55°Partly Cloudy

by Ethan Rothstein — September 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm 3,174 0

(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says he “had to stand up for Arlington” this morning in his office with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) who rankled folks in Arlington over the line in her book calling the county a “soulless suburb.”

Warner wrote in a tweet “All is forgiven” and thanked Gillibrand for “being a class act.” He posted three photos, including one of him and Gillibrand holding an “Arlington, We Got Soul” T-shirt.

“Senator Gillibrand says she meant no offense,” Warner told ARLnow.com in an email, “and she certainly was a good sport about the whole thing.”

Warner Press Secretary Beth Wanamaker said Gillibrand came into their office “and was immediately apologetic to all of us. She said she had no idea that she would cause such a kerfuffle.”

The shirt is produced by Fairfax-based CustomInk, and it can be bought online here for $20 each. All of the funds from T-shirt purchases will go directly to the Arlington Food Assistance Center, per the T-shirt seller’s website.

Photos courtesy Sen. Mark Warner’s office

by ARLnow.com — September 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm 3,131 0

Aerial view of apartment buildings in Courthouse (Flickr pool photo by Alex Erkiletian)The local furor over Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) view of Arlington as a “soulless suburb” has yet to die down.

Within eight hours of our article’s first publication, Gillibrand apologized for the remark (which was buried in the pages of her new book, “Off The Sidelines.”) But that didn’t stop the debate over whether Gillibrand was off-base or on-target in her assessment of Arlington.

Among those weighing in: Ben Adler, a former New Yorker and a writer at the environmental news website Grist.org. Penning a piece for the Washington Post’s online PostEverything op-ed section, Adler said Gillibrand shouldn’t apologize.

Some excerpts from that article:

For one year I worked at an office in Arlington, Virginia. There were virtually no restaurants that were not chains. Everything was crowded at peak lunch hour but completely empty by 3 p.m. and closed by the time I left work.

Kirsten Gillibrand… correctly identified Arlington in her new memoir as a “soulless suburb.” That’s exactly what most of my friends who have lived in D.C. would call it. In fact, when I was recently trying to describe the cultural vacuity of the “Williamsburg Edge,” a new apartment tower in Brooklyn, I called it, “Arlington on the East River.” My friend who lived in Washington laughed knowingly. He required no further explanation.

Arlington… lacks a physical center, a public space like Dupont Circle, where buskers can play music and activists can make speeches. A centrally located, and well-designed park — with facilities for both active and passive recreation such as basketball courts, chess tables, and benches — would go a long way towards giving Arlington a soul. Most important, unlike all of Arlington’s misbegotten little plazas, it has to be designed to draw passersby in and to engage with the streets around it.

That prompted at least one notable D.C. resident to call foul.

“At the risk of defending Arlington (!), isn’t this @badler piece just about Rosslyn, not all of Arlington?” asked Washington City Paper editor Mike Madden, via Twitter.

Perhaps the best judges of whether Arlington County does or does not lack a soul are those who actually live here. So what do you think?

Flickr pool photo by Alex Erkiletian

by ARLnow.com — September 10, 2014 at 9:00 am 2,455 0

The new Tellus apartment building in Courthouse

Sen. Gillibrand Apologizes to Arlington — “Sorry, Arlington, didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) said via Twitter last night, following ARLnow.com’s scoop that she called the county a “soulless suburb” in her new book. County Board member Walter Tejada, meanwhile, couldn’t quite understand why Gillibrand didn’t like living here. “I’m not sure what she was referring to,” he told the Washington Post. “Maybe somebody got in front of her at the supermarket or something like that.” [Washington Post]

Back to U. Va. for Sullivan Campaign Manager – Washington-Lee High School alumnus Jarrod Nagurka is heading back to the University of Virginia, having spent the summer running the successful election campaign of Delegate-elect Rip Sullivan. Nagurka, 20, also served as political director for Del. Patrick Hope’s unsuccessful bid for Congress. “I learned and matured more during that experience than I ever would have in a semester at school,” he said of the campaign. [InsideNova]

Report: Arlington Man Gave Robbery Victim Cash Back — The victim of a robbery in eastern Pennsylvania says the alleged perp — a 38-year-old man from Arlington — gave him him $5 back before running off with his wallet. The robbery occurred outside of a Wawa store near Allentown. The suspect, Timothy Smith, seemed “almost… remorseful,” the victim said. [Lehigh Valley Live]

Flickr pool photo by erkiletian

by ARLnow.com — September 9, 2014 at 9:00 am 14,936 0

Kirsten Gillibrand book(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is no fan of living in Arlington, apparently.

In her new book, “Off The Sidelines,” which is due out today, Gillibrand recounts her move from New York to the D.C. area — to Arlington, specifically — when she was first elected to the House of Representatives. It was a move Gillibrand would come to regret.

From the book:

Our move to Washington was hard — on me and my marriage. I had a new job; [my husband] Jonathan didn’t; and we were trying to find our legs with a toddler in a new city. We started having the same argument over and over. I’d say, “What’s wrong?”

Jonathan would say, “I have no job and I hate D.C.”

I appreciated Jonathan’s viewpoint. We lived in a soulless suburb. It wasn’t the right place for us, and we needed a change. I could see that, but it took me at least a year to figure out that racing 100 miles an hour to do my job well was leaving no time for us… Eventually we moved from Arlington, Virginia, to Capitol Hill, and Jonathan found a job he liked.

Gillibrand’s book also discusses sexism on Capitol Hill and inappropriate comments congressmen made about Gillibrand’s weight.

Update at 6:00 p.m. — In a tweet, Gillibrand says she’s sorry.

by ARLnow.com — September 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm 811 0

(Updated on 9/6/14) Bipartisanship or libertarianism. Those were the two primary messages from the half-dozen congressional candidates participating in Tuesday’s Arlington Civic Federation candidates forum.

Democrat Don Beyer, the odds-on favorite in the race to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), stuck to the “proven, principled progressive” theme of his successful primary campaign, while also promising to work across the aisle.

“Anything I need to get done in my first term will likely have to be done with Republicans,” Beyer said, acknowledging the GOP’s majority in the House and potential future majority in the Senate. “This is a very important reason why I want to run… I want to go there as a strong Northern Virginia Democrat to work across party lines.”

Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor and U.S. ambassador under President Obama, also touted his business acumen as co-owner of his eponymous car dealership chain.

“We need to build a new American economy, based on the deepest possible investments in human capital,” he said, while listing a litany of his progressive positions: support for a national carbon tax, tighter gun controls focusing on criminals and the mentally ill, making “improvements” to Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), universal pre-kindergarten, marriage equality and immigration reform.

Republican Micah Edmond, a former Marine Corps officer, said bipartisanship and a balanced budget would be his first order of business in Congress.

“I see my campaign as a mission to make the American dream achievable again for all people,” he said. “If elected, my top priority will be to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to [enact] a 10-year economic plan that ends sequestration, allows us to pay down our debt responsibly, balances our budget, reforms our tax code, strengthens our entitlement system and allows us to… [make] direct investment into… education, infrastructure and national security.”

“I’m working hard to earn your vote,” Edmond told the packed crowd. A South Carolina native who served as a senior staffer for members of the House Armed Services Committee after leaving the Marine Corps, Edmond described himself as a “pragmatic problem solver.”

Jeffrey Carson, a Libertarian whose website sports an illustration of a star-spangled porcupine, was true to form as the evening’s prickly firebrand.

A former U.S. Army captain, Carson decried the nation’s “meddlesome, haphazard and dangerous interventionist foreign policy; our failed and unconstitutional drug war; NSA domestic spying; militarized police forces and the erosion of our civil liberties.” He accused Edmond of talking about lower taxes while proposing spending hikes rather than spending cuts, then accused Beyer of ignoring the problem of the national debt altogether.

Carson said he would “strip Congress of its power to overspend” by passing a business cycle-balanced budget amendment to stimulate the economy.

“We continue to allow our politicians to continue kicking the can down the road for another year, another election cycle, another generation,” he said. “Is it scary to face these problems head on? You bet.”

Gerard Blais, a candidate under the banner of the Independent Green party, espoused many of the libertarian ideals of Carson, with a pro-transit and social spending twist. He kept his remarks brief in comparison to his fellow candidates.

“I was inspired to run when, working as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government, I noticed our flawed strategies continuing to fail abroad,” Blais said in his opening statement. “That’s why I would support an immediate pullout from all wars of aggression and choice abroad. I would also support drug legalization… a massive increase in public transportation, universal healthcare and an elimination of the federal income tax on the first $100,000 of income.”

Blais added a free college education and immigration reform to the list of policies he would pursue.

“As an IT worker, I enjoy a very bloated salary” because we’re not allowing enough skilled workers in, he said. “More immigrants will pay more U.S. taxes.”

Gwendolyn Beck, who’s running for Moran’s seat as an independent, said she wants to help facilitate compromise between the two parties.

“I think everyone is disappointed with the gridlock in Congress,” she said. “The Republicans and the Democrats are not talking to each other. I decided to run because I believe that we need to build badly needed coalitions in Congress.”

Beck, who lives near Rosslyn and describes herself as “fiscally responsible, socially inclusive,” said she is “very concerned about the waste of taxpayer money” and wants to fight for the rights of “seniors, children, women — everybody.”

Also participating in the candidates forum was Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Robert Sarvis. Democratic incumbent Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie declined their invitations.

by Ethan Rothstein — August 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm 961 0

Rep. Jim Moran visits the Phoenix House treatment center near Ballston

This is Part Three of a three-part series on the career of Rep. Jim Moran, who will leave office in January. Click to read Part One and Part Two

Rep. Jim Moran is 69 years old and thrice-divorced, with the last split leaving him nearly broke. Moran reported no assets or liabilities in his financial disclosure report in 2010, in the middle of his divorce with businesswoman LuAnn Bennett, according to The Washington Post. He took home his congressional salary and a $10,000 teaching fee from George Mason University.

No longer as strapped for cash, the former stockbroker says he has no plans to retire from working when he leaves Congress, and will seek a high-paying job.

“It’s a little embarrassing that I don’t own my own home or even my own car,” Moran says. “I need to make a little money because I’ve got four grandkids and my daughter is getting married. I’d like to have something to leave to them.”

Moran can’t conduct job negotiations while he’s still in Congress and said he can’t speculate much on what his next move will be. But he has two criteria, in addition to being paid a comfortable salary: doing something “meaningful” and “purposeful,” and working with people “I like, respect and [who] share my values.”

Though he’ll be a septuagenarian just a handful of months after he leaves office, Moran doesn’t act or look the part of a doddering senior.

“I still have the physical and mental capacity to take on a new career,” he says, “so I think it’s time to do that.”

*******

The two men seeking to replace Moran in the Nov. 4 general election, Democrat Don Beyer and Republican Micah Edmond, couldn’t be more different.

Beyer, 64, is the heavy favorite in the race and has Moran’s endorsement. He’s a former lieutenant governor, a former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and the owner of four Volvo dealerships that bear his name. During the heated Democratic primary, during which as many as 12 candidates competed, Beyer’s opponents criticized him for running ads for his car dealerships on local news stations, including Del. Patrick Hope (D-47). “Nobody should be allowed to buy an election,” he said.

Micah EdmondEdmond, 40, is a Jewish and African-American Marine Corps veteran and former congressional staffer. He was chosen as the Republican candidate in a nominating convention. Described by Patrick Murray, the Republican challenger to Moran in the past two elections, as a candidate with “a lot of energy,” Edmond says Moran hasn’t tried nearly as hard in recent years.

“There seems to be no focus. It’s like he’s just there,” Edmond said in a phone interview with ARLnow.com. “That happens when people serve a long time… People just got really sick and tired of not having a real choice and a real race. Every two years, the Republican party was just throwing someone up there and it hasn’t been competitive.”

Edmond said he wants to focus on advocating for minorities and immigrants who he feels have been under-represented under Moran’s leadership.

“This district is now about 43 percent minority, and he doesn’t represent that diversity,” Edmond says. “Since I came [to Alexandria] in ’98, the minority community has just been shocked at how the level of influence and access to things has shrunk, and I don’t think Jim Moran has been a voice for that.”

Beyer’s lone criticism of Moran’s tenure was the remark Moran made in 2003 about the “Jewish community’s” push for the Iraq War. Outside of that gaffe, Beyer said he can only hope to fill Moran’s shoes.

Don Beyer“People talk a lot about what we’re going to miss,” Beyer told ARLnow.com from his home in Old Town Alexandria. “The defense contractor market is really going to miss his appropriations chairmanship. Animal rights advocates are going to miss him and federal employees are going to miss him.

“I don’t have any unrealistic expectations that I’m going to step into his shoes,” Beyer said. He said he’s trying to avoid “measuring the drapes” before the election, but if elected, “we have to be authentic, we have to be who we are. Forty years in business, as an ambassador and lieutenant governor have positioned me to hit the ground running better. We’re thinking about how do I be more than just another freshman? How can I have a greater influence?”

Although Beyer isn’t measuring the drapes — and Republicans certainly aren’t counting themselves out, considering it’s the first time they’re not facing an incumbent for more than two decades — most in the area consider the seat Beyer’s to lose.

That group includes Moran. In all of his campaigns, Moran never once called Beyer and asked for a campaign donation. Beyer was puzzled and bemused by that – he would have happily donated, and did anyway — while Moran said he didn’t call because “Don’s just such a nice guy.”

Moran said he thinks that quality will serve Beyer well if elected.

“I know he’s going to listen to all of the district, not just the first in line,” Moran said. “Don’s going to be terrific. I’m hoping he can raise enough money that he can move into the leadership.” (more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — August 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm 815 0

Rep. Jim Moran's NOH8 Campaign photo

The controversies that began to pile up for Rep. Jim Moran in the late 1990s and 2000s galvanized his critics and spurred more organized efforts to unseat him.

All the while, the federal government continued to grow and as Moran’s district became more affluent and stayed as liberal as ever, the politician continued to get re-elected by a comfortable margin.

There was always a fight, however — until this year.

“It’s the first time in 35 years that I haven’t had an opponent in the primary or the general election,” Moran says. “Nobody had emerged wanting to challenge me. If someone was challenging me, I wasn’t going to let them suggest for a moment that I would back down from the competition.”

Few believe Moran would back down from a fight, even if it were in his best interest. They say that’s what makes him unique.

“He never seemed like a rank-and-file member,” said Don Beyer, a long-time constituent of Moran’s and now the Democratic candidate to replace him. “His personality is too big and his heart is too big. He’s incredibly bright, but he has incredible compassion, which can come off as anger.”

But Moran’s critics describe his outbursts as thuggery, bringing up that his wife reportedly told police that the former boxer grabbed her.

“He’s like a mafia don,” says Patrick Murray, a Republican who ran against Moran in 2010 and 2012. “He’s a big, scary angry guy and you don’t want to get on his bad side. That’s part of how he maintained his power here.”

*******

The image of Moran the intimidator was reinforced in 2010, when a group of Tea Party protesters were heard shouting at his staff in his Capitol Hill office. It didn’t sit well with Moran, who former press secretary Anne Hughes says acted as a caring — and protective — father to his staff.

Moran confronted the protesters, according to a Politico story published at the time. His staffers got between him and the activists, who asked why he needed “bodyguards” to protect him. That prompted a memorable line from an unidentified staffer.

“We’re not protecting him from you,” the staffer told the unwelcome visitors, “we’re protecting you from him.”

Moran downplays the “former amateur boxer” reputation, though he says he did once fight an exhibition match with one-time world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier.

“He toyed with me,” Moran says with a smile. “He let me punch him when he could have dropped me anytime he wanted.”

Moran’s father, James P. Moran, Sr., was a phenomenal athlete. He was an offensive guard at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., where he was an All-American before he continued his career with the Boston Redskins, before they moved to Washington.

Moran, Jr., also played football at Holy Cross on a dual athletic/academic scholarship. His father taught him to fight — “he drilled into our minds that only sissies need guns” — and to stick up for those less fortunate.

“I used to get in fights when I was young, but never to defend myself,” Moran says. “There were two or three cases where I saw a bunch of bullies harassing a young kid who couldn’t defend himself and I intervened.”

In his adult life, Moran said he isn’t thrilled with being labeled a fighter outside of the political arena.

“I think most of it is exaggerated,” he says. (more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — August 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm 981 0

Rep. Jim Moran at a congressional hearing (Photo courtesy Moran's office)

Rep. James P. Moran is quiet, speaking barely over a whisper, tapping his fingers on a conference room table.

It’s a side of Moran that many of his constituents haven’t seen since he was first elected to public office 35 years ago, as a city councilman in Alexandria.

The public image of the now 69-year-old congressman is that of a brash, fiery fighter, so much so that he was given a pair of boxing gloves by Arlington County Democratic Committee President Kip Malinosky at a dinner held in Moran’s honor in June.

The public image is neither incorrect nor complete. Moran has a legendary temper and passion, and he’s built a reputation of speaking “off the cuff” at public events, Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette says.

“He doesn’t read prepared statements,” according to Fisette. “He talks too long sometimes, but it’s authentic.”

That wasn’t always the case. Moran says he initially ran for office out of a fear of public speaking. He was unbearably shy, but wanted to help his community, so he gave it a shot.

“I dreaded speaking in public,” Moran told ARLnow.com, sitting in a conference room at Rosslyn’s ÛberOffices. “I fainted the first two times I did it.”

In one-on-one interactions, Moran is still the quiet type. “He’s a lot more soft-spoken than people think,” his former press secretary, Anne Hughes, says. He’s deliberate in conversation, thoughtful regarding each answer and, after he announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election, reflective of his soon-to-be-ending time in politics.

*******

Moran was elected in 1990, unseating Rep. Stan Parris. Parris had served 12 years in the seat — from 1973-1974 and 1981-1990 — and was viewed as a significant favorite, but the district, and the country, was changing.

Parris, who died in 2010, had run for governor in 1989 and lost in the Republican primary, which Don Beyer — elected lieutenant governor that year — said “weakened” his campaign. Beyer is the Democrat running for Moran’s seat after beating out a crowded primary field in June.

Moran had already established a reputation as a progressive liberal — as mayor, he made sure that Alexandria would not discriminate against gays and lesbians in hiring for city positions — and Parris pounced on his opposition to the Gulf War, comparing Moran to Saddam Hussein.

When a reporter approached Moran on the beach after Parris made his comment, Moran said “that fatuous jerk… I’d like to break his nose.”

“He really wasn’t that bad of a guy,” Moran says today, “but he said a number of things that I thought were repulsive. I knew his voting record, which was terrible as far as I was concerned. I probably couldn’t have beaten him if I had known him because he wasn’t such a bad guy, but I didn’t know him.”

Moran says he woke up at 4:00 a.m. every day and drove to the Prince William County Park & Ride. At the time, commuters would drive to the lot and sleep in their cars before the bus arrived, to ensure a parking spot. The mayor of Alexandria would knock on their car windows and introduce himself.

“Normally I’d get the single-digit salute,” he says. So he continued to do it for weeks. “Eventually, they gave me the access to tell them what I was about.”

Moran also pressed Parris on his conservative views on abortion, a hot-button issue of the moment, even more so than it is today, Beyer says.

“It was the wedge issue in the campaign,” Beyer says. “Jim saw that opportunity and he seized on it.”

Moran won by a 7.1 percent margin over Parris. The district was re-drawn after the 1990 U.S. Census to make it more Democratic, and the margin will stand as the closest general congressional election he ever had.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm 3,185 0

Illustration of future land exchange between Arlington County and the U.S. Army

Arlington County has hired a lobbying firm to help facilitate a planned land swap between the county, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Department of Defense.

As outlined in a memorandum of understanding last year, the county is planning to hand over the right-of-way for Southgate Road, near the Air Force Memorial, to the DoD, which plans to use the land — along with the former Navy Annex grounds and part of the state’s current Columbia Pike right-of-way — for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery’s burial grounds.

As revealed in a recent public disclosure, the county has hired Alexandria-based lobbying firm Congressional Strategies LLC to help move the transaction along. The land swap has already passed the House of Representatives and is now included in the under-consideration U.S. Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, according to Brian Stout, the county’s federal liaison.

The county’s contract with Congressional Strategies calls for a $5,000 monthly retainer for all services and runs through October, with an option to be extended through June 2015, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius.

“The purpose of the lobbying contract is to facilitate and bring to closure the Navy Annex Land Exchange project,” Curtius said. “This involves advocacy in both the legislative and executive branches to supplement the efforts of County staff.”

The land swap will benefit the county in several ways.

Google Map shows the former Navy Annex and the current alignment of Columbia PikeArlington will receive a sizable parcel of land south of Columbia Pike, on which the county hopes to build an Arlington County and Freedman’s Village history museum, additional parking and facilities for the Air Force Memorial, and other amenities that do not detract from “the dignity, honor, and solemnity of Arlington National Cemetery.”

Also, the exchange will facilitate a realignment of Columbia Pike and its intersection with S. Joyce Street. The realigned Pike will take a more direct path to S. Joyce Street, through the former Navy Annex parking lot, and will provide a better alignment for the future Columbia Pike streetcar.

In addition to an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery, the DoD plans to use some of the land in the swap, near the Pike/Joyce intersection for a future visitor center for the Pentagon Memorial. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA later this year.

by ARLnow.com — June 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm 2,385 0

(Updated at 10:00 p.m.) By a wide margin, former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer has captured the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Jim Moran in Congress.

With all precincts reporting in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, Beyer had 46 percent of the vote, compared to 18 and 14 percent respectively for runners up Del. Patrick Hope and state Sen. Adam Ebbin.

Rounding out the seven active candidates in the race, Alexandria mayor Bill Euille had 8 percent of the vote, lawyer and pundit Mark Levine had 7 percent, former Northern Virginia Urban League president Lavern Chatman had 5 percent, and Virginia Tech professor Derek Hyra had 1 percent.

“Tonight is the culmination of the hard work, the heartfelt values, and the shared ideas of many, many, many good people,” Beyer, 63, said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled to be your standard bearer.. Now we turn our attention to November… We must carry the Virginia ideals of integrity, community, progress, and compassion forward to all voters.”

Just past 7:40 p.m., via Twitter, Hope conceded the race.

“I just called @DonBeyerVA to congratulate him on his victory tonight,” Hope said. “Congratulations and I look forward to voting for him in November.”

Other candidates, including Ebbin and Levine, soon followed suit. Moran, who’s retiring after 12 terms, released a statement congratulating Beyer on his victory.

“Don ran a tremendous campaign,” Moran said. “He distinguished himself with a deep knowledge of foreign policy, a steadfast commitment to addressing global climate change, support for common sense gun laws, and consistently strong progressive values. He’s the leader Northern Virginia needs in Congress. I’ll be proud to be his constituent.”

Moran and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe were among the Democratic officials to attend Beyer’s victory party at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation on the Old Town Alexandria waterfront. Also spotted at the party was former candidate Bruce Shuttleworth and his family, Arlington County Board candidate Alan Howze and Del. Alfonso Lopez.

Hope, the only Arlington-based candidate in the race, performed best in his home county. Hope had 33 percent of the vote in Arlington compared to Beyer’s 39 percent.

Hope, at his election party at the Greene Turtle in Ballston, told dozens of his yellow-shirt-clad supporters that he was proud of the campaign he ran.

“None of us could keep up with Don Beyer,” he said. “A lot of Virginia Democrats see Don Beyer the way national Democrats see Al Gore. They wonder what would have been if the voters had been smart enough to vote for him for governor.”

Turnout was relatively light in Arlington. Just after polls closed, Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg said her earlier estimate of 10-12 percent voter turnout would likely prove “pretty close.” With 14,411 votes cast in Arlington, turnout was just above 10 percent.

While some north Arlington precincts reported double-digit turnout, Lindberg suggested that south Arlington turnout was comparatively lower. One Crystal City precinct reported 2-3 percent turnout, she said.

Beyer, who owns an eponymous chain of car dealerships, has long been considered a favorite in the race. He held an advantage in name recognition and led the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls in fundraising. This morning, he was featured in a New York Times article that focused on his allegiance to President Obama.

After serving as a regional finance chairman for Obama’s 2008 campaign, Beyer was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He served from 2009-2013.

In his victory declaration, Beyer channeled the president’s 2008-era slogans of hope and change, saying: “The last few weeks, I have taken to quoting St. Augustine of Hippo, who said, ‘Hope has two beautiful daughters, Anger and Courage. Anger about the way things are. And Courage to change them.’”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 10, 2014 at 10:25 am 1,760 0

Polling places around Arlington are reporting relatively light turnout so far this morning for the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary.

“It’s probably a little slower at this point then we had anticipated,” Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com. “Some precincts haven’t even had 50 voters yet.”

Lindberg said Arlington is on pace for 10-12 percent voter turnout, barring a late surge in voters. Two years ago, when heavily-favored incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) faced off against Bruce Shuttleworth in the Democratic primary, overall turnout was 7 percent.

Election officials at Arlington Central Library were surprised at the low turnout considering the impact of the primary. Chief Election Officer Stephanie Sanders said that at 9:05 a.m., 45 voters had come through the door, and while there is usually a rush when polls open at 6:00 a.m., she said no voters came in until 10 or 15 minutes after the doors opened.

“People just voted in April for the [Arlington County Board] special election, so there might be voting fatigue,” Sanders said. “It’s almost always busiest here in the morning, so we’ve already missed our busy period.”

Another theory: the gloomy morning may have dissuaded some voters from making the trek to their local voting stations. So far, however, there have been no reported problems at the polls, according to Lindberg.

While many elections see multiple campaign volunteers at polling places passing out flyers and sample ballots, Central Library had just one, a volunteer for Del. Patrick Hope, the only candidate based in Arlington.

“I’ve never seen nobody campaigning,” Sanders said. “We’ve had no authorized representatives come in. We thought we’d have at least a couple.”

Chester Chandler, a 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran, voted this morning, and he said he was “going to miss [Rep.] Jim Moran.”

“He was really concerned with veterans’ affairs,” he said. “I went to his office and he made sure I got my benefits.”

Chester said he noticed that he had seen former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer’s name more than the other candidates over the course of the campaign, adding: “you can tell who’s got the most cheese.”

“Hopefully we get some young people with some different ideas in Congress to make Arlington and this country what it should be,” he said. “I’m 60 years old and even I know something different needs to happen.”

The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination today are Don BeyerBill EuilleLavern ChatmanAdam EbbinPatrick Hope, Derek Hyra and Mark Levine. Three candidates withdrew from contention but are still on the ballot: Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth and Satish Korpe.

The winner will face Republican Micah Edmond in the fall. The 8th District encompasses Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County.

Ethan Rothstein and Morgan Fecto contributed to this report

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,075 0

Mark LevineLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Mark Levine’s unedited response:

There is a battle going on in the Democratic Party between its establishment and progressive wings. Conventional Democrats believe the best way to “get things done” is to appease the right wing, give them half of what they want, and declare victory.

I reject this strategy as counter-productive. When Don Beyer caved in to Republicans Jim Gilmore and George Allen, he didn’t win the debate: he lost his gubernatorial election by a landslide and ended up regretfully (and unintentionally) abandoning Virginia’s poor. When President Obama caved in to the tea party in 2010, it did not moderate his right-wing opponents. It increased their obstruction.

In contrast, in 2013, when President Obama stood firm and refused to surrender, the tea party blinked. When my hero Elizabeth Warren refused to back down on consumer protection, she won both the rhetorical battle and the legislation. My former boss Barney Frank insisted on regulating Wall Street firms that were too big to fail. And although he did not get everything he wanted, Paul Volcker’s rule (requiring banks not to gamble with their clients’ money) became law.

I was a good trial lawyer and never lost a case in my home court. Because opposing counsel knew I did not fear going to trial, I settled more than 90% of my cases. My willingness to go to trial increased my chances of a good settlement.

I saw Barney do the same thing on Capitol Hill. Time and time again, Republicans gave us what we wanted because they did not want Barney calling them out in public.

I’ve been The Aggressive Progressive on radio and television for more than ten years. I enjoy facing down right-wing pundits like Bill O’Reilly, promoting liberal values with my Constitution in hand. I’m confident I can pass bipartisan legislation behind the scenes if unreasonable Republicans know that I, like Barney, am unafraid to call them out in public.

We will always have moderate Democrats. The Party is full of them. We have a big tent. But if we in the Eighth Congressional District do not elect an aggressive progressive to make our case, who will? Who will be the Elizabeth Warren counterpart in the House? Barney Frank and so many strong liberals have already left Government. Jim Moran is retiring too, and he was no shrinking violet.

To fill Jim Moran’s seat, we need someone who can work effectively both behind the scenes and in front of a TV camera. We need someone who can reach out to voters nationally so they put pressure on their local representatives to do the right thing. That way, we in the Eighth effectively get more than one vote on Capitol Hill.

I’m Mark Levine. On Tuesday June 10th, I respectfully ask for your vote. I want to be a representative who stands out in a sea of politicians, makes a real difference, and fights the big-business interests who use big money and lobbyists to buy so many of our representatives in Congress. I can’t be bought, because I’ll only be working for you.

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm 1,597 0

Patrick HopeLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Del. Patrick Hope’s unedited response:

Arlington is my home. When my wife, Kristen, and I were looking for a place to raise a family, we sought out an area with strong schools, a vibrant community, and diverse neighborhoods. That’s what first drew us to Arlington County and Northern Virginia, and why we have chosen to raise our three daughters here, who attend Arlington’s public schools. I believe passionately in public service, which is why I’ve served on numerous boards and commissions trying to make our community an even better place to live. I was a Special Olympics coach for eight years, and chaired the Arlington Community Services Board for five, which dealt with mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Outside of my public service, I am a healthcare attorney, and have worked in healthcare policy for 20 years, first working on Capitol Hill and now with nonprofit doctors organizations’ to expand the access, coverage, and quality of healthcare. The Tea Party may see healthcare as a privilege, but I see it as a fundamental human right.

Since you elected me to the General Assembly in 2009, I have worked tirelessly to promote our progressive values. However, when I first arrived in Richmond, I was shocked to see even some Democrats voting for budgets that defunded our public schools and for redistricting plans that put Democrats in a permanent state of minority. That’s why I founded the Virginia Progressive Caucus — to hold Democrats voting like Republicans accountable. I have championed legislation focusing on issues ranging from disability rights to prison reform, and am now leading the fight to expand Medicaid in Virginia.

One thing I admire about Congressman Jim Moran is that we always know where he stands — I would be no different. I have outlined some of my top policy priorities below, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me personally at Patrick@HopeforCongress.com.

I pledge to:

  • Support our federal workers by restoring the federal transit subsidy, advocating for a 3.3% pay increase, and never voting for a government shutdown.
  • Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act by using my vast experience in healthcare policy. Even with full implementation, we will still have 20 million uninsured Americans. My first bill will be to bring those people into the healthcare system.
  • Protect our environment by fighting for a progressive carbon tax and investing in renewable energy technologies to spur innovation and reverse the effects of climate change. I will also oppose the Keystone Pipeline and end big subsidies to fossil fuel producers.
  • Protect our social safety net by opposing any efforts to harm our beneficiaries. This is perhaps the greatest difference between Don Beyer and myself — while then-Lieutenant Governor Beyer worked to “reform” welfare in the ’90s, I have a record of defending and protecting our most vulnerable populations, and will continue to do so in Congress.
  • Partner with Senator Elizabeth Warren to allow students to refinance their student loan debt and lower student loan interest rates. I will also work with her to put predatory payday lenders out of business.
  • Strengthen gun control laws by passing universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
  • Champion marriage equality nationwide and end workplace discrimination.
  • Support people with disabilities and their families through increased funding for job placement programs, research, and human services.
  • Protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions without government interference.
  • Stand up for our progressive values like I have in Richmond as the founder of the Virginia Progressive Caucus. (more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm 866 0

Bill EuilleLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille’s unedited response:

Since I announced I was entering the race for Congress in January, I have received support and well wishes from voters in the 8th Congressional District.

In Fairfax County (Lee District, Dranesville, Mt. Vernon, and Mason) and in Falls Church City, I hear: “We’re pulling for you! You have our vote!”

In Arlington and Alexandria, it’s been: “RUN BILL, RUN !”

As we’ve campaigned across the 8th district, voters have not just cheered us on, but have asked questions about where I stand on issues of vital importance to them. I answer just like I’ve governed as mayor of Alexandria since 2003. I have the integrity, skills, honesty and humbleness to be the Congressman.

I believe that EVERYONE should have the opportunity to succeed in our society. For more than 40 years, I have served my community — working as an elected official, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. I grew up in public housing in Alexandria, then became the first in my family to attend college. I want more of our children to have the same educational opportunities I had. In Congress, I plan to continue the fight to educate our youth, pushing to make student loans more affordable and addressing the income disparities. Today, women make less than 77 cent for each dollar a man earns. I’ll also take on Tea Party Republicans who want to cut education funding.

I believe in a living wage for Northern Virginians. I passed Virginia’s first living wage law. In Congress, I will support raising the federal minimum wage above $10 per hour.

I believe in our small businesses. I’ve led efforts in Alexandria to help small businesses secure the capital they need to thrive. In Congress, I will work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help more entrepreneurs launch businesses in Virginia. I personally know the struggles of what a small business goes through. As Founder, President and CEO of William D. Euille and Associations — a contracting firm — not only did I employ people but I provided job readiness training and well as employ veterans.

I believe in and will continue to defend a woman’s right to determine her own medical care. As a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, I will also work to make sure everyone has access to quality health care. I will not allow the Tea Party to undermine a woman’s right to determine what happens with her own body. She must have full control over her own reproductive rights.

I believe that everyone in our country is equal under the law. In Congress, I will push for legislation to ensure marriage equality and equal treatment for same-sex couples.

I am running for Congress to continue the great work of my life, serving my community. For more than 40 years, I have worked as a public servant, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. As mayor of Alexandria since 2003, I am the only candidate who has continuously worked to serve the entire region of Northern Virginia on issues important to all of us.

I am the candidate who is ready to represent the 8th Congressional District on Day One.

I ask for your vote on June 10th. Together, let’s work to make sure everyone is part of our success in Northern Virginia. Send me because I care. Send me to Capitol Hill because I know how to get bills passed and finally send me because we are a great diverse district whose voices will be heard in Congress by electing me.

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm 1,056 0

Adam EbbinLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s unedited response:

“How do I choose between so many candidates? What makes you different from the rest of the candidates?” These are the most common questions I hear on the campaign trail. Frankly, they are the right questions to ask. In a race where our platforms are similar, how can you differentiate?

I am proud to have devoted the last 10+ years passing progressive legislation in Richmond and serving my constituents right here in Arlington as well as neighboring communities.

There are many things that set me apart from the field.

I am:

  • the only candidate to have represented Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax for more than 10 years,
  • the only candidate in this race to have expanded Medicaid to cover prenatal care for immigrant mothers,
  • the only candidate to have increased insurance access for LGBT Virginians,
  • the only candidate to expand access to solar energy, and
  • the only candidate who wrote a bill to combat Ken Cuccinelli and his radical agenda,
  • the only candidate to establish an Arlington/Falls Church Public Defender Office,
  • the only candidate to secure major funding for the Doorways Shelter for women and children.

I am also the only candidate in this race who calls himself a LIBERAL without apology.

I am not the flashiest candidate in this race, nor am I the loudest. And throughout this campaign, I am certainly not the candidate that has made the loftiest promises. But my record speaks for itself — I know how to get things done.  That is why I have been endorsed by more elected officials than any other candidate, by two major unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), by the Gay Lesbian Victory Fund and Congressman Keith Ellison, the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

I have always stood up for Arlington’s needs and values in the General Assembly and will do so in the U.S. Congress. If you support me on June 10th, I will work for you in Congress and there is no telling what we can accomplish together.

Please visit www.AdamEbbin.com for more information, or email me at Adam@adamebbin.com.

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