Medlin tries again for 19th House seat

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By John Barnhart

    This will be Lew Medlin’s fourth try at the 19th House of Delegates seat as the Democratic Party’s nominee. Medlin was defeated three times in a row by the incumbent, Delegate Lacey Putney.
    “I had a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘You gotta run,’” Medlin said, explaining why he is giving it another try.
    There is another reason.
    “When I ran the first few times, I knew I wasn’t going to win,” he said.
    Medlin did not seriously think he could unseat Putney, but he knew that Putney would eventually retire. He said he ran to get his name out. He also said that he gained more votes every time he ran.
    Will he get any help from the state Democratic Party?
    “I don’t know,” Medlin said in reply to that question.
    Medlin said state Democrats have a big focus on the state senate elections. This year he expects the party’s major focus to be on the elections for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
    Medlin served for six years in the Air Force National Guard in aircraft maintenance. He was a corrosion control specialist. He’s been in business for 35 years, running the E-Z Bracket Company in Montvale, a business that he and his father, Lew Medlin Sr., started. The elder Medlin, now 89, is still involved in the business.
    “We’ve made a good team for 35 years,” Medlin said.
    E-Z Bracket makes brackets used in commercial construction. Business has been a bit slow the last few years, but Medlin said he uses the time during slow-downs to try to develop new products. He personally holds 11 patents.
    Medlin lives in Stewartsville and has enough land to have a donkey — appropriate for a Democrat.
    If elected, Medlin would like to see the Virginia Employment Commission be a clearing house for federal employment programs as well as state programs.
    He would also like to see the state provide small business micro loans through a public/private partnership. The state would work with private investors to provide the money rather than going to the taxpayers. The loans would be in the $2,500 range and have low interest rates.
    Medlin would also like to provide a $500 tax credit for each new part-time employee that a small business, with less than five employees, hires.
    He would like to find the funding necessary to ensure that all students across the Commonwealth have the same educational opportunities no matter where they live. Medlin said that state funds for K-12 education have been cut a lot over recent years. Some localities have been able to make up for these cuts by raising local taxes, but it’s hard for rural counties to do this. Medlin said the state needs to look at what it can do to help these localities.
    He wants to complete the Va. 220 road improvement project between Eagle Rock and Iron Gate.  Medlin said the money was allocated for this in 1974, but it’s never been completed.
    “It’s a dangerous, windy little road,” he said, stating it is inadequate for the volume of large truck traffic that it bears. Medlin said it’s now in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s 10 year plan and he would like to see work on it expedited.
    He also wants to see improvements on I-81 near Buchanan, a section of road that he said is dangerous.
    “That’s past due too,” Medlin said.
    Medlin wants a “Virginia Comes First” program for state  purchases. This would mean that, the state government must go to Virginia companies first to buy goods and services. If what’s needed isn’t available, then the state government must purchase from companies located in the United States. Purchases from companies located outside of the U. S. would be the last resort.
    “I would like to help business in Virginia,” Medlin said, adding that his business has benefited from the federal “buy American” law, “so I know it works.”
    He said he expects the federal government to reduce the amount of money coming to Virginia for Medicaid.
    “You have to make sure that people who need it, get it and those who don’t need it don’t get it.,” Medlin said. He doesn’t want to see somebody on welfare driving a brand new car because that car came at somebody else’s expense.
    Medlin said he’s not talking about raising taxes.
    “I have to pay taxes like everybody else,” he said. “You have businesses that are just hanging on, you can’t do that.”
    Medlin wants the state to prioritize how it spends existing revenue. “You have to live within your means or raise taxes,” he said. “You can’t raise taxes right now.”
    Medlin said the 19th House District is a conservative district.  Medlin believes they will support him. “I’ve been in business for 35 years and I know how to pinch pennies,” he said.