The 2017 election is in the books. Well, it’s almost in the books. One race in the Virginia House of Delegates is separated by just 13 votes.
If that lead holds, Republicans would have a 51 to 49 majority in the House of Delegates. If not, it will be a 50 to 50 split. This falls into, “if you don’t think your vote counts in an election, think again,” category.
While the overall size of the win for Democrats across Virginia was bigger than most predicted, polls had shown this was the likely outcome since the statewide candidates won their nomination in June. Time will tell all the reasons Democrats turned out in such big numbers on Tuesday. But the bottom line is, the party which turns out more of its voters wins. In 2017, the Democrats had the winning strategy.
It was disappointing to hear State Senator Barbara Favola call Republicans “evil” at the end of the campaign. It was equally disappointing to hear those in attendance laugh and applaud in approval of the comment. This should go without saying, but just because someone believes strongly in an opposing political philosophy does not make them evil. Hopefully that was a comment made in the heat of the moment that Senator Favola now regrets.
Now that the ominous campaign ads are done airing and the rhetorical flourishes are set aside, Virginians can focus on the issues that impact our future.
We cannot rely on the federal government to prop up our economy forever. What will politicians in Richmond do to stop Virginia’s slide in the national business rankings? Will they make the regulatory environment easier to navigate? Will they provide any tax code reforms to make us more competitive with states like North Carolina who are reforming their codes?
What more can they do to improve our transportation infrastructure here in Northern Virginia? Will Virginia and Arlington demand that Metro reform its ways?
Also here in Arlington, will our County Board and School Board offer new ideas, reforms or even increased accountability? Will they ever stop the annual cycle designed to raise taxes and spend more, regardless of needs or even the bounds of our annual budget? Will our economic development plans move beyond offering taxpayer-funded incentives and into creating a business-friendly environment?
As we weigh back into the public policy debates, we will be reminded this weekend of Veterans Day where we honor those who served our great nation. These women and men defended us, so that we can have free elections as well as the freedom to say and write things to try and shape public opinion on important issues. To those who served, thank you.