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It Matters!

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Cross-posted from Daily Kos.

The Democratic Party of Virginia needs some help.

After moving the dial forward in 2006 with Jim Webb’s defeat of George Allen, Jr., and then its sweeping forward-oriented move in 2008 voting for Barack Obama (incidentally, that was the first time Virginia had voted for a Democrat for President since Lyndon Johnson in 1964) and voting in both Tom Perriello, Glenn Nye and Gerry Connolly, 2009 saw our first move towards a setback – The odious Bob McDonnell ushered in a Republican sweet at the State level.

Then came 2010 – Both Perriello and Nye lost their seats to McDonnell-esque odious Republicans, and Rick Boucher – a long-time office-holding Virginia representative lost his seat.  Only Connolly hung on by the skin of his teeth.

((more))

Let’s not forget as well that Virginia is saddled with the disgusting Eric Cantor.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, there are rumblings that George Allen, Jr. will run for Senate in 2012.  Ugh.

Virginia went from pretty danged red in 2004 for purple-ish in 2006 to pretty blue-ish in 2008 to barely purple-ish-trending-to-red in 2010.

It’s no secret to anyone here who was following the 2009 Democratic Governor’s primary that I supported Brian Moran for the Democratic nomination.  But that was a weird year of disarray in the Democratic Party of Virginia – the primary was crowded with three candidates.  Former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, and Virginia Delegate Brian Moran.  Deeds stayed below the radar while Moran and McAuliffe fought it out.  Moran and McAuliffe fought for and essentially split core Democratic votes especially in Northern VA which allowed Deeds to slide on in under the radar.  We all know how the Governor’s election turned out as a result.  🙁

Depressing.

I firmly believe that the Democratic Party of Virginia needs new leadership.  That opportunity is presenting itself.  Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Chair Dick Cranwell has announced that he will be stepping down.  And with that, Brian Moran announced that he would like the position.

I know and like both of the candidates who would like to be DPVA Chair.  Both have worked hard for Democrats in Virginia.  But I am throwing my support behind Brian Moran, and here’s why.

First, Virginia is a tough state.  Those of us in Northern Virginia are decidedly more liberal than those of us in more rural and Southern areas.  It’s tricky.  Brian served as a Virginia State Delegate (46th district) from 1996-2008. In 2001, at a pivotal time in the life of the DPVA, Brian stepped up and ran for and won the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.  The Democratic Caucus he took over was in sad shape – after losing seats consistently in previous elections, Brian built Democrats back up to where they have gained seats in each successive election during his tenure.  While that alone is cause for attention, I think the way he accomplished this goal is really telling.  Rather than trying to lead the DPVA from his home district in Alexandria, Brian got out there and spent literally two years on the road traveling to statewide districts, focusing on recruiting candidates, volunteers, and raising money to run competitively and start gaining seats.  He knows and understands Virginia – all of it.  How to win in Big Stone Gap is vastly different from how to win in Fairfax County.  The voters are different, their issues and concerns are different, and they each require a different approach.  Because of his hands-on and recent knowledge of each of these districts, Brian is the best and most logical choice to begin rebuilding the DPVA.

Second, I always believed Brian was the most progressive candidate when he ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2009.  From a diary I wrote during that Gubernatorial primary season:

So why Brian Moran?  I’ll give you a few reasons.

1. He’s a progressive Democrat

2. He’s a progressive Democrat

3. He’s a progressive Democrat

Need more?  Here you go…

Support for bold renewable energy (from an email I received from Brian Moran’s wonderful staff):

ALEXANDRIA – Today, Brian Moran announced his support for a mandatory commitment to renewable and alternative energy to create thousands of jobs across the Commonwealth. The announcement is a preview of his campaign’s energy and environmental plan which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Virginia currently has a voluntary goal reaching 12% of Virginia’s energy from renewable resources and Moran’s bold plan will more than double the current standard and make it mandatory – he is calling for a 25% mandatory standard by 2025, making a quarter of our energy from renewable sources.  

Virginia can be a leader in the area of renewable energy, and Moran’s bold proposal will put Virginia in the top ten states nationally. Moran’s plan is the boldest of any candidate for Governor.

::snip::

Sources of renewable energy that can meet this commitment include solar, wind, energy efficiency, geothermal, hydropower, wave, tidal, waste to energy, and biomass. Currently, 28 states have mandatory RPS standards according to the Pew Charitable Trust. Five others, including Virginia, have voluntary standards.  Seven states have 25% RPS (Ill., Minn., N.H., N.Y., Ohio, Ore. and Vt.), while Connecticut is at 27% and Maine at 30%. Moran supports an RPS of 20% by 2020 on the way to his goal.

Moran presented his approach to environmental issues in a September, 2008 speech, in which Moran said “We must reject the false choice between growing our economy and protecting our environment. We can create jobs by investing in a 21st century energy economy.”

Brian Moran has been repeatedly named a Legislative Hero by the League of Conservation Voters. In the General Assembly, he worked for new energy efficiency standards and incentives for renewable energy production.

Brian Moran rejects plans for offshore drilling (via email):

“We cannot solve 21st century energy challenges with 19th century fossil fuel. We need new leadership that invests in energy efficiency and alternative and renewable energy to protect our environment and jumpstart our economy by creating thousands of new, green jobs.

It’s unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to push through an agenda that’s harmful to our environment, damages our tourism economy, and limits the Navy’s ability to protect America. I urge the Bush administration to respect the results of the 2008 election and put an immediate halt to this reckless last-minute attempt at offshore drilling. George Bush must not use his waning weeks in office to undermine Virginia’s economy, damage our environment, or overrule the express wishes of the U.S. Navy.

Drilling offshore will not produce significant fuel for another two decades and would provide an insignificant portion of our domestic need. This is a distraction that takes us away from the nationwide commitment we need to renewable energy sources and the creation of 21st century green jobs.”

Moran opposed new coal mega-plant in Virginia (via email):

RICHMOND – On the steps of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Brian Moran pledged that he will stop the proposed coal-fired power plant in Surry County, Virginia, if elected Governor. Today, he visited DEQ’s office to hand deliver a letter calling for a serious investigation into the proposed plant’s environmental impact. Moran highlighted the release of millions of tons of greenhouse gases which increases global warming and the significant health risks posed by the coal-burning plant. The proposed plant would be about 50 miles from two major Virginia population centers in Richmond and Hampton Roads, in addition to being close to the Chesapeake Bay.

“Across the nation and right here in Virginia our energy future is in a precarious position,” Moran said. “It is essential that we make sound decisions and act boldly in defense of our quality of life, not just for ourselves, but for our children, and our children’s children. The proposed coal-burning power plant in Surry should not go forward based on the information currently available to the public. 2009 should be the year that we make unprecedented commitments to clean, renewable energy that can preserve our planet and create thousands of new jobs all over the Commonwealth.”

A recent report by the Virginia Sierra Club estimates that a major investment in renewable energy could create as many as 55,000 new jobs in Virginia.

And I’ll add (I thought I wrote it up at the time, but can’t find it now) – I was lucky enough to be a co-host for a fundraising event for Brian back in the winter of 2009.  It was a great event – and Brian spoke personally to his supporters.  He said a lot about what he believes and what he wanted for Virginia during that gathering, naturally.  But what really stood out for me at that event was his unequivocal stand on the issue of marriage equality.  He spoke passionately about the issue – saying that it was a basic right and that, really, the Constitution itself demanded marriage equality.  The framers, he held, always understood that one of the primary purposes of the Constitution – and its inherent beauty even today – is that its intent is to always protect the minority from the whims of the majority.  It was a great statement of his principles and an affirmation of solid civil rights – for everyone.  I hadn’t been wavering in my support for him, but hearing him talk at this event really made me double-down on my efforts to promote him in the primary season. He was also the only Democratic Gubernatorial candidate to publicly support marriage equality.  It’s a shame that it worked out the way it did – Brian would have made an excellent Governor.  And he could have won in Virginia – all of it.

I mentioned earlier in the diary that Virginia a complicated state.  What you hear from a Democrat in Arlington, VA is vastly different than one you might talk to in Wythe VA.  Their concerns are different, and their place on the Democratic spectrum (from Conservadem to Progressive) varies widely.  I’ve always believed (and will admit that this is controversial in some circles) that the way Democrats will succeed and will sustain that success is to become incrementally more progressive.  A true Kucinich- or Feingold-esque liberal probably can’t win right now in rural and southern VA.  But a Democrat can.  And then that Democrat can be succeeded by a more progressive Democrat and so forth and so on.  Virginia is won by Democrats who first win and then deliver on their stated agenda.  Brian’s knowledge of each district – at the state and Federal level – coupled with his record and long-established positions on the issues is going to enable him to rebuild the DPVA, enable gains in state-wide races, and regain that which we lost at the Federal level in 2010.  

He’s the right guy for this job.  If you want to know more than what I’ve presented, you can visit Brian’s website.

You can’t vote for DPVA Chair even if you live in VA.  Only DPVA insiders can make that selection.  But you CAN Like Brian for DPVA Chair on Facebook.  

Let’s move Virginia’s Democratic Party in a PROGRESSIVE direction!

  • RenaRF

    to DPVA chair is important.  And Brian will do that.  Not only that – he has a record of progressive politics (at least by Virginia’s standards!) and he has a record of delivering and putting in the work to travel the state, all of its districts, and develop, promote and support Virginia Democrats.  So to pre-answer your question, it’s important and I’m not concerned about level of effort from Brian Moran.  He’s proven his commitment to the Netroots, to grassroots organizing, to hard work, and to progressives.