While Tea Party President Chip Tarbutton was clearly pleased with the introduction he was about to make; he nevertheless assured about 60 members that it wasn’t yet an endorsement. “It will be at least another month before we vote on it,” he said. He then introduced Tripp Godsey, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Democrat John Edwards of Roanoke.
Godsey, 47, lives in the Jefferson Hills section of Roanoke City with his wife Melissa and their three children. They attend Patrick Henry High School and Fishburn Park Elementary School. He said he has lived in Roanoke all of his life. He owns and operates two Farmers Insurance agency locations. One location is on Brambleton Avenue and the other is at Smith Mountain Lake.
Godsey graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 1982 and then received a B. A. in public administration at Elon University. He has owned his agency for 13 years but said he has been a small business owner for 25 years.
Godsey’s biggest complaint is with government regulation. He said he has talked to business owners who say, “they’d like to hirepeople if it weren’t for new regulations and the cost of health care.”
“It couldn’t be more clear [Edwards] is at one end of the political spectrum and I’m at the other,” said Godsey. Having no opposition in the last three elections, Edwards has had a clear path back to the Senate — until now.
Godsey said he would work to encourage entrepreneurs by lowering taxes and removing unnecessary regulations. He would also “protect Virginia citizens from the abuse of the federal government when it acts outside of its constitutional authority.”
His mother Gail is a Tea Party member. She said, “I am so proud of him taking this challenge on.”
Mike Bailey, chair of the Roanoke County Republican Committee, said in a phone call that he invited Godsey to speak to the committee the same evening. “He was well received,” said Bailey.
There were eight candidates at the committee meeting: Senator Ralph Smith, Delegate Greg Habeeb, Chris Head for Delegate in the 17th District, Stan Seymour and George Assaid (vying for Cave Spring BOS), Alexander Burke for Catawba School Board, Randy Leach Commonwealth Attorney, and Kevin Hutchins County Treasurer.
The vetting process for Godsey will take place next week. The mass meeting will be held for all candidates on July 16.