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Daily commentary on the state of progressive politics in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The term exurb was first used in the 1950's to describe the sleepy, rural communities that existed beyond the confines of the traditional suburbs. New highways and the increasingly-popular automobile allowed workers to venture outside the regional cores of America's metropolises. And venture they did.
The exurbs of today are no longer sleepy, nor are they rural. They have become, instead, destinations in and of themselves, with vast office parks and shopping malls punctuating the seemingly endless sprawl. It is here that Karl Rove sought and found his persuadable voters. And it is here that the battle for Virginia's legislature is taking place.
A handful of high-powered incumbents face serious challenges in the exurbs of Northern Virginia. John Kerry narrowly won Fairfax County, the inner-most exurb, and the race to watch there is between Republican incumbent Dave Albo and Democratic newcomer Greg Werkheiser in the 42nd district.
Albo is a life-long resident of the district who cites cutting taxes and punishing criminals as his priorities. He recently, however, caused some controversy by proposing legislation that would reduce the penalty for child molesters. Werkheiser is considered by many to be a rising star in Virginia politics. He is a co- founder of the Virginia Citizenship Institute and has written speeches for both President Bill Clinton and Governor Mark Warner.
Werkheiser has taken an early lead in fundraising by amassing $81,000 during the last period, while Albo managed just $68,000. Werkheiser is sure to extend that lead between now and February 26, the date when Albo, currently in Richmond for the bi-annual session, can legally commence fundraising.
The Republican party has dominated Prince William County, an outer exurb, for as long as most can remember, but Democrats hope that rapidly shifting demographics brought about by an influx of new immigrants will work in their favor.
At the eastern end of the county, Republican incumbent Jeff Frederick, a political consultant, faces Democrat Matt Harrisonr, a management and information technology consultant in the 52nd district. Harrison has raised $36,000 and Frederick has raised $107,000. .
Republican Bob Marshall faces a vigorous challenge from retired fire fighter and Vietnam veteran Bruce Roemmelt in the 13th district. Roemmelt will surely attempt to point out Marshall's conservative social views and his inability to relieve the area's ever-worsening traffic. Marshall has raised just $24,000, a relatively low figure for an incumbent.
(fundraising data courtesy of Virginia Public Access Project)
Cross-posted at Political State Report
The "New College of Virginia" they have proposed would let traditional, college-age students and older people with work force experience earn a bachelor's degree in only 28 months.
Falwell appears to be in disagreement with Delegate Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and other anti-family Virginia Republicans who seek to strip citizens of contractual rights.
He [Falwell] insists that people who support such initiatives [against gay marriage] "are not homophobes. They just believe the family is the family." Gays should be protected from discrimination in housing and employment, Falwell said, but "most Americans ... don't want government saying gay marriage is OK. That's against physiology, against common sense, and for Christians, against the Bible.
In his opening-night speech to the General Assembly, the Democrat sometimes dabbled in revisionist history and, for example, generally glossed over last year's pitched battles with Republicans that eventually produced his signature achievement: a $1.4 billion package of tax increases.
“I thought he gave a very Republican speech tonight,” said Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, a GOP candidate for governor. “He talked about tax cuts, torte reform, a commitment to public safety and reforming VDOT. “I think it’s a start in the right direction,” Kilgore said. “It was good to talk about so many of the issues that you’d expect to hear from a Republican governor.”
Speaking to the jointly convened Senate and House of Delegates, Warner sought to soothe raw emotions left over from last year when the two chambers angrily disagreed on the size and scope of tax cuts, forcing the Assembly to remain in session an unprecedented two months past its scheduled adjournment. Lawmakers finally agreed on a record $1.4 billion increase.
Information to date suggests that the reform proposal supported by the President would finace ISA's [i.e., private accounts] by diverting a portion of the payroll taxes now paid into Social Security. I will oppose any such plan and encourage my colleagues to do the same.
After returning to Utah, Barbara began an art career and invited Tibby to see her work.Their friendship grew. They fell in love...
Like many same-sex couples, Barbara and Tibby had taken legal steps to ensure the other would always be taken care of. They bought a house together and shared bank accounts. They drew up wills, powers of attorney and medical directives that would give one the authority to make life-or-death decisions if the other became unable to do so...
Barbara and Tibby have not been activists in the gay-rights movement. "They simply want the ability to grow old together, to take care of the one they love..."
"It's a political thing," Tibby said in the film. "We are easy to scapegoat. We're easy for people to say 'they are immoral.' Well I'll tell you, I'm the most boringly moral person."
"We should personally call Cosgrove himself each time we menstruate. Not in order to obey the law, but because millions of hormonal women calling constantly might shut him up, or at least make him reconsider his little hobby of preoccupying himself with the product of our
"Several people have mentioned their interest in running," Van Landingham said. "Many of them are my friends so I am staying out of it for now. We will have to see how things shake out as we get closer to the time for a primary."
While as many as eight Democrats from Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County have expressed some interest, only one had registered with the Voter Registrar as of Tuesday. Elsie Mosqueda, long-time assistant to Brian Moran has thrown her hat in the ring officially.
"Elsie called me and told me she was interested in running," said Mayor William D. Euille. "I am saddened by Marian's announcement and suspect that a number of people will come forward with an interest in running for that seat. We will just have to wait and see what happens. For now, my prayers are with Marian."
Yes, state legislatures often serve as incubators for Senators and Congressmen. More Democrats in lower offices means a larger pool of candidates to choose from for higher offices. Oftentimes, the key to knocking off an incumbent is a quality candidate. A quality candidate is one that can raise money, put together a great campaign team, articulate a vision, and drew meaningful distinctions with his/her opponent.
State legislatures often serve as incubators for Senators and Congressmen. For Democrats, the results from the state contests, including Virginia, rate as a sliver of good news in an otherwise dismal year.
"If Warner wants to run for president, he should run for president. If he wants to run for the Senate, he should run for the Senate. He shouldn't try to do both," said political consultant Steve Jarding.
If he runs, Allen "will have to show some gravitas," Rothenburg added. "He will need to talk knowledgeably about national security and defense issues."
Western Prince William Delegate Robert G. Marshall, R-13th District, sparked controversy during the 2004 General Assembly session for sponsoring HB 751.
This legislation, passed by the General Assembly, prohibits gay couples from having any of the rights and privileges of marriage.
Despite the fact that same-sex couples already lacked the right to marry or form a civil union, Marshall found it necessary to further restrict the rights of law-abiding Virginians. The bill passed after the legislature overrode Governor Mark Warner's veto.
If his goal for 2004 was to make news -- he succeeded. But if his goal was to enact sensible and meaningful public policy that would improve the lives of everyday Virginians -- he most certainly failed.
"As we dug into the public-opinion surveys and other types of information, we're convinced that a Metro-only sales tax, in fact, would pass" in the jurisdictions served by the transit agency, Mr. Snyder said yesterday.
Of course, there probably is no reasonable remedy for escalating campaign costs without
encroaching on the values of free speech. Unfortunately, to finance these grand endeavors, the candidates find themselves spending more time on the fund-raising circuit than the campaign
Tuggle raped, sodomized and shot a woman while on parole after killing a 17-year-old girl. Whitley cut the throat of his Fairfax County neighbor and then brutally sexually assaulted her.
Check back for updates on this important story!
"The thing I'm proudest of this year is that there was that
re-emergence of what I call the sensible center. People took off their partisan
hats for a while and said, at least in terms of the finances, let's try to make
a tough choice and do what we think is right for the long-term fiscal interests
of the state."
Schools are not cookie-cutter institutions that can all
succeed from the same top-down plan. Along with adequate resources, educators
need some flexibility to attain the nation's overall goal of ensuring that
youngsters leave school with the educational skills to become productive adults.
Until the administration gets serious about retooling the program, No Child Left
Behind will be little more than a catchy, but empty, political slogan.
Tom Davis is hinting strongly that he, along with as many as 30 House members, are opposed to any efforts at privatizing Social Security. Davis, as we know, is in a swing district but is constantly pulled to the right by statewide and/or national ambitions. Be sure that Bush and company will pressure him to sign on to the plan. So again, if you live in the 11th, call or e-mail Davis and let him know.
That's all I have for now. We're working on a Save Social Security page that will track the situation and give you the information you need to contact your member of Congress.
And perhaps alluding to the failure of presidential candidate John Kerry to
forcefully respond to criticism of his military record, Kaine said, "Unlike
some Democrats, I'm not going to sit back while attacked. I'm going to stand
up and fight for what's right."
Republican Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore yesterday labeled Democratic Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, his likely opponent for governor in 2005, as "John Kerry with a Richmond address."
Outlining what may be a major attack theme of his campaign for governor, Kilgore said Kaine, like Kerry, is opposed to the death penalty.
The message also is intended to help draw a distinction between Kilgore, who is running for governor, and his likely opponent, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). Kilgore has said repeatedly that Kaine's personal opposition to the death penalty will be one of the key issues in the 2005 campaign.
In a debate with Kaine this month, Kilgore promised to remind voters that his opponent "actually represented death row inmates, those who escaped from prison."
The concept of regionalism pops up frequently in Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine's vision for Virginia's future.Recognizing that the success of the commonwealth’s cities and counties is tied so closely to their regional economies, Kaine wonders what would happen if the state started approaching other important issues—like education funding, for example, or transportation and land use planning—from a more regional perspective.As I see it, this issue is directly linked to controlling sprawl. Development is NOT merely a local issue, it is a regional and state issue. There needs to be serious mechanism put into place to FORCE localities to coordinate with each other and with the state on zoning/development issues. Kaine's proposal seems like a good start, but I'm not sure how much traction it'll gain over the course of the campaign.
"In every way in which we send money back to localities, we ought to be encouraging regionalism," he told Times editors and reporters in an interview last week.
The party's problem in wooing the electorate is not that it needs a new dress; the problem is that it is a nag and a scold and a snob. Voters don't like that. Or, to borrow from the title of a popular self-help book: They're just not that into you.Amazingly, the Virginia Pilot has a piece that seems to address the very kind of inane, adolescent name-calling that we see from the Dispatch. Coincidence???
Far be it from us to lecture either major political party on strategy, but some high-ranking Republican — Attorney General Jerry Kilgore or U.S. Sen. George Allen would do — ought to evaluate whether this approach is serving the party well.
Our guess is that the GOP apparatus does the party more harm than good when it devotes more energy to name-calling than problem-solving.