Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

bartonmugNext Tuesday is Election Day, and it will be one of the most important statewide election we have had in a long time. The top issues in Northern Virginia are economic, summed up in the basic question “will Virginia adopt programs that promote and enhance the economic well-being of both the state and northern Virginia.”

Most important to Northern Virginians is the absolute necessity that we vastly improve our roads and transportation systems or, as virtually all economic analysts say, face a steady decline in business entities willing to locate here.

Last week, I endorsed Democrat Creigh Deeds for Governor, based largely on his realistic platform for economic sustainability and growth in Northern Virginia. Here are my other recommendations for Arlington voters:

Jody Wagner is far and away the best candidate for Lieutenant Governor. She has been a corporate lawyer, established a successful family business making kettle corn (Yum!), and most recently was Governor Tim Kaine’s Secretary of Finance. Though the Lieutenant Governor’s only official duty is presiding over the Virginia Senate, she can and will be an important adviser to the governor in economic issues.

Her opponent, current Lieutenant Governor Bill Boling, has distinguished himself by doing little more than preside over the Senate. He has been a no-show at countless state commission meetings on which he serves ex officio. We need more than that.

The Attorney General’s race is also of critical importance, though this time largely because of social issues. Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s position on these issues – abortion, women’s rights, gay rights, gun rights, to name just a few – could throw Virginia back into the Middle Ages. Democrat Steve Shannon is a moderate on most of these issues and, more important; he has broad experience as a prosecutor, experience which Cuccinelli conspicuously lacks. We need Shannon as our Attorney General.

Democrats Bob Brink (48th District), Adam Eblin (49th District) and David Englin (45th District) are all incumbents running for re-election. In particular, Bob Brink is the longest serving member from Arlington and has built a notable record of achievement in the General Assembly. He is currently a members of the powerful Appropriations, Privileges and Elections, and Transportation committees, all important to Arlington Ebbin and Englin have also done a stellar job in Richmond. They all should be re-elected.

Arlington Delegate Al Eisenberg (47th District) is retiring after a distinguished career in the General Assembly. Arlington Democrats nominated Patrick Hope to take his seat. Hope has been active in a variety of Arlington community organizations including service as chair of the Arlington County Community Services Board from 2005-2008. His depth of involvement in homeless, mental health, senior citizen, health education, and community development issues makes him well-qualified for one of Arlington’s seats in the Virginia House of Delegates.

In local elections, County Board Member Jay Fisette is running for a fourth term. He is very popular and most likely a shoo-in, but he needs your vote anyway. And he deserves it. He has been an excellent and hard-working member of the board for the past twelve years, has served twice as chairman, and should be returned to office.

Finally, the only candidate on the ballot for Arlington County School Board is James Lander, who is currently serving as Co-chair of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Eliminating the Achievement Gap between minority and white students. He may not need your vote, but do it anyway!