Great event tonight- at Acme Pies on Columbia Pike in Arlington, with a packed house in support of Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th), who faces a Democratic primary challenger (J.D. Spain) on June 11. For the record, I strongly support Del. Lopez in this primary, and of course for reelection this November, as I believe he’s done a great job and is a strong progressive and environmentalist. With that, here’s some video, with a few highlights.
First, Del. Mike Mullin (HD-93) talked about how he’s “known Alfonso since I was about five years old...Alfonso was one of my dad’s students at Robinson Secondary School…and I can tell you with all of my heart and conviction that he has stood for progressive values since he was 12.” Del. Mullin added: “He has been fighting for environmental issues, whether it was in the White House…for the governor’s mansion and then with us in the General Assembly. He has been fighting to start environmental caucuses, the Latino caucus, to be able to stand up for issues like gun control for issues, like protecting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions, and for taking the corrupting power of money out of politics…Every year, he has put in legislation to be able to make this a more progressive, more humane, and more friendly Virginia – and I know that because I saw him do it when he was 15 years old.” Mullin also stressed the importance of Democrats taking back the House of Delegates – “We are at the cusp of a generational change here in Virginia that is going to move us from purple to blue, to be able to make all of the changes that we have only dreamed about for the last 20 years, and that is only going to start if we elect more Democrats.”
Next, Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-HD31) talked about how we now have the most diverse slate of delegates in Virginia history, that we have a great opportunity to take the majority, and “you can imagine what we can do with 51 members or more.” Of course, we have to start by not losing “those progressive voices that we already have at the table, and one of those is Alfonso…he’s been a champion on environmental issues…on affordable housing…for small businesses…for the undocumented and new Americans as well…he’s been fighting tooth and nail for DREAMers.”
Del. Lopez talked about Democrats’ mission to bring Medicaid expansion, pass the DREAM Act and sensible gun violence prevention, and “to send a message that what’s happening across the river is NOT ok!” Lopez said there are Republican members of the House of Delegates who are trying to replicate the “divisive,” “ugly,” “wrong-headed” policies we see from Trump and Congressional Republicans. Lopez introduced Sen. Tim Kaine, talking about he’s helped turn Virginia blue. Lopez joked that Tim Kaine “doesn’t know this, but every time I talk to him, I get nervous; he’s incredibly kind and generous, and it freaks me out.” Lopez explained, “I’m used to politicians on Capitol Hill who are not kind and generous I worked up there for 27 years no one was like this I thought it was an act it’s not an act…he’s the real deal….Everyone who meets this man understands what our future should be – generous, kind, brilliant, dynamic, caring…habla espanol… and if there was justice in the world, the Vice President the United States.”
Last but certainly not least, Sen. Kaine said it was a “Hall of Fame here” for Del. Lopez. Sen. Kaine said “I love this guy, and I have a feeling of parental pride about him…I have got a feeling of parental pride in everything he’s done.” Kaine said “I don’t want to talk about every issue, but I just want to talk about one…the horror of the tragedy that was experienced at Virginia Beach…It’s horrible enough, but when it reminds you not only of the pain of the incident but it makes you think about all the pain that you’ve gone through as a community or as a state before, what a horrible thing.” Kaine discussed “what it takes for evil to happen,” including “people who stand around and and don’t do anything.” Specifically, Kaine mentioned the General Assembly of Virginia and the Congress of the United States: “We have way too many damn bystanders who will stand around and watch one horrible tragedy happen after the next, and aside from tweeting out some empty platitude about what they think, they will not lift a finger, they will not lift a finger to keep even a tiny child or a government worker or a student or somebody worshiping in a church or a synagogue, they will not lift a finger – a finger! – to keep them safe.” Kaine noted that this year, Sen. Adam Ebbin had a bill that would have limited high-capacity magazines to no more than 10, and Republicans killed it, but didn’t even “have the guts…to just vote no,” but instead came up with a “euphemism” called “Passed by Indefinitely.” Kaine ripped the NRA as “toothless, feckless, corrupt, idiotic.” Kaine said we’re now within two votes in the House of Delegates and State Senate to pass “better gun rules…automatic reenfranchisement [of ex-felons]…to protect the DREAMers…for better teacher salaries…” Kaine talked about how much it would mean if Democrats could take back the General Assembly this November. He guaranteed that we’re going blue again in 2020, but said that right now we don’t have a General Assembly “that is a match for the population of Virginia, for the values of Virginians, for the hopes and aspirations of Virginians,” and how that needs to change.