Candidate Essay: Bruce Shuttleworth

by ARLnow.com June 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm 5,180 62 Comments

Last week we asked the two Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Eighth District of Virginia, to write a sub-500 word essay on why the county’s residents should vote for them during tomorrow’s (Tuesday, June 12) primary.

Here is the unedited response from Bruce Shuttleworth:

To any of the ARLnow community who I may have “robocalled” during your dinner hour — sorry!

I’m Bruce Shuttleworth. I’m running for Congress, and I’d be honored to earn your support. I say that about a thousand times a day at Metros, Farmer’s Markets and gatherings across the 8th District. Now I say it to you — and I deeply mean it. Your vote is incredibly important and I know that you don’t cast it idly.

I think serving in Congress is incredibly important too; and I won’t ever forget that it isn’t my office — it is yours. And you will always be welcome in it.

If I am so honored to become your Congressman, I will protect the vulnerable. And fellow Arlingtonians, we are all vulnerable. If you breathe air and need healthcare, you are vulnerable.

Both my parents died of lung cancer, both as non-smokers. I see the cost of unclean air in terms of life and death — and I intend to do something about it.

If America can show the determination and grit to put man on the moon in the 1960s, then we can certainly build a National energy supergrid that will finally enable the effective use of clean, green technologies. That technology exists today. But it is drowned out by the big money of oil, gas and coal — and our Congress that takes it.

At stake is nothing but air quality, climate change, energy security, jobs, better health and more than a hundred billion dollars a year in defense department savings when we finally don’t have to protect our foreign sources of oil.

Want to do something nice for your kids? Do this. We simply must break our addiction to carbon-based fuels — it is slowly killing us.

And if you need healthcare, you are vulnerable. We are in a treatment trap where too many fee-for-service doctors over treat (which is dangerous) and too many insurance providers under treat (which is pathetic). Caught in the middle are the suffering citizens paying too much and getting too little — with 45,000 of us dying unnecessarily each year.

This is a life and death issue; this is about promoting the general welfare.

Universal Healthcare is within reach; but it is being drowned out by the big money of big insurance – and our Congress that takes it.

But I don’t blame special interests for representing their special interests. This is America and free speech is broad and deep. I blame our Congress for not keeping conflicts of interest at arm’s length. In no other organization would this be tolerated — not with our CEO’s, not with our Judges, not with our President.

For all the great things we want to accomplish — we must reform Congress. I encourage the American People to have no tolerance for this ethical tomfoolery. If we want a different result, then we will need different Congressmen. With your support, and perhaps that of your friends, I’ll be honored to lead this effort.

Thank you.

  • daniel

    I got one of those robocalls. Apology accepted, but why wouldn’t I vote for the incumbent, who would probably vote the same way on healthcare and air quality?

    • RB

      Yeah, I agree. I wouldn’t mind voting for a Democrat other than Moran, but Shuttleworth failed to connect with me, for all I agree with his stands on the issues. He’s pretty engaging in this essay, not so much in person. I don’t think he would gain much traction in congress, and I don’t see him being able to build coalitions or consensus on the issues he holds most dear.

      • Tabby_TwoTone

        He seems likable, smart, and well-intentioned, but I asked him a specific question, and got an unrelated, rambling answer that made me think “huge learning curve.”

  • Harry

    There isn’t a lot of day light between Moran and Shuttleworth on the issues, and so far Mr. Shuttleworth hasn’t done a very good job of saying why he would be better at getting things done than the incumbent who’s a senior member of the Appropriations committee.

    • Arlingtoon

      Albeit one who was apparently asleep at the switch when Rep. Wolf’s amendment to widen I-66 was approved by the Appropriations Committee.

      • Keith


  • marie antoinette

    Want to do something nice for your kids? Do this. We simply must break our addiction to carbon-based fuels — it is slowly killing us.

    Thank you Dr. Based on?

    • Quoth the Raven

      And we will replace our carbon-based fuels with…..what exactly? What are all these “clean, green” technologies he speaks of? What a bunch of crap. Unless you’re planning on building wind farms as far as the eye can see, we’re not replacing oil and gas anytime soon. Just a bunch of meaningless rhetoric.

      • j

        Agreed. I am pro carbon-based fuels. Marie, do your kids a favor, stop being that weirdo mom everyone laughs at.

        • drax

          Marie was quoting Bruce. And the guy who sits on his front porch saying “we can’t possibly change anything, it can’t be done!” is the one we laugh at.

          • CourthouseChris

            Agreed – the guys that say it’s always been done this way thus it can only be done this way are invariably proven wrong.

          • Quoth the Raven

            True, but what’s his plan? “We must reform Congress”, he says. OK, good plan – how do you do it?

            I’m not necessarily disagreeing with him. I’m just saying that having a plan is a good idea (and maybe he has one) – otherwise, your words are just fantasy.

          • drax

            He meant reform Congress by electing new members of Congress.

          • drax

            Yes, especially given the fact that carbon-based fuels will eventually run out, and we will have to switch, if we’re not all dead from the air pollution by then.

          • Ecologist

            Eventually, and probably not too long from now, the human population will have to stabilize and perhaps shrink somewhat. This occurs in all living systems with growing populations either through obstacles such as resource scarcity or environmental toxicity or predators (including disease/war). Humans are unique in that we seem to have the capacity to recognize and project what will occur but it remains to be seen if there will be any pre-emptive steps that would mitigate natures way of handling it,

          • jackson

            Soylent Green.

          • speonjosh

            It would be the ultimate human folly if our population was “controlled” by Mother Nature.

            However, given the propensity of individual human beings to be selfish, it may yet come to pass.

            This is one reason why I continue to believe we need to discover intelligent life located somewhere other than Earth. It would unite us and perhaps inspire us to work together for a change…..

      • drax

        We have plenty of room to reduce our use of energy and replace a good chunk of our carbon-based energy with green energy. Plenty of room.

        We probably can’t ever replace all of it, but nobody said that, did they?

        • Quoth the Raven

          Plenty of room, drax? OK, where? Do you want a wind turbine in your back yard? I doubt it. Do you want to chop down a forest to put in a wind farm? I doubt that too. Solar technology is great for Arizona, but we don’t get enough sun here to make it work.

          I think green energy is a great idea, for any number of reasons. But it’s fantasy to just employ tired lines like “carbon fuel is killing us” without there being a viable alternative. In other words, until this guy actually presents a viable course of action, which, if elected, he’ll follow, I’m going to dismiss his pie-in-the-sky jargon as meaningless.

          • Doug Svengali

            Chop down trees for a windfarm? That’s clever. I’ve never heard that before, even from an astroturfer. And the comment on solar …. wow.

            Bruce advocates a supergrid …. so like, you can transport solar energy from Arizona to Virginia. Clearly his grasp of the current state of technology and what is feasible is far superior to many people on this blog. Just saying.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Wow – why so needlessly insulting? What’s an “astroturfer”? Sorry, I know you’re trying to insult me, but I don’t get the insult, sadly.

            A supergrid is a great idea, but how do you suppose that power gets from AZ to VA? You need power transportation corridors, and last time I checked there wasn’t a ton of open space around here. Those lines have to go through someplace, don’t they? Or, are you going to argue that our current infrastructure suffices for that kind of load (b/c it doesn’t).

            Oh, wait – I know!! We can bounce the electricity off of your magical satelite, and the power will appear in Virginia!! Awesome!!!!!

            But seriously, keep with the snobbish commentary – it’s working for you.

          • Trent

            We also need storage, which will require major leaps in technology. Great point by Bill Gates: all the batteries on the planet can only store 10 minutes of our electrical needs. We need better storage technology.

          • Doug Svengali

            Quoth: Ok … maybe a little rough, but you are making some comments that are a bit frustrating — and, the kind o statements that some people (Republicans) make intentionally to mislead and dumb down the debate. Astroturfing is ….. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Astroturf

            Your concerns are valid, but uninformed (no offense). Take a look at what is happening in Europe: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Astroturf

            Bruce believes that the DII initiative is a roadmap for what can be done in America with political will and the right financing strategy — which are related. And, a roadmap on how to transition the local economy away from such heavy emphasis on DOD contracting … which by all measures will shrink.

            This kind of bold leadership requires bold, visionary leaders. Not politics as usual, far from it.

            And Trent, yes storage is crucial. But, baseload storage is feasible now with scaled molten salts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_energy_storage

            Home / distributed storage technology is evolving at lightening speed. There are technologies in prototype stage right now that would enable a house to have several days of stand by storage. Only question is will US or Chinese IP / products win the consumerization of home storage.

            Bruce does have a vision. His military experience and networks, and business networks, give him access to what is really happening globally and what is really possible.

            Visionary leadership requires visionary leaders …. if this issue is important to voters, the choice is crystal clear.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Good points, and I appreciate the explanation. I’m not trying to dumb down the debate. But politicians have a bad habit of announcing a great plan, but not actually thinking it through. Or, for thinking of plans which have absolutely no hope of ever actually happening. Frankly, I like this guy. If I were a VA voter, I’d probably vote for him. But it would be more of an anti-Moran vote than a pro-Bruce vote, at least for now. Tell me how such an initiative would actually work – in other words, how would this be paid for? Divertin money from DoD contracting is not going to cover it, because you’re talking about replacing and/or renovating a huge portion of the grid. And how would you keep that grid safe? Security is one of the huge issues with such an idea, as I’m sure you’re aware.

            Fossil fuels are terrible. I get this. I’d love to move away from them. But the reality is that it’s not going to happen – not for a long, long time. Gas, in particular is simply too prevalent and too cheap. N. Arlington is one thing – most people here would be able and even willing to pay more for their electricity. But N. Arlington is not representative of much of the US.

          • Josh S

            I’m not sure that politicians need to think every plan through before they announce it. Mostly, they need to lead and make decisions.
            I hardly imagine that Kennedy had the slightest idea how we were going to get a man to the moon when he set it as a goal.
            Our proverbial forefathers clearly hadn’t really thought things through when they declared independence since their proposed solution for a new government didn’t work so well and the Constitutional Convention was required to press the reset button on our government.

          • speonjosh

            I think that conservation, better design, and better materials can go about halfway to replacing fossil fuels. We don’t really need wind turbines as far as the eye can see.

            I seem to recall that US fossil fuel consumption was flat from about 1975 to 1985, despite increases in population and the economy. It was conservation brought about by the spike in oil prices. That, and a restructuring economy.

            In general, though, the armchair pooh-poohing of alternatives to fossil fuels does come off as uninformed and obstructionist…(and is definitely something Mitt Romney would say…..)

          • Trent

            “I think that conservation, better design, and better materials can go about halfway to replacing fossil fuels. We don’t really need wind turbines as far as the eye can see.”

            Talk about armchairing.

          • Josh S

            Are you trying to imply that my assertion is without basis?

            Check out, for example, the work of the Rocky Mountain Institute, who just partnered with the Empire State Building to retrofit the building (primarily by upgrading the windows) for energy and other savings. The projected energy savings are in the 40% range.

            Also, better materials (like carbon fiber) are part of what makes new products, like the Dreamliner (Boeing 787), more energy-efficient than similar older products. These products will get more widespread adoption as time goes on.

          • Doug Svengali

            Good points. Conversation, real, CCC level, national priority level conservation, would reduce the need for tens of new coal / nuclear plants — not debatable — science / engineering / research settled on this point two decades ago. Choice needs to be made clear to citizens … insulate your house, or we’ll build a nuclear plant in your neighborhood. Otherwise, the people that make money when you burn fossil fuels (and their political / media hacks) will continue to try and convince (brainwash) citizens that any conservation is a infringement on your constitutional rights.

          • drax

            More straw man.

            The only place to put a turbine is in my back yard or a forest? Don’t be ridiculous.

            You’re offering loony objections not based in reality just to avoid reality. A combination of other power sources can clearly replace more of our fossil fuels than it does now.

          • Quoth the Raven

            It’s frustrating that you can’t seem to be able to articulate your argument without being insulting.

            “Loony objections not based in reality”??

            I’m all for getting rid of coal. I’m all for getting rid of all fossil fuels. But wishing for it isn’t going to make it happen. My point was to ask whether or not this guy has a plan or not, or if it’s just more empty rhetoric.

            Moving to a supergrid idea is a good one – but it’s going to be extremely difficult and extremely expensive. Does that mean we shouldn’t look into it? Of course not. But let’s not fall into the silly fantasy world of thinking wind or solar are going to solve all our problems.

            And by the way – if you want enough wind energy to replace fossil fuels, then yes, you will probably need one in your backyard, and you will probably need to cut down forests to make it happen.

          • Clarendon

            There is a good graphic that shows the amount of oil used by the world in a year (turns out to be about a cubic mile) and the amount of each energy source needed to provide equivalent energy.


          • Rick

            @ Raven, I truly appreciate the open line of questioning you bring, but I was shocked by your post @ 4:51pm (1 page above) where you say, “If I were a VA voter,…” And that’s where you lost all credibility with me.

            If you aren’t a VA voter, why are you posting so voluminously (and rapidly) here at all on the ARL? It’s a representative democracy. Go to your representative district to thump for/against your area’s candidates and concerns. We have ours. You have yours.

          • Quoth the Raven

            @Rick — I live here (military), but am registered to vote in my home state. So I understand your concern, but note that since I do in fact live here, the folks elected from this district affect me too (taxes, schools, etc).

      • Doug Svengali

        Do you work for an oil company? Try reading something a bit more informed and you’d be able answer your own question.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Thanks for asking, but I don’t work for an oil company. And thanks also for trying to be insulting and condescending.

          • Doug Svengali

            OK … that was a bit insulting … unless you do work for one? Just kidding 😉

          • Quoth the Raven

            Govt env lawyer, actually. Sorry…..

    • D’oh


      • Resident and teacher

        Agreed! Most people posting here are looking to the past to purpose a solution. Solar cell efficiency can be doubled if we invest enough resources into the science. Hydrogen Fuel cell technology WILL replace gasoline in cars, we just haven’t developed it far enough to make out affordable yet. And hydrogen can also work as an energy storage method, where batteries cannot. We also need to increase our investment on ITER, the international fusion reactor that has become a very under funded project, thanks to short sighted government. This can free us from fossil fuels, from nuclear waste, and from pollution (including aesthetic issues of turbines and super grids).
        Anybody who will triple NSF and DOE (and maybe NASA) budgets for science is dedicated to the environment. The rest are suckering fools into voting for them.

    • yaz

      You are correct, it is killing some quicker than others, especially when we throw away our American ideals (keeping out of others’ property/business/affairs) and insist that OUR oil mistakenly was put under THEIR sand. Self-determination is a bedrock principle for allowing a democracy to be created/sustained, yet for most of USA dependence on others resources, and what we have been willing to compromise – not just lately, but going beyond 100 years now – has costs associated that need to be weighed. They include monetary, geo-political and human concerns.

  • WantonTaco

    I’d like to see these in “video essay ” form

  • BetterThanMoran

    I met him a few weeks ago on my way to work and liked him. I especially like his experience as a Dr. and his thoughts on healthcare – specifically, funding for cancer research.
    Moran is currupt and been there too long, so i’ll accept a learning curve for Shuttlworth.

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      Dr.? I think you are mistaken. He has an MBA.

    • Jessie

      Exactly. He hasn’t given me a reason to dislike him yet, but Moran sure has.

  • Mr T

    dang bruce! thats 500 words on the dot! you got my vote for that alone!

  • JohnB

    If you put a price on the negative externalities of all types of energy, private capital would solve the problem. The discussion should be around how to price the negative externalities, not what solution private capital would come up with.

    • Vik

      Absolutely. Thank you.

    • Doug Svengali

      Having had this conversation with Bruce, I can say he would agree with you completely. A carbon tax is exactly how to line up incentives and motivations to get everyone heading in the right direction on this issue. The full cost of carbon fuels are not factored into the cost … it should be. The taxpayer is already subsidizing energy, the question is which energy should be subsidized.

  • ClarendonDweller

    This is awesome: “But I don’t blame special interests for representing their special interests. This is America and free speech is broad and deep.” The guy knows his audience/potential constituents – and they’re lobbyists. 🙂

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    I’m voting for the cuter of the two.

  • y’all are all astroturfers

  • David Bain

    We are all entitled to our opinions…but it is sad how we, as a society, have degenerated into a Gerry Springer reality show…so little substance

  • Not Larry Sabato

    Is this a joke? It’s written like a high school student who is given an assignment to pretend to be a candidate. And 502 words by my count.

  • Chinny McChipstah

    Most of our issues could be resolved or contained if the human population were stabilized or even reduced…how to do it humanly? Start with birth control in the water supply for one year, every 5 years.

  • roquer

    Mr. Shuttleworth – I heard your radio ad today and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, you have the same tire old garbage that James Moron has. Tax us to death so we can give our money away to those that don’t work. Sorry, been done with that since I started working a lot of years ago.
    The Government needs to butt out of our lives. Forget taxes except for defense. Folks that work for a living should be allowed to make money, not have to give it up to those that want to be on the take from the Gov’t.

  • See http://www.solomonscandals.com/?p=11655. Alas, the real concern is still the integrity one – given the many ethics-related questions about Jim Moran over the years. Bruce Shuttleworth is no dummy and can grow more articulate on the nuances of the great issues. Ethically, Moran is all too set in his ways.

    Furthermore Shuttleworth is now on record as favoring tougher restrictions on contributions by top executives of government contractors – whereas Moran and his people stonewalled me when I asked his office two years ago about both this and some BRAC-133 matters, including his 2K+ contribution from the CEO of Duke Realty. There may or may not have been a quid pro quo, I’ll even cut Moran some slack here, but a look at his list of major donors shows how heavily he relies on special interests and if nothing else is an unwitting poster boy for the need for meaningful campaign-finance reform. Shuttleworth has his own contributions from well-heeled corporate types, but says he drew on his personal network of accomplished friends without unsavory expectations.

    Is he telling the truth? Hard to say. But one positive sign seems to be that many and perhaps most of the major contributions to Shuttleworth are from people who did not give to other candidates.

    Bottom line: Both candidates come with risks, ethical and otherwise, and I can appreciate Jim Moran’s advantages as a senior incumbent now on the Appropriations Committee. If need be, as a lifelong Democrat, I’ll once again hold my nose and vote for him in November because of his mostly (though not always!) progressive politics. But I’d rather not have to. Despite Shuttleworth’s flaws – very, very correctable – he is better in the long run for both our district and America as a whole. Give him the right resources, for development of in-depth position papers and the rest, and he’ll whip the opposition in November and go on to grow as a policymaker.

    • Arlingtoon


  • Julie

    I won’t vote for Jim Moran. He squandered too many opportunities and wasted too much time on his pet special interests.

    Here is a guy whose office is within sight of his district. Think about it. He doesn’t have to spend hundreds of hours a year flying back and forth from California, Florida, Texas, etc. That’s a huge time advantage Moran should have parlayed into earning a Committee Chairmanship. Instead he got into one controversy after another over the 21 years he’s been in Congress. Enough is enough. I’m not holding MY nose tomorrow. Shuttleworth for Congress.

  • Jason S.

    I thought this guy might be viable, but his essay looks like it was outsourced to The Daily Kos. It was a weak checklist of leftist echo chamber talking points.

  • Al

    This Democrat will not hold his nose today and vote for Jim Moran.

    While other Members of Congress fly thousands of miles 2 or 3 times a month to meet with constituents, Moran is never seen in the 8th CD except before congressional elections and while attending to the wants of one of his pet special interests or a member of his extended family.

    Bruce Shuttleworth for Congress

    • drax

      Where is he then?


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