Last week, I focused on the county bond referenda that appear on the General Election ballot. This week, I’ll focus on the Senate and Congressional races. There are three that affect Mason District: United States Senate, and the 8th and 11th Congressional Districts. The Senate seat is an open race, since Mason District resident Jim Webb (D-VA) is retiring. Both congressional races are contested, with incumbents running for re-election.
In the open Senate race, former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine is opposed by former Republican governor and former Senator George Allen. As I noted last month, there are clear differences between the two candidates. Tim Kaine has an articulate, thoughtful, and positive approach to resolve the challenges Virginians face. I always have been impressed by his integrity, intellectual curiosity and admirable social conscience. Answering a question, whether in a television debate or a small house party, is just the beginning. He engages in thoughtful dialogue, and readily will admit that he wants to know more. His stated desire to end congressional gridlock, grow the economy, and take a balanced approach to the federal budget should ring true with voters.
Alternatively, George Allen, who should be acknowledged for his service as governor for one term, and senator for one term, seems to have only one answer for every question – jobs. Jobs are important, especially since many Virginians depend on employment in the federal defense sector, but one wonders if Mr. Allen grasps the intellectual, policy, and political implications of decisions that Senators must make. From what I have observed, he doesn’t, and Tim Kaine is the candidate Virginians can count on for making decisions that serve their best interests.
Once entirely in the 11th Congressional District, Mason District is split almost evenly between the 8th and the 11th. Jim Moran, the longtime Democrat representing the 8th, is a fierce advocate for the environment and federal employees who reside in the region. When the BRAC building was being constructed at Seminary Road and I-395, Jim heard the concerns of residents who trembled at the prospect of 6400 employees transferring to a new site that had insufficient parking and was not near public transportation. Battling the Pentagon, Jim persuaded the Secretary of Defense to recalculate the rate of occupancy in the new building and provide shuttle service, so that the move could be accomplished at a more rational pace. Jim’s legislation to “green” the region is paying dividends in improved water and air quality, as well as more opportunities for parkland. That’s a gift to future generations, and we can thank him with our votes.
In the 11th District, Gerry Connolly is running for a third term, after a successful career on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, including five as chairman. Gerry’s energy and intellect serve the district well, and he put the pedal to the metal to ensure funding for the Silver Line from Tysons to Dulles International Airport. Gerry is a quick study and, in four short years, has earned the respect of his constituents and colleagues. He also should earn your vote.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]