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Veteran to fight for the 9th

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

teran from Washington County says he will run as an independent for the 9th District congressional seat now held by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Abingdon.

Jeremiah Heaton, 33, owns and operates his own business in Damascus.

Heaton made the announcement while giving a speech in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and stressed that he wanted to kick off his campaign by personally telling U.S. soldiers that they have not been forgotten.

Heaton said he felt that politicians have began to shift their focus to global warming and healthcare, while "Main Street" Americans continue to watch family and friends be killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Main Street Americans are tired of sending our sons and daughters to fight Washington, D.C.'s endless wars," Heaton said. He feels the focus should be on bringing American soldiers home safely.

Heaton said Washington should pay more attention to the people and allow Congress to once again be in the hands of "average Americans."

"For years, special interest groups have brought our House of Representatives to achieve their individual agendas," Heaton told The Gazette. "It is time to elect normal citizens to represent America again. People willing to work for the common good and not special interests."

Boucher was elected in 1982. He has not made an announcement about the 2010 election.

Heaton received a degree in sociology from Longwood University. He worked in public education for seven years and also served as director of an office on youth.

His business — Damascus General Store and Bluegrass Center — specializes in American-made products and local arts and crafts and was opened during the economic downturn.

Heaton serves as trustee of the Damascus Veterans Memorial and enjoys aviation and hiking.

He and his wife Kelly — a middle school science teacher — have three children. They live on a small farm outside Abingdon.

Republican Jim Bebout, a retired Marion businessman, announced plans in August to seek his party's nomination for the seat.

• To view a video of Heaton's announcement, see Heatonforcongress.com.