HOTSEAT- Creigh Deeds: That's 'Cree,' not 'Cray'

Six months ago, Creigh Deeds, a delegate from Bath County, was an unknown in Charlottesville. Today, he's Senator Deeds and represents Albemarle County after handily winning the late Emily Couric's 25th District seat in a special election on December 18.

A consummate politician, Deeds sat in the Hot Seat with The Hook- and didn't even flinch.

What's your relationship with Charlottesville besides being its senator? 

My home is Bath County, but I was born in Richmond.  My father moved to Charlottesville in 1967. I studied for the Bar here, attended seminars and programs, and appeared in federal court here [as an attorney, not as a defendant].

What do you like best about Charlottesville? 

Frankly, I like the diversity of the whole district. You can go from the urban setting and urbane crowd in Charlottesville to out in the country.

What do you like least about Charlottesville? 

The traffic, although that's true of most places, coming from Bath County with a population of 5,200 in 545 square miles and no stoplights.

What's your favorite hangout here? 

My dad works at Brown Toyota, and I go there to see him. I like the strong coffee at Greenberry's and Mudhouse. I like that barbershop at Barracks Road called Staples. And the public library- you can always find a retreat in the library.

What's your favorite read?

A Confederacy of Dunces [by John Kennedy Toole]. It's such a farce. And the Stonewall Jackson book by James Robertson.

What are you reading now?

That [David] McCullough biography of John Adams. I've taken to reading John Grisham since he lives in my district, and recently read The Chamber. And Jane Smiley's Horse Heaven.

What's the most overrated virtue?

I don't think virtues are overrated, but sometimes they're cheapened by overuse. Integrity is thrown around a lot and doesn't always mean what it should.

What accomplishment are you proudest of?

It was a flood control project in Rockbridge County that didn't even cost that much and isn't even in my district now. I know that project saved the homes of a handful of people. It really made a difference.

What do you do that annoys people?

I fidget. I've got a lot of nervous energy, and I have to get up and move around a room.

Whom do you admire? 

J. Sargeant Reynolds. I admire what he did in a short time. He was elected a delegate in 1964 and to the Senate in 1966. He developed a brain tumor right after being elected lieutenant governor, and died at age 34. His story speaks sadly of Emily Couric. He left a void when he died.

What's your favorite comfort food? 

Fried chicken.

If you could come back as a car, what would it be?

A 1971 Ford pickup truck.

What do you drive now?

An Explorer with a lot of miles on it.

What's your motto?

I try to live by the Golden Rule.