GOP office opening includes tribute to Harry F. Byrd Jr.
WINCHESTER — The city’s GOP election headquarters was christened Tuesday evening with a rousing call to arms by lieutenant governor hopeful E.W. Jackson.
Several dozen people turned out for the opening of the Winchester Republican Victory Office at 113 Weems Lane.
Prior to Jackson’s remarks, Winchester Republican Committee Chairman Beau Correll asked for a moment of silence in honor of U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr., who died Tuesday morning.
“A giant has fallen here in Winchester today,” Correll said. “He stood for fiscal restraint, balanced budgets. He was known for his independence from political parties, but not from those fundamental values.”
Jackson, a nondenominational minister, lawyer and professor running against Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Painter, in the Nov. 5 election, focused on energy, jobs and education.
“Virginia can be an oasis of freedom and economic opportunity, or it can become a basket case like ... Detroit,” Jackson said.
That city’s bankruptcy is where the Obama administration is leading Virginia and the nation, he said. Jackson said he is running to keep freedom and opportunity in the commonwealth.
“We’re going to stand at the banks of the Potomac if necessary and say, ‘This far, but absolutely no further,’” he said. “We’ve got coal that we can’t get out of the ground in southwest Virginia. We’ve got oil that we can’t drill for offshore.”
The administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have hindered energy generation efforts “because we’re trying to save the planet,” the candidate said.
“China, India, Russia are busy getting energy out of the ground,” he added.
Jackson did take a moment to have fun with his reputation as a right-wing extremist.
“I want to be lieutenant governor to make [gubernatorial candidate Ken] Cuccinelli look moderate,” he joked.
It’s not by chance that Virginia was home to so many of the Founding Fathers, Jackson said.
“I don’t believe we’re here by accident, either,” he said. “I believe we have a providential opportunity to be a beacon light of hope for the rest of our country.”
The crowd was responsive to Jackson’s passionate oration.
Frederick County resident Wayne Holsinger said that at the state’s Republican Convention in May, Jackson — who was one of seven candidates hoping to become the nominee — had attendees “hollering and jumping” for him.
“He’s an exciting candidate, just fantastic candidate, knows exactly where he’s going,” he said.
Winchester resident Arthur Behnke added: “He’s got honesty, integrity and character.”
He said Jackson’s delivery is clear and concise and understandable to the average voter.
“We haven’t had that in many years,” Behnke said. “As a private businessman, we need people like him.”
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