in Grundy, and I can’t wait for that. I actually accepted three debates and we accepted one at the end of this month at one of our great historically black colleges and universities – Hampton University – with all the students in a town hall manner and Terry wouldn’t go,” Youngkin charged.
“Here he is saying he wants to debate, so, let’s go debate. I look forward to Virginians seeing the clear difference between the two of us. A recycled, tired ol’ politician, as one of his own Democrats called him during their own nomination process, and really what Virginia could be and should be under my leadership.
“This is about the future of our Commonwealth. I think Virginians will see I have a real plan for the best jobs and the best schools and the safest communities, and my opponent Terry McAuliffe just wants to take us into lockdowns and impose government on us all.
“Virginians are going to choose Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares, and that’s why we see so much support across this Commonwealth.
“[When we win in November] It will send a very clear message across the country. We’ve got the whole country paying attention to us right now. There’s only two statewide races – New Jersey and Virginia – and all eyes are on Virginia right now. I sure hope the Republican in N.J. can win, but all eyes are on Virginia right now because it’s not only Virginians voting on the future of the Commonwealth, but on the future of our country.
“This is why there’s so much at stake. It’s why I get up in the morning with no alarm clock needed. Let’s go run. Literally, the crowds are huge everywhere we go, and I can’t wait to go to work for all Virginians.
“This is not about a house. This is not about a title. It’s about wanting to work for Virginians.
“My opponent – he wants to run for president or something. He doesn’t really care about Virginia.
“As a homegrown Virginian I’m ready to go to work for Virginians,” Youngkin said.
By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot