Home 2017 Races Video: Sorry, Del. Keam, Glad You Apologized to Del. Carter, But That...

Video: Sorry, Del. Keam, Glad You Apologized to Del. Carter, But That Really Was NOT Funny


The following happened earlier today in House Finance Committee, as Del. Mark Keam (D) teased Del. Lee Carter (D) for his Democratic Socialist views by holding up…a hammer and sickle image. Yeah, I know Del. Keam did it because he thought it was funny (you can see that by his reaction), but I’m just not feelin’ it.  At all. I hear that Del. Keam later apologized on the House floor (I’ll post that video when I get it; UPDATE – posted), which is good to know. But c’mon…seriously? Disappointing.

P.S. For the record, Democratic Socialism a la Bernie Sanders (or Denmark or whatever) is absolutely nothing whatsoever akin to murderous, dictatorial, even genocidal Soviet Communism. And no, there was NOTHING funny about any of that.

P.P.S. h/t to RTD reporter Graham Moomaw for flagging this one.

  • Jason Rylander

    I’ll be waiting for an epic apology and this still may be unforgivable. Did Del. Keam forget where he was? This was not only an insult to Del. Carter but to all progressive Virginians. And it was a gift to the GOP who would like nothing better than to paint the entire party as un-American. Shameful, shameful behavior.

    • I posted Del. Keam’s apology in the article…

  • Cindy

    I feel like in addition to a genuine apology (not on camera on the House floor) to Del Carter, he owes an apology to all the grassroots activists who so believed in Lee’s message and ideals that they worked tirelessly to elect him.

  • Mark Keam

    Lowell, I agree with you 100% that, in hindsight, I was not at all funny. I also agree with my grassroots activist friends that my stupid prank may have inadvertently harmed the reputation of Lee Carter and his supporters who worked so hard to get to Richmond.

    For that, I apologize to everyone sincerely and with no conditions.

    I already apologized both publicly on the House floor as soon as I was able to do so, and privately to Lee directly as soon as I could.

    As for the issue we were discussing that generated this situation, we were considering Senate Bill 883 which is the companion to House Bill 222 patroned by Will Morefield. This bill has generated some attention as it’s one of several efforts that Northern Virginia Democrats are lending this session to help rural and economically distressed areas in southwest and southside Virginia: http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-northam-should-back-morefield-s-bill/article_38da2cff-f404-581b-916e-180edeffce21.html

    I spoke in favor of this bill today and in the past, as did many other Democrats and Republicans. My reasons for supporting this tax credit to attract new businesses and jobs to low income areas is well documented. Lee spoke against the bill and voted no. based on his view that we shouldn’t use tax credits this way: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?181+vot+H10V0135+SB0883

    Because of the contrasting positions that Lee took on this issue as the only Democratic member to vote no, I gestured that perhaps its because we have different political/ideological views… That was my reason for poking fun at Lee (and because we’ve all been hazing other freshman members as well).

    As I said, in hindsight, there was nothing funny about what I did and there is no excuse for the damage I may have caused. I take full responsibility and I will do whatever I need to with Lee and others to make up for my mistake today.

    • Thanks for the explanation and “no conditions” apology. Let’s hope this doesn’t do any lasting damage to our chances of holding that district…

    • Jonathan Sokolow

      Way too little, way too late. What good will your apology be in 2019 when Republicans run ads with your “prank.” Whitbeck already has tweeted it. You have done lasting and irreversible damage to the Democratic Party. Can you imagine the reaction if Justin Fairfax had used his Ipad to show a Confederate flag when a senator was praising Robert E. Lee? We won’t know because he handled that situation – which warranted a reaction of some sort – in a respectful and dignified manner. And your foolish red baiting was directed at a fellow Democrat, which makes it all the worse. You should resign.

    • woodrowfan

      take a good college political science class so you learn the difference between socialist and communists… then go campaign for Lee when he is up for re-election.


      Delegate Keam, Lee, along with his volunteers, and the dedication of Democratic activists in PWC and Manassas, sent Jackson Miler. Your little hazing incident will be used against Lee as proof that he is dangerous and unAmerican. You’d better work very hard to make up for this. Why the hostility to the freshman — did you prefer being a small group of Democrats, with no real responsibility. Stunts like this will get us back to that.

    • Craig

      Mr Keam, you still don’t get it. The political and legislative problem is that you are pushing legislation that offers giveaways to large corporations while displacing low income people. You do this while you accept money from these same corporations so everyone can see who you really represent. Lee Carter was giving a well thought out position as to why the tax credits were not serving the people of VA or the US for that matter. So what are your political/ideological views? You did show all of us publicly that you can be a backstabbing immature establishment hack. At least we now know who you really are.

  • Morris Meyer

    After viewing the video to get the appropriate context, Lee Carter was on point with corporate breaks making it cheap to move in an area, and shift poor people further out.

    Mark Keam did great work recently standing up to regulate our corporate monopolies.

    It is a shame that Delegate Keam doesn’t yet realize that capitalism needs to be regulated as well. The historic shift of our tax burden from corporations to individuals has certainly not been lost on Delegate Carter.

  • Harry

    Mark you need to resign immediately, it’s a safe D district so a seat won’t be lost. Do the right thing and resign immedately.


    I didn’t realize that we had a one-time Verizon lobbyist in the Democratic house delegation. Hopefully someone steps up and primaries Keam in 2019. I’ll happily donate my time and money to ensure that we have an actual self-respecting Democrat sitting in the seat.

    • JPRVS

      Prior to the primary, maybe an appropriate “punishment” would be for Keam to walk around the General Assembly tomorrow with a sandwich board and the words “Bought and Paid For By Verizon” written on the placards.

      • notjohnsmosby

        He’s been a delegate for 8 years, why don’t you take a look at his voting record? He’s been at Verizon since well before his first election.

        • JPRVS

          Top Donors – $18,250 this past cycle – NoVA Technology Council (which has backed the GOP candidate for Governor in every cycle except 2017, where it remained neutral), $9,750 – Dominion Energy, as well as a bunch of business lobbies.

          The question isn’t “how would he vote in the minority”, but “how will he vote when Democrats win the majority in 2019”?

          We can do a lot better than him in that seat.

          • notjohnsmosby

            Again, none of this is new information. He easily won a 4-way primary back in 2009 and his telecom background was well known. A large number of Dem politicians in Fairfax are lobbyists.

            As to the usual complaining about business donations, if you and your friends can pony up a few million dollars each cycle to replace the funds from companies, feel free to pitch your proposal to candidates that you can replace their current donations dollar for dollar and then some.

          • Eliza Miller

            It may be new information to some. A surprisingly number of Americans simply vote on party lines and pay no attention to who is bought by who. Now we are paying attention.

  • Philip Whitman

    I’ve been there. Something can seem pretty funny until you act on it and realize that it’s inappropriate for the situation. You learn from your mistake and move forward.

    Del. Keam did the right thing by apologizing, and any talk of resignation or a primary challenge is wildly premature.

  • Kindler

    I’ll say two things here:

    1. I’m glad that Mark has quickly apologized on the floor of the House, in writing and in person for these two seconds of very poor judgment.
    2. As an older, long-time and (I suppose) mainstream Dem, I want Lee and his followers to know how impressed I’ve been with his dedication, courage, hard work and eloquence in support of progressive principles. You are more welcome in the party than you may realize. Please keep plugging along, and together all sides of the Democratic party wiil work together to move Virginia and America forward.

  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    I guess Keam held that picture of the communist symbol up behind Delegate
    Carter because he didn’t have time to heat up a branding iron and burn
    it into Carter’s forehead.

    Shameful behavior on Keam’s part, to quite
    literally brand a young legislator in his first term in the General
    Assembly. That image is going to follow Carter around for the rest of his
    legislative career. For what? Some trivial policy point that was being debated?

    I don’t know if Keam will resign over this, but surely he must understand that he can never hold a leadership role in the party now. Keam has ruled out promotion to the State Senate or statewide office. Is Keam going to be content to be a back bencher for the rest of his
    legislative career?

    Of course, that assumes that anyone will ever let Keam sit behind them again.

  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    Keam chose a particularly apt anniversary to accuse someone of being a communist: