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Anthony Flaccavento (D), a hopeful for the 9th Congressional District seat, gave students a chance to get a glimpse of his campaign strategy by joining the Radford University Young Democrats for a meet and greet on campus.
“We brought Flaccavento here, because people don’t know who he is. And I think that’s a shame, because he’s such a great candidate and a great guy,” said Charles Midkiff, president of the young democrats.
Students, faculty and members of the community all gathered to listen intently to Flaccavento’s views on his major issues in the upcoming congressional race. Some of top his priorities consisted of Medicare, protection of social security, and black lung benefits.
Flaccavento is an organic farmer from Abington who is passionate about sustainable development. He also shares the community’s concerns about coal mining but also sees the environment as much more than an economic resource. We have not thought of the environment as anything but a source of income,” said Flaccavento.
He has lived in the 9th District for 27 years and hasbeen working on community environmental and economic andeconomic development in central Appalachia for the past 25 years.“I’m different from a normal democrat,” Flaccavento said.“Not many democrats are farmers or small business owners.”
He is also the director of SCALE Inc, a consulting firm that aims to build strong local economies as well as farm and food systems. “I’m different from a normal democrat,” Flaccavento said. “Not many democrats are farmers or small business owners.”He is also the director of SCALE Inc, a consulting firm that aims to build strong local economies as well as farm and food systems.
Flaccavento spoke about sustainable development, ecology and economics, and food systems, while delivering a campaign message about building an economy that works from the bottom up.
You invest in small businesses, you invest in family farms and emerging new types of farming, not in agricultural giants,” Flaccavento said. “You invest in the infrastructure that makes those businesses more competitive.”
Flaccavento encouraged local businesses to link together and create synergies and networks to help the economy, instead of building up the big corporations through a trickle-down economy. He also spoke about the necessary cuts in spending and the hope for people find work and be healthy so they don’t need to rely on government assistance.
“There’s less money going in, and a whole lot more coming out, because people need stuff,” Flaccavento said. “In this bottom up economy…we get a lot more business going, we get a lot more people in better paying jobs. That will go a long way toward balancing the books, but even that won’t do it alone.” Flaccavento also spoke about the importance of education and how training and education can jumpstart the economy. “An investment in education, from head start right up to apprenticeships and academics, pays off in the long run,” Flaccavento explained. “When you have people that are able to make their own way, who can use their education, their training, their skills, and everything else, to better meet their own needs, that’s what we want.”
He has two children in their near 30s and has witnessed the hardships they’ve faced with today’s job market after graduation.
“They don’t have the greatest job prospects in the world, they’re all working but not necessarily exactly what they had planned to when they went away to college…they want to do work that has meaning for them as well,” said Flaccavento. I have a shot at winning,” Flaccavento said. “I have a very good shot. We know that from the polls, from people calling.”
Flaccavento credits most of his belief in winning to his supporters and volunteers, and to the students, faculty and locals who came to listen to his views, meet him and ask questions.
Flaccavento is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith for the 9th Congressional District seat. He is still recruiting students to volunteer prior to the election.