Friday, October 23, 2009


Oddly enough, I received a fundraising letter from the Republican Party, a "2009 Congressional District Census." I live in the 5th Congressional District of Virginia and have voted Democratic for my entire life.

Here are some of the laughable questions or omissions from the survey:
  • Query re my Media sources for political news includes Fox and major networks but not PBS or NPR (which I wrote in)
  • Question as to which political party is best able to handle each of the following issues has the usual list plus "Protecting Traditional Values" to which I responded "Oh, please, what does this mean? Anti-gay?"
  • "Do you feel that the huge trillion dollar solutions the Democrats have advanced to boost our economy will help or hurt or nation in the long run?" Answer: What is your solution? Do nothing?
  • "Would you like Congress to pass additional tax cuts to further stimulate our nation's economy?" Answer: the Bush tax cut re-started the deficit after the Clinton Administration had eliminated it.
  • "Do you think all Americans should be required to have some fort of health insurance even if it requires the federal government to underwrite the costs?" Answer: erroneous question as it mis-states proposed sliding scale subsidy for people of lower incomes.
  • "Using numbers 1 through 5,, with 1 the top priority please indicate the policies you support most to address how the energy should meet future energy needs.

Numbers 0 and 1 are my answers.

0 increase drilling Alaska's ANWR

1 more funds for alternative fuels research

0 build new oil refineries in the U.S.

0 expand off shore drilling

1 greater investment in wind/solar energy

? tap previously unrecoverable oil

0 build new nuclear plants in U.S.

I added to "Other" category: support or increase tax credits for homeowner and commercial energy efficiency programs and weatherization, thus decreasing need for new fossil fuels.

Do you think the Democrat effort to restore the Fairness Doctrine that will destroy conservative talk radio is a violation of free speech? Answer: NO

Do you support oppose or have no opinion on the following social issues:

school prayer, ban burning of the flag, ban human cloning, faith based initiatives, ban all abortions, prohibit homosexual marriage.

Answer: What do you think ? Can't you see the ads now in the mid-term election in 2010?

I would be intersted in knowing if other Democrats received and returned this poll.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great Endorsements for Deeds and Wagner

On Sunday, the Washington Post endorsed Creigh Deeds in a fulsome and well articulated editorial -- see

Just an excerpt here:
"There are plenty of reasons why Mr. Deeds is the better choice for governor in the Nov. 3 election. He has stood with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the incumbent, and his predecessor, now-Sen. Mark R. Warner, in support of the sane fiscal and budgetary choices that have made the state one of the best-governed and most business-friendly in the nation. . . Mr. Deeds has compiled a moderate record on divisive social issues that reflects Virginia's status as a centrist swing state. Mr. McDonnell has staked out the intolerant terrain on his party's right wing, fighting a culture war that seized his imagination as a law student in the Reagan era.
But the central challenge facing Virginia and its next governor is the deficit in transportation funding projected at $100 billion over the next two decades -- and only Mr. Deeds offers hope for a solution. . . he would appoint a bipartisan commission to forge a consensus on transportation funding, with the full expectation that new taxes would be part of the mix. Mr. McDonnell, by contrast, proposes to pay for road improvements mainly by cannibalizing essential state services such as education, health and public safety -- a political non-starter. And rather than leveling with Virginians about the cost of his approach, as Mr. Deeds has done, Mr. McDonnell lacks the political spine to say what programs he would attempt to gut, or even reshape, in order to deal with transportation needs. "

On Monday, the Post also endorsed his running mate: Jody Wagner. The subhead of the editorial says it all: "In Virginia a problem solver is better than a pol."

You can read the whole editorial at

The Post editorializes about Jody Wagner:

"Smart, tough-minded and capable, Ms. Wagner would be among the best-prepared public officials to assume the job. A former corporate lawyer, she started a successful family business (making kettle corn) before going to work for then-Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) [as State Treasurer]. Then, as Mr. Kaine's finance secretary -- she resigned this year to launch her campaign -- she developed an authoritative command of state government, spending and income, critical knowledge for the challenges posed by the recession. "

She would also be the first woman in 20 years to be elected to statewide office.

Pass it on. Sphere: Related Content

Scary Candidate: Cuccinelli

The focus is on the Governorship in Virginia pitting moderate Creigh Deeds against stealth conservative Bob McDonnell (The Washington Post generously characterizes "Mr. McDonnell's silver tongued embrace of ideas that would mire Virginia in a traffic clogged backward looking past.")

But perhaps the real stealth right wing candidate in Virginia is Ken Cuccinelli who is running for Attorney General and who the Post describes as a person out to re-make the office of Attorney General (according to Cuccinelli's own words). People should read the post article "Cuccinelli's bid puts focus on a job often off the radar: Va. attorney general candidate says there's power in the position"
See article by Amy GardnerMonday, October 19, 2009 :

I guarantee you that you will want to write to family and friends and urge them to vote against this fellow without even knowing that his opponent, Steve Shannon is a moderate Virginia delegate (like Cuccinelli, also from Fairfax) who has also served in a local prosecutor's office. Shannon will know how to deal with appeals on criminal matters (which is what the Attorney General has to handle in terms of criminal law) and he will not decide to use the office to fight a far right agenda.

Cuccinelli doesn't believe in global warming and he would fight federal regulation that deals with greater emission limits from polluters. Thus, it's a small surprise that the Virginia League of Conservation Voters gave him a failing 10% grade on his conservation votes in the state senate, while Steve Shannon received 96% for his votes in the House of Delegates.

Cuccinelli also sees his office as an opportunity to defend the family against gay marriage.

Please ... we do not need to spend taxpayer money for this kind of nonsense.

So if you read this,
1) write a letter to your editor,
2) copy the Post article and put it in emails to your family and friends, and
3) do all that you can to elect Steve Shannon, not Ken Cuccinelli, on November 3. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 16, 2009

Support Deeds

Today I've been writing letters to the Editor about why Creigh Deeds should be our next Governor.

It's appalling that so many people who turn out for the presidential election will not vote on November 3. This means that Deeds will be at a distinct disadvantage, since last year the majority voted for Obama and in my congressional district, for Tom Perriello.

But I have faith that if enough people are reached through knocking on doors, phone calls and letters to editor and personal appearances, Creigh can win.

As I think about him, I realize one of his strongest assets is as unifier:

While in the State Senate he has represented the the area in Bath County stretching from the West Virginia mountains to the University community of the Piedmont area of Charlottesville. He thus understands firsthand the rich diversity of our state. Over the years, he has told his rural constituents the importance of Northern Virginia as an economic engine for the rest of the state.

Deeds is supported by an impressive and diverse group of moderate Republicans, including former State Senators John Chichester of Stafford, Brandon Bell of Roanoke, Russ Potts of Winchester, Warren Barry of Fairfax, and Marty Williams of Newport News as well as former Delegates Jim Dillard from Northern Virginia and Panny Rhodes of Richmond.

Chichester, former Senate Majority leader for many years, also was the conscience and mind of the Senate on fiscal matters. He was probably the most influential legislator during his time as he worked with various governors to solve fiscal dilemmas.

Williams was chair of the Senate’s Transportation Committee and Potts, Senate Education and Health, where he stood up to extremist anti-abortion protestors.

These moderate Republicans all worked with Creigh, they endorsed him -- a person not of their party -- because they know he will create practical solutions in terms of financing schools and transportation and protecting our natural resources -- issues they care about.

Creigh was also born into the hard times of Virginia. The child of a single mother, he understands how middle- and lower-income families have to struggle to pay for basic necessities.

But rather than just talk "jobs" like all candidates do, Creigh has actually sponsored legislation to help the economy. This year, for example, he sponsored the Virginia Clean Energy Bill that supports family home improvements that will in turn create jobs for the new energy economy in renewables, efficiency and weatherization.

Creigh has long been a supporter of Virginia’s natural resources and understands how a protected environment and historic preservation are critical to the state’s tourism economy. New businesses seeking locations in Virginia also look for quality of life. Deeds' legislative record of 86% on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard contrasts with his opponent’s failing grade of 18%.

Beyond Creigh, I am thinking about Lt. Governor and Attorney General:

Jody Wagner would be the first woman in 20 years to hold statewide office. A Tidewater businesswoman and former State Secretary of Finance, she is eminently qualified to help Governor Deeds move Virginia through this critical period.

Former prosecutor Steve Shannon, a Northern Virginia state delegate, will maintain public safety while fighting such issues as internet abuses and predatory lending. He is non-ideological in approach – in contrast to his opponent who has supported extreme-right positions.

Election Day is November 3; absentee ballots must be filed by October 27.

We need Deeds, Wagner, and Shannon, but we won't get them unless enough people vote.

We need to get the word out for people to vote. Use your networks, use email and remind people of the importance of THEIR vote in THIS election.
Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Politics as Usual?

First off, let me say that I'm 100% for Creigh Deeds for Governor. He's smart but modest, he has ideas, not soundbites, and, as a senator, he has been a reliable vote on issues of importance to me -- the environment, education and women.

Yet, I'm having a hard time finding my role in this election. After decades of phone banking and canvassing, I really want a younger generation to take on those tasks. I've volunteered for other things but so far, I've mostly just made modest financial contributions, responded to a few blogs on line and written to a newspaper ombudsman when I read coverage I thought was unfair and superficial.

I'm writing this because I find myself more interested in taking walks, birding or visiting friends or planning to view the fall colors. What's wrong with me? I' advertise myself as woman poltiico, but I don't feel very politico.

Maybe it's because my work -- environmental advocacy -- involves a lot of politics with a small "p." I am constantly thinking about how to approach an issue, how to articulate it, where to press the advantage, who the allies will be, who the opponents, what next steps to take to advance the ball forward.

I'm tired. I need this time of revival.

I want to look at the leaves. I even want to rake leaves. And after viewing Ken Burns "National Parks: America's Best Idea," I want to visit those parks I've never seen -- like Arches and Zion -- and re-visit others -- Crater Lake, Glacier, Yellowstone -- and re-re-visit places like Shenandoah, Hatteras National Seashore and Acadia, which are my sacred places where I first truly felt the importance of nature in my life.

But Virginia poltiics doesn't allow any time for revival. Every year, we have an election -- last year, President, Congressman (Perriello - yay) and Senator, this year, Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General and House of Delegates. Next year it'll be Congress again and the year following, the Virginia House of Delegates AND Senate. And on and on ...

Meanwhile at the national level (and the state level), it feels as though politics doesn't stop after the election. Congress is in a battle over health care -- the Republicans don't want to give anything that the President might want. There are real areas of disagreement, but there are also those that simply want to use this issue for political gain.

I'm tired of this politics-as-usual. I want more focus on the issues. In the Governor's race, I want people to be involved and interested in who will lead our state over the next four years instead of just asking "what's in it for me?" As a former politician, I know people need to feel invested, but I wonder what will make them wake up and realize: They're OUR schools, our kids and grandkids who will need the education of the future, our mountains, ocean and Chesapeake Bay that need protecting, our collective community that needs to recommit itself to the common good and to vote for the person who will truly seek to find the common good through working with all people of good intentions, not just those in his/her own party. We need the bridge builders, not the bomb throwers.

It's funny that I'm writing this after having experienced this evening a very beautiful meeting with a small group from my church. There, I felt the peacefulness of giving oneself over to trying to discern the will of God and even spoke about how that had manifested itself in my life in very real and strong ways. Unlike some, I'm not trying to bring God into politics but I am trying to figure out how what we learn about relationship in the church can also apply to how we act collecively and politically --tolerating differences and appreciating similarities and finding a way to achieve the common good for the larger community. Sphere: Related Content