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November 17, 2004

Getting It Right, Right Here In Virginia

It's been two weeks, and the post mortems and conspiracy theories seem to have no end. Earlier today someone forwarded me an email from Elizabeth Edwards and the new One America Committee, perhaps a signal that it is time to move on.

So many people have said, "What is going to happen in the next four years, it is so long until the next election."

Those people couldn't be more wrong.

We'll have an election here in Virginia on Dec. 14 to fill the vacancy left by Republican Thelma Drake's ascension to Congress. Our focus as a party between now and the next 28 days will be to help Democrat Paula Miller win that seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

We'll have an election here in Virginia in June to decide in a primary who will represent our party as nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Seven candidates are running for these two places on the ticket--a sign that our Democratic Party bench here in Virginia is full of excellent, qualified future leaders.

And we'll have an election here in Virginia on November 8th that will determine the future direction of our Commonwealth for many years to come. Not only will we be deciding on a new Governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, but we will also be electing 100 members to the House of Delegates. Virginia is rare in the nation in terms of holding off year elections, so 2005 offers everyone a real chance to get involved and make a difference, right here in our state. Help Tim Kaine, and get to know the other candidates in the field. Keep participating. It matters.

It's easy to feel despondent and look for conspiracies in the outcome of the 2004 election. But in Virginia, there is much to celebrate as Democrats. In 2003, we gained three seats in the House of Delegates--a sincere victory, since redistricting was intended to make such gains impossible and pundits said we couldn't do it. But we did. Sixty percent of all locally elected officials--sheriffs, members of boards of supervisors and city councils, commissioners of revenue--are Democrats. We remain committed to building that farm team. In 2001, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine carried our party to victory, at a time when, again, the pundits said, "It can't be done." But they did it.

We're getting it right because our party leaders, Warner and Kaine, are approaching the issues right. Just today, the Wall Street Journal carries a column by Gerald Seib (requires registration) about the Governor's potential as a national Democratic Party leader--similar to other stories that have run in newspapers across the country. In Seib's story, he describes Warner as "a moderate Southern governor who knows how to win in those red states, who is able to win over Republicans and who can speak to the middle on social issues." We couldn't agree more.

When the door closed on November 2nd, it meant the beginning of the 2005 election cycle here in Virginia. For us, there is no time to ponder the results of yesterday; we'll leave that to the chattering classes. There is no waiting around for four years from now. The time is now, and the future of our Virginia depends on us.


Posted by laura at November 17, 2004 04:01 PM