Getting to know Rick Boucher

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One of the pleasures of living in a place like Floyd is that we get a chance to get up close and personal with visiting candidates for government office. There is something reassuring about being able to shake someone’s hand and spend a few minutes in relaxed conversation with them. A lot of the person comes through in an exchange like this.

Congressman Rick Boucher and his wife Amy are people worth meeting anywhere, but joining them for a few hours in a country setting was an unusual chance to know them as individuals.

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Gibby and Buz Waitzkin of Floyd, Virginia, hosted a luncheon Saturday, September 9, at their home for Rick Boucher. It was a beautiful sunny day for a change and guests mingled on the deck as the sounds of country music played by local musicians wafted across the lake.

Eighty-five guests had a chance to chat with Boucher and his wife, Amy Houslohner, an editor of the Galax Gazette in Galax, Virginia.

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Among the guests were State Senator W. Roscoe Reynolds and his wife Linda. When the time came for Boucher to address the crowd, Reynolds made the final introduction.

I asked Boucher what plans he had for the region. He said that the $1.2 million in federal funding has been approved for the Rocky Knob project is just the first step in encouraging new tourism development in Floyd and Patrick Counties. He said that he will be  seeking additional federal funds for Rocky Knob tourism development.

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Congressman Boucher has been a good friend to Floyd and intends to continue in that direction.  He has been  a strong supporter of efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth through tourism and has been very supportive of the Jacksonville Center and ‘Round the Mountain, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network.

Boucher has long been active on Internet-related legislation, including a bill which became law in 1993 authorizing electronic commerce by permitting for the first time the transmission of commercial messages over the Internet. His proposals to promote competition in the cable and local telephone industries contributed to the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

You can see Rick Boucher’s voting record by issues on Project Vote Smart and on specific bills on the US Congress Votes Database. He is obviously a man who thinks for himself as he votes on the merits of the issues, not by party line. I think he understands the needs of his constituents and is a sincere and dedicated professional. I feel he is deserving of our full support.

Boucher introduced his wife of three months, Amy Hauslohner, to an enthusiastic round of applause. He made the point that she will be acompanying him on the campaign trail, but she will not be speaking about the campaign at all. As an editor of the Galax Gazette in Galax, Virginia, she maintains a position of strict neutrality.

Following the luncheon, Rick and Amy were whisked off to the next event on their non-stop campaign tour. When invited to a party in October, Rick replied that all social events are off until the November campaign is over.

I wish him well, and hope to see him back in Floyd at his earliest opportunity.

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