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Hurt hopes to unseat Perriello for seat in Washington

When voters go to the polls next Tuesday, they will have a choice between three candidates seeking election to the position of 5th District congressman.

The candidates are incumbent Rep. Tom Perriello who is seeking his second term, Independent challenger Jeff Clark and Republican challenger Robert Hurt.

The Gazette will feature a biographical profile of each candidate leading up to the election.

Today, The Gazette features a profile on GOP challenger Hurt.

State Senator Robert Hurt is the Republican candidate seeking a seat in the United States House of Representatives from the 5th District.

Hurt is a native of Pittsylvania County, where he lives and practices law. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1991 from Hampden-Sydney College and his law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law in 1995.

He served as the chief assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Pittsylvania County from 1996 to 1999. Since then he has practiced law in the Town of Chatham.

Hurt was elected to his first term in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2001, representing parts of Pittsylvania County, Henry County and the City of Martinsville.

He served six years in the House of Delegates before being elected in 2007 to the Senate of Virginia representing the 19th District (Danville, Pittsylvania County, Franklin County and part of Campbell County). Hurt serves on several committees in the senate including Senate Courts of Justice, General Laws and Technology and Rehabilitation and Social Services.

Prior to being elected to the House of Delegates, Hurt served on Chatham Town Council. He is an active member of Chatham Presbyterian Church and the Chatham Rotary Club.

Hurt is a member of the board of directors of the New College Institute, the Virginia Bar Association’s Board of Governors, the state advisory board of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, the Hampden-Sydney Wilson Center advisory board, the John Marshall Foundation board, the board of directors of Roman Eagle Nursing Home and the board of directors of the W. E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake.

Hurt lives in Chatham with his wife, Kathryn, and their three sons, Charles, Clement and John.

“Growing up in Chatham, my family instilled in me the importance of public service and a great love for this country, its history and especially our founders,” said Hurt. “This led to an interest in politics and public service, first as an observer and then as a legislator.”

Reducing size and cost of government

Hurt said in the last 10 years the central federal government has grown exponentially, and it owns everything from banks to automobile manufacturers and now wants to take over health care. He said when a problem is identified, Congress attempts to fix it by increasing spending.

Hurt said government needs to exercise fiscal discipline, stop the spending, stop the borrowing and roll back spending that has saddled the nation’s children and grandchildren with debt.

He said if he is elected to Congress he will fight for a line item veto and a balanced budget amendment. Hurt also said he would fight to end the earmark process, fight to make the budget process more transparent and open to review from citizens and fight to roll back and end government intervention in private sector companies.

Life and marriage

Hurt said he believes life begins at the moment of conception, and thus he opposes abortion, and as a delegate and state senator he consistently has supported pro-life legislation.

He said his position on life also applies to the matter of stem-cell research, which he opposes. Hurt said he opposes all efforts to create embryonic stem cells – creating life – in order to end it.

Hurt also said he believes marriage is between one man and one woman. As a member of the state legislature, he voted in support of Virginia’s Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage, and he said he has voted against civil unions.

If elected to Congress, he said he would support pro-life legislation, oppose embryonic stem cell research, support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage and oppose civil unions.

Individual liberty, private property and second amendment

Hurt said as a member of Congress he would support efforts that allow states to limit eminent domain and also would work to ensure government could not confiscate private property.

He said he supports gun rights, and if elected to Congress, he would oppose all efforts to ban guns, ammunition or any other type of anti-gun legislation. Hurt said he would support the right to carry legislation and would support efforts of state reciprocity with regard to carry and conceal.

Promoting fee markets and job creation

Hurt said he believes the key to creating jobs is limited government, low taxes and fewer government regulations, not more. He said the government does not create jobs, the private sector does, and he would oppose continued efforts in Washington to put special interests ahead of the people.

He said passage of the “Cap and Trade” bill not only means higher utility bills and taxes for business, but it also will make an already dire situation worse.

Hurt said he believes the goal of the 5th District’s next congressman needs to be job creation and getting the economy back in good standing. He also said he believes small businesses and the private sector is the economic engine to lead the recovery.

He said Washington needs to create incentives for small businesses to start hiring again, and they need to start bringing companies back to Virginia. Virginia no longer competes for jobs with just other states in the country.

Rather, he said, Virginia is competing for jobs with countries such as India and China. 

Hurt said since his election to the House of Delegates eight years ago, job creation and education have been major areas of focus, since they both go hand in hand. He said his support for K-12 education and for workforce training in Virginia is a key building block that demonstrates his commitment to the economic vitality of the region.

“Job creation is the most important issue facing the people of the 5th District,” Hurt said. “The worst barrier to job creation in America is the United States Congress. The job killing policies enacted by Congress – out of control spending and borrowing, tax increases, the government takeover of health care, and Cap and Trade - have led to economic uncertainty that is crippling our job creators, and we will not see any kind of recovery until there is a new Congress in place.

“The private sector, not the government, creates jobs,” he continued. “I will work to lower taxes and reduce regulations for family businesses and farms, allowing our employers to keep more of what they make. The federal government needs to spend less, balance its budget and live within its means.”

National security

Hurt said he believes fully funding anti-terrorism efforts at home and abroad is a top priority for the government. He said the nation needs to stand behind its brave soldiers who are fighting and dying overseas, and it also needs to do everything in its power to monitor, track and defeat these terrorists at home and abroad.

Hurt said this is not the time to cut funding or to use the military to engage in new, politically correct social experiments. He said he believes victory in the “War on Terror” will only be achieved when the safety of Americans has been secured from terrorist attacks here and abroad.

Social Security

Hurt said he opposes privatization of Social Security because millions of Americans have already paid into the system, and it represents a retirement promise that has been made and one that must be kept.

Hurt said the fund has been robbed repeatedly for decades to pay for programs that have nothing to do with helping people in retirement. He said he believes the solution must come from cutting the out-of-control government spending currently taking place in Washington that is jeopardizing the Social Security payments that millions of the nation’s elderly rely on now and in the future.

Hurt said the government is spending money the nation does not have and is borrowing money that the current generation will never be able to pay back. If elected to Congress, Hurt said he will vote against wasteful government spending that his opponent and other Democrats have passed in recent years. He also said he would fight to make sure the budget is balanced and seniors are protected, and insure that the government lives up to the promises it has made to millions of Americans.

Hurt said once the excessive spending is curtailed he will support meaningful, bipartisan reform to the Social Security system and protect current and near retirees throughout the process.

Hurt also said Medicare fraud is costing the country over $60 billion a year, and it represents the lack of accountability and the lack of efficiency so prevalent in Washington today. He said if elected he would fight for common sense solutions that would end this type of wasteful spending and abuse that is adding to the nation’s $13 trillion of debt.

In addition, Hurt said the nation needs a reasonable formula that encourages doctors to accept Medicare patients while working to lower the cost of the program. He said the focus should be on increasing the quality of care while reducing the wasteful spending, fraud and abuse that is taking place inside the system.

When asked what makes him the best candidate for the 5th District Congressional seat, Hurt said, “Since my time in the General Assembly I have always put the people I represent first. I believe that I have listened to their concerns and have always tried to vote with their best interest in mind.

“I will take that philosophy with me to Washington,” he said. “I will fight for Central and Southside Virginians by limiting the role of government and creating jobs by lowering taxes, reducing unnecessary regulations and reining in out of control government spending.”

Hurt said for the remainder of this campaign he plans to, “meet, listen to and speak with as many voters as possible between now and Election Day to hear their concerns and spread our campaign’s positive message.”