Local Commentary

Senator Saslaw’s Richmond Report

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Our children have headed back to school and football season has begun. Good luck to all of our students as they launch into the academic year. Thanks to all of our teachers for their dedication to preparing them for their future.

Summer seems to have passed by in a flash. Fortunately for us, the farmers markets are still flourishing and waiting for our patronage. One can’t help but wonder about the strange weather this year. Remember the tropical storm season officially comes to an end in November. Hopefully we will dodge that bullet. As the climate continues to change, one wonders what’s in store for us this winter?

Recently, we have seen and heard some very unsavory stories of poor judgment by certain elected officials. As a long serving elected official, I know first hand the value of a good moral compass and the role it should play in government. Virginia’s lapse in defined regulation is the root of the problem in the absence of that inner voice. I am quite sure we will see campaign finance reform during the next General Assembly and will work toward that long overdue reform.

We are now headed into the final weeks of campaign season. There are elections every year in the Commonwealth. This year all eyes are on the election of the next governor. In my opinion, we couldn’t have a clearer choice. I will write about that in future columns. For the next two months I suspect we will be barraged by a plethora of accusations and negativity. Further, the candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General probably will not get as much press or be on the airwaves like the gubernatorial candidates. I hope you will take the time before you cast your ballot, to wade through the hyperbole and learn what each stands for, has a record of doing and get insights into their governing philosophy.

Last week marked the 50th Anniversary of the Walk on Washington. Many of us have vivid memories of that chapter of American history. Here we are a half-century later and we are still fighting for voting rights. Many states have passed legislation that has had a chilling affect of suppressing the vote. The Supreme Court has weighed in on the subject and once again we will be revisiting the issue. As the greatest democracy on the planet, I believe we should be doing more to ensure people can participate rather than discouraging and setting up high hurdles to cast one’s vote.

In the Fall of the year it is customary in our communities for many civic and homeowner associations to meet. I hope to see you there.

Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be emailed at district35@senate.virginia.gov.