Ode to my wife

Published 3:39 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Generally, I try to avoid mixing policy with my private life, but this week I will vary from that. My wife, Jessie, will be celebrating a birthday in a few days. Therefore, I believe it only fair that I publicly thank her for her years of enduring me and my schedule as a legislator.

When I first served on the Mecklenburg Board of Supervisors, she learned quickly how to deal with other teachers that did not like some of my positions on issues. She explained that she and I are different people, that they should contact me directly and give me their thoughts. She may or may not agree with me but she did not want to miscommunicate their message. They may not have been happy, but few bothered her after that.

During my time in Richmond, there was little of that, however, the challenges for her were always there. When I first went to Richmond, our four children were from age two months – 10-years-old. Four children need two parents, but she handled it well. Often, I was at work, at meetings in Richmond or in the district, or campaigning. Jessie has been a true trooper, much of that time teaching school while raising four young people that are now productive citizens on their own in which we are both proud. Their success has been entirely due to themselves and the parenting skills of their mother.

Likewise, it makes me proud when one of her former students shows true happiness when they happen upon Jessie. It used to be big hugs by little ones, now it is more often big smiles. She chose to retire several years ago but continues to maintain a busy life between church, the Food Pantry, and many other projects for the community and for our granddaughters. She is the best.


I received a message from Danville City Vice-Mayor Lee Vogler that Danville is considering reducing the property taxes that would affect data centers. Lee’s goal is to make Danville more attractive for these centers that pay well and are capital intensive. He understands that the best way to serve the people is to grow the economy.

Meanwhile, I was reading a national publication published in Chicago that deals with tax policy. I turned the page and the next big headline read “South Boston, Virginia Proposes Cig Tax to Fund Government Pay Hikes”. We all like to have our communities make the national news, but in this case, it’s not so good. South Boston Town Council is taking a different direction on how best to provide services to their citizens. Taxes on cigarettes may be an easy target because fewer and fewer are smoking. It has been done in other towns in the tobacco growing region despite how they prospered from tobacco sales over the years. What some have found is that it has driven some cigarette sales out of the town limits. It has also led to some stores, in an effort to remain competitive, to purchase their inventory in ways to avoid the wholesalers’ monitored tax. This in turn has led to the need for the towns to hire new employees to monitor every store that is expected to collect the additional taxes. I’m not sure how the numbers will affect the sales or the taxes collected, nor what the additional employee costs might be, but I hope all factors are considered.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@ verizon.net.