Senator Richard Saslaw, Democrat from the 35th District, and Senate Majority Leader, held a well-attended fund raiser at e-Citie Restaurant and Bar on Tyco Road in Tysons Corner on Wednesday, 23 June. Senator Janet Howell, Democrat from the 32d District, introduced Senator Saslaw, whose message was brief and to the point: “The best things in life are not free.” Even some of the adamant no-tax crew, he noted, are beginning to accept the fact that you have to pay for things, and there are many important things that the Commonwealth must take care of, sooner rather than later.
He laughed at any effort to pay for transportation solutions by selling off the state-operated liquor stores: “By the time you pay off the state employees working in the stores, and pay other expenses of sale, the wonderful 120 million-plus promised from the sale will be down around 75 million,” and “you probably could not even get a curb cut at Tysons Corner for that amount….”Once you sold the stores the state would lose a 100 million or more stream of revenue every year thereafter.” Sounded like a case of penny-wise, pound foolish to me and others in the audience.
With some amusement, the Senator said “it doesn’t look as though we’ll have drilling off Virginia any time soon, either,” meaning that using money from oil for transportation was another pipedream.
The Senator indicated a favorable interest in the pending referendum in California, which would, if passed, establish a single open primary in the state, with the two top vote-getters going on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. “This,” Senator Saslaw pointed out, “would mean that you could end up with two Democrats, two Republicans, two Independents, or a combination. The intention is to force the public to choose more moderate candidates for the general.” He pointed out, for exxample, that 50 years ago in the US Congress LBJ was majority leader and Everett Dirkson was minority leader and, “on a 100-yard football field the two men politically were only a few small yards apart.” Today we have McConnell and Reid in the Senate, and “they are 80-yards apart.” This came about because, in a party primary, each candidate must appeal to their base and they end up having made promises to their most extreme voters, so “No wonder they can’t get anything done.”