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Del. Jeff Campbell, R-Smyth County, is retiring after a decade in the General Assembly.
Just seven minutes after Campbell’s e-mailed announcement, his longtime legislative aide, Jed Arnold, declared his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the seat that covers Grayson, Smyth and Wythe counties and part of Pulaski County.
In announcing his retirement, Campbell cited Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 1: “For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
“My season has now come and gone and I am announcing that I will not be seeking a sixth term in the Virginia House of Delegates,” Campbell said. He thanked his family putting up with his absences during the past 10 years: “We have raised four children that I am extremely proud of and, simultaneously, apologetic to for the many nights, weeks and months of absence from their lives during the commission of my public service. When I was sworn into the House in 2014, our family photo, taken in front of the Clerk’s dais, displays a young family with children in elementary school. Ten years later, those children are grown and have gone off to college. If I have any regrets from my service, it is that I wasn’t there nearly enough during their formative years.”
Campbell also paid tribute to his colleagues in the General Assembly: “Their daily commitment and sacrifice is truly astonishing. I am not sure there is a handful of the scores of Delegates that I have served with in the House and Senate that even possess the words, ‘I, me or my’ in their vocabulary. My impression of the body as a whole is exemplary of the concept of ‘selfless service’ and it is truly the highest honor of my professional life to have been a part of it.”
In 2022, Campbell was the point man for obtaining state approval for a grant program to provide training for workers at the medical glove factory planned for Wythe County.
Campbell joins a long list of other legislators who won’t be back, either because they’re retiring or seeking other offices. More than one-quarter of the 100-member House of Delegates will be new next year.
In declaring his candidacy, Arnold cited his experience as Campbell’s legislative aide: “The impact Richmond has on the day-to-day lives of us here in Southwest Virginia is immense. It is imperative the people of House District 46 are represented by a delegate who has experience in Richmond, experience with the issues facing Southwest Virginia, and experience in ushering legislation through to enactment.”
If elected, he promised to focus “on public safety, educational opportunities and fighting for rural values.”
Arnold practices law with Campbell in Marion. He is a 1997 graduate of Northwood High School in Saltville, a 2003 graduate of Radford University, and a 2015 graduate of the Appalachian School of Law.
The Republican nomination will be decided in a June 20 primary. The deadline for filing as a candidate is April 6. At present, there are no other candidates in either party. The Virginia Public Access Project says that in the 2021 governor’s race the district voted 81.4% for Glenn Youngkin, making it one of the most Republican districts in the state.