Cockburn greets Lunenburg

Published 3:41 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Leslie Cockburn 

Leslie Cockburn, who is running for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District seat, held a meet and greet in Lunenburg County on Friday evening that drew a crowd of more than 60 people to Victoria Restaurant.

After being introduced, Cockburn gave a speech, took several questions from those in attendance and spoke one-on-one with people after the structured portion of the event had concluded.

“I first came to Lunenburg last year in the spring for a dinner here in this same restaurant, in the Victoria Restaurant,” Cockburn said after her presentation Friday, “and I came because I was invited, and coming here helped me decide to run, to file, to really go ahead and do it. … I really like this county. Victoria’s a great town, it’s very central, there’s a lot that can happen here, and I want to help support that.”

As described on her website,, Cockburn is a graduate of Yale University and had a distinguished career in journalism that spanned 35 years.

“A producer for CBS News’ ‘60 Minutes,’ a correspondent for PBS’s ‘Frontline,’ a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, a writer and author, Leslie has won two Emmys, two George Polk awards, two Columbia Dupont journalism awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award,” her campaign website notes. “She has covered the major issues of our time, from the financial meltdown to nuclear weapons, from radical jihad to the drug cartels. She covered the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Colombia, Cambodia and Central America.”

The website details that Cockburn and her husband, Andrew, bought their farm in Rappahannock County in 1999.

Cockburn shared Friday what led her to run for office.

“I was one of the women — one of the many women — who are running for Congress who were really spurred on by the Trump Administration,” she said. “(Donald) Trump becoming president really made me think that it was absolutely vital to commit to the Democratic Party and commit to accomplishing the things that we need to accomplish as Democrats.”

She will be looking to unseat U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, who was elected to represent Virginia’s 5th District in November 2016.

Cockburn outlined various ways in which she stands in opposition to Garrett and his representation.

“… On health care, on environment, on the tax bill, all these very important things that have been happening in the past year, I believe he’s on the wrong side, and we need to get on the right side, so that’s why I’m standing,” she said.

During the question-and-answer portion of Friday’s event, some issues of particularly strong relevance to Lunenburg County arose. Among those, Cockburn was asked what she could to do help bring jobs to the county and she shared some ideas, including one which involved an organization called Virginia Technical Institute (VTI) in Altavista, part of Campbell County.

“This is a place where people are being trained in really highly, highly skilled infrastructure jobs, whether it’s welding, plumbing, pipefitting, etc., and they’re trained by top people, people who are down at Goodyear, they come to VTI to train,” Cockburn said. “… What if you took VTI and you expanded it into Lunenburg? What if you took the solutions that they’re finding in other places and bring them here?”

She said Lunenburg is a great place for solar and noted that the county is good for probably a lot of other things that other counties are trying.

“So if we can knit together these counties so that you know what’s happening down in Franklin, that they’ve got something going that would be good for Lunenburg, this is something a congressional person can do,” she said.

Love’s Mill Supervisor Edward Pennington, who is chairman of the Lunenburg County Democratic Committee, was pleased with Friday’s event.

“This was fantastic,” he said. “We heard a lot of information that we had need to hear …”