Three years ago my husband and I moved to North Virginia from Maryland to be closer to our son and his family. One aspect of the move that has been disconcerting is the political climate. Most of Maryland is reliably blue. Occasionally a republican makes his way into office, but that’s usually because the Democratic party put up a really crappy nominee, e.g., in 1966, they put up George P. Mahoney, which is why we got Spiro T. Agnew (and I don’t have to tell you how that turned out), and then in 2002 when the state couldn’t stomach Kathleen Kennedy Townsend who didn’t do much under the increasingly despised Parris Glendenning, the electorate gave the office of Governor to Bob Ehrlich, who wasn’t too bad for a Republican, but still he is a republican, which is why they elected Martin O’Malley in 2006.
Virginia is only occasionally blue. Senator Jim Webb won by a fluke because of George Allen’s maccaca moment, but then the next year, republican Bob McDonnell overwhelmingly defeated Craig Deeds. In the House of Representatives, Democrats hold 6 seats, Republicans hold 5. Obama won in 2008, but in the prior 10 presidential, a republican won.
I’m in the 10th Congressional district, which has been represented for the last 30 years by Frank Wolf (R), who speaks like a moderate when campaigning in Loudoun and Fairfax, but votes the party line in congress. It’s frustrating to hear that after the historic Health Care bill that was passed, my congressman is enthusiastically on board with the republican platform to repeal it.
Naturally I was intrigued by Jeff Barnett, the winner of the Democratic nomination for the 10th district. His website, http://jeffbarnettforcongress…. announced ten town hall meetings, so last night I went to the one at the Chantilly Library.
Jeff is soft-spoken, and reminded me in tone and demeanor of Eugene McCarthy. There was no set agenda, it was a chance to ask questions and see what his stance is on numerous issues. The hour and a half time slot was not enough time for me, though I was impressed with Jeff’s intelligence and knowledge about the issues that were discussed. As an example, he discussed military spending. His background as a colonel in the Air Force gives his observations additional credibility, the knowledge that both of his children are in the military – one in Afghanistan – insures that he’s not going to advocate cuts that will jeopardize the troops.
Jeff is an author, and last year published The Job Box, about surviving in a constantly changing job market. The local public libraries don’t own the book; he promised he’d donate copies.
If you live in the 10th district and would like to see an alternative to Frank Wolf, or if you’re just interested in helping to turn Virginia Blue, take a look at Jeff’s website.