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October 30, 2014 Published in Editorials

Election Choices

This coming Tuesday is Election Day in Virginia. Voters will decide on a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Congressman and vote on a constitutional amendment.

The race for Senate features incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Warner, a former Governor, against political insider and former lobbyist Ed Gillespie, a Republican. Robert C. Sarvis, a small business owner, lawyer and IT specialist, is running as a Libertarian.

This campaign has featured massive amounts of negative advertising in the Republican attempt to gain a Senate seat in Virginia. Senator Warner is running on his record. Mr. Gillespie is running on a program that he claims would stimulate economic growth. Mr. Sarvis is running against the major parties and their candidates.

Mr. Gillespie’s program for economic growth leaves a lot to be desired. His five points are either longstanding partisan approaches or rather tired old saws like “Education Reform”.  Another item, “unleashing America’s energy production” has already been in progress for a decade as evidenced by the vast additional amounts of oil and gas flowing from American wells. His five point program will do little to enhance economic growth. Mr. Gillespie’s party has, over recent years, displayed little appreciation for what actually does.

Mr. Sarvis ran for Governor in the last election and drew a good number of votes. It remains to be seen if that will continue in this election where the two major party candidates seem to be well liked by their own Parties.

We believe that Senator Warner deserves reelection.  He has been a moderate, long-serving public servant who actually has had success with bipartisan action. This country needs more cooperation between the parties and fewer attack ads. We are proud to endorse Senator Warner.

The retirement of long-serving Member of Congress Jim Moran opened up the Eighth Congressional District. There are five candidates running for the seat. Republican Micah Edmond has never held elective office but has a background in defense and foreign affairs and has served on Capitol Hill as a committee staff member. Democrat Don Beyer was Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland for four years.

Jeffrey Carson, a Libertarian, has served in the Armed Forces and worked as a contractor for Google. Gerard “Gerry” Blais, an Independent Green, is an IT professional and intelligence analyst who is now a graduate student. Gwendolyn Beck, an Independent, is an author and a financial planner with Morgan Stanley. Like Mr. Edmond, none of these candidates has ever held elective office.

It is not easy for Independents or third-party candidates to get themselves and their issues out for consideration. We are skeptical of the Libertarian approaches to our significant problems. Just leaving things alone in the housing area brought forth the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. We also are skeptical of candidates who seek high political office without any sort of track record in local or state level politics.

Among the candidates for the Eighth Congressional District, Don Beyer stands alone as having served both as an elected and an appointed public official. He, like Senator Warner, has a track record of working with Republicans to find solutions to difficult issues such as Welfare Reform. We believe in the value of demonstrated leadership and endorse Don Beyer for Congress.

Voters are also being asked to vote yes or no on an amendment to allow the Virginia legislature to exempt spouses of military personnel killed in action from real property taxes on their principal residences in Virginia. This piece of legislation is not well explained but it is clear that the benefit is very limited. The measure was passed unanimously in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. If a member of the military is killed serving his or her country then it does seem right to ease the burden on the surviving spouse and his or her children. We recommend a vote for the measure although we note that the actual costs will be borne by local governments and that what seems easy to do now in an era of limited engagements could prove significantly more costly if a general war were to break out.

Once again we would like to remind everyone that a photo ID is required to vote at the polls. The Elections Office will furnish one to voters who do not have one but this must be done before you vote and cannot be done at the polls. Please remember to bring a photo ID to the polls with you. Whatever your views are please go vote. Make your voice heard.

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