Energized Dems Applaud New Candidates

by ARLnow.com March 3, 2011 at 10:44 am 2,945 24 Comments

It was ladies night at the Lyon Park Community House last night. A capacity crowd that included most of the local political establishment applauded as four Democratic women announced their candidacy for public office.

Stephanie Clifford, a Democratic precinct captain and a new Green Valley (Nauck) homeowner, was the closest thing to a surprise. Clifford announced that she is running for the 49th District House of Delegates seat currently held by Del. Adam Ebbin, who’s running for state Senate.

“I’m sure a number of you are surprised to see me up here,” she said. “But I found a reason to serve and thought I’d step up.”

Former Arlington County Young Democrats President Gordon Simonett introduced Clifford.

“One thing that is clear when you meet Stephanie is that she has a true commitment to community values and progressive values,” he said.

School Board Chair Libby Garvey announced that she will be seeking the nomination for the state Senate seat held by the retiring Sen. Patsy Ticer.

“No work gives me greater satisfaction then public service,” Garvey said. “But there are things i want to do for you now that I really can’t do as a school board member.”

“We’re in trouble as a nation and a state,” Garvey continued. “We’re digging ourselves into a hole. We’re not investing like we need to. Education, transportation, infrastructure, the environment, the health and welfare of our citizens — we need to invest in the future. That’s why I want to be a state Senator.”

Ebbin, who is also running for Ticer’s seat, attended the meeting but did not give a speech. Instead, supporters did the talking by wearing “Ebbin for State Senate” stickers and distributing fliers that beckoned Democrats to “join the A-Team.”

County board member Mary Hynes and Sheriff Beth Arthur rounded out the candidates program. Both announced their bid for re-election. So far, neither faces any opposition.

Also speaking last night were county board member Mary Hynes and Sheriff Beth Arthur, who both announced their re-election bids.

After the meeting concluded, other potential candidates weighed in on their plans.

Del. Bob Brink told ARLnow.com he expects to make a decision on whether to run for the seat of the retiring state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple — who received a long standing ovation at the meeting — by the end of next week. Brink’s decision will likely be a deciding factor for whether other potential candidates, like Del. Patrick Hope, toss their hats into the ring.

Jay Fisette, mentioned as a possible state Senate candidate, said that he has decided not to run. His county board colleague Barbara Favola, however, said she is planning to run for Whipple’s seat.

Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Mike Lieberman kicked off last night’s festivities by poking fun at the large number of potential candidates in the room.

“Look to your right, look to your left,” he said. “One of the three of you are probably running for office.”

  • Burger

    Wait, doesn’t Arlington spend the most money per student in the state and one of the highest in the country? How much more does she want to spend?

    • borf

      Note the words “as a nation and a state…” She was talking about the nation and the state, not just Arlington.

      • Burger

        And she is running for what amounts to a local position, representing the people of Arlington, not a national position nor a statewide positions. So her comments lack as much credence as your post.

        • Lou

          Maybe she was referring to the nation-state of Arlingtonia that so many delusional people yearn for.

    • OX4

      Yea except no politician ever got elected on an “our schools are just fine” platform.

  • Run Zimmie run!

    I want the GA to take that douchebag off our hands.

  • Civility.

    ARLnow.com please remove the previous comment It has no place here and is totally nonconstructive. D-Bag, come on TGEoA.

    • AllenB

      Sadly, that’s about as civil as TGEoA gets.

  • Yes Please

    Great to see progressive democrats finally have a voice and are making strides in Arlington ; )

  • John Fontain

    “We’re in trouble as a nation and a state,” Garvey continued. “We’re digging ourselves into a hole.”

    Reading this sentence, I logically thought she was talking about national and state overspending, deficits, and ballooning debts. So I was surprised by what she said next…

    “We’re not investing like we need to. Education, transportation, infrastructure, the environment, the health and welfare of our citizens — we need to invest in the future. That’s why I want to be a state Senator.”

    She basically says our problem isn’t the huge, unsustainable national and state debt and deficits, but rather that we aren’t going into enough debt. I, for one, think we’d be better off electing financially literate folks rather than folks who’ve made a career out of administering personality tests. But what do I know.

    • John Fontain

      By the way, I’m an INTJ.

      • borf

        Aren’t we all.

    • Arlington Taxpayer

      Arlington County debt has skyrocketed in the last decade to reach $1 Billion and service on that debt is approaching $100 million EACH year paid by Arlington taxpayers.

      The schools have been a major reason for the run-up in debt (while at the same time neglecting basic maintenance on the planetarium for years).

      Why send her to Richmond?

      • Arlington Independent

        To be fair, much of the debt run up by the school system has been to renovate/rebuild virtually all of Arlington’s school facilities. The School Board can (and, in my opinion, should) be faulted for not taking the growing enrollments into account when doing these rebuilds (for example, Nottingham ES was overcrowded within a year or so of re-opening, the Reed School should have been rebuilt to include more space), but I don’t think Planetarium maintenance was put off because of the debt incurred by APS.

        • Tapped-out Taxpayer

          Debt is debt regardless of the reason. The County Board has recently warned that Arlington is close to its maximum debt potential which means that in the last decade the School Board and County Board spent so wildly that whoever runs the Boards in the next 10-15 years will not have the option of taking on more debt — the future Boards will be forced to be responsible.

          I cringe when the School system pretends the planetarium fell apart on its own or maybe suddenly. However, it took long-term neglect to let the planetarium get so run down. The School Board should be overseeing the schools and demanding regular maintenance so that we are not faced with “whoops, it has fallen apart, let’s spend millions.” (The same happens with our parks — one day the County Board figures out that a park is run down and they throw millions of dollars to rebuild rather than hanging someone for letting it happen.)

          • Arlington Independent

            I don’t think we are disagreeing here. There is no reason, for example, that the seats in the Planetarium were allowed to fall apart without being repaired. That is different, however, from investing $150,000 (or whatever it cost) into a new digital projector, if the existing one can be maintained. The money being raised by the Save the Planetarium group is designed to address both issues, I think.

          • Dan


    • Toucan Sam

      Garvey is a lightweight who hasn’t left a signature mark during her many years on School Board. Clifford is an event planner (!). I’ll wait to see who else officially announces to get excited.

    • borf

      Did it occur to you that she could mean both? That we’re not investing in necessary public services and instead wasting it on other things or being held back by debt? It’s not necessarily either-or.

      • John Fontain

        If she had said what you said, then I would think that is what she meant. But she said something else.

        • borf

          No, I think that’s what she said and what she meant.

  • John Andre

    I’d appreciate either a contested primary or general election campaign for the 49th District seat. If the GOP/Tea Party decides not to contest the seat, the Green Party ought to field a candidate in November.

    Has John Antonelli thought of running?

  • DT

    Garvey knows things are bad. So bad that someone as lily white as Clifford had to buy a house in the Valley. The Valley?! This can’t stand people. She’s from Wisconsin for the love of God. They don’t even have black people who aren’t on the Packers. This is a travesty.


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