NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. (WDBJ) — Who will replace Congressman Bob Goodlatte?
The Republican representative announced in November that he would not seek re-election, after 13 terms in the U.S. House.
For the first time in almost a generation, there is an open contest for Virginia's 6th Congressional District.
Wednesday, four of the six Republicans who have announced their intention to run for the open house seat met in Natural Bridge to make their case for the GOP candidacy.
"I think there's a lot to be said for people who, for the majority of their adult lives, have been doing something else," Henry County physician Dr. Park said.
Bedford business owner Kathryn McDaniel Lewis vowed to be more accessible to constituents.
"I've actually already scheduled two public forums — one in Lynchburg and one in Roanoke — just for people to come say 'Hey, this is what really worries me. This is what keeps me up at night," Lewis said.
A lack of direct interaction with his constituents became a major complaint against Goodlatte during his final term in office, leading to a rallying cry of "Where's Bob?" when he declined invitations to town hall events.
Customs and immigration lawyer Ed Justo considers regulatory overreach a top issue and was motivated to run by the repeal of DACA.
"Instead of operating in the interest of the people to make the process of acquiring or getting permits or licenses easier, they have made it more complicated and more costly," Justo said.
Another common theme: term-limits. Political veteran Cythnia Dunbar called herself a reluctant candidate and vowed to serve only three terms if elected.
"Both parties are seeing [that] we don't like American aristocracy and the elected elite. So there is a push for the Populist movement," Dunbar said.