President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is highlighting the administration’s rural and agricultural initiatives this week by sending surrogates on a rural tour that will start Tuesday in Blacksburg.
The campaign also will open its first office in Western Virginia this weekend in Blacksburg.
Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, will visit Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center Tuesday morning and join Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam for a news conference to discuss the administration’s investments in rural Virginia, which include a $1.98 million grant that will help the research park double in size and create up to 2,500 new jobs.
Obama’s campaign emphasized that Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, will be appearing in a personal capacity and not in his role as a cabinet officer.
Former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello will make several stops in rural communities on Wednesday and Thursday. Perriello’s itinerary includes a stop at Monogram Snacks in Martinsville, which expanded its business operations with the help of a loan from the federal stimulus act. He’ll also visit a farm in Rustburg to promote the administration’s agriculture initiatives and meet with military veterans in Farmville.
The tour also will highlight infrastructure projects, including the expansion of broadband access in rural Virginia and funding for road, bridge and rail improvements.
On Saturday, former Virginia First Lady Anne Holton, the wife of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine, will join volunteers for the official opening of Obama campaign’s Blacksburg office at 712 N. Main St. — the 17th office the campaign will have opened in the state.
Update: Romney’s campaign responded to news of the tour with this statement from spokesman Curt Cashour:
“In the last three and a half years, President Obama has held a lot of fundraisers, and he’s visited with a lot of celebrities, but he’s lost touch with what Virginia’s rural families are going through. From the job-killing regulations President Obama has hit Virginia’s coal producers and job creators with, to the huge spike in energy costs that has occurred on his watch, it’s clear that Virginia’s small towns and rural communities are suffering under President Obama’s failed liberal policies. Mitt Romney will never forget the Americans living and struggling in small towns and communities across this country. He is running for president to restore our nation to the prosperity we expect and deserve. We won’t get there with four more years of the same failed policies.”
– Michael Sluss