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Effective today, Wednesday, Bill Webb will retire as manager of the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) office in Galax, and will seek election for the role of state senator for the 20th district.
Webb is in the middle of his second term as a member of Galax City Council, and said he doesn’t plan on seeking a third term when it expires in 2016.
“I expect to win the state senate,” Webb said.
Virginia’s 20th District encompasses the cities of Galax, Danville and Martinsville; the counties of Patrick and Henry; and parts of Carroll, Franklin, Halifax and Pittsylvania counties.
The district is represented now by Bill Stanley (R), who was elected in November 2011. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, candidates for the November 2015 election so far include Stanley and Democratic challenger Kimberly Adkins.
Webb also plans to run as a Democrat, seeking the party’s nomination at a primary in May 2015.
Webb has worked with the VEC for more than 20 years, and he believes that his work with helping people find jobs would help him to attain his new goal. “My hometown is in Martinsville, and there they are having a lot of problems,” including unemployment.
“I believe that a lot of things could be better, and that things are not working fast enough for economic development,” he said.
“I have worked closely in economic development, and have helped companies come into this area. I’ve even established a few myself,” he said, noting that he was the first person on the scene to introduce Kentucky Derby Hosiery to the area and he assisted in finding a location for Magnolia Manufacturing when it came into the area.
Webb owned two businesses, The Virginia Restaurant and The Sahara Inn, both in Collinsville. He ran the businesses from 1971-1975 while serving as a deputy with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.
Prior to his work within the district, Webb spent 32 years in the U.S. Army. “I took care of soldiers, and worked with the community around the bases,” he said.
Webb believes that his history of working with the community, along with his passion for economic development, has prepared him for the state senate.
“I have the drive to make a great senator. I know what [the community’s] needs are, and I am looking forward to bringing my experience to the 20th District to serve our citizens, and give them what they deserve,” he said.
His main focuses will be job creation, and he plans to start by helping to provide resources for education. “I believe that education is the driver behind the force of economic development. We have to have good school systems before companies will come in,” he said.
Thanks to his career and involvement with local politics, Webb has been able to work with state government officials and is familiar with that level of government, as well. “I have worked with [U.S. senators and formers governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine] and I’m familiar with their views and what they have observed is best for the citizens,” he said. “I want to use that same level of drive as our senators use today.”
As someone who has worked in a smaller area of government, Webb plans to be just as involved with helping individuals if elected to this new role. “I want to help set up something that will be sustained, where people can support their families… and I want them to know that I have an ear that they can talk to and bring their complaints and concerns to,” he said.
Webb added that, while he is familiar with many of the district’s localities, he will spend the next several months exploring the area and meeting people in the communities he would be serving if elected.
“I will visit every town and city in the district, and I hope that they will come out and support me in this venture,” he said.