Staunton councilman Bruce Elder, who has led a statewide effort to crack down on payday and car-title lending, is seeking the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County.
Elder says Staunton and other western Virginia towns have lessons to teach Washington about how careful investment in economic development can help people weather difficult economic times, pointing to the growth of Staunton’s downtown retailing and tourism sector from almost nothing.
Among his key concerns are transportation, particularly rail service that could take trucks off of Interstate 81. Elder said he is also concerned that airports in the region need federal support that could be at risk.
On two key issues — immigration and guns - where Goodlatte, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is playing a leading role, Elder’s stances differ.
He supports a comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for people here illegally. Elder says there would be economic benefits to the country, especially because comprehensive reform would boost revennue for the Social Security system.
On guns, Elder believes there is broad public support for more oversight of gun sales.