30 second television commercials booming into the area show the great progress that Southwest Virginia (9th district) has shown in recent years under the counsel and leadership of Rep. Rick Boucher. Boucher, if you follow his commercials, has outstanding ability to secure good jobs for his constituents. He is not bashful about taking credit for these remarkable accomplishments. In fact, he seems to have developed unusual skill in the use of the personal pronoun singular. He says, “I” brought this business to my district, etc. Without Boucher, you might conclude that things would be very dire in the 9th District. He is the man holding it together.
I took a quick look at the stats of the 9th District to see how the Boucher era (since 1983) showed up in the real numbers. Boucher has all or part of 22 counties in the district. The population growth rate over the last near decade has varied from 8% in Wythe County to -15.3% in Buchanan County. Ten other counties had negative growth rates. The other counties were about even or up around 4% or less. Two counties had 8% growth. All the while the U.S. was having a growth rate of 9.7% and the state of Virginia was 11.4%, exceeding the average of the whole country. People are migrating out of Southwest Virginia in droves and passing up Boucher’s job possibilities.
In median household income Boucher’s district showed a low of $23,975. Twelve counties of the twenty-two were in the 20k to 30K. No county reached the Virginia average of 61,210. Some counties were in the 20% poverty level. Virginia was 10.2.
All this progress, if you watch and believe the television commercials , was made possible by Boucher’s overpowering influence is Richmond and Washington.
The “I” man is on the march and the voters of Southwest Virginia stand in awe, with their cups in their hands.