Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District – America’s first district – has been named the 2011 Hunter B. Andrews Fellow in American Politics at the College of William & Mary. He will be on campus on April 19 to meet with students and faculty and will participate in a public forum that day at 4:00 p.m. in room 201 of Blow Hall.
The forum is free and open to the public.
“Congressman Rob Wittman has made a real difference for the better in his community and the Commonwealth, and now in Washington, D.C., through decades of public service," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “Having served at the local, state, and federal levels, he has much to share with our students about his experience in government. We're honored to welcome Rob back to campus as the 2011 Andrews Fellow.”
The Hunter B. Andrews Fellowship was created in 1998 by friends of the former state senator and William & Mary alumnus who died in 2005. The fellowship program brings notable journalists, politicians, and scholars to campus each year. Several of the previous fellows have been recently deceased Washington Post columnist David Broder; U.S. Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis; and the New York Times’ former Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who was the 2010 fellow.
Congressman Wittman was first elected in December 2007. His re-election in November 2010 continued a long public career spent serving in a variety of government positions at every level, from Montross Town Council to United States Congress.
Wittman won his first campaign for public office in 1986 when he was elected to the Montross Town Council, where he served for 10 years, four of them as mayor. In 1995, he was elected to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and was elected its Chairman in 2003. Two years later, voters in the 99th Legislative District elected Wittman to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served until he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2007.
Wittman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources. On the Armed Services Committee, he is Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and on the Subcommittees on Readiness and Seapower and Expeditionary Forces. In addition, he is Co-Chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.
As a member of the Committee on Natural Resources, Wittman has introduced legislation aimed at increasing the accountability and effectiveness of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, and has been a staunch supporter of the College’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
In 2009, Wittman announced a grant totaling $1.49 million for VIMS’s acquisition of Catlett Islands. The competitive grant, disbursed by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, was awarded as part of the Coastal Zone Management Estuarine Research Reserves.
“The Catlett Islands are an important part of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve,” Wittman said in his announcement. “These funds will help VIMS continue their excellent work and protect the reserve from any unintentional negative impact from nearby development.”
In 2010, Wittman was appointed to serve as the Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy's Board of Visitors. Prior to his election to Congress, Rob spent 26 years working in state government, most recently as Field Director for the Virginia Health Department's Division of Shellfish Sanitation. Earlier, he worked for many years as an environmental health specialist for local health departments in Virginia's Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions.
He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Tech.
He and wife Kathryn live in Montross and have two children: a daughter Devon, son-in-law Daniel Gooch, a son Josh, and a daughter-in-law Tiffany. They have two grandchildren.