I see this as a good sign. This field is a rainbow of talent, experience and diversity, a remarkable crew to see running in the former cradle of the Confederacy, as described by the Washington Post's Ben Pershing:
[A] half-dozen elected officials, three African Americans, two Latinos, a talk-show host, an openly gay state senator and a car dealer who last was on a ballot 17 years ago.
Okay, so maybe that sounds like the start of a bad joke that John Whitbeck would tell to warm up a Tea Party crowd. But in a Democratic district like the 8th, it's a real opportunity to elect a new face with new ideas and experiences to represent NoVA in Congress -- an exciting prospect.
I can think of only one thing that could go wrong here -- and that's if the Dems in this very competitive field take the opportunity to tear each other to pieces. Doing so may not cost us this seat in a very Democratic district, but it could create scars that would hurt us in other ways -- and perhaps linger.
An initiative that will do to the states what Governor McDonnell has done to localities in Virginia, Republicans in Congress are moving to pay for more Pentagon spending at the expense of poverty programs. And while education and social services have already suffered in Virginia, this would be the death knell for many programs that allow families to remain intact and achieve economic independence. Among other cuts, the bill repeals Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds which provide support for:
- daycare for children or adults,
- protective services for children or adults,
- special services to persons with disabilities,
- case management,
- health-related services,
- foster care for children or adults,
- substance abuse,
- housing, home-delivered meals,
- independent/transitional living,
- employment services, and
- any other social services found necessary by a State