This morning, on Trumpster Radio (“The John Fredericks Show”), Virginia State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) had a bunch of interesting things to say, including on rumors that he might leave the State Senate to join the Washington NFL team as president. According to Petersen, when asked whether he’s on the “short list for Redskins president”:
“Well you know, John, I usually don’t talk about my personal future on media shows…y’all got more important stuff to talk about. I’ll just say that I’ve been a Redskins supporter all my life and I’m obviously a season ticket holder and I’ve sort of worked with the team on various things, informal things. You know, I was friends with Bruce and obviously he got fired and that was tough. But you know the bottom line is I’m here in whatever capacity the team needs me. I hope I could be helpful and if that’s a professional position, then that’s something I might consider, but that’s all I can say right now…
“If I was to ever be in a position like that, the first thing I would do is at every home game I’d be in the parking lot, shaking hands with fans, going to tailgates, meeting people, meeting the customers. You know, for me, I wouldn’t worry about the on-field product per se. I think you hire the top football guys to do that. Your job is to be out meeting your customers and doing that 24/7. If you got to stand at the gate a Redskins park and shake people’s hands on the way into practice or stand at the gate of FedEx Field and shake people’s hands on the way into the game, you want people to talk to you, you want to be talking to the fans 100%.
You know, teams go up and down on the field. What’s concerning to me about the Redskins is their fan base has eroded substantially, substantially in the last 10, 15 years, and we all see that. And part of that’s the team’s been unsuccessful on the field. But part of it is, for some whatever reason, they lost their identity – and that’s something they need to recapture. You’re a hundred percent correct.
Let me tell you something, there’s been more enthusiasm in the DC area in the past 72 hours than I’ve seen in the last, you know, almost since Obama was elected. I’m not exaggerating; people love the Redskins. People like me who grew up here, there’s nothing like it. It goes to the core of our DNA in this area. You know people like Sonny Jurgensen, you know you name the names… these are legends, these are names that they walk into any restaurant in the DC area, they’re not paying for their dinner…We need to get that back. We need to get Redskins fans back in the stadium. We need to get them you know back in the seats. We need to take back our house.
And again, if I could play a role in that, great. You know, right now I’m focused on the Senate, my Senate tenure, and I’m excited for that…but I will tell you as I believe the Redskins have a positive role in this community it brings people together across racial, ethnic, political lines, and that’s an important institution and it shouldn’t go away.”
So that’s interesting, huh? I mean, if Sen. Petersen were to leave the State Senate, Democrats would be down – temporarily, anyway – to just 20 in their caucus, while Republicans are at 19. It would also mean a special election to replace Sen. Petersen, who’s been there a loong time (since January 2008) and is practically an institution at this point. Anyway, we’ll see what happens, but it would definitely be a big deal if Sen. Petersen were to leave; among other things, the primary for that seat would be fascinating.
With that, see below the video for some comments by Sen. Petersen on several topics – guns, “Right to Work” laws, redistricting…
P.S. Just to be clear, I disagree with Petersen on “Right-to-Work,” the redistricting amendment, marijuana legalization, the Washington football team, etc, etc. Also, why in hell is a *Democratic elected official* sponsoring a pro-Trump, far-right radio show???
On guns: “I think that the short answer is there’s gonna be a lot of legislation coming down the pike…I ran in 2007, the issue specifically was the right of concealed carry permit holders, which I’ve supported right down the line and you know throughout my career. I think there are issues where we can change our laws to be more effective. I do support one gun a month; I don’t back away from that. I do think that we can, on background checks, all commercial sales ought to be subject to a background check; I’ve said that and I voted for that. I haven’t looked at Saslaw’s bill. Obviously I’ve gotten 10,000 emails on it. I’m not going to vote for what I call status crimes, which are people that have a particular status by definition become criminals. And if people purchased something that was legal at the time, we’re not going to criminalize it and suddenly turn them into criminals overnight, well I’m not going to vote for that. If we’re gonna restrict sale on high-capacity magazines and I know we talked about silencers…months ago, I have no problem with that and I would vote for that…But again, that to me would be a prospective measure about people that are purchasing things prospectively. I don’t think you can reasonably…pass a law that’s going to criminalize people for doing something they did that was legal… We don’t have the ability to know who’s up to date with the law and who’s not. And you know, the definition of a semi-automatic weapon obviously is fairly amorphous, we all know that. The bottom line is we need to fix laws prospectively, and we need to make Virginia a safer state without threatening the the rights of people that are exercising their constitutional rights. I get all that, and it’s a balancing act. And look…I understand, there’s a lot of gun owners that are very concerned and that’s part of democracy, just like… there’s a lot of people that are very concerned about gun violence and school shootings. And each side has very strong opinions. And again, I lean towards the side that we can do more to protect our kids, we can do more to protect society without threatening the rights of people that use the Second Amendment legally. And you know we’re gonna have to find a balance. We’re not going to rush through it. I haven’t read any individual piece of legislation…but from what you described, I think that bill is probably a little bit over broad; I’m assuming there’s gonna be more targeted legislation. And I think for Democrats, what we need to do is figure out what are our top priorities. And if there’s bills that are filed that sort of cover a whole number of ideas and have a number of unintended consequences, that’s going to be a mistake and it’s going to touch off a reaction to our majority, which is not going to be healthy. We need to figure out what our priorities are and focus on those….Those House bills don’t automatically become law; they may think they do, but they don’t.”
On “Right-to-Work”: “We’ll see what comes along; I don’t see a ‘Right-to-Work repeal being filed in the Senate…We’ll see what comes out of the House…As for me, I do consider myself a pro-labor guy and I understand the concerns with right-to-work. Having said that, it’s been part of our business framework for you know 60 some years…We’ll see what comes out of the House…At this point I don’t see a Senate bill being filed, so we’ll tackle that when we get to it.”
On redistricting: “First of all, I believe in non-partisan redistricting reform. And by the way, if that meant the 34th Senate District got assigned to Loudoun County then I’d wave goodbye and go back to whatever I do…At some point, you just got to live with the consequences of your choices and I think it’s tough for people, because you may be voting for a bill that could be your own [political] death sentence…But I just feel like it’s the right thing to do. I mean, we’ve been pushing this issue for a decade, now we’ve got the majorities. And I think it’s one where you can go to the voters and said you know what, I did something that wasn’t in my self-interest; I did something that, you know, I’m taking a leap of faith that voters can make a choice…It sets up a process, it sets up a nonpartisan commission. Would I have done it differently? Yeah, I would have; I wouldn’t have had any legislative reps. And I understand the Supreme Court’s kind of like the backstop and some people have concerns about the Supreme Court. I don’t. I mean, the Supreme Court makes all kinds of tough decisions; this is just one of them. So…at the end of the day, I think either you got to say are we going to do this or are we not going to do this? If you’re not going to do this and you’ve been consistent, then don’t change your mind now. But like you said, John, I mean…everybody voted for this last year and so I hope we stick with it, I really do, and I’m gonna be out front, and I will support it.”
On marijuana legalization: “I’m opposed to legalization of marijuana; I don’t think the government ought to be in the business of buying and selling a narcotic. I realize that may be a fuddy duddy opinion, but that is where I stand and I’ve got lots of reasons for saying that. As far as…the decriminalization side of it, I don’t have a problem with that. And to be honest, marijuana has been de facto decriminalized for years, I mean first-offense possession marijuana has basically been a sort of automatic deferral with with no points and no criminal records, and that’s been that way for years now. So it’s effectively been decriminalized. But…I just look at the opioid issues and all the people that have become addicted. And people who say that marijuana is not addictive, I’ve been to parents groups of people that have children that have been drug-addicted; they all pretty much all started smoking pot. And so look, I understand I’m probably in the minority and I’m 51 years old, and you know I’ve got kids that may not agree with me. But as long as I’m the senator, I’m gonna do what I think is right. And in my opinion, I’m not going to vote for legalization; I’ll just leave it at that.”