End of assembly lineGalax is dealing with 840 unemployed workers. Just down Route 58, Martinsville is reeling from an even more staggering loss:
Losses in key industries put pressure on workers and services.
By Angela Manese-Lee, The Roanoke Times
Already this year, two major employers have shuttered Galax plants and a third has announced it will shut down a majority of its operations in coming months.
The decisions have left ... 840 [area residents] facing current or imminent unemployment.
"People just don't know what's going to happen," said Galax Mayor C.M. Mitchell of his 6,700 constituents. "They're worried about their future and, once the benefits are no longer available, what's going to happen to them." (link)
From 1996 to 2004, Martinsville and Henry County lost five major operations, its textile industry and a collective 10,000 jobs.And across southern Virginia the numbers are horrific:
[Economic relief centers] established in Martinsville, Marion, Clarksville and South Boston have served more than 85,000 workers since 2002 ... [my emphasis]And that number doesn't include many of those who have been thrown out of work in hard-hit Danville.
So how do our political leaders respond? Governor Kaine opens another economic relief center - this time in Galax - to hand out ... pats on the back, and Congressman Boucher does what he does best - he makes sure the unemployment checks come without fail.
Oh, and to show that they can multi-task, the Governor demands a massive tax increase at the same time he decries the plight of those who will have to pay it, and Boucher devotes his "every energy" to saving a bunch of rocks and bushes on federal land up in another part of the state.
85,000 unemployed Virginians turned to these people for leadership. Poor bastards.