LOL, Sen. Chap Petersen goes with an 1832/”Les Miserables” theme for his end-of-2012 message (question: is humanity still “miserable” 180 years later?). Also, if this sort of thing doesn't make YOU miserable, check out Chap's annual Business Leader's Breakfast on January 4 at the Mason Inn. Of course, you'll also need a lot more money than the poor French who rebelled in 1832 did if you want to attend.
Dear Friends, Virginians, Citizens of Fairfax:
Imagine Paris in 1832. The streets are teeming with masses of young people, rallying to fight injustice. Barricades are thrown up. Songs and chants fill the air.
Now imagine the first day of the 2013 General Assembly session.
Okay, the youthful energy is missing. And we lack operatic tenors. But it's the same concept — we are coming together with a chance, an opportunity, to make a difference in Olde Virginia.
On the one hand is the “ancien regime” of Governor Bob McDonnell (R), which limps into its final year with control on all the levers of state power. On the other hand are new leaders, Republican and Democratic, seeking to make a name or establish a new coalition of leadership. These new leaders make defiant speeches and strike brave poses in Richmond, all with the hope of getting the public's attention.
The 2013 session will see the clash of these parties; the filling of this power vacuum. Who will be the winner? It will be the side who chooses original solutions, whether the issue is breaking through wall of inertia in transportation, restoring voting rights to ex-offenders, or reforming laws that favor large corporations.
One thing is for sure: this state is looking for new voices. It's looking for ideas. Not cautious managers afraid to take chances or disappoint the hyper-partisan members of their own Caucus.
We have learned over the past five years that the traditional powers no longer control the vote in this Commonwealth.
If the Assembly continues to treat Virginia voters like it's 1993 (or 1893), then there are going to be some changes around here in November …
With or without the barricades.