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Candidate Essay: Barbara Favola

by ARLnow.com October 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm 3,243 73 Comments

This week we asked the two candidates for the 31st District state Senate seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8. We did not receive a response from Caren Merrick (R).

Here is the unedited response from Barbara Favola (D):

I am running for the State Senate because I want to create a Virginia that is forward thinking and focused on our future.  Moreover, I believe I am best able to represent the values of the 31st District.  I am 100% pro-choice and 100% pro-equality.  Most importantly, I have the experience necessary to deliver for the region.  The Washington Post recently noted: “Barbara will be an effective Senator from Day 1.”

My first priority will be to invest in K-12 education and to make higher education more affordable and accessible.  I am particularly interested in ensuring that the Community College System has the necessary resources to accept every eligible student.  A well-trained workforce is the key to attracting high-paying jobs.  Our families, our communities and our businesses are worth the investment.

I am also intent on fixing Northern Virginia’s transportation problems.  I will work in a bipartisan way to find a new and dedicated source of revenue to fund our roads, bridges and transit systems.  Good transportation infrastructure is the backbone of a growing economy and a growing region.  I know that traffic congestion detracts from time with loved ones and community building.  We must work to maintain the region’s high quality of life.

Protecting the environment and encouraging the development of renewable energy options are critical components in creating a more desirable and a more competitive Virginia.  I want Virginia to do its part in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.  I have been a regional leader in this area and will use my expertise in Richmond.  I will also work to ensure that incentives are available for the creation of renewable energy sources.

As an Arlington County Board member, I balanced 14 consecutive budgets.  Arlington has the lowest unemployment rate in the State and the lowest real-estate rate of any major jurisdiction in Northern Virginia.  Moreover, the County still enjoys a triple- AAA bond rating.  I know how to get the best value for our tax dollar and how to make key investments in critical areas such as education.

My Republican opponent is listed on the VA Tea Party Alliance Web Site as a possible candidate to create a conservative majority in the State Senate.  I submit to you that it is in the interest of the 31st District and the Commonwealth as a whole to keep the State Senate in Democratic hands.

My opponent supports her party’s extremist agenda.  She defended a recent McDonnell initiative to restrict a women’s access to abortions by requiring women’s health centers to meet costly and unnecessary regulations, thereby, forcing the closure of 17 out of 21 clinics around the State.  My opponent received an A- from the NRA.  Yet, most Virginians are looking for reasonable gun control measures.  Moreover, my opponent will not be voting with the Democrats to defeat the usual onslaught of harsh anti-immigrant legislation that will certainly come out of the House Delegates in this next session.  Caren Merrick is out of step with Northern Virginia and the voters of the 31st District.

I ask for your vote on November 8 because our children deserve a brighter future.  Please join your friends and neighbors at the polls anytime between 6:00am to 7:00pm.  Thank You.

  • Thes

    “We did not receive a response from Caren Merrick (R)” — apparently Ms. Merrick isn’t really all that interested in public office. The Republicans need to find better candidates if they ever hope to win these things.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I agree, Thes, and I’m an Independent. Ms. Merrick should have taken the opportunity to respond and state her positions and views on the issues. Regardless of whether people agree or disagree with her stand on the issues or with her particular party, she makes herself look bad by nor responding.

      • Michelle

        She makes herself look bad, period, by her 1950s backwards thinking on abortion. “Teen Mom” should be reason enough to keep those clinics open.

        • Patrick

          Michelle is there any instance in which you dont think an abortion is appropriate?

        • Andrew

          Not to turn this into an abortion debate, but why is someone who thinks differently then you engaging in “backwards thinking?” A lot of people in this country agree with her stance. I thought liberals were supposed to be open minded?

    • Thes

      Ok, so Merrick has now responded. Glad she finally was able to do so.

  • charlie

    unacceptable on the part of Ms. Merrick.
    of course I would say she has clearly concentrated her time and effort on everything BUT Arlington. And yet no one challenged this new district.

  • Josh

    I tend to agree that Merrick isn’t trying. When the Sun Gazzette doesn’t endorse you b/c you can’t articulate a position, and you fail to provide any release for a widely read local news organization, you clearly aren’t interested in being elected. But given Merrick’s stance on things, that might be a good thing for the voters of Arlington.

  • Jim Webster

    With her no-shows to several debate invitations, her half-hearted, evasive answers at others, and now stonewalling Arlington’s most popular blog, one can wonder whether Merrick already has given up with less than two weeks to go. At least her (non)response is a step up from that of the guy running against Ebbin.

    • Michelle

      Maybe she’s still writing her story

  • drax

    Now that’s a candidate’s essay!

  • brian

    when someone refers to someone else as extremist, that’s when i run from the name caller.

    • drax

      Because nobody is ever actually extremist?

    • TCE

      … so you must be running from all those republicans that refer to liberals as extermists….

    • It is the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Bluemontsince1961


    I’m wondering if Merrick is counting on winning in the McLean/further out area of the district, getting enough votes there to counter the likely tilt toward Favola in Arlington. I don’t see that many Merrick signs in Arlington, but in McLean/Tysons where I work, they’re all over the place. Maybe she wrote off the Arlington part of her district as too Democrat leaning to be worth the effort. Not saying she’s right if she is doing those things, just saying those things might be reasons in her mind or the mind of her campaign manager.

    @Jim Webster,

    I’m wondering the same thing. While I don’t care for her non-response, her non-response is a step up from Mr. McGhee, who seems to be a bit out there.

  • Caren Merrick

    I’m Caren Merrick and I did not receive a request for this essay. We are calling ARLnow to learn where the disconnect was.

    I look forward to submitting an essay asap. I’ve been listening to thousands of voters at their door in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties – those who live and work in the 31st district.

    I’ve also met with voters at dozens of Back to School Nights, Football games, community events, grocery stores, Metro stations, and at least 9 debates. My team and I are working hard and reaching out to our community to listen and to serve.

    Stay tuned! Thanks.

    • skeptic

      Just checked out the transportation section of your website. Absolute rubbish and nothing really new. You’re going to rank projects. Good for you!

      And you crow all about “motorists” suffering from traffic. We’re people, not just motorists. 12% of Arlingtonians don’t even own cars. We don’t want just more and more roads – that model has failed miserably.

      • novasteve

        And what the liberals have done in arlington is failing miserably. If you’ve ever taken the metro, you know it’s UNRELIABLE at best, and yet you liberal nuts would love to force your crap on the rest of us.

        • skeptic

          Lowest tax rates in the region, among the lowest unemployment in the state, easy to get around, recreation, etc. Yeah, right, miserable failure.

          Metro is unreliable. Highways are also unreliable. That’s true in all jurisdictions, not just Arlington. And I blame rightwingers for starving both of funds and for relying too much on an inefficient and unsustainable mode (roads). You don’t have to agree, but don’t try to blame liberals for it.

        • drax

          Lowest taxes, low unemployment, easy to get around, open space and recreation – yeah, Arlington’s a total liberal hellhole.

          Metro is unreliable – so are highways. Not liberals’ fault either, it’s rightwingers who starve all transportation of money, and rely too much on one unsustainable mode (roads).

          • Andrew

            Please. What Arlington policy contributes to low unemployment?

      • BonBon

        Heh yeah, screw that 88% of so called “motorists”, we don’t need to cater to them at all.

        • drax

          Didn’t say that, did I?

          Catering ONLY to motorists hurts everyone, including motorists. Roads simply cannot meet all our needs.

          • Patrick

            drax you have never articulated any postion on this site that even slightly reflects the interests of motorists.

          • drax

            Sure I have. Getting people off the roads into other modes helps motorists, for instance, as does dense development that allows for shorter trips as well as use of other modes.

            But don’t play this game – just because I haven’t said something here doesn’t mean I don’t believe it. I support road improvements, just not as much as you might. And yes, I own a car.

      • 12% are living in fantasyland. The rest of us live in reality.

        • drax

          That’s a pointless comment, OB.

          • No. It got you to respond.

          • drax

            Kinda like a child who wants any attention even if it’s negative, huh?

          • You are clearly one of the 12%.

          • drax

            Here’s some more attention, OB!

        • Chad

          So, since I don’t own a car and commute via shuttle, metro, bike and bus; I live in fantasy land? How does that even make sense?

    • novasteve

      I hope you challenge your opponent’s unsubstiantiated claims and calling you an “extremist”. I know it’s hard for liberals to not lie and name call because then they wouldn’t have an argument other than wealth redistribution to buy votes with.

      • skeptic

        Stop it, Steve. “Extremist” is a highly subjective term.

        • Andrew

          Right, which is why it should not be thrown around the way it is by either side.

      • Steamboat Willie

        Libruls! Libruls! Libruls! Libruls! Libruls! Libruls! Libruls! Libruls!

      • Carl

        I want my candidate to be an extremist. That is the nature of the political battlefield today. You have to be extreme in your conviction to your ideals, and in resisting the extremists who run against you and seek to tear you down and write your biography in their own carefully chosen buzzwords and talking points. This is the reality of politics today, and nobody should shy away from being extremists for the constituents who support them.

    • AllenB

      I smell BS here. Every other candidate got the request from ArlNow.com and responded. Maybe she’s just saying this because her campaign is now just realizing that they screwed up in not answering.

      • brian

        i’m calling bs to your alleged bs.

    • Greg

      Here’s a tip… try to tell between 8-10 stories in your essay if possible. It’s what Arlington voters like to see. Extra points for anything involving “enemy combatants”.

      • Wayne Kubicki


    • Josh Horwitz

      Ms. Merrick,

      As you write your essay for this blog, please consider the following. You have an A- rating from the National Rifle Association. The National Rifle Association opposes background check on firearm sales at gun shows, it supports unfettered access to .50 caliber sniper rifles and Ak-47 assault rifles and it seeks to prevent pediatricians from talking to their patients about the well documented public health risks of keeping an unlocked firearm in the home. You have promised to release your NRA survey so that voters could see your responses but you have failed to do so. It is now 12 days before the election, don’t you owe it to your potential constituents to tell us what you told the NRA?

      • KalashniKEV

        Dear Favola,

        You got an F from the NRA and stated that you were proud of it… are there any other Constitutionally protected freedoms you oppose or rights groups you would like to get “F’d” by?

        Not that I would vote for you anyway,


    • Steamboat Willie

      If you really represent the Merrick campaign, I’m calling BS on not receiving a request. Yours is the ONLY Senate campaign that was excluded? I’m not buying it and hope that ARLNOW does not post your submission. As a law and order Republican, I hope you show respect for deadlines.

      • Thes

        It’s worse than that, really. If Ms. Merrick and her campaign are so “in touch” with the community, why didn’t they notice when the 30th District statements were posted that they hadn’t received one? Doesn’t anyone on Ms. Merrick’s team read ArlNow to see what’s going on in the community? The majority of the district (by number of voters) is in Arlington.

        Or, maybe Ms. Merrick’s team DID see that the 30th District had stuff posted but just didn’t put two and two together, or weren’t coordinated enough? If so, what does that say about Merrick’s “business” and “management” skills? If she were elected to the Senate, would her staff be able to notice things here she should be following up in Richmond?

        • Andrew

          For real, if Merrick’s team isn’t reading ArlNow, how are they going to find out about the Trick or Treat Event for Dogs coming up and that car that drove into the Walgreens!

          • Carl


          • brian

            who is arlnow?!

  • Operative

    I don’t blame Merrick. The level of political discourse on this blog can vary greatly and usually ends up talking about female anatomy rather than breaking ground on new issues.

    But she is running. She has registered with the Virginia Board of Elections. She will be on the ballot. Her campaign material and website already state her positions. Despite the caterwauling from one corner of the internet.

    If you can camp on a blog all day hitting F5, you can probably find out a little about her. If you do not already know.

  • novasteve

    Please, like any lib in Arlington is going to vote for her? She needs to focus on where she has a chance.

  • Wayne Kubicki

    Barbara’s essay states clearly that, as a result of the changes in the regulations for abortion clinics, 17 of the 21 clinics in Virginia have closed.

    That’s simply not true, is it?

    • Quoth the Raven

      Of course it isn’t. Just an example of a candidate making things up. Favola is unable, even in her own essay, from being negative. I’m just so sick of that. Tell me WHY I should vote for you, not why I should not vote for your opponent. Of course, I’m confident that Merrick, if she ever submits anything, will be just as negative. Sigh…

      • skeptic

        So you looked it up, Quoth the Raven? Show us the numbers.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Surely – here it is from a left-leaning website, even!


          The article says, “The Virginia Board of Health passed the most severe abortion clinic regulations in the nation on Thursday, which health advocates say could effectively close down all 22 abortion providers in the state.”

          There is a big difference between “could” close and what the candidate said, which is: “…forcing the closure of 17 out of 21 clinics around the State.” It is far from a “done deal”, what with potential lawsuits, etc. Just more hyperbole from a candidate, who likely thought that “could close” doesn’t sound quite as good as what she said!

          • drax

            That’s not a source, QR.

            Find a source that shows how many clinics are open TODAY, not how many were open when the regs passed and an article was written about them.

            I’m not saying her numbers are right – I doubt they are too – but you don’t get to declare that they are wrong either without evidence.

          • Operative

            Would you accept abortion.com as a source?

          • He’d take Blue Virginia as a source.

          • drax

            Probably. Any source that actually has a number would be nice, don’t you think?

            And no, OB, you may not speak for me.

          • Operative

            Well, I gave you a source. Now run along and do some research for yourself.

          • Quoth the Raven

            My point is not that her numbers in and of themselves are wrong. Her statement is simply wrong, or, to be more precise, it’s early.

            The law doesn’t go into effect until next year!

            So my point is that she is stating what COULD happen as if it HAS happened, and that is flat-out wrong.

            So it certainly could be that “17 out of 21” or whatever do in fact close when the law goes into effect. It’s just that, contrary to what she said, it hasn’t happened yet, and may never happen at all.

            I think that her staff probably drafted that “17 out of 21 could close”, and someone else said “That doesn’t sound strong enough! Beef that up more!!” Thus it turns into “forcing the closure….”

          • drax

            So you should have just said that in the first place, QR.

            It’s possible that clinics could close in advance of the rules, though, knowing that they can’t comply. But like I said, 17 of 21 doesn’t sound accurate. I agree that it probably started as “could close.”

          • Andrew

            Unless this is not updated, looks like most are still open!


  • TGEoA

    This is a win-win election. If little Miss Temper Tantrum loses, great. If she wins, then she is someone else’s problem.

    • Burger


  • Steamboat Willie

    Merrick’s essay submission provided only slightly less information than her answers to voters’ questions at the candidate forums. But it was close.

  • Frank

    That’s a big microphone.

    • TGEoA

      It is… And she talks out of her ass, so I’m not surprised.

  • Arlington Taxpayer

    babs: “I balanced 14 consecutive budgets”

    True, but only by doubling taxes AND sky-is-the-limit borrowing. Good grief if she really thinks drunkard spending is being responsible.

    Arlington County now spends about $100 million to service its debt each and every year. That is $100 million each year not for paying police, not for paying teachers, not for building more classrooms. No that is $100 million for interest and debt payment. I hope the party was so great that $100 million per year to pay for that party was worth it.

    • Thes

      With its triple-AAA bond rating (higher than the US government!), Arlington’s interest rates are so low (under 4% per year in some cases) that people are practically paying *us* to borrow their money.

      That $100 million per year has leveraged (and I’m just guessing here, I’m sure other ArlNow commentators have the exact figure) about $5 BILLION in infrastructure investments that have *already* been built in Arlington, like roads, parks, and, most significantly, schools. Every last one of those $5 billion borrowed dollars was approved by the voters in referendums. That $100 million is just “rent” on those facilities. And it is cheap, cheap rent.

      • Pat Jackson

        How sad. Paying on credit cards always costs more — a lot more.

        The County Board has racked up so much debt in the last 10-15 years that future members of the Board will be greatly limited in borrowing for real projects because of the recklessness of babs and her friends. Of course, some borrowing is normal, but what has occurred in Arlington is outrageous.

        Thes — given your apologized view always for the Board, please identify yourself by using your real name. It is likely that taxpayers are paying for your propaganda and we should be provided with that information.

        Save Arlington — vote for Babs.

        • Thes

          a) I am not paid by Arlington County. I’m a (mostly) satisfied citizen. Being one of the *majority* of Arlingtonians who support, approve of, and constantly re-elect our government does not mean I’m not entitled to my opinion.

          b) Credit cards have interest rates of 12% or 24%, whereas municipal bonds have rates that these days are *below* inflation. Thus, it could actually cost the County *less* to borrow money to pay for things.

          c) Financing government infrastructure makes good financial sense for the same reason corporations sell bonds to raise capital. You are building things that help you make more money over time (or in the case of local governments, build the local economy to pay more taxes). Just like a company might reasonably borrow money to build a factory and them pay back the loan with the products, Arlington can reasonably borrow money to build a road or sewer line and then use it over 40 or 80 years to support a stronger economy, paying back the loan with the higher revenues. This is nothing like common consumer credit card debt that gets spent on non-durable goods like restaurant meals and clothing, which don’t generate income later.

          d) Financing long-term infrastructure is also more equitable than pay-as-you go, because it means that the people who use for long-term facilities like parks and schools pay for it mostly in the year they use it (as the debt is paid off) rather than saddling one year’s group of taxpayers with the whole cash cost.

  • DBCooper

    As the son of immigrants, I will vote for Favola because Caren Merrick would help turn Virginia into Alabama, where legal and illegal immigrants (and businesses) run from the state because of fear of hateful anti-immigrant legislation. And Ms. Favola has been a devoted hard-working public servant who actually knows how a government works.


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