Thursday’s debate between House District 25 incumbent Steve Landes and Democratic challenger Greg Marrow produced fireworks when Marrow twice questioned Landes’ effectiveness in producing jobs for the Shenandoah Valley.
Marrow, a Harrisonburg optometrist, said his examination of five years of Landes’ legislative record showed numerous bills to change Virginia codes but “none of them about increasing the quality of life in the Shenandoah Valley.”
The candidates had agreed beforehand to take one question from their opponent. Marrow asked Landes to detail what he has accomplished in his time in the House of Delegates, prompting a visibly rattled Landes to first promise Marrow that he would give him a copy of his legislative record, then, when it was Marrow’s turn to answer a question from Landes, Landes interrupted Marrow to hand him a red folder with a Landes campaign sticker on it.
“We need to not just worry about excessive legislation,” Marrow said as he took the folder from Landes. “What we need to worry about is legislation that’s going to help the Valley, including jobs and people who can’t afford …”
“And that’s in there. If you’ll look into it and actually look at my record, you’ll see it,” Landes talked over Marrow, pointing.
“I’m trying to answer your question. I have looked at the record,” Marrow said.
The exchange would seem to indicate that Landes is feeling some heat in his re-election bid.
After a question about unemployment and new job creation, Marrow says Landes has not done enough to bring jobs, specifically green jobs to the valley.
Around the country, "In 2007 about 9 million jobs were created in the green collar sector to the tune of about a billion dollars worth of revenue, but not one dollar, not one job, came to Virginia, they're going to these other states," said Marrow.
"You are not reading the whole record. You are trying to distort my record and I am really starting to get a little PO'ed about that because you are distorting what I have done over the last 13 years," Landes told Marrow.
Marrow responded that he had read Landes' record and said he disagreed vehemently on several points.
"Actions speak a thousand words and I have them right here," Marrow said of bills Landes introduced that did not do anything for the district.
Excessive legislation is not the answer, Marrow said.
"We need to worry about legislation that will improve the Valley, including jobs and helping those people who cannot afford health care," he said.
"I'm looking at five pages of legislation you introduced over past five years ... and none of them have to do with the Shenandoah Valley," Marrow said as he asked Landes to explain what he has done to enhance the district during his seven terms as delegate.
Watch the entire debate and decide for yourself