Finally, perhaps one of the most touted presidential elections in history approaches, and fingernails are being worn to a nub from the suspense. In case youve ingested so much presidential hubbub that the local elections took a backseat, brush up on your Congressional and Senatorial candidates before the polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
United States Congress
Mark Ellmore, Republican
Mark Ellmore is attempting a rare feat, one many have tried and failed at in the past 16 years: defeating Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) for a Congressional seat. But after a lifetime of pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, he thinks he is the man that can finally do it.
Ellmore said that his commitment to the community (people, not politics) and his work ethic are reasons he is running for Congress. I have experienced all the pain and heartache and trouble that many of the people in our community have experienced, he said. We need to make sure that everyone in this district is treated equally and fairly.
His main local concern is transportation. Citing gridlock and the inability to expand roads, Ellmore said he wants to emphasize new, creative solutions, such as tax credits for those who bicycle to work and increasing participation in telework programs. He supports expanding Metro to Dulles via a tunnel, and he criticized Moran for not getting it done during his 17 years in Congress.
But for Ellmore, a fiscal conservative, the big issue is taxes. We cant continue to support a model that says You know what, we want to increase your taxes, then we want to increase federal spending, Ellmore said when asked why voters should replace Moran. I think the country is looking for change and that we need common-sense servants.
Ron Fisher, Independent Green
You might not know it yet, but Ron Fisher is running to represent Virginias 8th District in Congress. He is a member of the Independent Green Party of Virginia and a retired Navy captain who taught sailors how to operate nuclear reactors.
His time in the Navy and the commensurate responsibility he carried are reasons he thinks he would make a good congressman. Submarine crews must be completely self sufficient, must be able to work together as one, and must have foresight, Fisher declares on his website, and he said that he learned what it truly means to be responsible while serving.
In an otherwise uncharacteristically polite House race, Fisher seems to be the only candidate to vociferously and frequently criticize his opponents. Both Ellmore and [incumbent Representative Jim Moran] support continuing the occupations/wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for increased, unneeded, defense spending, he wrote in an e-mail. Both of them and their parties receive/will receive massive contributions from defense contractor and oil company executives.
Jim Moran, Democrat (Incumbent)
By now, almost everyone in District 8 knows Representative Jim Moran. At times, Moran seems omnipresent in the community he even admits he used to be compulsive about it.
Moran came to Alexandria as part of a program where he earned a masters in public administration but in return had to serve in the federal government for three years. He worked on programs for migrant farm workers. It caused me to be much more progressive in my thinking than I ever would have been, Moran said, describing his travels across the southwest and the exploitation he saw. I used to read and believe in Ayn Rands philosophy but I realized things dont work that way, Moran said, explaining how he got involved in politics. Theres a lot of injustice and even collective evil, and government is too often complicit.
Moran said one of his legislative priorities, if re-elected, is to forge a national commitment to early childhood education. Right now, our workforce is not competitive in many parts of the country, he said. It is in the Washington area but in a lot of places in the country, they just are not prepared to meet the challenges of the global economy, and a lot of it is what happens in the first five years.
United States Senate
Mark Warner, Democrat
Former Virginia Governor Mark Warners ability to venture full speed into talking points invokes his experience as a businessman and politician. He has taken risks on the business side, charging into his first two moneymaking ventures only to fail before succeeding in the cellular telephone industry. Likewise, when Warner talks about passing past and future legislation, timidity does not seem like an option.
Warner is running for Senate against Republican opponent and the governor that preceded him, Jim Gilmore. He hopes to build on his bipartisan reputation in an election year enveloped by the idea of party cooperation. Currently, its also an election enveloped in an economic crisis; Warner says his past experience with Virginias budget gives him an edge.
On Iraq, Warner said Iraqis should take more responsibility for their country. I think youve got to go to the Iraqis and say, Youre sitting on $70 billion of oil profits. Its time for you to take more responsibility for your country, so that America can utilize the money for energy development at home, he said. Warner also said he favors putting additional troops into Afghanistan.
Jim Gilmore, Republican
This years race for Senate features two former governors of Virginia. But as Republican Jim Gilmore is quick to point out, even though Democrat Mark Warner succeeded him in office, the two have little in common. Gilmore says that his record as governor, commitment to individual liberty and his personal integrity make him the best choice for voters in November.
His time as governor of Virginia saw both success and tumult. Gilmore hired teachers as promised, and he signed a bill that lowered and froze tuition at public universities. He also implemented his car-tax-reduction plan, but he encountered formidable resistance from even his own party when an economic slowdown called into question the feasibility of the further cuts. However, Gilmore forced the reduction through over the objections of the Virginia Senate by cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in other government spending.
Gilmore also had the challenge of leading the state in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon and its attendant effects on local security and economic concerns.
– Alexander Hart
and David Sachs