Marshall's plan: Filling Parkway's $27 million Rx
For someone who describes himself as "just a pill roller and a farmer," retired pharmacist and former Albemarle Board of Supervisors Chairman Forrest Marshall has friends in high places.
That's why when Charlottesville and Albemarle officials needed money for an interchange at the 250 Bypass for the recently approved Meadowcreek Parkway, Marshall was able to arrange a meeting between a delegation of City and County representatives and his bird-hunting buddy, U.S. Senator John Warner.
"I said, 'John, these people are together on this thing, and we'd appreciate it if you could see what you can do,'" Marshall recalls. The pitch was simple, and it paid off.
The recently announced Surface Transportation Re-authorization Bill provides $27 million for the Parkway interchange with McIntire Road. And while Warner and other government officials could claim responsibility for this transportation upgrade, everyone seems to be heaping the credit on Marshall.
"I think his participation helped Senator Warner realize how important this was to the city and the county," says Charlottesville mayor David Brown. "It put it on his radar screen." Albemarle County administrator Bob Tucker agrees: "I don't know that it could have come together without Forrest."
But if Marshall has a knack for pulling strings for his beloved Central Virginia, he's equally unwilling to take the credit. "I really didn't do anything," he says. "I just imposed on my friendship with John."
That friendship began almost 30 years ago after Marshall was working for Republican leader Dick Obenshain in his 1978 bid for the U.S. Senate. After Obenshain– who had just defeated Warner in the GOP primary– died in a plane crash late in the race, Warner found himself thrust back into a tight contest. It was in the fires of that heated and ultimately victorious campaign that the bond between Marshall and Warner first forged.
"It was a lot of fun," Marshall recalls. "As anyone who's played golf with him or gone bird hunting with him can tell you, he's fun to be with."
But on April 7, it was all business between the two friends as Marshall and the local delegation helped make the case to Warner for the Parkway. For Marshall, it was essential that the previously reluctant City government join the County in their desire to see the Parkway built. "The only reason I was going up there was that the City was behind it," he says. "Otherwise, I wasn't going to waste my time or John's time."
Construction on the long-debated project is slated to begin in the fall of 2008.
Having retired from both pharmaceuticals and politics in 2000 to his home at Argyll Farm, Marshall has kept out of public affairs in recent years. What was it about this issue that brought him back into the political realm?
"I love this community, and they asked me to do something," he says. "I was lucky to be born in such a place."
Why here? It's the prettiest place on earth. I'm so lucky to live here, and we've been here for many generations.
What's worst about living here? Only thing I can say is that it's too hot in the summer.
Favorite hangout? The drug store
Most overrated virtue? I really don't know.
People would be surprised to know: Most people are surprised when I tell them how old I am.
What would you change about yourself? I'd like to take better care of my health.
Proudest accomplishment? Well, I'd say getting re-elected to office. If you're once elected and do a good job, they'll re-elect you. If you don't, they won't.
People find most annoying about you: Nobody's really ever told me. Sometimes I have a tendency to talk too much.
Whom do you admire? I admire John Warner very much. But then I also admire George Allen. He's a nice young boy.
Favorite book? Miller's Pictorial History of the Civil War
Subject that causes you to rant? Partisan politics
Biggest 21st-century thrill? I guess all of the electronic gadgets we have
Biggest 21st-century creep-out? Terrorism
What do you drive? A 2002 Jaguar
In your car CD player right now: John England plays beautiful piano, and I have four discs of his in there right now.
Next journey? To Texas and Mexico hunting
Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Being Chairman of the Board of Supervisors
Regret: Not taking better care of myself
Favorite comfort food: Tomatoes
Always in your refrigerator: Milk. I don't drink anything alcoholic.
Must-see TV: Fox News
Favorite cartoon: I'd say Bugs Bunny from when I was a kid. That's the last one I saw.
Describe a perfect day. Hay in a wind row with no rain in the forecast
Walter Mitty fantasy: Hunting in Africa
Who'd play you in the movie? Jim Nabors
Most embarrassing moment? Nothing embarrasses me. I'm a pharmacist, and if you were, you would know what I mean because you see and hear all kinds of people's problems.
Best advice you ever got? "Go to college."
Favorite bumper sticker? "Eat Beef."