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Video: Sen. Ebbin, Delegates Keam, Sickles Speak at Atif Qarni for State Senate Office Opening

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Here’s some video from a great event this afternoon for teacher, Iraq combat veteran and former U.S. Marine Atif Qarni, as he opened his campaign office for Virginia State Senate in Manassas. This district, the 29th, has been represented by Chuck Colgan since 1976 — almost 40 years! Colgan has now, at the age of 88, announced his retirment. This coming November, Democrats need to hold this seat. Although it went for Barack Obama and Tim Kaine (each got 63% of the vote) in 2012, for Mark Herring (59%-41%) in 2013, and for Mark Warner (56%-41%) in 2014, Democrats can’t take this district for granted, as turnout tends to drop off on the Democratic side in “odd-year,” non-gubernatorial election years like this one. All the more reason to have someone like Atif Qarni who can get people excited to turn out and vote. But first, of course, Qarni will have to win a three-way Democratic primary (the other two candidates being Michael Futrell and Jeremy McPike), and then beat presumptive Republican nominee Hal Parrish. So, obviously, there’s a lot of work to do. I’m supporting Atif because I think he’d make a superb State Senator, fighting for education, small business and smart transportation improvements, among other things. He’d also, of course, be a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion and many other things I care about. With that, check out the video of Atif Qarni below, as well as video of  the other speakers, which I’ll post in the comments section. And obviously, if you agree that Atif Qarni would make an excellent member of the Virginia State Senate, please click here and support him in whatever way you can. Thanks, and go Atif!

  • I got to tell you, from today until June 9 when the primary happens, you’re not going to see somebody work harder for this position than Atif Qarni, you’re not going to see somebody more dedicated to the cause than Atif Qarni…I know we’re going to win this thing…I’ve known Atif for a while, I’ve been tremendously impressed with his background already. He’s…served our nation. He’s an American hero. He is serving our young children, which in some ways is also very very heroic as well. Like me, he comes from a different ethnic heritage than a lot of Virginians, but we are creating the new face of Virginia…put in [place] policies so that all Virginians benefit from equality and fairness and justice…He’s making a huge difference just by being a candidate. But when he wins…he’s going to make history as the first Asian American in the State Senate.

  • We need more diversity in this Senate. We need a Marine, let’s hear it, we need a Marine. We don’t have enough Marines there. We need tough people who know what to do, the right thing to do, and that’s this guy right here...I saw that myself in this campaign out here in 2013…people were excited, just like today, standing room only…Also, we need some diversity in the Senate, we need a teacher! Teachers are under-represented in our legislature, we could always use another teacher…We need to work hard to get the vote out on June 9, it’s going to be a tough primary and general election…how important it is to have Democrats control the State Senate…

  • I’m happy to be here to support Atif…I’m hoping that the second time’s a charm for you, and I think it will be…I’m looking forward to partnering with you [in the State Senate], Atif, because over the time I’ve known you, you’ve demonstrated the integrity…and the commitment…to the people of this district that they deserve in the State Senate...we need to replace [Sen. Chuck Colgan] with someone with the same work ethic, the same smarts, and over time, the same seniority. So by the time you’re 86 years old, I think you’ll be chairing Finance by the time you’re 70…we’re going to win this district, we’re going to hold this district with Atif Qarni…the stakes are high. He’s a partner on the issues we all care about; on Medicaid expansion we need him…We need to make sure we have a bipartisan majority for Medicaid expansion. And one of the things that’s troubling to me is that the gentleman [Republican Hal Parrish] who’s announced on the other side for the Senate, who’s a good person, has said he doesn’t know whether or not he supports Medicaid expansion…I’m disappointed in that. But I know that Atif Qarni is going to help us spending less time moving backwards, more time moving forwards, and bringing the background we need...We don’t have a teacher in the Senate, we have a lot to learn. Sen. Colgan is the last World War II veteran in the Senate; I think we need a veteran of some of our newer conflicts too…I’m going to be there every step of the way with you, and without further ado, the next Senator from this district, Atif Qarni.

  • Atif Qarni recognizes several people in the audience, including Fairfax County School Board member Ted Wilcox, Prince William Education Association President Jim Livingston, Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia chair Dewita Soeharjono, Democratic House of Delegates candidate (against “Sideshow Bob” Marshall) Don Shaw, Prince William County Board of Supervisors candidate Andrea Bailey, Prince William County School Board candidate Justin Wilk, and former County Board Chair candidate Babur Lateef.

    Qarni added: “We’re going to win big in 2015…this election is going to be won at the doors, because we have to let voters that real change IS coming to Prince William County. So I’m so excited to see everyone here today, thank you again, Semper Fi!”

  • runbmc

    McPike and Futrell events going forward?

  • MANASSAS, VA – Senator Adam Ebbin, Delegate Mark Sickles, and Delegate Mark Keam joined Atif Qarni and a packed room of supporters for the Qarni For Senate office opening in Manassas on Saturday, February 7th.  Supporters from all over Manassas, Prince William County, and Northern Virginia joined Qarni and his guests to celebrate the campaign.

    Qarni made it clear that public education will be a key part of his platform. “As a teacher, I’ve seen our state cut over $1000 per child of public education, and as state funding has gone down, class sizes have gone up. And as class sizes rise, we are limiting the opportunities for our children to be successful.” Qarni also spoke about the need for transportation and infrastructure investments to help small businesses: “I was very fortunate when Governor McAuliffe appointed me to the Small Business Commission… the biggest complaint [from small business owners] is that traffic congestion is killing their business. And when businesses lose money, they cut jobs… we need to bring jobs back into our county.”

    “I know a little bit about fighting. I am a Marine… I take my service to my country and my community very seriously. And I promise you, if I am representing you in Richmond, I will fight- I will not back down from any fight. ” Qarni said as he finished his remarks before thanking his guests.

    Delegate Mark Keam began the speaking program by lauding Qarni’s work ethic and commitment by saying, “you’re not going to see somebody work harder for this position than Atif Qarni, you’re not going to see somebody more dedicated to the cause than Atif Qarni.”  He also mentioned Qarni’s experience in the Marines, calling him, “an American hero,” for his service during the Iraq war, as well as his service as a teacher.

    Delegate Sickles also praised Qarni’s experience as a Marine, adding that Virginia, “[needs] some tough people who know what to do.” Sickles commented on the startlingly low number of teachers in the General Assembly, joking, “we could always use another teacher. We have more to learn!” He also commented on the excitement surrounding Qarni’s candidacy: “I saw that myself in this campaign out here in 2013…people were excited, just like today, standing room only.”

    “You’ve demonstrated the integrity and the commitment to the people of this district that they deserve in the State Senate,” Senator Ebbin said in his remarks. Ebbin pledged his support to Qarni in front of the standing-room-only crowd. “Senator Colgan is the last World War II veteran in the Senate; I think we need a veteran of some of our newer conflicts too…I’m going to be there every step of the way with you.”

    Atif Qarni is running for the Senate of Virginia because he believes our district needs a strong voice to continue the legacy of Senator Colgan- one who will fight for important issues like improving our schools by reducing class sizes, bringing more jobs to Prince William County, and reducing the burden of traffic and congestion.

    Qarni wants to continue his record of service to his country and his community that includes service in the armed forces as a Marine and as a public school teacher in Dale City.  He will be a strong voice for the values of the 29th District.