~ The following was published in The Floyd Press on November 2, 2012.
Floyd Vice-Mayor Ross Miller read from the recent Roanoke Times endorsement of Anthony Flaccavento while introducing the 9th district congressional candidate at a fundraising dinner Sunday night. The dinner took place at Natasha’s Market Café and was hosted by Floyd Democratic Party chair Deborah Baum and her husband Joe, Jim Newlin and Silvie Granatelli, and Jack Wall and Kamala Bauers from the EcoVillage.
“Flaccavento demonstrates a thoughtful command of the issues that is unusual in a first-time candidate. On issue after issue, from health care reform to the deficit to taxes, he frames solutions in terms of what would most benefit the people of his district. That is a view that has been missing for the last two years,” the editorial read.
Greeting the crowd of attendees, Flaccavento reported that his day began in Independence with a gathering of about 125 people for a barbeque. “I told them I’ve had more barbeque in the last four months than the previous 54 years,” he joked. He commended Chef Natasha Shishkevish for preparing a menu – pot roast with gravy and potatoes, carrots and parsnips – using food produced at five local farms.
“It’s fantastic,” said the Abington farmer, “when chefs, restaurants, supermarkets and colleges buy from the local farmers. It’s one small part of a broader effort at building strong local economies, based on common sense arrangements where people close to one another produce things for the benefit the community.”
Founder and director of the non-profit Appalachian Sustainable Development, which fosters economic self-reliance in local communities and connects farmers and small agricultural businesses with markets and resources, Flaccavento asked those in attendance for their financial support in the final weeks of the campaign, saying that donations would be used for TV ads and non-stop outreach. He described his campaign as a “small donor, people campaign” and stated that it’s been a grassroots effort that has persevered without corporate dollars.
Speaking briefly about coal jobs, Flaccavento said that getting rid of the EPA and weakening regulations is not the answer. “We lost far more jobs in Virginia’s coalfields and all of Appalachia’s coal fields during the eight years of Bush and Cheney.” He also noted that Republicans have consistently voted against black lung benefits, benefits for widows and making mines safer.
Flaccavento believes that citizens don’t have to choose between jobs and the environment. “It isn’t true and isn’t going to work for the 21st century,” he said. He spoke about green technologies and referred to a company in Radford that provided insulated panels for the EcoVillage’s Celebration Hall. “They need half as much energy because a local company is manufacturing something that’s creating jobs and making for a lesser environmental footprint.”
Rather than spending billions a year trying to sustain a small group of multi-national corporations, Flaccavento says we need to focus on local strengths and assets in our communities, and invest in small businesses, community banks, family farmers, and the community infrastructure that brings it all together.
“People of all kinds are longing for these solutions that really build community, build real wealth and prosperity and make life better,” he continued. He said that if supporters send him to congress his driving goal will be “to continue to make the 9th district a model, more and more, as a better place to live, where we embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities.” ~ Colleen Redman
Note: Watch a video clip HERE.