Campaigning for Virginia's 5th District Seat: Tom Garrett
With the congressional race for Virginia’s 5th District seat in full swing, Republican candidate Tom Garrett invited NBC29 along for a day on the campaign trail.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - With the congressional race for Virginia’s 5th District seat in full swing, Republican candidate Tom Garrett invited NBC29 along for a day on the campaign trail.
Garrett visited volunteer fire departments in towns of Scottsville, Farmville, Concord, as well as Madison, Fluvanna, and Appomattox counties.
"It's important to sort of listen to the people who serve our communities and understand what their needs are. What government is doing to make their jobs easier, what government is doing to make their jobs harder," said Garrett.
The GOP candidate wanted to get feedback from first responders, while also showing people that he is working to improve job quality in the 5th District.
"We seem to be a dying breed. There are very few of us that are committed to volunteering time to the department," said Jay Saren, a Scottsville volunteer firefighter.
Saren says incentives could be a way to get more people to come volunteer at the station.
"We need to understand these guys and gals are serving us and when they tell us 'hey, education credits in exchange for service would be good' we need to listen. When they say 'hey, a tax credit in exchange for service would be good' we need to listen," said the GOP candidate.
At each of the firehouse visits, Garrett was able to spend one-on-one time with volunteer firefighters and hear what he could do at the federal level to help their public service locally.
Fluvanna County Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Brent is concerned about attracting and retaining volunteers from within the community. "We can always use assistance with money, grants, the training issues, requirements, all sorts of things," he said.
Having a relationship with representatives is what volunteers say they hoped to get from the day with Garrett. "The biggest thing is creating a working relationship with whoever is in office and working together," said Brent.
Garrett agrees. "Do we want to incentivize this good behavior, this public service? The answer is yes. So, how can we do that appropriately at a government level, and how can we federally versus a state level?"
The general election is November 8. Click here to see our segment with Democratic Candidate Jane Dittmar.