But the couple is unhappy with the defense cuts, and they blame President Obama and the Democrats. “They’re almost being two-faced. They want to make it seem like they care about the military spending, but I don’t think that’s the case,” Betsy Mock said.
Locally, officials in Hanover had little concern. Their community didn’t flourish on the way up and isn’t getting hit very hard on the way down, they said.
A look at two adjacent Virginia districts that are being affected by the sequestration in vastly different ways.
At annual Advance retreat, some clamored for a change of direction while others vowed to stand pat.
Lawyers for the two candidates sparred over the procedures that will govern the ballot tally and the crucial days leading up to it.
The Democrat lost the race for the House seat to Republican Tom Rust by 54 votes.
“We always talk about the housing bubble,” said Tom Harris, a former newspaper editor who now works for the county. “Many places in Virginia also went through a federal government support bubble and were in that for a long time. Now that’s going to be reduced a little bit.”
At the Chickahominy Market, Billy Briere, 50, described what cutbacks feel like to him in the private economy.
In 2007, his small construction company did $138,000 in business. But a back injury and tanking economy led him to shut it down. Now he makes $17,000 a year as a clerk at the market and is trying to get food stamps. Despite his heart attack and diabetes, he survives on the cheeseburgers and salads he gets free at work and some groceries from his parents. “Last night, I had hard-boiled eggs for supper,” he said.
He said the government spends too much, but he opposes defense cuts and slams what he sees as Obama’s intransigence. “He don’t want to do it unless it’s his way. I don’t think that’s the right way to run the country,” he said.
Back in Portsmouth, Alvin Branch, 55, is living in his boyhood home, though he’s not sure how he’s going keep up with the payments. After 19 years of building ventilation ducts that snake through Navy vessels, he was laid off this month by a contractor. The budget standoff stalled planned ship repairs, although Congress approved funds Thursday for work on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
“It’s kind of like crippling the country to prove a point,” Branch said of Washington politicians. “They are the employer. . . . They just cut it off. Then they have the power to go make a decision and make it happen again. I just can’t believe that.”