I just received the following statement from Del. Scott Surovell (D-Mt. Vernon). It seems that Barbara Favola and her allies (Dick Saslaw, Mary Margaret Whipple) have stirred up something of a hornet’s nest here with their constant implication (or outright statement) that even an extremely accomplished Latino (as Jaime Areizaga-Soto happens to be) is “unelectable” in liberal Arlington, simply because of his ethnicity, or that there’s something wrong with the fact that he has friends and family in Puerto Rico. Anyway, Del. Surovell has some thoughts on this, which I’ve posted below (bolding added by me for emphasis).
Northern Virginia is one of the most diverse areas of the country and the Democratic Party is the one party that is open, inclusive and cares about the concerns of Northern Virginia’s new residents.
Several of us within the party, both before and after we were elected, have been working as hard as we can to recruit qualified minority candidates who advocate Democratic Party principles to run for office. In the House of Delegates, we have successfully recruited Esteban Garces to run in HD 2. Alfonso Lopez is running in HD 49.
When anyone impugns one of our candidates’ electability because of the community they represent, it should be condemned by all leaders of our party. It is the same thinking that drove attacks on John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. The House Democratic Caucus has four non-white members who represent districts that are not made of a majority of constituents of their own race. To suggest that someone like Jaime Areizaga-Soto is unelectable in Northern Virginia because he is Hispanic is not just wrong, it runs counter to our experience in the House of Delegates, the broader nation, and common sense.
The younger members of the Democratic Party also bring new ideas, energy, and passion to the Democratic Party. Younger generations also bring a greater respect for tolerance – whether that be for race, sexual orientation, disability, or age. Older generations of voters may have come from a time when white voters refused to vote for anyone who was not their race and perhaps do not fully appreciate this yet. However, tolerance, civility and respect for diversity is the new reality in most of Northern Virginia. Our nominees should embrace that reality and condemn the spasms of intolerance that occasionally rear up to our south and west.
Finally, President Obama was able to generate huge turnouts in 2008 because he embraced our country’s youth and the newest members of the Democratic Party. We should follow his lead at the state level because doing the same old thing we have done before is not going to be enough to get a majority of Democratic candidates across the finish line in 2011 and in the future.
Jaime Arriezaga-Soto deeply appreciates this which is one reason why I endorsed him.