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Candidate Essay: Patrick Forrest

by ARLnow.com October 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm 2,935 36 Comments

This week we asked the two candidates for the 32nd 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. The campaign of Sen. Janet Howell (D) says they were unable to respond in time.

Here is the unedited response from Patrick Forrest (R):

Arlington deserves a State Senator that will bring back more of our tax dollars for transportation and education needs. Arlington needs someone who will champion our independent spirit.

I grew up in Arlington. I lived here as an adult and love this community. Arlington has grown and changed, and now it needs new leadership that reflects our diversity and passion for our neighborhoods and community. Throughout my professional career as a senior official in the federal government, I have created a proven record of building coalitions to get the job done! I will be an independent voice to ensure that Arlington gets our fair share of funding for our roads and schools.

After 20 years in the job, my opponent, Senator Janet Howell, as a senior member of the Budget Committee, has had the opportunity to bring more funds to Northern Virginia for schools and roads but has failed to do so. To the detriment of her constituents, the record shows that her priorities have been elsewhere. Unfortunately, as a senior member of the Budget Conference Committee, Senator Howell has not pushed for changes in funding formulas to help Northern Virginia. She helped kill bipartisan legislation in her committee sponsored by Democrat Senator Mark Herring that would have increased state funding for our local schools (SB1243).

Senator Howell also opposed a bipartisan bill (HB1998) to direct VDOT to focus resources on traffic congestion relief in order to increase funding for our roads here in Northern Virginia. These common sense pro-Northern Virginia pieces of legislation would have significantly increased funding for our region. To add insult to injury, Senator Howell failed to submit a budget amendment officially requesting funds for Metrorail to Dulles airport. This massive failure of leadership will cost this community dearly.  In each and every one of these cases, 20 year incumbent Senator Howell, put corporate interests and Richmond over those of her constituents in Northern Virginia. 20 years is too long, and it is clear Senator Howell has overstayed her welcome.

Senator Howell’s corporate interests shouldn’t surprise anyone. Almost all of her campaign funds, 86% to be exact, come from corporate lobbyists and big developers outside of her district. Unfortunately, now Senator Howell has chosen to utilize the politics of hate in order to win this election by any means necessary. As stated by The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund: “The Washington Blade reported last week that [Forrest’s] opponents’ political supporters have been visiting Republican voters in the district to warn them that Patrick is openly gay and has a partner. That kind of divisive campaigning has no place in politics, and it’s wrong no matter which party does it.”  The article goes on to report that an audio tape of one of their grassroots organizers confirmed this strategy: “What my campaign is saying is here’s your Republican candidate. He’s a homosexual. Why would you want to vote for someone who’s a homosexual and is going to push his agenda in your schools?”

The message is clear. It’s time for a change. We cannot allow these career politicians and their operatives to use these kinds of divisive tactics as a political strategy. I want to bring a new perspective, fresh ideas and an independent voice to Northern Virginia.

We need a Senator that pushes beyond political games, partisanship, and focuses on building coalitions that fight for Arlington’s fair share of state funds. I am the Republican nominee for State Senate and will work every day to keep more of our tax dollars in Arlington to improve traffic congestion on I-66, hire additional ESL teachers, build more and better sound walls, and protect our bike paths. I’m also proud to have the endorsement of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. The Victory Fund stated the following about my candidacy: “Patrick Forrest is openly gay and will make history by being elected to the Virginia State Senate. Patrick will be an effective independent voice able to work on both sides of the aisle for diversity and equality.”

It is time for a change and time for Arlingtonian’s voices to be heard in Richmond. I’m asking for you to show our independent spirit and the Arlington way by voting for me this November 8th.

  • Peanut Gallery

    Pretty good essay. I like that he used specifics about what his opponent has messed up in her tenure. (Yeah, some will say that’s “going negative,” but whatever–if you’re running against someone, you HAVE to say not only why you’re qualified but also why they are not.)

    If that’s true about Howell failing to request the funding for Dulles Metro–wow. That IS a big screwup.

    However: No such specifics about his own professional record. Yeah, so you grew up in Arlington. And you’re a gay Republican. Congratulations. What are your achievements that qualify you for the office?

    • Jon

      I thought so too. Actually has specifics. Going negative is fine if it addresses specific governing decisions (or non-decisions), people need to know about actual mistakes and inattentiveness. Makes me want to know more about the Dulles Metro thing. Not thrilled about HB1998, don’t want I-66 widened to the bridge; I want to know specific improvements he advocates, throwing more money around is not a solution in and of itself. But overall, his essay puts the others’ to shame.

    • Judy Barton

      Check his website at http://www.Forrest2011.com Very impressive. I’ve known him for a few years and although I’m a democrat, I will be suporting him.

      • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

        Patrick is a friend of mine and I believe that he will follow through and dedicate himself to helping Arlington and NOVA. I say this as someone who does not consider himself a republican or democrat. At 42, his campaign is the only one I’ve ever helped on… but I did so because I believe in the person, his goals, and his word. He may be a political candidate, but he first and foremost he is an honest and sincere person.

  • Peanut Gallery–PS

    Oh, and by the way: If Forrest is *still* a senior US government official, then running in this race violates the Hatch Act. I know this for a fact. You can’t run in any race in which ANY candidate is affiliated with ANY political party. Then again, maybe he’s left the government already.

  • yequalsy

    My understanding is he left DHS last March.

  • drax

    Fun to watch a Republican bash a Democrat about not trying to suck enough money out of the government.

  • MC 703

    Sorry but HB1998 was not a good piece of forward-thinking legislation.

    From GreaterGreaterWashington’s David Alpert:

    HB1998 would make it state law to base transportation decisions on traditional traffic models, which consider only the fast movement of cars and nothing about how closely people live to their jobs, the relative value of transit versus roads, safe movement of pedestrians and cyclists, or any other factors.

    This bill is, in essence, the exact opposite of the USDOT’s “livability” push. That agency has been retooling the formulas for federal transit funding to move away from only favoring projects that move the most people the longest distance.

  • Concerned Independent

    “The campaign of Sen. Janet Howell (D) says they were unable to respond in time.” — apparently Ms. Howell isn’t really all that interested in public office. The Democrats need to find better candidates if they ever hope to win these things.

    • Josh

      It would be good to know how much time these campaigns have had to respond to these requests. I can see not responding in 24 hours, but if a week or more has been given, there is no excuse for not responding to Arlington’s Best Blog.

      • ArlJoanneBiker

        Each campaign was given over a week to respond!

        • Peanut Gallery

          A week? Anyone with half a brain who’s running for office should be able to write a cogent persuasive essay touting their merits in an hour or less. We expect this of kids taking the SAT. An hour might be discourteous in this instance, but a couple of days, max.

          Good to know Forrest is reportedly no longer a Fed and thus OK to run. (Figured this was likely.)

          Still, he should have elaborated on his “proven record of building coalitions.”

          • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

            He was only given a limited number of words to respond with in the request. Hard to cover all the topics in detail.

      • We sent emails out Sunday night to the email addresses of record for each campaign. The subject line included a notice that an action was being requested of the campaign. If a campaign missed the submission deadline (about 18 hours before publication), we attempt to call and give them a couple of hours to put something together.

        • Thes

          Concerned Independent, I share your disappointment in Senator Howell’s campaign. Any candidate ought to be able to write a short essay on why the voters should elect them. It’s not rocket science.

    • Chad

      Yea. Democrats don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning any elections that include parts of Arlington.

      • novasteve

        That’s why we keep on getting Jim Moran…

      • Concerned Independent

        I would like to think that we are not taken from granted. Not everyone blindly votes based on party affiliation.

  • Arlington Democrat

    I will be writing in a candidate this year. I cannot support Ms. Howell because of her role in the sham of redistricting. I cannot support Mr. Forrest under any circumstances.

    • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

      Well, that would be sad and narrow minded on a lot of levels that you would not support Mr. Forrest “under any circumstances,” I am assuming, merely because he is running as a republican? That offers no concrete basis or rational reasoning. Party line politics are what is helping to break down positive forward motion in this country.

      One should vote for the person, and the person’s beliefs, not for the party. The party serves no one but the party and the current drive to be “the winner.” No one wins with this sort of thinking or voting. And on a more direct note: I know for certain that Patrick will listen to any person and consider their point of view when making a decision for the people he represents. He certainly has goals, but they are not goals in a vacuum; they are based on what his constituents are voicing and what he can do to help them.

      Voting for Patrick sounds like a better choice than a single minded, rote, stamp of approval for a party.

  • nauckneighbor

    The Virginia Partisans (i.e. gay democrats) endorsed Janet Howell even though her campaign strategy plays off of homophobia. I’m glad to see that all they require is a (d) next to her name for their endorsement. They are an embarassment to the gay community!

    • drax

      How’s her strategy “play off” homophobia?

  • Barbara Cram

    Senator Howell had a week to submit a response, with ample reminders, and she couldn’t come up with anything? Time to throw the bums out! Go Forrest!

  • Karen

    That tie knot is a thing of beauty. Just sayin

    • Duder

      Barkin’ up the wrong tree, sweetheart.

      • Karen

        I can still appreciate class.

        • Duder

          It’s a full Windsor knot. The dimple is easy if you do it often enough. Forrest looks a whole mess better than Tim Geithner with his always-loosened tie.

  • Ham, Canned

    Sorry, but any essay that spends 80% of its content disparaging an opponent and not 1% on *specific* new legislation to accomplish the goals we agree on is just not going to fly with me. And I’m guessing the percentage of Arlingtonians that are clamoring for improving the design of sound walls is somewhere between zero and just about zero.

    • Duder

      The sound walls are very relevant. If I-66 is widened, that’s more cars and thus more noise. Thousands of voters live within earshot of I-66 and will want better noise abatement.

      • SmokeyBear

        I think his point was that the sound walls are going up, regardless of whether Mr. Forrest is elected or not, and there isn’t anything he could do to improve them. Unless, of course, Mr. Forrest is another one of those amateur highway sound wall design and installation aficionados.

  • STee

    Why has arlnow become a political digest. Keep to the news and away from a podium for your horse in the race.

  • Basic Human Needs

    Seems like a smart, competent, articulate person. However, he has no established commitment, service or experience in Arlington or Fairfax. This is an ongoing problem with Republicans in Arlington. Their candidates come and go. Believe me, if they first spent sometime proving themselves, they would get support from Democrats in Arlington. (See Dave Foster).

    It works on the other side, too. Jay Fissette got beat the first time because a whole bunch of Democrats (including myself) voted for Ben Winslow, who had shown a commitment to the community and the region. In our district, Allen Howze got beat a couple of years ago–same reason. Now, he appears to be proving himself.

  • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

    “Now, he appears to be proving himself.”

    Yeah if harassing people trying to sign a petition counts as proving himself.

    So you believe that unthinking allegiance to ACDC is proving himself ??


    • Duder

      ACDC? I figured him for more of a Depeche Mode fan.

  • Tim

    Good essay by Patrick. I hope he wins. Unfortunately, I’m not in his district so I can’t vote for him but I have donated multiple times!

  • Steve O

    When you have a grammatical error on your sixth word (and you have plenty of time to proof and edit), you lose a little bit of respect. (“that” should be “who;” I presume he’s a person, not a thing.) Same mistake in the penultimate paragraph.


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