Thursday, August 6, 2020
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Arlington Candidate Forum Thursday As Campaigns Heat Up in Final Few...

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Given the love lukewarm feelings intense dislike between these candidates, as well as the fact that we're really starting to come down the home stretch of this campaign (the primary is August 23), the upcoming candidate forum in Arlington promises to be intense. I mean, I realize that primaries almost always get heated, but it's amazing to me how much animosity has built up in just a couple months between: a) the Stephanie Clifford and Alfonso Lopez campaigns in the 49th House of Delegates district; and b) the Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto campaigns in the 31st State Senate district. I mean, from everything I'm hearing, these campaigns really, really don't like each other.

Speaking of the 31st State Senate district race, see this ArlNow article for a quick update of how low it's sunk. Basically, the latest is that Barbara Favola is attacking Jaime Areizaga-Soto for being a successful attorney and having worked on a variety of international energy transmission agreements. Of course, Favola does NOT provide any broader context, such as what Areizaga-Soto did exactly, what level he was at in the law firms, what his role was, etc. I know, details, details, such as whether Jaime might actually have worked hard to make these deals more environmentally friendly than they would have been otherwise?

Personally, I have 17 years of experience working on international energy issues at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, so I think it's fair to say I'm pretty familiar with the issues regarding economic development, rapidly increasing energy demand, and the urgent need for environmental protection in energy projects like the ones Jaime Areizaga-Soto worked on. Which is why I asked Jaime about these projects the first time we sat down for a serious meeting, and several times since then. Now, I could be wrong, but based on my conversations with Jaime, I'm convinced that he understands all of this. The question is, when the Favola campaign took Jaime's resume and used it, completely out of context, to attack him, did they do so knowing that it was fundamentally misleading? Did they do so anyway, doing whatever it takes to win this election?

Anyway, I sure hope that debate moderators on Thursday will ask about the conduct of this campaign, and not just ask bland questions about the candidates' well-known/oft-repeated positions on the issues (which anyone can see by checking their websites, or their interviews with Blue Virginia, etc.). At this point in the campaign, it's time to "cut to the chase," as the saying goes, and hear from the candidates as clearly as possible two things: 1) why we should vote for them; 2) why we should NOT vote for their opponent. Isn't that what elections are all about, after all?

Alfonso Lopez: LGBT Democrats of Virginia Questionnaire

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Today, Alfonso Lopez submitted his questionnaire to the Virginia Partisans: The PAC of LGBT Democrats of Virginia.

Please find below the break the entire questionnaire. These are important questions covering a wide-array of issues.

I have worked diligently as an activist to expand the rights of others, including in 2006 as a Member of the Statewide Board of the Commonwealth Coalition where I helped fight efforts in the General Assembly to pass the Marshall-Newman Amendment (an egregious piece of legislation that curbed marriage equality in Virginia).  

I also led the three-year effort to amend the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) by-laws and create a pathway for new groups to be represented on the State Central Steering Committee. As a result of this effort, for the first time in our history, representatives from the Military & Veterans' Family, LGBT, and Latino Caucuses now sit on the DPVA Steering Committee.  

I live with my wife, Sarah Zevin, and son, Aaron Rafael, along Columbia Pike.

Karen Darner Endorses Alfonso Lopez

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Alfonso Lopez Receives the Support of Former 49th District Delegate Karen Darner;
Darner Cites Lopez's Community Experience Fighting for Our Progressive Values

Alfonso Lopez's grassroots campaign has received the strong endorsement of former 49th District Delegate Karen Darner (D). Former Delegate Darner, who was also a Speech Therapist in the Arlington County Public Schools for 35 years, represented the 49th District from 1991 to 2004. Upon her retirement, the Roanoke Times referred to her as the "...staunchest protector of minority rights in Richmond."

"I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with Alfonso since the 1990s," said Darner. "His years of community service in Arlington - from the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission to his time on the Board of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center - speak highly of his dedication. Alfonso has the passion and experience necessary to be an effective advocate for our progressive values in Richmond. I share Alfonso's concerns about Republican initiatives in Richmond and his vision for moving Virginia forward. Alfonso is the right person at the right time for the 49th and he has my support on Tuesday, August 23."

49th House of Delegates District Democratic Candidates Speak at Business Forum

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Bright and early yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the Northern Virginia Democratic Business Council breakfast at the Fairview Park Marriott Hotel in Falls Church.  The event, which was packed with business people and politicos (candidates, elected officials, campaign staffers, etc.), included three panels of Democratic candidates in three separate races, including this one for the 49th House of Delegates district. I'll have the 30th and 31st State Senate district panels a bit later, but for now, here are the two candidates running in the 49th -- Stephanie Clifford and Alfonso Lopez. For now, I remain neutral in this race, but I'm listening carefully to what these two good Democrats - and good progressives - have to say, and hope to make an endorsement at some point this summer. How about you? Any preference in this race, and if so, why?

P.S. It was great catching up with old friends like Margi Vanderhye and Steve Shannon. Other elected officials in attendance included Arlington County Revenue Commissioner Ingrid Morroy, Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Arlington County Board members Jay Fisette and Walter Tejada, Del. Charnielle Herring, Del. Scott Surovell, Del. Jim Scott, and Del. Mark Sickles.