The candidates — Del. Charniele Herring, Mark Levine, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Bruce Shuttleworth, Satish Korpe, Lavern Chatman, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, Del. Patrick Hope, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille and Derek Hyra — each only had time for an opening statement, answers to two questions and a one-minute closing statement. The debate lasted two hours.
The candidates are vying to fill the retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s seat in Congress. Virginia’s Eighth District is considered a deeply blue, safe Democratic seat — thus its attractiveness to a field of candidates trying to pounce on the rare political opportunity.
Moran, who’s been the 8th District’s representative since 1991, started the night with 10 minutes of remarks, touching on his service and the benefits of representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. He said he won’t be endorsing any of the Democrats running in the June 10 primary.
“It’s a great district, and it’s kind of a microcosm of this country,” he said. “In this district, you have far more latitude than any other district in the country, as far as I’m aware of, because the constituency in this district is well-educated, wants to understand things, is extraordinarily open-minded if you want to make a case. I’ve found that I have far more latitude than many of my colleagues.”
The candidates were asked what their first priority would be in Congress, and what their top foreign policy concern is. Many candidates touched on consensus topics among Democrats — women’s reproductive rights, climate change and economic development — while they tried to distinguish themselves from the other candidates.
“We’re all Democrats here and I respect my colleagues greatly, but we all bring different things to this race,” Beyer, who is the frontrunner in polling and fundraising, said in his opening statement. “As a businessman, lieutenant governor and ambassador, I have a proven record, the ideas and the energy to hit the ground running.”
Sitting to Beyer’s left was Hope, the top polling Arlington-based candidate, who defended the Affordable Care Act’s rollout and said the law didn’t go far enough.
“There are some people on this dais who believe the Affordable Care Act has flaws,” Hope said. “I don’t believe the Affordable Care Act has flaws, except one: it did not expand coverage to every single American. Even if Virginia and other states expand Medicaid to the poorest people in their states, we will still have 20 million Americans who do not have health insurance.”
Euille, when discussing foreign policy, touched on his foreign travels and the visitors who have come to Alexandria to ask him about politics. He said his guiding principle in foreign policy is seeking world peace.
“I will never put out troops in combat,” he said. “I will never support a war, because I think it’s the wrong thing to be doing. We need to make certain that the only time we use our troops to fight would be in defense of our own borders.”
Levine, a liberal talk radio host who reminded the capacity crowd of his penchant for pulling out his pocket U.S. Constitution, distanced himself from Euille and some of the other candidates on stage by advocating for a more aggressive military stance.
“We are an ally of NATO and countries look to us for support,” Levine said. “And when Russia is busy invading Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland are nervous, and they look to us for support. A treaty obligation is vitally important, and we should go to war, if we have to, if a NATO country is attacked.”
Stephen Colbert will take over from David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show” next year.
News of Colbert’s “Late Show” hiring prompted Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) to send out a Tweet congratulating the comedian. Moran also made reference to the time he was interviewed by Colbert for his “Colbert Report” segment “Better Know a District.”
“Congrats @StephenAtHome!” Moran Tweeted. “I still remember the day I put your show on the map.”
In the segment (starts after 1:00 in the video above), Colbert calls Moran a “poor man’s Ted Kennedy” and mocks his Irish heritage, famed temper and verbal gaffes until Moran delivers a staged haymaker to Colbert’s self-described “punch-able” face.
Advice for Vihstadt — Dave Foster, a Republican elected to two full terms on the Arlington School Board starting in 1999, has some advice for the newly-elected County Board member John Vihstadt. In order for Vihstadt to win re-election and a full term in November, he will need to practice “thoughtful and independent decision-making, hard work and constant community outreach,” Foster said. [InsideNoVa]
‘Brave’ Moran Loses Two Votes — Retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D) is taking some bold but symbolic stances in his last term. Moran was one of “two brave Democrats” who voted for a doomed interpretation of President Obama’s budget, as floated by House Republicans for the express purpose of getting Democrats to vote against it. Moran also lost his bid to raise pay for members of Congress; the proposal died in committee. [Washington Times, Associated Press]
Road Closures for Parade — Parts of Walter Reed Drive, Four Mile Run and George Mason Drive will be closed Sunday morning and afternoon for the Carnival de Oruro Parade. [Arlington County]
Library Extends DVD Renewals — Arlington Public Library is now letting patrons renew DVDs twice, meaning the maximum rental period is now 21 days. [Arlington Public Library]
Del. Brink Finds 13 to Be Unlucky — Was it a coincidence? Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) was 13th in seniority in the Virginia House of Delegates this year. And as he was putting his “13” specialty license plate on his car (such plates are issued to lawmakers annually by the state), his pliers slipped and gouged a deep cut in his finger. One fellow lawmaker, however, opined that the bad luck was actually because Brink had just, by virtue of timing, introduced House Bill 666. [InsideNoVa]
Retiring congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) says members of Congress are “underpaid.”
It may not be a popular message at a time when Congress’ approval rate is hovering around 13 percent, but Moran says the $174,000 salary for members of Congress isn’t enough to allow them to “live decently in Washington,” according to CQ Roll Call.
“I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world,” Moran told Roll Call.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) hosted an information briefing this morning on how low-income residents can file their taxes for free.
At the new Arlington Mill Community Center, Moran spoke briefly to a crowd of representatives from local nonprofits like Offender Aid and Restoration, AHC and from staffers at Arlington’s Department of Human Services, extolling the benefits of FreeFile, the free tax filing available to those who make $58,000 a year or less.
“The FreeFile program is a terrific example of how government and private businesses work together to help families take control of their finances,” Moran told the crowd of about 30. “Seventy percent of taxpayers in this country are eligible to file taxes for free.”
After Moran spoke, representatives from the IRS and the Intuit Tax Freedom Project walked those in attendance — at least two of whom wanted to electronically file their taxes on the spot — through the process. The talk was focused on not only saving low-income families money when filing, but making sure they understand potential refund money they’re entitled to.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit is the No. 1 poverty-fighting instrument in the world,” IRS Senior Tax Specialist Loren Johnson said.
Moran told ARLnow.com after his talk that despite the substantial average wealth of his constituents, he is still focused on making sure the financially struggling residents of the 8th Congressional District are as informed as possible two weeks before the April 15 filing deadline.
“We have thousands of people eligible for free filing who work hard, and they ought to be able to keep as much of their income as the law allows,” Moran said. “The representatives of the organizations here can now interpret what they learned to their constituents.”
The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR Act), if it passes, would represent the biggest wage increase for federal workers since the 2008 recession. Moran co-sponsors the bill with Fairfax County Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), who introduced the legislation, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), John Tierney (D-Mass.) and other House members.
Moran said in a press release announcing the legislation that the attrition in the federal workforce has increased 35 percent since 2009. In 2013, earnings grew in every industry except for civilian federal workers, whose earnings fell $6.7 billion according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Federal workers were granted a 1 percent pay increase last year, the press release said, but that lagged behind a 1.5 percent growth in inflation.
“Federal workers deserve to be compensated for the vital role they play in the lives of millions of Americans,” Moran said. “These are the men and women finding lifesaving cures at NIH, catching criminals, supporting our troops, and protecting the environment. They have bills to pay and families to support. After three years of pay freezes and too many furloughs, they’ve earned this modest, decent raise.”
After the jump, you can read Moran’s full press release: (more…)
A bill introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in the House of Representatives this week would clear the way for states and localities to take full legislative authority over regulating the towing industry.
Tow trucks were classified federally as “interstate carriers,” in 1994, putting its regulation under federal oversight, preempting state and local towing laws.
A year later, according to Moran’s office, Congress legislated away the regulatory body that oversaw the industry, leaving it vulnerable to predatory towing without consequences.
Moran’s bill, if passed, would remove the federal preemption and bring towing regulation fully under state and local control.
“Our state and local governments are the most logical places to regulate towing and many already have an established body of law in place to do so,” Moran said in a statement. “This bill would bring those laws back into effect by removing federal preemption and allow state and local governments the ability to establish common-sense, pro-consumer towing protections for their residents.”
Moran’s announcement of the bill — called H.R. 4131, the “State and Local Predatory Enforcement Act” — comes less than two weeks after Arlington passed a new set of towing regulations aimed at protecting car owners, while raising the trespass towing fee car owners must pay to $135.
Moran co-sponsored an amendment in 2005 that gave states and localities some towing oversight, but some governments were still open to liability with their towing laws. If Moran’s bill passes, that would no longer be the case.
“Representative Moran has long been a champion on this and many other issues important to state and local governments,” Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said in the press release. “Dating back to 1994, he has worked to make certain we have the ability to enact common-sense, pro-consumer trespass towing protections for our residents and visitors. Arlington County’s towing ordinance is in place and successful today because of his efforts, and we thank him for the introduction of this legislation to remove the last vestiges of federal preemption.”
The full text of Moran’s press release is after the jump. (more…)
Liberal talk show host Mark Levine will join this year’s crowded Democratic primary race for retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s 8th Congressional District seat.
Levine, 47, hosts “The Inside Scoop,” a syndicated talk-radio program, and has previously worked as a legislative counsel to former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). He also has worked as a corporate trial attorney, teacher and “Nazi hunter” for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Levine’s entrance into the race makes the field for the June Democratic primary an 11-horse race, along with Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Charniele Herring and Mark Sickles, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman, Bruce Shuttleworth and Derek Hyra. Republican Micah Edmond is also vying for the seat.
“All the people I’m running against are good Democrats, but they’re going to walk in there, cast a vote along party lines, we’ll lose [234-201] and it’ll be business as usual, back to dysfunction,” Levine told ARLnow.com. “Politics could use a lot more forceful advocacy. What I’ve done on the radio is I’ve shown how we can use discussion, rhetoric and talk to change the entire debate and not just lock our heads and vote.”
Levine filed for the race today, he said, hoping to use the seat to promote his platform of universal healthcare, expanding Social Security and Medicare, and protecting women’s rights and voting rights, among others.
“I don’t believe there’s a single federal issue of any importance that I haven’t dealt with,” he said. He’s gone on TV hundreds of times — including frequently on Fox News shows like “The O’Reilly Factor” — to defend his positions, carrying a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket.
Levine said his time as a “Nazi hunter” came during the summer of 1990 when he was in law school, working for the Office of Special Investigations tracking down Nazi war criminals who had lied on official documents to gain entry into the country and earn citizenship. He said he personally built cases that allowed the DOJ to deport two Nazis.
Levine lives in Alexandria, where he moved in 2001 after he was hired by the Congressional Black Caucus to build the congressional challenge to the 2000 presidential election.
“I’m a true believer,” he said. “I believe in America, I believe in the constitution. I really firmly believe in this stuff. If that’s what people want, they can elect me.”
Photo courtesy Mark Levine
Rep. Jim Moran’s (D-Va.) district, which covers Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, is eligible to compete in the first House Student App Challenge. The contest was created to allow high school students to engage in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and innovation by creating a software application for any platform.
The competition is open to the districts whose Representatives decide to participate, and Moran says the 8th District of Virginia is suited to excel.
“Northern Virginia parents, teachers, and administrators have made enormous investments in challenging and reinforcing the STEM abilities of our students,” said the congressman. “Because of this tremendous exposure, our children are uniquely qualified for this competition.”
Students 13 and older must register and submit a YouTube or Vimeo video demonstration of their app by April 30. The winner will have the video displayed on House.gov and will receive a certificate of excellence.
Apps will be judged on the quality of the idea, programming skill and implementation. Individuals or teams of up to four students can compete. Moran’s website has a list of developer tools and resources for students and teachers interested in competing.
“The U.S. is facing a shortage of 1 million STEM graduates in the next 10 years, a decade that is estimated to create 8.5 million STEM job opportunities,” Moran’s office wrote in a press release. “The House Student App Challenge seeks to address this challenge by encouraging students to create their own app and pursue an education in STEM fields.”
Arlington Population Still Growing — A University of Virginia estimate suggests Arlington’s population was 227,146 as of July 1, 2013. That’s a 9.4 percent increase over the county’s 207,627 population figure from the 2010 census. [Washington Post]
Moran to Speak at Health Care Forum — Rep. Jim Moran (D) will speak at a forum on the Affordable Care Act on Saturday morning at the Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church in Nauck. The event is open to the public. [Sun Gazette]
Spy Books and Movies at the Library — Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of books and movies about spies, the CIA and the Cold War. “Come in from the Cold with a good book!” the library quipped on its blog. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Shuttleworth, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in the 2012 Democratic primary, announced tonight that he’s running in this year’s sure-to-be crowded Democratic primary. The announcement follows the news Wednesday morning that the 12-term Congressman is not running for reelection.
Shuttleworth, a 48-year-old Navy veteran, has declared himself a “diversity candidate” and said in a statement that he is “a fighter pilot and a feminist.”
“I don’t think that women have been treated equally throughout history,” he told ARLnow.com. “I think we’d be in much better position if we did treat women more equally and if more women were in positions of power.”
“I’m completely for equal rights in all things, no one is more pro-choice than I am,” he said, adding that he would fight for equal pay for women if elected to Congress.
On issues like sexual assault in the military, Shuttleworth said “it’s going to be the men who have to take a decisive, bold leadership role in making sure people know it’s not okay to mistreat any minority, most especially women.”
“I will be the loudest voice in the land for equal rights for all minorities to include our transgender brothers and sisters,” he said in the statement. “I cannot be more committed to being anti-bullying.”
Shuttleworth said he himself was bullied while a student leader at the Naval Academy. The bullying stemmed from a time at when he reported classmates having a drinking party in a room next door, a serious offense at the school. After that, Shuttleworth said, he was “threatened with bodily harm,” broken light bulbs were placed in his bed and his car was vandalized. The bullying followed him “for years,” even while in naval service, but Shuttleworth said he would do it all over again because it was the right thing to do.
“[I] take ethics and integrity incredibly seriously, and that’s the same kind of integrity i’m going to bring to the United States Congress,” he said, later calling Congress “an institution that has failed America.”
The full statement from Shuttleworth, after the jump.
In a statement (after the jump), Moran lamented the sorry state of the budget process in Washington, but said he was hopeful that with the recent bipartisan budget deal, things are getting back on track.
“I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate, grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation,” he said.
The announcement puts Moran’s long-held Congressional seat — representing Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County — up for grabs. Already, electoral prognosticators are weighing in on what will likely be a political free-for-all among local Democrats.
Ben Tribbett, of the Not Larry Sabato blog, opined that the theoretical front runners in this year’s race to replace Moran include Del. Patrick Hope, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley, Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Sickles and Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay. Other names circulating around Twitter include Alexandria mayor Bill Euille, Del. Rob Krupicka and former Lieutenant Governor candidate Aneesh Chopra.
Moran, now in his 12th term in the House of Representatives, has been an outspoken advocate and an effective budget appropriator for his constituents and the causes he supported, including federal employees, transportation infrastructure, immigration reform, gay marriage, gun control, and animal rights. Moran’s Congressional tenure has also been marred by occasional controversies.
In 1995 he engaged in a “physical confrontation” with Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.). In 2000 he was accused of attacking an 8-year-old boy in an Alexandria parking lot. In 2006 he said he would “earmark the shit out of” his House appropriations subcommittee post to steer federal money to Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. In 2010 he said his Republican challenger, a retired Army officer, hadn’t “served or performed in any kind of public service.” In 2011 he was accused in a book of “insider trading” (but never prosecuted). In 2012 his son, Patrick, resigned from Moran’s campaign after being caught on hidden camera seemingly going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.
Despite the controversies, Moran’s Capitol Hill staffers say he is a man truly dedicated to public service, who speaks his mind and does what he thinks is right.
“He is exactly what you want in your local representative — he loves the people of the 8th District and is in politics for the right reasons,” said Anne Hughes, a former press secretary. “Moran is a fierce advocate for Northern Virginia and I know will be remembered not only for his contributions to the region, but also for being on the right side of history — from Iraq War to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — and speaking out loudly for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
“I have enormous respect for Moran, he leaves giant shoes to fill,” Hughes added. “And I will especially miss watching his raucous floor speeches.”
State Sen. Ebbin said in a statement that Moran “has represented the progressive values of the people of Northern Virginia.”
“He has been an advocate for our environment, a fighter for equality, and a strong champion of universal health care and the Affordable Care Act,” Ebbin said. “Northern Virginia is a better place to live and work because of Jim Moran’s leadership. I am proud to have been represented by him in Congress, and to have represented him in Richmond. After his decades of service to our community, I wish him a long and happy retirement.”
The full statement from Moran’s office about the Congressman’s retirement, and a statement from President Obama, after the jump.
President Barack Obama was at Washington-Lee High School this afternoon (Sunday) campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe two days before election day.
Obama, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and actress Kerry Washington, star of the TV show “Scandal,” were among the speakers. Thousands of spectators crowded the Washington-Lee gymnasium to watch the event, and the line to get in curved around N. Stafford Street onto Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street.
Obama spoke passionately for about 20 minutes, lambasting Congressional Republicans for the government shutdown and praising McAuliffe’s stances on transportation and education, but not before he came out to a roar of cheers and started his speech by exclaiming, “Hello, Washington-Lee!”
“An extreme faction of the Republican Party have shown again and again and again that they’re going to hijack the party, and the country, and the economy, and bring Congress to an absolute halt unless they get 100 percent of what they want,” Obama said. “This isn’t just speculation, this happened just last month for the first government shutdown in 17 years.”
There was no mention of the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which was the subject of most of the signs Republican demonstrators were sporting outside the high school while attendees waited in line.
Obama spoke minimally of McAulffe’s opponent, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, not mentioning him by name, simply referring to him as “the other guy,” but McAuliffe highlighted a recent interview Cuccinelli gave on Fox News, when he said he “perfectly happy” that voters in Virginia have “short memories” when it comes to the government shutdown.
“He’s saying that he wants Virginians to forget the shutdown because he wants us to forget all the things he did during the government shutdown,” McAuliffe said, “because as you know it was Ken Cuccinelli that brought Ted Cruz to Richmond. We’re not going to forget that.”
McAuliffe highlighted his policy toward reinvesting in community colleges, and attacked Cuccinelli’s position on the Silver Line.
Warner introduced McAuliffe — whom he has known for more than three decades since the two worked in the Jimmy Carter administration — and highlighted the importance of the election.
“Elections have consequences. Look where I work,” he said, before criticizing the shutdown. “Terry will fight to make sure every child in Virginia has a fair shake and a fair shot.”
Washington, a surprise appearance on the program for many in attendance, drew huge applause when she went up to speak less than 24 hours after hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing as Michelle Obama in a sketch.
“We are so blessed to live in a country where we have a voice in our government,” she said. “On Tuesday, get out there and vote. We did it last year … let’s just do it again on Tuesday.”
Moran was one of the first to speak in the program, right after Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents most of Fairfax County. He, like nearly every other speaker, implored those in the audience to volunteer for the campaign in the final days before the election. He also took the chance to skewer the Republicans for their policies.
“If you want to move forward, you shift into D for Democrat,” he said. “If you want to back up, go in reverse, you put in R for Republican. So what we’re going to do on Tuesday is to move forward, with Terry McAuliffe at the wheel and with Ralph Northam and Mark Herring sitting alongside him”
Federal workers affected by the 16-day government shutdown began heading back to work today, thanks to an agreement Congress passed on Wednesday night. The agreement funds federal agencies through mid-January and raises the debt limit.
Congressman Jim Moran (D) blasted the shutdown, calling it “purposeless” in a statement released last night. Earlier this month, he introduced a bill — which the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed — to grant back pay to all 800,000 furloughed federal employees.
Moran’s full statement follows:
“This bill brings an end to one of the most embarrassing episodes in congressional history. House Republicans, spurred on by Tea Party-aligned members and outside groups who have exploited the Citizens United Supreme Court decision to subvert democracy, held the government hostage in an effort to destroy Obamacare. These Tea Party actions have caused a financially damaging, demoralizing government shutdown that shook consumer confidence, and resulted in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees and employment cutbacks at nearly 85 percent of all federal contracting companies.
“Three weeks later, $24 billion in lost economic growth and the anxiety of people wondering if and when they would receive a paycheck, we have a deal to reopen government, lift the debt ceiling…and Obamacare remains virtually untouched. Clearly, the new health law is going to need tweaking going forward. But efforts to destroy it, rather than improve it, led by charlatans like Senator Ted Cruz, willfully ignored the fact that 1) Congress signed it into law, 2) it was upheld by a conservative Supreme Court and, 3) it was a major issue in the most recent presidential election which resulted in a five million vote victory for President Obama.
“This two week period of panic and pain has been purposeless. We are back to square one having achieved nothing but to have exposed the radical destructiveness of the so called Ted Cruz Tea Party faction within the Republican Party.”
Introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would ensure that approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers receive pay for the duration of the government shutdown, regardless of furlough status.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the legislation to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill, Moran said last week.
“[Saturday’s] legislation guarantees that retroactive pay for our Federal employees will not become a political bargaining chip,” Moran said in a statement. “This is an issue of fairness. 800,000 federal employees are already weathering the effects of pay freezes, benefit cuts, and furloughs; and now, because of a dysfunctional Congress, they’ve had to worry about even receiving a paycheck.”
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the bill passed 407-0. Moran, however, used the occasion for another jab at congressional Republicans.
“I’m glad my friends across the aisle were able to put aside their ideological crusade to dismantle Obamacare and get behind this legislation,” he said, via press release. “Their approach has already wrought too much hardship and today’s vote ensures it won’t hit the family budgets of our civil servants.”
Also on Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 300,000 Pentagon civilian employees who had been furloughed would return to work.