Arlington Candidate Forum Thursday As Campaigns Heat Up in Final Few Weeks

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    Given the love lukewarm feelings intense dislike between these candidates, as well as the fact that we’re really starting to come down the home stretch of this campaign (the primary is August 23), the upcoming candidate forum in Arlington promises to be intense. I mean, I realize that primaries almost always get heated, but it’s amazing to me how much animosity has built up in just a couple months between: a) the Stephanie Clifford and Alfonso Lopez campaigns in the 49th House of Delegates district; and b) the Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto campaigns in the 31st State Senate district. I mean, from everything I’m hearing, these campaigns really, really don’t like each other.

    Speaking of the 31st State Senate district race, see this ArlNow article for a quick update of how low it’s sunk. Basically, the latest is that Barbara Favola is attacking Jaime Areizaga-Soto for being a successful attorney and having worked on a variety of international energy transmission agreements. Of course, Favola does NOT provide any broader context, such as what Areizaga-Soto did exactly, what level he was at in the law firms, what his role was, etc. I know, details, details, such as whether Jaime might actually have worked hard to make these deals more environmentally friendly than they would have been otherwise?

    Personally, I have 17 years of experience working on international energy issues at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, so I think it’s fair to say I’m pretty familiar with the issues regarding economic development, rapidly increasing energy demand, and the urgent need for environmental protection in energy projects like the ones Jaime Areizaga-Soto worked on. Which is why I asked Jaime about these projects the first time we sat down for a serious meeting, and several times since then. Now, I could be wrong, but based on my conversations with Jaime, I’m convinced that he understands all of this. The question is, when the Favola campaign took Jaime’s resume and used it, completely out of context, to attack him, did they do so knowing that it was fundamentally misleading? Did they do so anyway, doing whatever it takes to win this election?

    Anyway, I sure hope that debate moderators on Thursday will ask about the conduct of this campaign, and not just ask bland questions about the candidates’ well-known/oft-repeated positions on the issues (which anyone can see by checking their websites, or their interviews with Blue Virginia, etc.). At this point in the campaign, it’s time to “cut to the chase,” as the saying goes, and hear from the candidates as clearly as possible two things: 1) why we should vote for them; 2) why we should NOT vote for their opponent. Isn’t that what elections are all about, after all?