October 26, 2020 : By Logan Smith - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
At 9 years old, Bob Good (’88) always felt slightly embarrassed whenever his friends discussed their Christmas gifts.
He didn’t have any big gifts to talk about. His clothes were either hand-me-downs or cheap yard sale purchases. Food stamps provided the meals, and generous friends would occasionally lend a vehicle. Good accepted his family’s low-income status; he knew nothing extravagant would be wrapped under the Christmas tree.
“We struggled for the necessities,” said Good, who spent most of his childhood on the outskirts of downtown Lynchburg, Va. His family had moved to Lynchburg so his father could attend seminary at Liberty University. “We really were dependent upon the benevolence of others for groceries, transportation, and other things.”
Now a candidate for Virginia’s 5th District Congressional seat, Good credits many of his accomplishments to his humble, although difficult, beginnings, and to God’s blessings along the way, including his chance to receive a Christian college education at Liberty.
“My upbringing helped shape me,” he said. “It taught me compassion for those who were less fortunate, it made me a giver and a benevolent person, and it helped me learn the value of hard work. … Most of life is responding to what happens to us. We don’t get to always choose what happens, but we do choose how we respond.”
Good said Liberty founder Jerry Falwell Sr. paved a way for Good and his brothers to attend high school at the nearby Liberty Christian Academy (LCA).
“We felt uniquely special to Jerry Falwell Sr.,” Good said. “He was very kind to us. … We could never have afforded a private school like LCA without his benevolence. It was amazing.”
They picked up wrestling while at LCA, and it quickly became both a hobby and a way of life. Good viewed the sport as an opportunity to practice life lessons, but in the athletic realm.
He learned the valuable life principles of discipline, drive, sacrifice, and endurance.
“I liked the tenacity and the physicality of wrestling,” he said. “It’s a sport that gave me so much. … I think it’s very valuable for young men to do it because of what it teaches them and what it instills in them.”
After graduating high school, Good pursued a degree in finance at Liberty and was a member of the Flames wrestling team, where he won 30 matches and was an NCAA Division II/South Region champion and national qualifier.
He treasures his college years at Liberty and what he learned inside and outside the classroom.
“I believe very strongly in Christian education,” Good said. “The foundation that a school like Liberty provides equips young people with skills to influence their respective profession for eternity. So many kids, when they attend a secular institution, after four to five years there, believe differently than when they came in. And they’ve been indoctrinated with a worldview that is totally contrary to Scripture and frankly totally contrary to patriotic views of what is best about America. I’m just thankful I was more strongly grounded as a result of my professors, coaches, and staff on campus who poured into my life to help prepare me for life after Liberty.”
Receiving a degree in finance bolstered him into a career at CitiFinancial, where he worked for 17 years in multiple roles. His finance career took him to Georgia, Tennessee, and later back to Central Virginia.
In 2005, he accepted a position at Liberty as senior associate athletic director for development and executive director of the Flames Club.
“Liberty is different from most schools,” Good said. “It’s not just my alma mater where I obtained my degree. In many ways, it represents my Christian heritage, my foundation, and what I believe. It’s a connection much greater than just an academic degree.”
Good first stepped into public service as a member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors in 2016.
“I always had an interest in politics,” he said. “I always followed it very closely and was vested in supporting conservative candidates and causes. I had an interest in serving and getting involved in politics, but I didn’t really see a pathway or a plan to do it.”
Filling a County Board of Supervisors seat is one thing. Running for the U.S. House is another. Good and his family decided to fully commit to the campaign process, which meant stepping down from Liberty in January.
“It’s been a really encouraging journey and a very rewarding experience,” he said. “Not all of it is easy. Much of what I’m doing, I feel like I was prepared for it from my past experiences. My life’s desire is to glorify God as a candidate as well as a congressman. It’s freeing, as a believer, to give the results to God.”
But he said he will not allow himself to be defined by this race.
“I just want to be a vessel to glorify God and to influence others for eternity. And one of my prayers through this campaign is to make Him known and to be more concerned about pleasing Him than others. That was my desire at CitiFinancial, that was my desire at Liberty, that is my desire as a congressional candidate.”