Home Energy and Environment High Gas Prices Not Cramping Style of Virginia Democratic Party Staffers

High Gas Prices Not Cramping Style of Virginia Democratic Party Staffers


Don Mark, political director of the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA), tweeted the picture at right this morning with the note, “About to hit he road with @davemillsVA to Wytheville in our sweet Grand Cherokee.” Dave Mills is DPVA executive director.

Depending on the model, a Jeep Grand Cherokee gets 14-16 miles per gallon city & 20-23 mpg highway. With Virginia gas prices ranging from $3.19 in Troutville to $3.79 in Alexandria, should DPVA employees be blowing members’ money on a gas guzzler? I asked, “Maybe a little tone-deaf to be bragging about driving SUV at time of $3.50+ gas, no?”

Dave’s response: “actually guys, we’re riding horses to Wytheville. Don’s horse is named Grand Cherokee.” Ha ha?

Setting a better example was Del. David Englin, who tweeted, “heading to NYC on Bolt Bus for weekend getaway w/family & friends.” A ticket on Bolt is not only cheaper than a single day’s worth of parking in NYC (never mind gas & tolls), you can get work done with their free WiFi instead of grinding your teeth in traffic on I-95. And oh yeah, your energy use & carbon pollution will be rock bottom.

I’m aware the Bolt Bus doesn’t stop in Wytheville. But a Ford Focus would be just as capable of handling that gritty, tough, off-road drive on … um, I-64 right to I-81. And, especially after a session in which 23 House Democrats voted to let Big Coal ignore water quality standards & Democratic leader Ward Armstrong voted to block energy efficiency standards, it wouldn’t send the message that energy, environment & fiscal responsibility take a back seat at DPVA.  

  • jack hughes

    You’re absolutely right about Don Mark being tone deaf and arguably clueless.  I hope he’s successful finding work soon… elsewhere.

  • George Jefferson Davis

    Slow news day

  • aznew

    There are plenty of criticisms that can be leveled at the DPVA, but this seems a little strained to me.

    I’m glad these guys are working on a beautiful Saturday!

    Would it be incrementally better if they did it in a more energy-conscious, environmentally-friendly manner? Sure, I’ll grant you that.

    Is highlighting their gas-guzzling vehicle a little tone deaf? Maybe.

    Does it deserve a front-page calling out on Blue Virginia? That kind of loses me.

    Or maybe I’m missing something.

  • Mike1987

    As an issue, it’s small and virtually insignificant. However, it tells me (don’t know about others) that DPVA seems to be full of clueless frat boy types. If leadership is this stupid, it filters down.  I find DPVA not relevant.  I deal with my reps individually and in person, with a check, and at times, I volunteer with a clip board.  Don Mark and Dave Mills are nothing to me and would suggest they get a real job but if you donate to DPVA, at least you know where your money is going… gas!

  • kindler

    It’s not a big issue in the sense that the people in question should be disemboweled, but it’s a fine example of where the DPVA can and should set policy that puts its money where its mouth is.

    If Brian Moran wants to win the hearts of the progressive activists who are the cannon fodder of every campaign — he ain’t there yet — he would be wise to clean up the DPVA’s act and put in place policies like one to mandate use of more efficient vehicles for party business.

    And, BTW, the hybrid Ford Escape is a roomy large vehicle that is cheap, American-made, available and gets 30 mpg. Not a little compact s***box at all.  

  • The Richmonder

    While I am sympathetic to Miles’ point of view of conservation, it seems to me like some folks go out of their way to pick unnecessary fights.  Tone is also important; we can critique our friends without so much acrimony.  Would it be nice if everyone in the DPVA drove Volts?  Yeah, sure.  I’m not going to write the check that buys them.

    Another consideration is what if anything they were carrying with them.  Did anyone bother to ask?  I’ve scratched up my little BMW Z-3 (23/31 mpg: I hope you approve Miles) more than once transporting yard signs in a vehicle that isn’t designed for carrying cargo.  Even if they didn’t need to carry anything today, people in their position are often in the position of having to carry lots of volunteers or boxes of literature, stickers, signs, etc.  It isn’t practical for everyone to own one big vehicle for carrying cargo and another small car for commuting.

    I just wonder whether the “zero-to-snarl” in six seconds approach is always necessary, every time.  It just isn’t constructive.  Did anyone stop to thank these guys for working on a beautiful Saturday?