I thought it might be worthwhile to briefly recap my endorsements for this year’s Democratic primaries, to be held this coming Tuesday, August 23. Whoever you decide to vote for, the main thing is to cast your vote. I know it’s old fashioned and all, but my strong view is that voting in America is a right, a privilege, and in fact an obligation of being a citizen. Of course, being informed and engaged is also crucial, both before and after you cast your vote, so I hope you’ll read up on all the candidates in your district and make a smart choice on election day!
Braddock District Supervisor: This one’s an absolute “no-brainer,” with one superbly qualified Democrat (Janet Oleszek) battling a self-described McCain-Palin Republican, one with ZERO record of working for Democrats, of serving the community, of working for the Braddock District or for Fairfax. In stark contrast, Janet Oleszek – as Chap Petersen points out – stood up to Ken Cuccinelli when nobody else would. She also served on the Fairfax County School Board, where she was instrumental in bringing full-day kindergarten. As if that’s not enough, Janet’s also a passionate environmentalist, and very focused on transportation and other issues affecting her district. Bottom line: again, this choice is a no-brainer. Janet Oleszek for Braddock District Supervisor.
Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney: Theo Stamos. For more on this superbly qualified individual for the job of Commonwealth’s Attorney, see here (“Arlington, Falls Church Police Endorse Theo Stamos for Commonwealth’s Attorney”), here (long-time Arlington CA Dick Trodden’s endorsement). Theo’s opponent, David Deane, seems like a good guy, but his campaign’s been lackluster (at best). In the end, there’s no comparison when it comes to Theo’s experience and qualifications for this position. As I told Theo yesterday when she knocked on my door, as she canvassed my neighborhood (yes, she’s been working incredibly hard for this job for many months now), I greatly look forward to having Theo Stamos as Arlington’s Commonwealth Attorney. Go Theo!
Senate District 31: This race has been rough and tumble, to put it mildly, but that’s how primaries – both Democratic and Republican – get a lot of the time. Something tells me our Democracy will survive it. Anyway, the clear choice in this race is Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Jaime’s got an extremely impressive background — Stanford Law grad, work at top law firms, appointment as a (nonpartisan) White House Fellow, appointment to the Obama Administration, leadership as a Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard’s Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), and Vice President of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia. Jaime’s also a strong, independent-minded, passionate progressive, who I’m confident will do what’s right, and not just what the party bosses (some of whom, like Dick Saslaw, are not progressive in key ways, such as on environmental issues, payday lending, etc.). In contrast, Jaime’s ethically-challenged opponent is almost completely the product of The Establishment. In this case, said Establishmen went to all lengths, including extremely heavy-handed tactics, in their attempt to “clear the field” for their Chosen Candidate. In addition, this individual is heavily funded by the real estate industry (despite an agreement among Arlington County Board members, herself included, NOT to take such contributions!), as well as the hated towing industry, from which she took $2,500 just 5 days before voting to raise their rates. Can we say “appearance of impropriety?” Finally, this individual has run a campaign filled with gaffes, wild distortions, and outright lies about her opponent, as well as about her own statements, actions, etc. It’s truly been a disgrace, one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen in my 6 years of blogging about Virginia politics. The last thing voters should do on Tuesday is to reward her, and her allies like Dick Saslaw, for that behavior.
30th Senate District: No endorsement in this race, as there are three strong progressives running. However, as I wrote the other day, if I had to choose in this race, I’d go with either Adam Ebbin, who has a proven, strong progressive track record (with a few exceptions, such as his final vote to repeal the estate tax) or Rob Krupicka, an impressive policy wonk with tremendous knowledge of localities, something that would be very valuable to have in Richmond. As for Libby Garvey, I continue to like and admire her a lot personally, and think she’d do a good job in Richmond. However, I disagree with her that, in the end, “it all comes down to education.” In fact, education is crucial, but there are tons of issues, ranging from GLBT equality to progressive taxation to a renewable portfolio standard to ethics in government to…you name it, that have nothing to do, really, with education. Anyway, no matter who wins this race, the voters of the 30th District will come out ahead. See what happens when the “powers that be” allow Democracy some room to breath?!?
49th House of Delegates District: No endorsement here either, as there are two strong progressives running, both of whom have their strengths. If you want experience, you should go with Alfonso Lopez, as he’s got far more of it (a great deal with the Kaine administration) than does his opponent. Lopez also has far more endorsements, including by former Gov. Kaine, who’s holding an event for Lopez tonight. If you want a completely new voice, on the other hand, then consider Stephanie Clifford. She started off the campaign unpolished, but has improved markedly as the months have gone by. Stephanie’s also backed by two good friends of mine, Arlington Revenue Commissioner Ingrid Morroy and former ACDC Chair Peter Rousselot. If Clifford doesn’t win this coming Tuesday – and, frankly, she’s an enormous underdog – I certainly hope she stays involved, engaged, and committed to helping fight for progressive values and Democratic victory in Arlington, Alexandria, and Virginia (and the nation) more broadly!