To the editor:
As Glen Besa, who calls himself “a ‘small D Democrat’ before … a ‘capital D Democrat,’” told the Chesterfield Observer the day early voting opened, “I … know some capital D Democrats who would like to gerrymander now that they’re in charge.”
While Democrats were struggling in the minority, they promised to end gerrymandering, which they blamed for thwarting the majority’s will by keeping Republicans in control of the legislature. But it is hard to imagine an act of political dishonesty more blatant than the vast majority of House Democrats’ abrupt “volte face” at the prospect of their being able to do a blue gerrymander now that they control the legislature and governorship.
We owe a debt of thanks to nine honest Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates who resisted partisan pressure and voted for allowing the redistricting commission constitutional amendment to proceed to referendum next month. They are: Dawn Adams, David Bulova, Dan Helmer, Steve Heretick, Sally Hudson, Ken Plum, Sam Rasoul, Suhas Subramanyam and Schuyler VanValkenburg. All Virginia Senate Democrats except John Edwards and Scott Surovell supported the redistricting constitutional amendment.
The Virginia Democratic Party’s virtual convention on June 20 to 21 voted 1,469-233 to oppose the redistricting constitutional amendment via a resolution saying redistricting reform might mean “loss of the Democratic majority in the House of Delegates as early as 2021 and the Senate by 2023” and potentially leave Democrats “unable to retake the majority in either body.”
We owe a debt of thanks particularly to Democratic Senators Mamie Locke and Louise Lucas, who worked with redistricting reform organization OneVirginia2021, for decrying their party’s vote. OneVirginia2021 Executive Director Brian Cannon has said that, while not perfect, “… this reform will end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia.”
And closer to home, we need to thank former Mayor Allison Silberberg, who serves on OneVirginia2021’s leadership council, for so consistently putting principle before party. For all the years during which establishment Democrats whined about gerrymandering and urged voters to support them to end it, recent events show that their only objection was that they were unable to be the ones doing it.
The state Democrat party’s vote against the redistricting constitutional amendment quantifies the degree to which power has corrupted the party establishment. Every honest Alexandria Democrat who is unafraid to buck the political establishment, along with Republicans, independents and third-party supporters, should vote “yes,” for the redistricting constitutional amendment, when they cast their ballots.
-Dino Drudi, Alexandria