February 27th, 2015
Bringing Back Vanishing Voters
Voters in Arlington are great at voting in presidential elections. In 2012, we had a record number of voters head to the polls with 85 percent turnout overwhelmingly Democratic. In 2008, 77 percent of Arlington voters went to the polls, again strongly Democratic. When the President is not on the ballot, however, our turnout trends are disturbing. We have not cracked 50 percent turnout for any non-presidential election in the last 15 years, with the exception of the heated and razor-thin 2006 Senate election. In the constitutional year, such as this one when all the local Constitutional officers are elected, our turnout has been below 30 percent since 2000. Our challenge for 2015 is to reverse the trend and aim for at least 30 percent of our voters voting. How do we get there?
February 15th, 2014
Sen. Mark Warner has now joined the Senate Finance Committee, the body that tackles taxes, debt, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The appointment should make him an even bigger player in the money issues where he has already made a mark.
Warmer was named to the panel Thursday (February 13) as something of a Valentine’s Day gift from Majority Leader Harry Reid. Warner got the seat when Finance Chairman Max Baucus resigned from the Senate to become ambassador to China.
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon moved up to chair the Finance Committee.
February 8th, 2014
The effort to bring bipartisan redistricting to Virginia has taken a step forward as the State Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to hold a statewide referendum on whether an independent commission should draw voting district boundaries.
The bill, SB 158, was patroned by Arlington Senators Adam, Ebbin and Barbara Favola plus Democratic Sen. John Miller of Newport News and Republican Delegate Joseph Yost of Blacksburg.
The bill passed the Senate 36-4 on February 5 and now goes to the House.
The referendum would be held at this November’s general election, exactly 100 years after Virginia held its last referendum. Senator Miller, with eyes presumably rolling, said, “I think it’s fitting that every 100 years we ask the people what they think.”
February 8th, 2014
What was expected to be a sleepy campaign leading up to the re-election this fall of Senator Mark Warner got a wake-up call in January as a major GOP figure decided to challenge Warner.
Ed Gillespie, 52, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee who has never held elective office, announced he was running against Warner. Gillespie is renowned as a lobbyist, fund-raiser and political fixer.
The Gillespie challenge poses an interesting irony for the GOP, however. Republicans spent most of last year decrying the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who had never held elective office. Republicans said he was nothing but a fund-raiser and political fixer, and that he was more Washington than Virginia. Now they will have to defend a resume they called offensive just months ago.
June 26th, 2013
The Republican Extreme Team
We should have known when the Republicans decided to select their statewide candidates through a convention instead of a primary that we would not like the results. But who could have imagined just how bad that outcome could be? Indeed, unmoderated by the general electorate, the Republican Party stalwarts who gathered together in Richmond a few weeks ago selected perhaps the most extreme, most ideological ticket we have seen in recent political memory – a ticket so out of synch with mainstream Virginia that it simply defies belief.
April 12th, 2013
Terry McAuliffe officially became the 2013 Democratic nominee for governor as of Tuesday, April 2.
On that day, the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) certified that McAuliffe had submitted enough—far more than enough—petition signatures—to stand. And since no one else submitted any signatures, McAuliffe is automatically the Democratic nominee.
McAuliffe needed to submit 10,000 signatures. He beat that by a mile, submitting more than 35,000.
Charniele Herring, chairman of DPVA, said, “We believe that this is the most signatures any candidate has collected for governor in Virginia history. The momentum from volunteers and outpouring of support across the commonwealth is a true sign of the energy behind Terry McAuliffe’s campaign.”
McAuliffe said about 500 volunteers circulated the petitions.
DPVA also certified two candidates for lieutenant governor and two for attorney general, the other statewide posts up for election this year. Democrats will choose from those candidates in a primary Tuesday, June 11.
The lieutenant governor candidates are former Virginia Technology Secretary Aneesh Chopra of Arlington and State Senator Ralph Northam of Norfolk.
The attorney general candidates are State Senator Mark Herring of Loudoun and former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax of Fairfax County.
The GOP will hold a state convention rather than a primary to choose its candidates.
To learn more about Terry McAuliffe for Governor, visit http://www.terrymcauliffe.com.
October 11th, 2012
Monthly Chairman’s Column – by Mike Lieberman
On November 6, I am voting for Barack Obama. As the chair of a local Democratic Party, that likely comes as no surprise. I support Barack Obama because he is willing to invest in America and Americans. Like Barack Obama, I believe in significantly increasing funding for higher education, through Pell Grants and management of student loan rates. Like Barack Obama, I believe that all Americans should have the opportunity to buy health insurance to protect themselves and the ones they love. And like Barack Obama, I believe in incentivizing American innovation to expand the American workforce and prepare us for the 21st Century global marketplace.
This is not to say that I believe Barack Obama’s record has been perfect. For example, I am worried about the ever-increasing debt our country continues to accrue, and I wish we had begun a drawdown of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan sooner.
But even though Barack Obama is not perfect, the choice for me in this year’s election nonetheless remains crystal clear. This is in part because, over the last two months, Mitt Romney has demonstrated himself to be eminently un-presidential – and indeed, completely out of touch with the global community he seeks to lead. Take for example his recent comment that 47 percent of the people in America are “victims” who do not pay income taxes, and instead depend on the government for handouts to which they feel “entitled.”
September 12th, 2012
Sunny skies and cool temps are forecast for Saturday, September 22, because that will be Messenger Day for Arlington Democrats.
The weather has normally been superb each year on Messenger Day—except when we have had a tornado or a drenching.
On Messenger Day, about 400 volunteers walk around their neighborhoods delivering copies of the Democratic Messenger door-to-door, the first countywide lit drop of the campaign. The Messenger contains messages from all candidates running in the county, from the White House to the schoolhouse (and in some years to the jailhouse).
Routes normally take 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours to walk. There is no need to wait for anyone at the front door. Deliverers just tuck a copy under the door mat or inside the screen door.
Most routes are flat and make for an easy walk, but there are some in hilly neighborhoods. And there is one very challenging route. The road through a ravine is completely flat, but each house is either 60 feet up or 60 feet down the side of the ravine!
If you would like a pleasant morning’s outing, contact your local precinct captain for a route. Or notify Master Messengeress Carol Fontein your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 11th, 2012
Monthly Chairman’s Column – by Mike Lieberman
Todd Akin should be ashamed. By now, we have all heard the Missouri Republican’s infamous theory that, during a “legitimate rape,” the female body “has ways to try to shut… down” any pregnancy that might result. His comment is beyond offensive. The idea that rape could ever be “legitimate” is so far outside the realm of mainstream thought that all Americans should be embarrassed for Mr. Akin. That such beliefs would be acceptable for someone seeking office as high as the United States Senate is simply inconceivable.
But beyond the deserved criticism levied against Mr. Akin for his views on rape, equally disturbing is the fundamental lack of scientific understanding that Mr. Akin’s comments demonstrate. It is simply shocking that a six-term United States congressman who is now seeking even higher office does not know how babies are made.
August 28th, 2012
If the chili isn’t enough to get you out to this year’s Chili Cook-Off, maybe the addition of a new pie-eating contest will bring you out.
The annual Cook-Off, not exactly a low-cal event, will be held, rain or shine, Labor Day, September 3, from 4-7 pm at the same site where it has been located for decades – Lyon Park, which is at the corner of Pershing Drive and North Fillmore St.