Rob Wittman is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, District 1. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2022.
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Name: Rob Wittman
Race: U.S. House of Representatives, District 1
Website: Rob Wittman – For U.S. Congress
Biography: Rob Wittman was first elected to serve the First Congressional District of Virginia in December 2007, and his top priority has always been his constituents. From rebuilding our military and securing jobs throughout Virginia, to increasing access to broadband and making sure our children have a 21st Century education, Wittman is constantly working for the First District.
Wittman holds a Ph.D. in public policy and administration for Virginia Commonwealth University, a master of public heath degree in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina, and a bachelor of science degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Wittman has served in several levels of government: Montross Town Council, Montross Mayor, Westmoreland Board of Supervisors, Virginia House of Delegates, and now the U.S. Congress. Prior to his election to Congress, he spent 26 years working as a health specialist for the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation and as an environmental health specialist for local health departments in Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions.
Wittman’s wife, Kathryn, who worked for 41 years as a teacher at Cople Elementary School in Hague, is a Westmoreland County native whom he met when he spent high school and college summers working in a Leedstown tomato cannery and on a Reedville fishing boat in the Northern Neck.
Wittman grew up in Henrico County, where his mother taught middle school and high school. With a father that served in the U.S. Army in World War II, dedication to service was instilled in Wittman from an early age. Since 1985, the Wittman’s have lived in the same home in Montross where they raised their two children: a daughter, Devon, and a son, Josh. The Wittman’s are proud grandparents to six wonderful grandchildren. Wittman is an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoys spending time on the water.
Why should Virginians re-elect you to the U.S. House of Representatives?
Too often, members of Congress forget they work for you, not the other way around. For two years, we have seen the consequences of complete Democrat control in Washington. It is well past time we get to work and find real solutions for the American people, and I stand ready and able to do so.
I am running to support our small businesses to grow and thrive, to support our service members and ensure we have a strong national defense, to stand up for our law enforcement and secure our communities against crime, to support parents and students for success in schools and the workplace, and to hold Congress accountable to the people we represent.
Throughout my life, I have had the distinct honor of serving my community at several levels of government: from Montross Town Council, to the Virginia General Assembly, to the United States Congress. During my time in public office, I have had the opportunity to listen to the concerns and challenges faced by members of our community. These challenges require real solutions that are both pragmatic and inspiring, and I am focused on getting real results for families from Washington.
This year, with the addition of Henrico County and Chesterfield County, I look forward to representing my childhood home. With the addition of Williamsburg, York, and Poquoson, I look forward to once again representing the great people of the Historic Triangle and the city of Poquoson.
I grew up working as a short order cook for Shoney’s restaurant in Henrico, for the Richmond Braves Minor League Baseball team selling tickets and then as the mascot, at Kings Dominion as a parking lot attendant, on a fishing boat in Reedville, a tomato cannery in Westmoreland, at the old Squires Dining Hall at Virginia Tech, as a grocery clerk and dairy case stocker at Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company grocery store, at Lukhards Grocery store in Richmond as a bag boy, and as a certified flagger for Town of Montross utility projects, so I know the value of hard work and determination, and I value the contributions small businesses make to our nation.
Together, we can secure a better and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren, for Virginia, and our nation. I look forward to continuing to serve the great folks of Virginia’s First Congressional District now, in 2022, and beyond.
What is the most important issue facing Virginia, and what is your position on it?
Virginians, and frankly, all Americans, are extremely tired of what they see coming out of Washington. For the past two years, we have experienced heavy-handed policies from Democrats that have made the lives of everyday Americans increasingly more difficult.
You deserve leadership that puts your needs and concerns first. Unfortunately, lack of accountability has become far too commonplace in Washington and the government seems to forget they work for the American people. Virginians are smart — they see exactly what is happening. Understandably so, Virginians feel as though all they hear in the news is bickering and division and no real work getting done –—I am working to change this.
One of the ways I have worked to bring transparency and accountability back to Washington is by urging members of Congress to get their most basic responsibility done — fully funding the federal government. We must change the culture of “budgeting by crisis” in Washington that has led to years of wasteful spending or insufficient funding for real priorities.
I have consistently introduced three bills to hold members of Congress accountable: the “Stay on Schedule (SOS) Resolution,” the “No Budget, No Pay Act,” and the “Inaction has Consequences Act.” These bills would keep members of Congress in Washington instead of adjourning for recess and prevent members from getting a paycheck until they get their job done. We should be held to the highest standard to get the work of the American people done. It is the American spirit — not Washington — that powers our nation forward, and I will do everything in my power to hold members of Congress accountable to those they represent and advocate on your behalf.
What is the top challenge facing your district, and how would you address it?
There’s no question that the state of our economy and skyrocketing prices are the most pressing issues for folks in the First District and American families right now. I have seen this firsthand as I have spent significant time visiting and working with individuals, families, and businesses throughout our district and Commonwealth of Virginia. Months of crippling inflation rates have made it increasingly difficult for folks to provide for their families, put food on their tables, and fill their gas tanks. Our nation should be in the midst of a booming economic recovery, but unfortunately what we are seeing is the exact opposite.
I have consistently warned against the dangers of out-of-control spending and the real harm it would cause not only to our economy, but to the everyday lives of Americans, and now families across the country are bearing the very real burden of President Joe Biden’s spending agenda. We need to rein in Washington’s excessive spending problem and support an economic agenda that will support our families and businesses to thrive. I am fighting for pro-growth policies to set our younger generations up for success, get people back to work, and get our economy back on track.
How would you rate Congress’ response to the economic impacts of COVID-19? How would you improve upon that response?
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted several vulnerabilities in the United States’ emergency response systems. Unfortunately, trust in the public health bureaucracy is at a historic low — and Americans rightly feel that Washington bureaucrats have abandoned common sense and the common good for political purposes. Even the head of the Center for Disease Control and prevention has now admitted flaws in the agency’s response to COVID-19. As a result of these flawed responses, the public often received unclear guidance and many businesses and schools were kept closed for far too long as a result.
Generally, Washington has, and is, lacking necessary transparency to rebuild trust from the American people. I believe that Congress did not push the CDC and the National Institutes of Health enough, and that we must hold any partisan public health bureaucrats accountable for inconsistent messaging throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress must refocus the CDC on its core mission as a public health emergency response agency, require the CDC to be transparent with the American public, and require the director of the CDC be Senate-confirmed.
However, despite these challenges, I am incredibly proud of how my office quickly adapted to the constant changes in guidelines to ensure constituents of Virginia’s First District continued to receive efficient services and information. This adaptation strategy was driven by the number one goal that despite changes in guidelines or inevitable changes to operations, constituent services would operate at the same level as before the COVID-19 pandemic. Constituent services always have been, and will continue to be, my number one job.
What is your stance on federal student loan forgiveness?
Student loan debt is understandably a concern for many Americans, and I believe we must work to make college more affordable for all; however, Biden’s student loan forgiveness program is fiscally irresponsible and will further fuel inflation and transfer private debt to hardworking American taxpayers. This is an insult to those who did not have the opportunity to attend college as well as those who have already paid back their loans.
We absolutely must work to make college more affordable. I have joined on multiple bills to work towards making post-high school education and training more affordable. My PROPEL Act would give students the freedom to choose the educational options that are right for them by allowing the use of Pell Grants for short-term vocational or technical training, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training.
I’m also proud to be an original co-sponsor of the “Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act.” This bipartisan bill would permit the use of 529 savings accounts to cover the costs of certain workforce training, credentialing programs, and costs associated with certification exams and maintaining certification credentials. Instead of pushing policies that will further hurt our economy, Congress should focus on long-term solutions to the high cost of education.
What is your stance on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?
As the child of adoption, this is a very personal issue to me. I am 100% pro-life and I support the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to return the issue of abortion back to the states.
If there is one thing I know, it’s that adoption isn’t a partisan issue. We can all agree that the most vulnerable members of our community deserve a place to call home and a place to find and reach their full potential. In Congress, we must be doing everything we can to advocate for families who choose adoption. There are policies and measures we can and must take to ensure families who choose life are supported and have the resources and information they need.
I have introduced and supported legislation to ensure women and families have information on the resources available to them, such as the Adoption Information Act. In Congress, we must ensure that those families who do choose to foster or adopt have the support and resources they need. In Washington, I will continue to fight to ensure women and families receive the care, information, and resources available to them.
How is gun violence impacting your district, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
There are no adequate words to describe the heartbreaking and horrifying circumstances families face when they lose a loved one to gun violence. We absolutely need to be thoughtful and deliberate about the steps needed to ensure that bad actors are prevented from obtaining firearms. I believe protecting the lives of innocent Americans from gun violence, and preserving the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens are not mutually exclusive. We must be focused on preventing criminals from obtaining firearms in the first place and address the behavior that leads to this violence, while ensuring that no law-abiding citizen is denied their Constitutional right without reason or due process.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have supported multiple pieces of legislation to combat gun violence. I supported the “Fix NICS Act,” now signed into law, which strengthens the information contained in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to better protect the public, protect Second Amendment rights, due process, and curb gun violence. I also supported the “STOP School Violence Act” to help schools and law enforcement prevent, recognize, and respond to the warnings of signs of violence.
In addition, I supported the “21st Century Cures Act,” which gave the most funding, ever, to improving mental health services to prevent an individual from reaching that crisis point. We must have a constructive conversation about how to put a stop to gun violence while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens.
What strategies do you support to combat inflation?
I know firsthand the negative impacts inflation has on American families, and the stress it has on individuals, workers, and businesses. The out-of-control, wasteful government spending that we have seen from Washington Democrats strips money from the pockets of hardworking Americans in the form of increased gas prices and costlier consumer goods.
That is why I am a co-sponsor of the “Reduce Exacerbated Inflation Negatively Impacting the Nation (REIN IN) Inflation Act,” which would require the Biden administration to publish the inflationary impact of executive actions before enacting them. Americans have a right to know the effects excessive spending packages will have on their budgets. We must do everything we can to lower prices and put money back in the pockets of hardworking Americans through policies in Washington that are pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-American.