Webb Focuses on Veterans, Not Political Future at PVCC Forum

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January 20, 2011

One day after the man he defeated in 2006 held a rally just miles away, U.S. Senator Jim Webb made a rare appearance in Albemarle County for a student forum on the campus of Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Amid rumors that he might not run for re-election in 2012, Webb met with students at PVCC's V. Earl Dickinson Building, particularly those who are Veterans of the Armed Forces.

"Only good could come from it, and it definitely does help. I'm very appreciative of it," said James Schroeder, president of the PVCC Veterans Club.

One of Webb's proudest accomplishments in his first term serving Virginia was the post-9/11 GI Bill, which was an effort to cover education costs of military Veterans, similar to the original piece of legislation passed after World War II.

"I was able to write this legislation, introduce it on the first day and have this larger approach - this entirely conceptual approach - to education ready to go," said Sen. Webb.

PVCC enrolls 102 veterans through the legislation, and those veterans say they're grateful to be on campus.

"Being able to provide funding for these students coming home from being overseas or being in the military, it definitely benefits them," Schroeder said, adding that the program saved him thousands of dollars he would've accumulated in debt.

"Because of the GI Bill, I am able to only work part time and attend school full time," said Joni Shircliff, vice president of the PVCC Veterans Club.

Webb also reflected on other accomplishments, like re-engaging and re-investing in southeast Asia. When the Panama Canal is modernized, the Senator says ships from Asia will deliver goods to ports in Norfolk, which he believes will be vital to the economic future of the Commonwealth.

"We're going to see direct benefit. We're going to see a national security benefit, but we're also going to see an economic benefit here," said Webb.

Leaving PVCC with a commemorative watch and a new hoodie, the Senator vowed to continue to put Virginia first. As for a potential rematch with George Allen, Webb said we'll have to wait a little while longer for an announcement.

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