Incumbent U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, is seeking reelection for Virginia’s 9th district seat in the November election against challenger Taysha DeVaughan, a Democrat.
Griffith, 64, has held the position since he was first elected in 2010. He previously represented Virginia’s 8th district in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1994-2011.
Griffith said he decided to seek reelection as he believes there is still a lot he can do for the district.
“It may not be the way it should be, I have enough seniority that I should be the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight Investigation for Energy and Commerce next year and have some real authority to ferret out answers and bring policy to the forefront. Policies that are supported by the people of the 9th district,” he said.
Throughout his tenure, Griffith said he’s tried to create an environment that’s conducive to the creation of jobs in the area. Griffith also worked to get $600,000 for Patrick County for the purchase of Mobile Health Units to help with access to healthcare.
“This was an effort that both the Senators (Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats) and I to try and make sure we could pinpoint some money that was going to be spent for healthcare anyway to make sure it came into our region,” he said.
Griffith said he was part of the effort to change the tax code to make it more reasonable for all people of different income levels.
“That helped up spur the economy before the most recent policies that came in with the Biden administration turned some of that around,” he said
If reelected, Griffith wishes to continue some of his efforts.
For instance, because he is in line to be the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight Investigation for Energy and Commerce, Griffith said that would give him jurisdiction to bring government officials in to talk about issues relating to energy, healthcare, Coronavirus issues, Medicaid, Medicare, and other topics.
“Most people don’t even realize it, but that subcommittee actually has jurisdiction over the various athletic endeavors under the umbrella of the U.S. Olympic Committee,” he said.
Griffith said the biggest challenge facing the district is the need to bring manufacturing back to the United States.
“We’re doing it a little bit, but we’ve got to have policies both on energy and on taxation that encourages companies that are American to stay in America, and encourages companies that have maybe moved offshore to bring it back,” he said.
Griffith added there have been successes in bringing companies in who are looking to access American markets. He believes the district excels at having a strong workforce. He said many people don’t realize it because companies primarily look at degrees and diplomas.
“A lot of our people know how to do things. So, we’ve got to make sure the companies know that, and I hope we could figure out ways to get more certificates to people in our communities,” he said.
Griffith said the district also excels at having numerous local community colleges with strong vocation platforms.
The road system needs improvement, particularly I-73 and U.S. 121, or the Coalfields Expressway.
“They are two ways that we could open up the area to better shipping and encourage more economic development in the region,” he said, and added the district lacks flatlands to locate large facilities and factories.
Griffith said his office has always been transparent.
“We have a policy of having representatives of my office in every single county in the district at least once a month. That doesn’t include the times that I’m traveling around the district either,” he said.
Griffith’s office receives hundreds of calls, emails, and mail from the public each day.
“The public tells me what they’re thinking. Sometimes, it takes a while to get a response back to them, but we always get a response back,” he said.
If his office receives several letters about a particular issue or bill, Griffith said he approves one letter to go out to everyone about that issue.
“I wish I was able to read them all, but we have roughly 800,000 constituents in the district and many of them take advantage of the opportunities to get in touch with us, either through our website, phone calls, brick and mortar offices, and our monthly visits to each and every county,” he said.
Griffith lives in Salem with his wife Hilary and three children. He graduated from Emory and Henry College with a B.A. before receiving a J.D. from the Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1983.
Griffith has practiced law in Southwest Virginia for 27 years, primarily as a solo practitioner.
In his free time, Griffith enjoys bird watching, collecting old postcards, and swimming.