Congressman Ben Cline holds Town Hall in Warm Springs

After visiting two schools, and the hospital, in Bath County last Wednesday, Congressman Ben Cline of Virginia’s 6th District held a Town Hall Meeting in the courthouse in Warm Springs.

The visit is part of what Congress calls “District week” where representatives return to their communities to connect with voters, learn what they would like to be accomplished in Washington, and to raise funds.  Congressman Cline mentioned he spent his first District week visiting  Roanoke, Staunton, Lexington and Harrisonburg because those were the jurisdictions he had lost in the 2018 election.  He’s been in the capital since January, and talked a little how it feels so far.

“I’m up there trying to introduce myself to folks.  I like to say, I’m speed dating with Democrats,  I go over to the Democrats side, ;  I’m one of the few Republicans that go over to the Democrat side of the aisle and sit down with the Democrats and try and make small talk, and I usually get a bunch of my Republican colleagues looking at me funny, but I’m trying to build relationships and get things done.  To get things done we’re gonna have to work across the aisle.”

Mr. Cline went on to describe three bills he has been involved with introducing; the first designates a museum in Lexington on the VMI campus as The National Museum for General George C. Marshall.

“Hopefully we’ll see an uptick in tourism dollars in Lexington, and in the Marshall Foundation’s visibility, and that’s a good start.”

Two others of the three bills he is working on have not passed all the way through Congress yet. The first, having to do background checks for immigrants regarding gun purchases, moved through the House with what’s called a “motion to recommit”, and is now in the senate.  The last, the congressman mentioned is a “minor bill”  requires the American Legion,  the country’s largest wartime veteran’s service organization,  to redefine their membership.

“There a great organization and they do great things, but their membership is defined by law as an approved conflict, so it doesn’t include the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, any of the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

So they asked for us to redefine their membership, so that they can take in new members who fought in these other conflicts, and uh so, I’m happy to introduce that bill.”  Before turning to questions from constituents, Congressman Cline mentioned his role on both the Education and Labor and Judiciary Committees.  His website outlines the subcommittees he serves on in both of those.

“I’m interested in hearing what the priorities of Bath County are, and what ideas or suggestions you have for me.”

At least two residents expressed concerns about the congressman having remained loyal to ALEC,  American Legislative Exchange Council when he was a state delegate in Richmond.  They pointed out  quite a few corporations and legislators had disassociated themselves on moral grounds, and wanted to know if he still agreed with that organization. 

“Well, I am the same person, and I hold the same views.”  There was some disagreement about whether ALEC simply provides information and guidance to lawmakers, or is a lobbying organization sometimes called a “corporate bill mill”  In part two of this report, Congressman Cline responds to some voters with his thoughts on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  For the complete recording of this Town Hall meeting that took place in Warm Springs, visit

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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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