Next Tuesday, voters in Alexandria will go to the polls to elect a member of Congress. Ten-term incumbent Jim Moran is facing a spirited challenge from Republican Patrick Murray and Independent Green Party candidate Ron Fisher.
The campaign has been notable for charges hurled by both sides. Moran has charged that Murray lacks the civic experience for the job. Murray has countered that his 24 years of active military service qualifies, and said that Moran is disrespectful of military service. Murray has also blamed Moran for the BRAC relocation to the Mark Center site in Alexandria.
We are not impressed by any of these charges. Experience is important, but Congress is comprised of individuals with different perspectives. Who is to say that military experience is less important in legislating than experience as a local elected official?
As for Moran’s “disrespect of military service”, at a recent forum in Alexandria, Moran questioned Murray’s civic involvement in the Alexandria community, not his military career.
The real issue here is whether the voters in the Eighth District want a Congressman with deep roots in the community and considerable local public office experience or someone who lived in the district from time-to-time and has extensive military experience, including combat duty.
We are also not impressed by Murray trying to lay the blame for BRAC at Moran’s door. The property was zoned to accommodate that development by the Alexandria’s City Council. It is easy to focus on BRAC, but the truth is that at some point in the future, a development of that size would have occurred anyway. Members of Congress are not “Pro Counsels” who run their districts like fifedoms as Mr. Murray will discover if he is elected. They are legislators who have some influence, but it is far from absolute. The BRAC process was designed to avoid political interference, and Mr. Murray seems unaware of that fact.
Has Jim Moran failed to advance the interests of his constituents? Has he failed to pay attention to the office? Has he failed by some major moral standard? The answer is that Moran has not failed these tests. He is an independent person who speaks out on issues as he sees them. Who can forget that he was in a tiny minority in Congress that had the courage to oppose the war in Iraq?
Alexandrianews.org urges voters to choose Moran on November 2. Regardless of your choice, however, we urge you to get out and vote.