Local Commentary

Senator Saslaw’s Richmond Report: Clear Distinctions in Virginia’s Candidates

saslaw-fcnpThis has been a week in American government that we should never have to bear witness to – ever.

I try not to criticize my colleagues across the Potomac River but it is difficult for any informed individual to question how the “game of chicken” became part of the philosophy of governing. When we are sworn into office as elected officials we take an oath to support the Constitution to the best of our abilities. Nowhere in that oath does it say we are to dismantle government, circumvent the law of the land or hold American citizens hostages. I have spent my entire career in public service trying to make things better for Virginians as well as ensure a robust economy in the Commonwealth to enhance opportunity and our quality of life. A critical part of governing is finding solutions and the common ground in an issue. That is why the election on November 5 is so very important for Virginians.

It should be easy for you to figure out whom I am supporting for the three statewide offices. There are very clear distinctions between all of the candidates running for each office. I have served with four of the six candidates and believe their records clearly reveal their agendas and provide a glimpse to what is likely the foundation for their future governance in higher office. Make no mistake about it, reinventing what you believe in after serving as an elected official, is no small task. That is why I believe we have two candidates with voting records trying to recreate their past and pass it along as if it were history.

When you look at the two candidates running for Governor, hands down there is only one individual with a history of success as well as the ability to engage in relationships with people from all walks of life including former presidents, leaders of the business community and individuals interested in moving the Commonwealth in a positive direction. Terry McAuliffe is the only candidate with that record. As a successful individual he brings private sector knowledge to the job. You may recall Mark Warner was first elected to public office as Governor. He brought his business skills to the Executive Branch, leading Virginia to being ranked the best managed state and the best place to do business. Terry and Dorothy McAuliffe have raised five children here in the Commonwealth – once rated the best place for a child to succeed. Terry knows the significance of investing in public education and the role it plays in keeping Virginia competitive in a global economy. I have every confidence there will not be a “Giftgate” during the next administration. As our economy continues to recover, we need a person with a track record for success – not one looking to slice and dice government recklessly.

I am proud to have served with both Ralph Northam and Mark Herring. Both of them are dedicated to common sense solutions on the issues we face in the General Assembly. I might add that they both have solid voting records that reflect their efforts to move Virginia forward in a fiscally responsible manner. They are well respected and have not been bogged down by obstructionist attempts to derail the Virginia legislature. In recent years we have seen some of the “Potomac Fever” attempting to creep into Richmond in the form of extreme ideological agendas. That model hasn’t worked at the federal level and we sure do not need to facilitate it here in Virginia.

Ralph Northam brings the right temperament and the military discipline to get the job done well as Lieutenant Governor. Most importantly, as a pediatric neurosurgeon, he knows the importance of applying science and logic when making laws. From every indication, his opponent has little tolerance for others unlike himself and a very divisive agenda.

Mark Herring is the one candidate for Attorney General that is front and center. He has a history of representing the best interests of Virginians in a moderate and balanced fashion. Unlike our current Attorney General and his hopeful Republican successor, we won’t see the taxpayer-funded assaults on our colleges and universities or the Don Quixote quests of the past four years. From “Giftgate” to other conflicts of interest at the expense of Virginians, I believe it is well past the time to make a change in that office. Mark Herring is the person to restore integrity to that most important office as an advocate for Virginians. His opponent on the other hand, introduced a bill that would have required women to report miscarriages to the police.


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