Rep. Jim Moran was honored by local Democrats Saturday night, just three days before the primary that will choose his would-be successor.
Hundreds of Democrats were on hand Saturday at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner in Ballston. Moran, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 after serving as the mayor of Alexandria, was the keynote speaker.
Six of the seven Democratic candidates to replace him — Don Beyer, Lavern Chatman, Patrick Hope, Mark Levine, Bill Euille and Derek Hyra — were in attendance, while state Sen. Adam Ebbin did not attend because he was at the Capital Pride Parade, according to his campaign.
Three of Moran’s colleagues in the House — Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents Fairfax County, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) — spoke to honor him, and Edwards, the recruitment chair for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, touched on Tuesday’s primary.
“I wish every one of you in this room a lot of luck on Tuesday,” she said before turning her attention to Moran. “It’s tough to get a Marylander to come across the river, but for Jim Moran, I would swim across that river.”
ACDC Chairman Kip Malinosky presented Moran with a gift of boxing gloves because, he said, the Massachusetts native has always “been a fighter.”
Moran’s fighting reputation stems from his impassioned floor speeches, his penchant for taking unpopular stances, and from two noted incidents in 1995: when he shoved Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham out of the House chambers, before fellow congressmen and police officers broke up the scuffle, and when Moran threatened to break another Congressman’s nose.
“A champion is leaving the ring,” Malinosky said.
Moran spoke for about 15 minutes in a more subdued tone than many are used to hearing him. He expressed frustration over how difficult it has become to deal with Republicans — “If you’re on the terrorist watch list, maybe you shouldn’t be able to buy an assault rifle. Just a thought,” — and gratitude for being able to serve in the House for more than two decades
“I realize that I’ve been blessed and am very, very lucky to represent this area,” he said. “There are still things that I find terribly frustrating, but we have to keep fighting for them.”
Moran made no mention of the people vying to replace him or the election on Tuesday, but he kept his eye to the future, telling the room the current Republican Party would soon become “anachronistic.”
“We are going to set that example for the rest of the country in areas like Arlington and in areas with people that are representatives like Donna and Xavier and many of our other Democratic leaders,” he said. “I mean, it sounds trite, but the future of this country lies with the Democratic Party.”
Becerra, who was elected two years after Moran in his district in Los Angeles, reminded those in attendance that Moran was in the minority over his years in congress in voting against 1997’s Defense of Marriage Act and voting against the Iraq War after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“I am proud that I serve along with Jim Moran,” Becerra said. “We will miss you, but you have made us a better country.”
Last week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.
Here is Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille’s unedited response:
Since I announced I was entering the race for Congress in January, I have received support and well wishes from voters in the 8th Congressional District.
In Fairfax County (Lee District, Dranesville, Mt. Vernon, and Mason) and in Falls Church City, I hear: “We’re pulling for you! You have our vote!”
In Arlington and Alexandria, it’s been: “RUN BILL, RUN !”
As we’ve campaigned across the 8th district, voters have not just cheered us on, but have asked questions about where I stand on issues of vital importance to them. I answer just like I’ve governed as mayor of Alexandria since 2003. I have the integrity, skills, honesty and humbleness to be the Congressman.
I believe that EVERYONE should have the opportunity to succeed in our society. For more than 40 years, I have served my community — working as an elected official, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. I grew up in public housing in Alexandria, then became the first in my family to attend college. I want more of our children to have the same educational opportunities I had. In Congress, I plan to continue the fight to educate our youth, pushing to make student loans more affordable and addressing the income disparities. Today, women make less than 77 cent for each dollar a man earns. I’ll also take on Tea Party Republicans who want to cut education funding.
I believe in a living wage for Northern Virginians. I passed Virginia’s first living wage law. In Congress, I will support raising the federal minimum wage above $10 per hour.
I believe in our small businesses. I’ve led efforts in Alexandria to help small businesses secure the capital they need to thrive. In Congress, I will work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help more entrepreneurs launch businesses in Virginia. I personally know the struggles of what a small business goes through. As Founder, President and CEO of William D. Euille and Associations — a contracting firm — not only did I employ people but I provided job readiness training and well as employ veterans.
I believe in and will continue to defend a woman’s right to determine her own medical care. As a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, I will also work to make sure everyone has access to quality health care. I will not allow the Tea Party to undermine a woman’s right to determine what happens with her own body. She must have full control over her own reproductive rights.
I believe that everyone in our country is equal under the law. In Congress, I will push for legislation to ensure marriage equality and equal treatment for same-sex couples.
I am running for Congress to continue the great work of my life, serving my community. For more than 40 years, I have worked as a public servant, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. As mayor of Alexandria since 2003, I am the only candidate who has continuously worked to serve the entire region of Northern Virginia on issues important to all of us.
I am the candidate who is ready to represent the 8th Congressional District on Day One.
I ask for your vote on June 10th. Together, let’s work to make sure everyone is part of our success in Northern Virginia. Send me because I care. Send me to Capitol Hill because I know how to get bills passed and finally send me because we are a great diverse district whose voices will be heard in Congress by electing me.