Saturday, March 7, 2009

In Local News ...

I live in the city of Virginia Beach, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We're electing a new governor this November. In Virginia, no one can serve two consecutive terms as governor, so our current Governor Tim Kaine will not be seeking reelection. He'll have his hands full as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, anyway.

Before I continue, I want to ask a question of all the Virginians reading this blog: do you know who the candidates for governor are this year? Not do you know where they stand on the issues, or what their current or past job titles have been, or if they've ever fallen behind on their taxes, or if they've ever been in trouble with the law; do you know their names?

What about the candidates for lieutenant governor? For those who don't know, it's not like a presidential election. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor from the same party still run separately. Currently, we have a Democratic governor and a Republican lieutenant governor. Do you know what the lieutenant governor does, besides step up if the governor steps down?

Do you know if there are any other elections taking place in Virginia this year, at either the state or local level? Do you know who your representatives in the state legislature are, or even your city council representatives? You probably know your mayor's name, but what about the vice mayor?

The elections aren't until November, of couse, but how early is "too early"? People talk all the time about wasted votes, but you don't have to wait until election day to make your vote count. We're only dealing with Virginia, after all; we're not running a national campaign here. You have plenty of time to make a real difference.

I'd say start by learning what you don't know. Find out about elections in your area, who your choices are and what they believe. I know a lot of people are tempted to vote a straight party ticket, but there's more to "hope and change" than simply doing the same thing over and over. I'll get you started.

The GOP candidate for governor of Virginia is Bob McDonnell, our current attorney general. He is running unopposed on the Republican side. Our current lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling, is up for reelection. On the Democratic side, the candidates for governor are former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Representative R. Creigh Deeds of Bath Co., and Brian J. Moran, a former state delegate from Alexandria. The lieutenant governor race is even more crowded. Former state Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner, Russell Co. businessman Jon Bowerbank, former gubernatorial aide Mike Signer, and Pat Edmonson of the Virginia Beach School Board are all in the running on the Democratic side. As you can see, the Democrats have quite a bit to do before the June primary, when they choose their candidates for the top two spots on the ticket.

Now you know their names; it's time to learn who they are.

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