Over the last two months I have met and spoken with many of the great community organizations whose efforts on behalf of their members and of the community at large play such vital role in the fabric of life in Fairfax County. I was truly energized by these contacts:
Meeting with the Fairfax County Federation of Civic Associations, the Providence District Council of Civic Associations, and the Jefferson Village, Parklawn and Westlawn civic associations. The Commonwealth’s failure to act on transportation and neighborhood revitalization were two key themes;
• Meeting with the Greater Merrifield Business Association, HCA Dominion Hospital Board and staff and the Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary to discuss the results of the past legislative session;
• I was honored to speak at the Vietnamese Human Rights Day celebration on Capitol Hill;
• I was equally honored to speak at the opening of a Korean folk art exhibit at the Korean Cultural Center, to celebrate new exhibition space for Korean art at the Smithsonian;
• Meeting with the Asian-American Advisory Board to the Governor to discuss their agenda, which includes problems of language access in our courts and cross-cultural expectations;
• Meeting with the Washington Area Bicycle Association to discuss gaps in Virginia’s efforts to promote bicycle commuting safety, education and Safe Routes to School;
• I attended a League of Conservation Voter’s gala where I was happy to be named one of 18 “Legislative Heroes” who attained 100% ratings on the groups legislative scorecard;
• Meeting with the J.E.B. Stuart High School and Sleepy Hollow Elementary School (ES) PTAs. They were both very concerned about the effects of budget cuts on key programs for at risk students, on the elimination of the year round ES calendar and summer school; and the implementation of fees for high school sport participation and the reversal of the 10 year old FCPS policy to pay student IB and AP test fees.
These opportunities for learning, constructive dialogue and celebrations of cultural diversity are among the greatest privileges of being a legislator. These groups re-affirm for me the deep reservoirs of commitment to ” the common good”—that is to the community-that persists in so many Americans from all backgrounds and all walks of life. So many people are willing to contribute their “fair share” and more for the benefit of all!
As Memorial Day draws near-next Monday as I write this column-the holiday gives us yet another perspective on the willingness of the few to serve for the benefit of all. I believe it important for Americans across the entire spectrum of political beliefs to remember and to honor those who have served our country as members of the Armed Services. Whether you believe in the rationale–or the morality–supporting the decisions our leaders have made and will make to invest American blood and treasure throughout the world should not affect your willingness to honor the basic decision to serve of an ever-smaller cohort of young Americans. The personal stories behind these decisions vary widely, but the vast majority of these individual choices have in common-at some level-putting the community before the self.
In these times of fat-cat CEO’s, Wall Street gluttons, tax cheats and, yes, self serving politicians, we should embrace every occasion we have to celebrate family, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens who have acted on their higher nature on the behalf of all of us. May you all have a family filled and safe holiday.
Delegate Kory represents the 38th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She may be emailed at [email protected].