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There haven’t been many mentions of rural America in the major speeches at the Democratic Convention. This story, however, come’s from Mark Warner’s keynote address:
“Let me tell you about a place called Lebanon—Lebanon, Virginia. Lebanon is in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, and everyone in that whole town could fit right here on the convention floor. Lebanon is like many small towns in America. It has seen the industries that sustained it downsized, outsourced, or shut down. Now, some folks look at towns like Lebanon and say, “Tough luck. In the global economy, you’ve lost.”
“But we believed that we shouldn’t—and couldn’t—give up on our small towns and expect the rest of the state to prosper. And that’s what brought me, towards the end of my term, to the high school gym in Lebanon to announce that we were going to bring over 300 high-tech jobs, jobs that paid twice the county average.
One student told a reporter from The Washington Post that before this, he always thought he’d have to move away to get a good job and raise a family. I just heard from this young man, Michael Kisor. Today, he is a junior at Virginia Tech. His older brother just moved back home to Lebanon because there was an information-technology job open for him, that was just too good to pass up.
“That’s a story worth rewriting all across America.”