While presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned in Abingdon Friday (and you can get more detail on that event by reading this collection of Mason Adams’ live tweets on it), two hours north in Roanoke local Democrats campaigned downtown. They toured the area with two visiting Massachusetts mayors, who said Romney’s policies failed middle class families in Massachusetts. They also underscored the importance of Virginia in this year’s election.
Robert Dolan, who is the mayor of Melrose, Mass., said he wants people to know that Romney is “using the exact same playbook” from when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, but his promises never came to fruition.
“The people of Massachusetts, including myself, fell for it,” he said explaining Romney portrayed himself as a “change agent” and a businessman who would strengthen the economy. “The exact opposite happened.”
Dolan became mayor of Melrose, a city of 30,000 people five miles north of Boston, when Romney became governor. He said Romney increased fees on everything from state universities to death certificates and during his tenure Massachusetts had the highest per citizen debt ratio in the country.
Dolan, along with other mayors, has been traveling to various states to share their perspectives and campaign for the president, who he said has invested in the middle class. He said Virginia plays a critical role in the presidential election.
“What we’re telling the people of Virginia, the people of Virginia could be choosing the next president of the United States,” he said.
State Sen. John Edwards, along with Virginia party chair Brian Moran, showed Dolan and Setti Warren, the mayor Newton, Mass., a suburb of Boston and home to about 85,000 people, around downtown Roanoke. The group started at the Taubman working their way down Salem Avenue and over to Market Street.
Walking up the street and stopping at the corner of Market Street and Church Avenue, just a block from the historic Fire Station No. 1 where President Obama spoke just months ago, Edwards the country is doing better under the president’s tenure, citing new unemployment figures Friday that are the lowest since January 2009.
He pushed back on the idea that the rate is artificially low because workers are giving up on find work, saying estimates for July and August employment were revised upwards.
“We believe the president is going to win reelection because he’s earned it,” Edwards said.
– Annie McCallum