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At least four will seek GOP nomination for 19th House District

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By Tom Wilmoth

    At least four hopefuls have thrown their hat in the ring to secure the Republican nomination for the House of Delegates seat being vacated by 19th District Delegate Lacey Putney.
    Jim Crosby, Jerry R. Johnson, Jim McKelvey and Zach Martin have all announced their intention to seek the nomination.
    A firehouse primary will be held Tuesday, May 7 from 6-9 p.m. for the Republican nomination at three locations: Alleghany County/Covington City, Botetourt County and Bedford City/County.

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Zach Martin
    Zach Martin, a Bedford County resident, local business developer, and conservative activist, announced his candidacy for the 19th House District today. His announcement follows longtime Virginia legislator Delegate Lacey Putney’s decision last week to not seek reelection following his 52 years of public service.
    The announcement unveiled “an innovative, comprehensive campaign using grassroots advocacy, outreach and social media to serve the district and target problems facing Central and Valley Virginians today: the overreach of government in their lives, families, and small businesses,” he said.
    “My decision to run for the 19th House District was, put simply, a deeply personal one because this is home,” said Martin.

 “Over the past several years, I have watched from the sidelines as friends, family and neighbors have faced unemployment, skyrocketing electricity costs, rising gas prices, new taxes and excessive government regulations. Virginia families have had to cut back, balance their household budgets and make tough choices in order to live within their means. But still government continues to overspend, waste taxpayer dollars, and use tax hikes as a solution to our problems," he stated.
    Martin said it’s time to get government “out of our lives and families.”
    “We can create real solutions by promoting job creation and small businesses, cut wasteful spending without raising taxes, finding real healthcare solutions and keeping energy costs low,” he stated. “If I am elected to serve as the people of the 19th district’s voice in Richmond, they can always count on me to stand for conservative principles, responsible government and small town values.”
    Over the next six weeks, Martin plans to concentrate his efforts on meeting and listening to the citizens of the 19th District, advocating for job creation, education reform and responsible, commonsense government, he stated.
    The son of Randy Martin, a pastor at Faith Community Fellowship Church in Buchanan and owner of Southern Trace Builders, and Lisa Martin, a realtor, Martin grew up in a close-knit family, where he, along with nine brothers and sisters, “first learned to value faith, family and freedom above all else.”
    He is an alumnus of Liberty University, where he majored in Public Policy. During his time at Liberty, Martin was active in numerous leadership roles. As chairman of the College Republicans, he recruited and registered over 5,000 conservative young voters, a press release stated.
    Here in the 19th District, Martin is a former member of the Troutville Volunteer Fire Department and currently volunteers on the Goode Rescue Squad. He has lived in Botetourt County but now resides in Bedford County, where he calls the community of Goode his home.
    Martin is currently the business development director for Moore’s Electrical and Mechanical, where he works alongside higher education institutions, local K-12 schools, area medical facilities and local companies along the 1-81 corridor. A family-based company founded by Dale Moore in 1985, it specializes in design build, commercial construction, and industrial and commercial services, and employs more than 500 full- time partners in the area. He also serves as an elected member of the State Central Committee for the Republican Party of Virginia.
    Martin has also launched he campaign’s Web site www.votezachmartin.com where he highlights his reasons for running, shares his background and outlines his positions on the issues facing Virginia today. He also has a Facebook page and is on Twitter @ZachMartinVA.

Jim Crosby
    Jim Crosby, of Botetourt County,  has announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination for the Virginia House of Delegates 19th District seat.
    Crosby states he is uniquely qualified for the position due to his many years of service to the Republican Party and his long time support of Delegate Putney.
    Crosby stated he has worked with Del. Putney for well over a decade and has supported Putney’s conservative principles as Del. Putney served in the House of Delegates. Crosby stated he has respected Putney’s leadership and service to Botetourt County, and the entire 19th Delegate District.
    Crosby has been active in Botetourt County Republican politics for over 20 years, serving as the Botetourt County Republican Party Precinct Coordinator during the 1990s. In 2000, he was elected chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Party, serving six years, the longest serving Republican Party Chairman in recent memory.
    Following his service as the Botetourt County Republican Party Chairman, Crosby was elected the vice chairman of the 6th Congressional District. After serving in that position for two years, he was elected to the 6th District Congressional seat on the State Central Committee for the Republican Party of Virginia.
    Crosby has also served as the Republican Party Chairman of the 19th Delegate District for over 10 years, while working with Del.Putney.
    During his many years of service in the Republican Party both in Botetourt County, the 6th Congressional District, the 19th Delegate District and the Republican Party of Virginia, Crosby stated he has been a champion for conservative principles as clearly spelled out in Virginia Republican Creed. If he is given the opportunity to serve the people in the 19th Delegate District, Crosby said he will continue to be that consistent champion for those principles and will be a responsible representative of his constituents in Richmond.

Jerry R. Johnson
    Johnson, in the 2011 election, ran as the Republican nominee against Putney, an independent, even though Putney had support of several key Republican leaders, including Gov. Bob McDonnell and state Sen. Steve Newman.
    Johnson, from Botetourt County, stated that he lost by only a couple thousand votes to Putney who was better financed and supported.
    As he did in 2011, Johnson pledges one main objective if elected as Delegate, that he will introduce a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the 2014 General Assembly. That amendment would include repealing the 17th article of amendment to the US Constitution; comprising the US Senate of one senator per state, who serve at the pleasure of the state legislature; and providing that all federal judges would serve three-year terms and then undergo confirmation, reconfirmation or replacement before the Senate.
    “This process is realistic, Constitutional and can be accomplished,” he stated in a news release announcing his intentions to seek the nomination. Johnson stated that the power to amend the Constitution is restricted to states and that state legislatures should and could control the federal government by passing it.
Jim McKelvey
(By Chase Purdy/
Landmark News Service)
    Another contender for the Republican nomination for retiring Del. Lacey Putney’s seat emerged Monday, a Moneta businessman touting term limits and tea party tendencies.
    Jim McKelvey made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in the 2010 5th Congressional District race. The party instead opted for Robert Hurt.
    In an interview Monday evening, McKelvey said he has continued to stew about term limits, a cornerstone of his campaign. He said a recent trip to Richmond reinvigorated him.
    “I said, ‘Okay, I can sink my teeth into that,’ ” he said. “I came up with a plan to get it done, then I found out Friday morning that Lacey was retiring and it just came together.”
    While McKelvey does not officially align himself with a local tea party, he explained he played a role in starting the chapter in the Smith Mountain Lake community. He said he shares in their view that the government is too vast and that taxes are too many.
    In 2010, McKelvey used a large bus — decked in red, white and blue — as part of his campaign. He said he plans to resurrect it for his upcoming effort, tailoring this time to push his effort to distribute a petition for term limits.
    McKelvey expressed disgust at what he called the “good ol’ boys club” in Richmond, adding that he believes people are weary of both Republicans and Democrats. Still, he said he avoided running as an Independent because the “money is behind the two parties.”