Connie Brennan Announces for 59th House of Delegates Democratic Nomination

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    This morning, Democrat Connie Brennan announced (see her speech below) for House of Delegates in the 59th district (Nelson, Appomattox, Buckingham, parts of Albemarle, Campbell and Nelson Counties). Brennan previously ran for this seat in 2007, losing 60%-40% to incumbent Del. Watkins Abbitt, Jr. (Independent), who has announced his retirement. Brennan, who faces another Democrat (Jasper Hendricks III) for the nomination, was re-elected to her third term on the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in 2009. Prior to redistricting, the 59th was a swing district (does anyone know exactly what redistricting did to the partisan lean of this district?), narrowly voting for Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008. Of course, as we know, off-off year elections in Virginia have quite a different electorate than in presidential years [update: and the district’s been made more Republican]. We’ll see what happens…

    59th District Announcement Speech 2011

    Thank you all so much for being here with me this morning, and a special thanks to my children and their families, because it is for them and for your children that I am here. I very much appreciate each and every one of you for your contributions to making our communities here in central VA better for everyone and look forward to continuing to work together with you.

    Today I am delighted and excited to formally announce my candidacy for the 59th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Our current representative, Mr. Watkins Abbitt, is retiring. We owe him respect and thanks for his good works, and for his dedication to his constituents during all these years. So thank you, Watkins.

    Now it is time for a new voice in Richmond. I am running because my over 30 years of community involvement have given me the knowledge of the many issues that face us, the experience of working to get things done, and a proven record of responsible leadership. I will stand up for social justice; for economic growth, jobs, and low taxes

    for our area; to protect our rural heritage; and always for our children, our seniors and our working folks.

    I have served for 14 years as an elected official here in Nelson County, and I know only too well that what does or does not happen in Richmond profoundly affects all of us here at home. The simple truth is that things are going well for the privileged and the powerful, but state government should be working for all of us! I know, after balancing budgets every year that every Central Virginia property owner is paying more than their

    fair share in property taxes because Richmond isn’t doing its job. And if Richmond will start doing its job, we here can do ours. You deserve this. We deserve better.

    Virginia may be in the sixth wealthiest state in the country, but where is all that money? Has it been coming to Central Virginia? I have worked hard for eight years on our region’s Workforce Council on programs to find jobs for workers and to help employers find and train workers for good jobs that will allow them to support their families. I serve on the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and the Local Food Group, supporting our

    farmers and promoting agriculture. I served as a member of the Nelson Rescue Squad and know some of our sheriff’s deputies have to work second jobs or are on food stamps. Is this a value we cherish in the sixth wealthiest state in the United States? I don’t think so. I know we deserve better from Richmond and I will fight for our share of our hard-earned tax dollars.

    We have all been struggling because the state has not been meeting its responsibilities, has not been giving us a fair share of our tax money back. For 14 years I have been responsible, with my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and the School Board, for a multi-million dollar budget, and working together, my Republican, Democratic

    and Independent colleagues and I have kept our tax rate low and still managed to keep our excellent schools, help our businesses, support our farmers, and remain one of the best managed counties in the Commonwealth. We have learned to listen to each other, understand our differences and move on to get important things done. I will bring these

    skills to Richmond.

    A top quality education for all has always been a priority in the Commonwealth. Having spent decades, yes, decades, working in my children’s schools and having spent 4 years on the School Board here in Nelson, I know a great deal about our school system , here and in the Commonwealth. There are no excuses for not providing for the excellent education that our children deserve, yet every year the state fails to meet its funding

    responsibilities for this, cuts our own tax money for schools. Counties have to increase their tax rates because the state decreases every year the amount of money they are mandated to send to localities. If you remember one thing, it is that I will fight to change this, to make sure the 59th District gets its fair share of state resources. We deserve better than this and so do our children and our teachers.

    I must speak to the health care issue. My 28 years as a nurse-practitioner has shown me what it means when a person cannot afford to pay for health insurance, cannot afford health care, cannot buy medicines. I established a Dental Clinic Advisory Committee to support our Dental Clinic here in Nelson which has changed lives for many children and adults. We need accessible and affordable health care for all, and we can have it without breaking the budget.

    Imagine: we can accomplish all these things and more and still preserve and protect what all of us who live here cherish, and what all visitors love about us: our precious rural heritage, our magnificent open spaces, forests, farmland, mountains and rivers, and our treasured history and culture which was a cornerstone in the foundation of our nation. Working together with good planning, we can do these things for a better future for our children.

    It is for all of you, for everyone in our  communities and our Commonwealth, for your children and grandchildren and mine that I will always be working to make a difference.

    Thank you and I ask for your support. Now let’s get to work!

    • Johnny Longtorso

      http://www.vpap.org/elections/

      The Republicans shifted it southwest into Campbell County. It’s a 67-33 McDonnell, 58-41 McCain district now.

    • VADEM

      say go Connie. No matter what her chances may be, at least she’s giving it a shot. Can’t win if you don’t even get in the game. She’s a great progressive and Lord knows we need some of them in Richmond.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      This is one of those districts that the Republican majority in the House drew to insure that it wouldn’t be a Dem pickup when Wat Abbitt retired. Bravo to Connie Brennan for giving this district a try. Who knows…a great campaign against a GOPers who doesn’t work as hard could mean an upset…but don’t count on it.

    • jlsnook

      with Republican candidates who are not impressive.  In 2007, if she ran against legislative gridlock, she was running against everyone’s friend, Watkins Abbitt.  Now if she runs against legislative gridlock, she can run against Richmond in general, without it having a local incumbent’s face.

      No question that it is a tough district, but if it will ever be won, this is the year to win it.  There will be a well-funded and credible Democrat (Bert Dodson) running for an open seat in the State Senate in much of the area.  Last time Connie raised some credible money.

      I think that Connie understands that if she runs a fairly normal race, she loses.  I hope that she will find some ways to make this an abnormal race.

      I’ve still got my 2007 “A woman’s place is in the House of Delegates” t-shirt that Connie’s campaign produced.  I’ll be wearing it a lot in the next 4 months, with pride and high hopes.