Richmond Times-Dispatch - Obama Promotes His Economic Plan in Martinsville
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama opened up a campaign swing through Virginia today by visiting the state's most economially beleaguered city, Martinsville, to promote his economic agenda.
"We've got to recognize we can't do things the way we've been doing them over the last eight years," Obama told a hand-picked crowd of 300 people at Patrick Henry Community College.
Obama said the country needs to invest more money in roads, rail and broadband to help communities like Martinsville and surrounding Henry County.
"We can't always stop companies from moving but we sure as heck don't have to give them incentives to move," he said. "We don't have to give them tax breaks to move."
Martinsville is a poster child for how federal trade policies have real-life consequences in communities across the nation. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement of the early 1990s, Martinsville and Henry County have lost thousands of jobs in the textile, furniture and apparel industries.
In fact, Martinsville has the state's highest unemployment rate, 11.4 percent (Virginia's unemployment rate is 4.2 percent as of June 2008).
"I don't say every job is going to come back to Martinsville if I'm elected president, but I can say I'm going to wake up every day thinking about you."
Obama is scheduled to appear in Lynchburg later today. His appearances come amid rising anticipation that he will name a vice presidential running mate sometime this week.