Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.
By John Grant
Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, students are back in school, and football is in the air. Fall is here and — since we live in Virginia where we have elections every year — that means we have another election in just a few short weeks.
On November 7, the eyes of the nation will be on Virginia as we elect our next Governor. This will be the first major statewide election since the 2016 Presidential election.
If you’re disheartened or angered by what’s happening across the Potomac River, you have a chance to send a message to America — and the world — by making sure we send the right person to the Governor’s mansion.
I believe Dr. Ralph Northam is the right person for the job. He’s a pediatric neurologist who also served as a U.S. Army physician from 1984-1992. He is also our current Lt. Governor, having previously served two terms in the Virginia State Senate.
Dr. Northam has the right experience to keep Virginia moving forward and continue the great work of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). He has worked side by side with McAuliffe in strengthening and diversifying Virginia’s economy — particularly in communities like Arlington that have substantial federal spending as part of their local economy.
Dr. Northam is a thoughtful listener and a pragmatic problem solver. Given what we’re all seeing on the news every day, doesn’t that sound like a breath of fresh air?
My grandmother always said you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. Dr. Northam’s endorsements show that his agenda and his values fit well with Arlington — the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, NARAL Pro Choice Virginia, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Professional Firefighters and Equality Virginia are some of many organizations endorsing Dr. Northam’s candidacy. Ralph’s company is Arlington’s company.
Dr. Northam grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. Stewardship of our natural heritage is in his DNA. In his time in Richmond, Dr. Northam has taken steps to combat the climate crisis, promote the new energy economy and the jobs it creates, and advance clean energy solutions.
Dr. Northam’s vision for our environment stands in stark contrast to the efforts by Ed Gillespie to take Virginia backwards in terms of energy production. That led Tom Perriello to recently highlight the importance of electing Ralph Northam in this piece on Blue Virginia.
I know a lot of people are just realizing we have an election this year. There’s plenty of time to do your homework. You can learn a lot more about Dr. Northam here. I believe you’ll agree with me that Dr. Northam is the right person to stand up for Arlington values in Richmond.
While you’re learning more about Ralph Northam, keep in mind that Virginia Democrats also have great candidates for Lt. Governor (Justin Fairfax) and Attorney General (Mark Herring). Their values and positions on the issues also align with the majority of Arlingtonians.
Here are a few things you can do right now:
1) Make sure you’re registered to vote. Moved recently? New to the Commonwealth? Out of town on Election Day? You have until Monday, October 16 to update your registration and until Tuesday, October 31 to request an absentee ballot. I know we’re all busy, so consider this your five-week warning. You can find information about voting in Arlington here.
2) Out of town on Election Day? You have until October 31 to request an absentee ballot. Or you can vote in-person absentee at Courthouse Plaza starting on Friday, September 22.
3) Feeling fired up and ready to go? You can volunteer via the Arlington Democrats or via the Northam campaign here.
John Grant is a past Chair of the Arlington County Transportation Commission. He lives in Nauck with his wife, toddler and Alaskan Malamute.