by Tom Hicks, a resident of Montpelier, VA and a former Democratic Candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District.
Earlier this week, the Blue Virginia website endorsed Edwin Santana for Virginia’s 1st Congressional District race. In the spirit of an open and comprehensive debate of the candidates I am providing a discussion regarding why I think John Suddarth is the better candidate.
After I left the race in January, I endorsed John Suddarth knowing both him and the other candidates very well including their backgrounds and positions. My endorsement was well-grounded in facts, observing all the candidates close-up and participating with them in forums.
I like Edwin, he is smart and articulate, but he does not have the wealth of experience and proven leadership that John has, and experience and leadership matter. John is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a graduate of both the Airborne and Ranger Schools, and someone who commanded troops in the artillery during the Cold War. He won the Meritorious Service Medal as a junior officer, something very rare indeed.
John is a strong progressive who has supported gun control for over 30 years and advocated for single payer for 20 years. He has very detailed positions on his website and he is a forceful advocate for each of them.
John is from the first district. He was born in Prince William County and graduated from Gar-Field High School. He has served the community for decades with Habitat for Humanity and has been a very active member of the Hanover Democratic Committee, leading their fundraising efforts until resigning to run for the 1st District congressional seat.
Most importantly, John has demonstrated leadership throughout his life. In addition to commanding troops in a firing battery in the Rapid Deployment Force, he rose to be president of six different multi-national manufacturing companies. He’s been responsible for thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues. He knows how the world works and how American policies on infrastructure and healthcare hold back our economy and stifle the creation of jobs. Job creation is something John has done time after time. With progressives like him in Congress, we can create a truly dynamic economy.
If we want to turn this district blue, we need someone who has the experience, presence, and strong personality to win the 20% of independents in the middle. We need someone who can explain how we can provide universal healthcare, better education starting with universal Pre-K, fix our infrastructure and take action on climate change without busting the budget and has the life experiences to be credible. Furthermore, John will take on the NRA. It’s not enough to have the right positions. One also has to have the force of personality to push them through.