On the evening of Monday, January 16th, the Greene County Republican Party held their monthly dinner gathering at the Blue Ridge Cafe in Ruckersville, Virginia. Denver Riggleman, the newest entrant for the Republican nomination to be Virginia’s next governor, was the speaker for the event. According to my count, there were 22 folks in attendance.
At the beginning of the dinner, I appreciated being announced by the chairman of the group for my work on this website. I’ve known quite a few of the Greene County Republicans since working with them in 2012 and unlike some of the groups in the Shenandoah Valley, which have fallen to the establishment, for the most part, the folks in Greene are friendlier and more committed to principle.
Anyway, Denver Riggleman introduced himself and spoke of his experiences in the armed forces, the intelligence industry, and in the distillery business. He mentioned that before deciding to run for governor his family was considering moving their business to another state, possibly Pennsylvania, due to the unreasonably high excise taxes leveled against liquor producers in the state of Virginia. If I recall correctly, he stated that his current tax rate was over 40%.
During the question and answer period that followed, Mr. Riggleman fielded quite a few inquiries from the audience. However, at one point his campaign manager took over and began to answer the questions himself. Although it was fine for some of the technical aspects of the campaign, it began to take away from the attendees’ opportunity to learn about the candidate. As a result, one woman requested that she wanted to hear more of Mr. Riggleman’s answers and he obliged.
From there, many of those gathered including Mr. Riggleman joined others at the Greene County Republican business meeting in Stanardsville. However, given the heavy fog on route 33 through the mountain, I thought it best to return to Harrisonburg in case it got even worse.
In the parking lot after the meeting, I briefly asked a UVA student who sat next to me what drew him to the Riggleman campaign. Although I agree with most of what he has said, I can understand the present dissatisfaction with the other Republican choices, and I know many good people who are onboard with the Denver campaign, I still haven’t heard enough to compel me to join the team. I supposed I’d like for him to speak more about specific policy ideas. The student suggested that Denver Riggleman shares much of my ideology, but I haven’t been in the right venue to catch the spark yet. I guess we will see what the next stop brings.