Virgil: Goode ole boy

Fifth District U.S. Congressman Virgil Goode has never forgotten his Franklin County roots. Rocky Mount may boast the Virgil H. Goode Building, but the congressman schedules his appointments himself, and it takes several rounds of telephone tag before The Hook catches up with him at the Albemarle County Fair.

The 26-year-old Goode ran for the Virginia Senate in 1973, the same year he got his law degree at UVA, and he's been in office since. Goode was elected to Congress in 1996 as a Democrat. In 2000, he broke rank with the Dems and ran as an independentand this year he's running for reelection as a Republican, much to the delight of Fifth District Republicans.

Goode credits his life in public office to the influence of his father, who was involved in Franklin County politics.

While pressing the flesh at the Albemarle County Fair, he offers this advice to would-be politicos: "If you don't like Brunswick stew, barbecue, and chicken, you better not get involved in politics."

Age: 55

What brought you here? I come to the Fair every year.

Worst the worst thing about Charlottesville? My opponent will probably carry the city.

Favorite hangout? Oregano Joe's and Goodfellas when they were still around. Now, Michie Tavern, Awful Arthur's, and Boudreau's.

What's overrated? Fatty foods. The low-fat ones taste better.

What would people be surprised to know about you? Probably nothing

If you could change one thing about you, what would it be? I'd probably be more punctual.

What accomplishments are you proudest of? Legislatively, in the General Assembly getting a concealed [gun] carry law passed that was fairer and more equitable. And passing a budget amendment that helped education and economic development.

What do people find most annoying about you? My wife, Lucy, says not paying close enough attention to what she's saying.

Whom do you admire? Two fictional baseball players: the guys in The Natural and in The Rookie. People said they were too old to achieve their dreams.

Favorite book? I like reading local histories in general. Right now I'm reading a book that hasn't been published yet about Franklin County moonshine stills.

What subject causes you to rant? Biased reporting

What thrills you about life in the 21st century? I'm hoping to see cures for cancer, ALS, and other tragic diseases.

What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? Too much reliance on technology and computers and not on the individual although those will be key factors in achieving the above.

What do you drive? 1993 Ford Taurus

What's in your car tape deck or CD player right now? There's no CD or tape player in the Taurus. I usually listen to a country music station, or if I'm not driving, I talk on the phone.

What's your next journey? Back to Rocky Mount tonight, 140 miles.

What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? When I was a kid, I cut the rope on a trundle bed with a new knife my father gave me. I didn't cut all the way through the rope, and the bed fell when my sister got in. My father cut off some peach tree medicine.

Any regrets? Not buying Pannill Knitting Company stock when a friend said to.

Favorite comfort food? Subway subs

What's always in your refrigerator? Milk and orange juice

Must-see TV? The news

Favorite cartoon? Donald Duck

Describe a perfect day: Getting to go to the Hillsville Flea Market

Walter Mitty fantasy? I'm a baseball player.

Who'd play you in the movie? Dennis Quaid

Most embarrassing moment? I went to a political rally with my dad when I was 14 or 15. It was a huge event, and Daddy didn't have good tickets. Our seats were at the back of the room. He yelled out, "They're not honoring the seat numbers. It's every man for himself." He dragged me to the front, and I could feel the red going down the back of my neck.

Best advice you ever got? Never write a letter of recommendation for someone seeking parole.

Favorite bumper sticker? Goode for Congress


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