What will Cantor's position mean for Virginia?

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Congressman Eric Cantor, who represents the 7th district here in Central Virginia, will be House Majority Leader when lawmakers reconvene.  Tuesday, he's scheduled to talk about his plans for the upcoming session.  We wanted to know what that powerful position could mean for his constituents here in Central Virginia.

There are two schools of thought here.  One says having a Virginian in this high ranking position could put the Commonwealth's issues at the forefront.  The other maintains the majority leader is a party post and that's where Congressman Cantor will have to focus.

On Wednesday, Eric Cantor will become the first Virginia congressman to hold the post as the second most powerful person in the US House of Representatives.  He'll control legislation in the newly Republican led house.

Cantor will work hand in hand with the top Republican in Washington, the speaker of the house.  We sat down with NBC12 political analyst Dan Palazzolo with one main question: Is having a Virginian as one of the leaders of the House good or bad for constituents here at home?

"There's no question as majority leader he will have additional responsibilities that relate primarily to advancing the interests of the Republican Party," Palazzolo explained.  "There's no reason why he has to neglect the 7th district but there's no reason why the majority leader in a sense should provide a great benefit locally."

If you were hoping for some federal dollars to come our way because of Cantor's influential position, Palazzolo said, think again.

"He has taken a position against earmarking legislation," he said.  "That is the primary means to sort of delivering federal dollars to the district.  So we can't really expect him to play a big role in that respect."

One of Cantor's bigger challenges will be managing groups within the Republican Party, including the popular Tea Party movement.

"He's well liked among Republicans, among different types of republicans," Palazzolo clarified.  "He's the guy that they go to to fix things."

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