A Marion man has chosen to throw his hat into the ring for a House of Delegates seat.

James “Jim” Barker will run on the Democratic ticket for the Virginia General Assembly 6th House District seat. Barker is challenging incumbent Jeff Campbell, a Republican and also a resident of Smyth County.

Barker got the Democrats’ nod through an open caucus on May 25.

The 6th House District covers Wythe County, Carroll County and parts of Smyth County.

Barker is currently serving his third term as a member of the Marion Town Council and also serves on the town’s planning commission and the Fire/EMS/Law Enforcement Committee.

Barker has been active in local forums and other projects to address the drug-use crisis in the region, which he sees as a multi-pronged crisis that impacts the whole community, even influencing economic development through its impact on workers and the region’s image to prospective industries.

Barker has also advocated for diversity in education opportunities. In 2018 comments, he said, “We can also push for more technology training. This would pave the way for future jobs with better pay. One idea that I have is to create a two-year post-secondary vocational (trade) school that could produce an assortment of skilled laborers that could work anywhere. Too many of our youth are graduating college with an enormous debt. Many enter the workforce with low-paying entrance jobs or work in areas not related to their degree. Technology and vocational training could improve our local economy by providing a wider range of marketable skills.”   

He is a retired U.S. Forest Service certified law enforcement officer with 33 years of federal experience. He is currently self-employed as a Certified General Real Estate Appraiser.

Barker is a graduate of Marion Senior High School and received his higher education from Wytheville Community College, Virginia Tech and Emory & Henry College.

The seat will be decided in the Nov. 5 general election.

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