Politics can be hard on people: The dual fates of Creigh Deeds & Bob McDonnell

Teddy Roosevelt famously praised those who engage in politics as the “man in the arena,” “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Described thusly, politics sounds glorious — but it also extracts a toll on the lives of those who choose to participate.

Consider Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, and Bob McDonnell, R-Virginia Beach, who engaged in the closest statewide race in Virginia history in 2005 before meeting again four years later.

Read the rest of my thoughts in a piece that was published on the op/ed page of the Roanoke Times on Sept. 14.

New story in Roanoke Business: Valley governments in Roanoke & the NRV are working together

Regional cooperation in western Virginia has come a long way from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, when Salem and Roanoke each built their own civic center, just four years and seven miles apart from one another.

A 2013 report compiled by the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission found that, despite the conventional wisdom, regional governments do work together on a regular basis. In fact the report, released biennially since 2003, cited 105 examples of governmental cooperation.

What’s that cooperation and collaboration produced? A growing network of greenways. A beefed-up tourism marketing campaign based around “Virginia’s Blue Ridge.” Economic development projects, including a near miss with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and a win with Red Sun Farms, which will employ 200 people in a regional industrial park. More significantly, the various partnership give the region a leg up when competing in an increasingly global economy.

Despite its title, the commission’s “report card” offers no grades on efforts to cooperate. I tried to bring some of that critical perspective to my cover story on regional cooperation for the September issue of Roanoke Business. Read it here.