A Mineral man will challenge Republican candidate Dave Brat and Libertarian James Carr, also of Louisa County, in the 7th District Congressional race this November.
John K. “Jack” Trammell was nominated on June 8 by the Virginia Democratic Party to oppose the winner of the June 10 Republican Primary election.
In that election, Brat ousted the incumbent, Eric I. Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader.
Trammell, who like his opponent is a professor at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, said he is angry and frustrated with what he views as gridlock in Washington, D.C. and wants to do something about it.
“I felt frustrated that we have a two-party system which really limits what can be done when extremism takes control of the process. In a two-party system you need a kind of consensus building, you need a dialogue and conversation that’s going on,” Trammell said. “Unfortunately, politics doesn’t always allow that process to take place unfettered, and being a person in a small rural county like Louisa, you’re inclined to feel like you’re disconnected from a large federal government to begin with in some ways.”
Trammell has toyed with the idea of running for political office for many years, even as far back as in the late 1990s when Del. V. Earl Dickinson represented the 56th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, and had begun to seriously consider retiring from his long-held seat.
Since winning the Democratic nomination, Trammell has traveled across the district participating in grassroots movements, talking with citizens and getting to know what concerns they have.
If elected, Trammell said he will remain connected to his constituents, which is something that some political pundits have attributed as part of the reason that Cantor may have lost his reelection bid to a Tea Party favorite.
“For me, the message was don’t get too far away from the people that you live with and that you represent,” Trammel said.
What happened after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Louisa County in August of 2011 is part of the reason why Trammell decided to seek election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trammell’s seven children, three of his own and four stepchildren, attended Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and are all graduates of Louisa County High School, the two schools that were demolished because of the quake. As a result, he understands the impact the quake had on residents and his own family.
But there are other issues that Trammell also wants to address if elected to the U.S. House of Representatives including measures for student loan reform, transportation reform, mental health-related issues and more transparency in public/private partnerships.
“I work at a college where I see students really hedge themselves to try to get that education, and I’m a firm believer in that education,” Trammell said. “I believe that college is the gateway to the good life in many cases and being better connected to the world, but I also see how they hedge themselves to get that.”
And while President Barack Obama has been working on student loan reform, Trammell contends that “we’re only scratching the surface” and that it needs to be something that connects to people who have kids in college right now.
“People in the district are hearing the message that Americans in general are hearing, which is, your child needs to go to college to be a success,” Trammell said. “It’s really a conundrum for our young people.”
When it comes to the government, Trammell said he is a proponent for “smart” government. He acknowledged that citizens are concerned about waste and efficiency in government.
Trammell is the director of disability support services and associate professor of sociology at Randolph Macon College. He and his wife, Audrie, own a small farm in Louisa County.
The candidate is also a freelance writer with an interest in American history. He has recently written a book on the American slave trade that has garnered quite a bit of interest. He has authored more than 20 books and his articles have appeared in major newspapers.
The Virginia State Board of Elections deadline for other candidates to qualify to be listed on the ballot in the November General Election is Friday, June 27.
By Deana Meredith