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Grading the 48th House of Delegates Candidates' Blue Virginia Questionnaires

by: lowkell

Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 09:20:42 AM EDT

I wanted to do this ranking for a few main reasons. First, to give people a one-stop shop for links to all 7 of the 48th House of Delegates candidates' Blue Virginia Qs and As. Second, to provide a summary of the responses by each candidate. And third, to grade them, from a progressive and environmentalist perspective. So, first, here are the links to the interviews, in the order they were turned in.

1. Andrew Schneider; 2. Atima Omara; 3. Dave Boling; 4. Paul Holland; 5. Rip Sullivan; 6. Yasmine Taeb; 7. Jacqueline Wilson

Now, here's a summary of each candidates' responses, plus a grade. The candidates will now be ranked from best to worst (on an "A+" to "F" scale), based on their answers.

Paul Holland gets an "A" for his answers, which are excellent across the board. Nice job -- Holland is definitely one of the top choices for Democrats going to the caucus Sunday to consider voting for, either #1 or #2!

Rip Sullivan also gets an "A" for his answers, which are also excellent across the board, and which also put in in the top 2 candidates I believe Democrats should seriously consider Sunday! I particularly like his pledge " to NEVER accept any campaign contributions from Dominion Power" and his thoughts on how to help elect Democrats around the state and build a Democratic and progressive House majority. I'm also impressed that he called out Governor McAuliffe for his wrong-headed support for offshore drilling and Tim Kaine for his "biggest mistake" - signing the estate tax repeal into law. I do disagree with Sullivan that criticizing Bill Howell's outrageous behavior amounts to getting "caught up in negativity," or that we're ever going to get anything done with the likes of these Tea Party crazies. But that's a minor quibble, more stylistic than anything I think. Other than that, though, Sullivan's answers are superb.

There's More... :: (27 Comments, 1039 words in story)

The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Migrants

by: Dan Sullivan

Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 07:17:44 AM EDT

July 4 at Monticello photo 140704July4atMonticello_zps2a5cb517.jpgImmigration status neither confers nor denies basic human rights. How anyone arrives in America does not affect their status as humans. We do not have a spotless record and to pretend we do is shameful. Fortunately not ubiquitous, our inexcusable cases of exploitation are a close kept family secret.

Happy Independence Day. This week none other than Rush Limbaugh began framing the right wing excuses for the behavior of Americans in Lawrenceville and, now, Murrieta, north of San Diego. The purpose of Ellis Island, he bloviated, was to halt the spread of disease; poking at a spot that sparks fervor aimed at the children who've crossed our border. He sarcastically mocked the words on the Statue of Liberty. And, he seemed to argue that we are not a nation of immigrants. Tell that to the 11% of Virginians who are.

Recently, while waiting for a connection after a cancelled flight in Budapest, I struck up a conversation with a woman who I'd heard speaking English. Turned out that she is in the process of establishing residency in Germany. A naturalized American citizen, her family immigrated to the United States from Estonia after World War II. It had been a struggle to gain that status and it only occurred by happenstance. Sitting in a park in devastated Tallinn, her father struck up a conversation about his dream with a nun who coincidentally was with a Catholic organization working with sponsors for immigrants to the United States.

The family was eventually granted entry status and guided to settle in a small northwest Pennsylvania town where there was a job for her father. It was a company town, essentially owned by his employer. To "help" them settle, they were given credit at the company stores, payment for which was automatically deducted from his wages. It did not take her mother long to come to the realization that they were gradually falling further and further into debt with small hope of escaping a spiral into tacit servitude.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 441 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Friday Morning

by: lowkell

Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 06:54:35 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 4. Happy Independence Day! Also see President Obama's weekly address, in which he "commemorated Independence Day by noting the contributions and sacrifices from individuals throughout the history of this country -- from our Founding Fathers, to the men and women in our military serving at home and abroad."

*Court sides with Christian college on birth control ("In a blistering dissent, the three female Supreme Court justices said the court was retreating from assurances offered only four days ago in another challenge to the Affordable Care Act.")
*Fareed Zakaria: Identity, not ideology, is moving the world ("I don't recognize my country anymore, say Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck and many others on the right. The same line could be repeated by every one of those European nationalists who won in the polls in May.")
*The Energy Department Just Announced $4 Billion For Projects That Fight Global Warming
*Eugene Robinson: This July 4, governing in the spirit of revenge ("As we celebrate the Fourth of July, who can argue that our democracy is working the way the Founders intended? And who can deny that most of the blame for dysfunction must fall to the Republican Party?")
*Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices (Appalling as usual by Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas.)
*U.S. Jobs Report: 288,000 Positions Added ("Unemployment Falls to 6.1% as Prior Months' Gains Revised Upward")
*One Nation, Divisible? ("Is America in danger of fracturing into two countries, one secular, one religious?")
*The religious right's No. 1 obsession: Policing women's sex lives by any means necessary
*Clergy Protest Supreme Court By Handing Out Condoms At Hobby Lobby
*Va. state Sen. Marsh latest through politics' revolving door ("The lawmaker from Richmond was formally named a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control board.")
*McAuliffe names Algie Howell, Randy Wright to jobs
*Revenue shortfall could be more than $100 million larger
*Uber and Lyft working on becoming legal in Virginia
*Libertarian Sarvis sues elections board over ballot placement ("They are asking the court to strike down Virginia's law requiring Democrat and Republican candidates to be given the two top spots on ballots.")
*Progressive Voice: A Look Back and a Look Forward (column by former Delegate Bob Brink)
*Former Virginia Beach Delegate Wardrup dies
*Judge OKs McDonnell subpoenas of 3 Kilgores (Gotta love the Kilgore family...not!)
*Duke Energy behind schedule with coal ash cleanup
*Hurricane Arthur churns off coast of North Carolina
*A mostly fine Independence Day as Arthur passes by well to the east

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Jacqueline Wilson

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 22:20:27 PM EDT

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them (note that ALL of the candidates have now responded - thanks!). Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from Jacqueline Wilson.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond.
I believe my life experiences are so different than those of the other candidates.  I have moved so many times and traveled the world, and hardly felt at home until I moved to Arlington. A few experiences along the way were life-changing, but one of the most powerful was observing the 2002 elections in Kenya when a long-serving autocrat turned over power in a free and fair election.  I have seen democracy when it works, and I have seen it when it doesn't.  Effective democracy is a powerful, powerful force.

I also worked in state-level government in the Maryland capital, Annapolis during which time I learned much about the practice of government at the state level.  That experience contributed to more insights-I didn't know anyone when I first went to Annapolis, and few believed a true outsider could work her way up to the state capitol building.  I was inspired by the dedication and sincere commitment of the government officials and legislators, most of whom were there for the right reasons and trying hard to do the right thing.  At the same time, I found myself believing that public service required a true commitment and a strong character.  I would not be running for office if I did not believe I have the temperament, the guts, and the persistence to legislate successfully in a tough Richmond environment.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1449 words in story)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Yasmine Taeb

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 21:40:23 PM EDT

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them (note that 6 of the 7 candidates have now responded). Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from Arlington County Human Rights Commissioner Yasmine Taeb.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond.
As long as I can remember I have had a sense of civic responsibility. I believe participating in our political system by voting, joining political parties, calling our elected officials and publically supporting or opposing policies are all fundamental pillars of our democracy. As such I have always been engaged in civic life; whether it is by serving as a Commissioner on the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women, or on the Human Rights Commission.

Over the last several years, I have worked with and listened to the ideas of constituencies across the Commonwealth to help get Democrats elected. Furthermore, while working on Capitol Hill and serving as the national advocacy director for a civil and human rights advocacy group, I championed women's issues, immigration reform, and voting rights, among other pressing issues facing Virginians today.

My immigrant background has also shaped my perspective on the significance of civic engagement, and the power of voters to lead change for the betterment of their community. As an undocumented immigrant as a child, I went on to earn my citizenship and gain an immense appreciation for the values I believe make America great: equality, economic opportunity, and political rights for all. If given the opportunity by voters of the 48th district, I am hopeful that my experience and background will allow me to serve their interests to the utmost.  

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 1962 words in story)

We See Now More Clearly All that The Supreme Court Stole from the People in Bush v. Gore

by: Andy Schmookler

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 17:08:31 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

The decision in Bush v. Gore was so disgraceful on the face of it that the Court itself warned against using its "reasoning" in other cases. The five conservative justices elected Bush president.

After eight years -- after, that is, a couple of botched wars, and after the dismantling of financial regulation combined with the mishandling of monetary policy in the face of a hugely inflated housing bubble wrecking the American economy, and after the degradation of our political system -- we managed to get rid of the man the Supremes appointed president.

But this week reminded us, if any reminder were needed, that the impact of presidents outlive their terms in office. Because of Bush v. Gore, we now have Roberts and Alito on the Court. The Court that gave us Bush v. Gore was bad enough, but their decision ushered in a Court still worse.

And now, too, it becomes more visible what has been the essential purpose of the right's long and determined campaign to create this Court: to shift power from the American people to the Corporate system.

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 739 words in story)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Rip Sullivan

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 12:01:00 PM EDT

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them. Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from attorney and Democratic activist Rip Sullivan.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond.  
My wife, Beth, and I met in high school here in Northern Virginia, and all four of our kids have graduated from public schools here too. I've served on numerous boards and commissions in Northern Virginia over the past twenty-five years, and hope to bring my extensive experience in transportation, housing, education, and legal policy to Richmond.

2. What three issues are you most passionate about and why?  What specifically have you done to further those issues? What would be the first bill you'd introduce in the House of Delegates?
My first bill may well be to change the process for setting special elections in the wake of a resignation! It is hard to select just three issues. I would say access to justice and protecting the right to vote; affordable housing and homelessness; and education. My long resume fleshes this out, but my work at Legal Services and several bar foundations, my role as Counsel to the Virginia Obama campaign, my work on the Redevelopment and Housing Authority and with Homestretch all are part of the answer. As to education, my biggest contribution may well be fathering the world's best teacher - my daughter Corey - who keeps me straight on all things education- and teacher-related.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1564 words in story)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Paul Holland

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 10:51:19 AM EDT

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them. Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from environmental consultant and former Arlington County Park and Recreation Commission Chairman Paul Holland.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond.
I am a lifelong resident of Arlington. I attended Arlington's public schools and graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 1997. I received my undergraduate degree from Princeton and a graduate degree from Oxford University. Once completing graduate school, my wife, Caroline, and I settled in the 48th and looked forward to raising our family here. We now have one daughter, Amelia Grace, who will turn two on July 7.  

In my professional career, I work as an environmental consultant and specialize in conservation policy and land use planning. Here in Arlington, I have served in as a community volunteer for the last decade. I am former Chair of the County's Park and Recreation Commission and currently serve on the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission. I've worked as a rowing coach for Arlington Public Schools and volunteered as a member of the Superintendent's Sustainability Advisory Committee. I am particularly passionate about open space preservation and worked to ensure that both Potomac Overlook Regional Park and Rosslyn's Wilson School site remain open space for the enjoyment of Arlington County residents.  Finally, I currently serve as an elected member (Communications Director) of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

I have the support of a number of current and former local elected officials including Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Vice Chairman of the Arlington County Board, Mary Hynes, County Treasurer Frank O'Leary, Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos, and Sheriff Beth Arthur. These elected officials support my candidacy because they know my commitment to public service in Arlington and know I will bring a fair, level-headed and considerate approach as a member of the House of Delegates.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1501 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 06:40:28 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, July 3. Also, see Del. Bob Brink as he chokes up in his resignation speech to the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

*Supreme Court reveals its class bias ("...the justices continued to press their campaign to create an entirely new legal regime under which corporations enjoy rights never envisioned by our Founders or the generations who followed them." These people are right-wing radicals, totally out of the mainstream of 200+ years of Supreme Court decisions.)
*Obama's discontent with House GOP boils over (That should have happened back in 2009, when they made it clear they would do everything they could to make him - and more importantly, the country - "fail.")
*Rush Limbaugh: Women Wouldn't Need Birth Control If They Simply "Didn't Do A Certain Thing" (The voice - and face - of today's Republican Party is ugly in every way.)
*Benghazi suspect Abu Khattala's hearing shows merits of civilian courts (Right, so close Gitmo already!)
*Hobby Lobby Is Already Creating New Religious Demands on Obama
*Supreme Court Broadens Hobby Lobby Ruling to All Forms of Birth Control ("So much for Justice Alito's 'narrow' opinion.")
*Barack Obama says further reform of Wall Street needed
*Freedom riders celebrate Civil Rights Act anniversary in Richmond
*Breaking: Virginia Lifts Uber and Lyft Ban

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 154 words in story)

Video: 7 Democratic Candidates Announce for Virginia 48th House of Delegates District

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 22:14:25 PM EDT

The candidates are, in order, Rip Sullivan (introduced by Patrick Hope), Paul Holland (introduced by Ed Holland), David Bolling (introduced by Peg Willingham), Andrew Schneider (introduced by Colleen Wright), Yasmine Taeb (introduced by Atif Qarni), Atima Omara (introduced by Marj Signer), and Jackie Wilson (no introduction). It was a packed house tonight at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, with just over 3 days to go until Democrats choose their nominee to replace Bob Brink as their delegate from the 48th House of Delegates district (note: see the comments section for the rest of the videos).

P.S. I hear the ballot order is:  Jacqueline H. Wilson; Richard C. "Rip" Sullivan; Andrew F. Schneider; Yasmine P. Taeb; Atima Omara-Alwala; Paul A. Holland; David A. Boling.

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

Video: Frank O'Leary Announces Retirement as Arlington County Treasurer

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 22:06:17 PM EDT

Frank O'Leary has done a superb job as Arlington County Treasurer since 1983. Among his many accomplishments, O'Leary lowered the County's tax delinquency rate from around 9% in 1982 to less than 0.4% now. He will definitely be missed, but most importantly he leaves Arlington in great shape and in good hands. Thank you.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Dave Boling

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 14:40:29 PM EDT

(UPDATE: Note that after I inquired, the Boling campaign clarified that it had mean to answer "yes" to question 7e (on gun safety measures) and "no" to 7f (on a gas tax and revenue-neutral carbon tax). - promoted by lowkell)

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them. Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation Vice President Dave Boling.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond.
I served as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice for ten years fighting monopolies that rip off consumers and hard-working families. I also worked for three years as Chief-of-Staff to a Democratic Congressman Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), and we worked tirelessly to pass the Affordable Care Act.  

I have worked hard for Democratic candidates-volunteering and walking from house-to-house in Arlington, knocking on doors to help elect Democratic candidates like Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe. I know you have to do more than talk the talk as a Democrat-you have to walk the walk, too.

2. What three issues are you most passionate about and why?  What specifically have you done to further those issues? What would be the first bill you'd introduce in the House of Delegates?
I'm strong believer that we are judged by how we treat those with the least. By that measure, Republicans in Richmond are letting down not only the 400,000 people who now go without Medicaid but also I don't think they are representing the compassionate values and principles of so many citizens of the Commonwealth. They are putting politics ahead of people.  

I applaud Attorney General Herring in his fight for marriage equality, and I stand strong with him in that fight. We should create a Commonwealth that is welcoming to all people. We'll be better for it.  

And I think that we should do all we can to reduce the crushing burden of student loan debt that so many young graduates of colleges struggle with.  It is unfair that a homeowner can refinance a mortgage but that a struggling graduate of college cannot do so. This ought to be changed.

3. How would you describe yourself ideologically - "progressive," "moderate," "liberal," or something else?  How does your record of votes, endorsements, employment, and other activities reflect your political ideology?
I'm a proud Democrat who believes we can get things done if we go on offense and fight for the progressive agenda. When I was serving as Chief of Staff to Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, we had to push hard to get the Affordable Care Act passed-a landmark progressive bill. We fought hard on fair pay for women. And to end discrimination in the workplace against the LGBT community.  We have our scars, but we earned them advocating for a progressive agenda.

I now work at a non-profit created by Congress to honor former U.S. Senate Democratic Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield. Mansfield was a great Democrat and the longest serving Majority Leader in the history of the Senate. Under his leadership, the Democrats passed Medicaid, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other progressive legislation. This is a remarkable legacy-I feel lucky to be able to work at a non-profit that celebrates that legacy.  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1396 words in story)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Atima Omara

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:54:47 AM EDT

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them. Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from Young Democrats of America President Atima Omara.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond
I have spent my entire life working in Democratic politics. As the child of immigrants, women's rights advocate, and a proud graduate of two Virginia public universities, I know how important advancing progressive issues, like the Virginia DREAM Act, funding for higher education, and expanding Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians is to our present and the future of our Commonwealth.

2. What three issues are you most passionate about and why? What specifically have you done to further those issues? What would be the first bill you'd introduce in the House of Delegates?
a. Access to Healthcare: Healthcare decisions should be made between a patient and their healthcare provider. From women's health to expanding Medicaid, we need to get the government out of the doctor's office and let doctor's provide healthcare.

b. Meeting the Resource Needs of Educational Institutions: As a proud graduate of Virginia’s public schools and two public universities, I know how important these institutions are to ensuring Virginia has a workforce prepared to compete in a 21st century global economy.

c. Immigration Reform/Passing Virginia's DREAM Act: As the child of two immigrants, I know the struggles immigrants face. We need to develop a system that doesn't push people into the shadows but creates a pathway for citizenship.

My first bill would be a measure directing the Secretary of Education to conduct a comprehensive study of the true costs, benefits, and necessary infrastructure to provide pre-K education to every student in the Commonwealth.

3. How would you describe yourself ideologically - "progressive," "moderate," "liberal," or something else?  How does your record of votes, endorsements, employment, and other activities reflect your political ideology?
I have always been a proud progressive. Every public position I've taken, every article I've written, and every candidate I've supported is a proud progressive.  

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1134 words in story)

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:34:46 AM EDT

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 2. Also, check out the video of Del. Patrick Hope at last night's candlelight vigil in Arlington, as he calls on Speaker Howell to stop obstructing Medicaid expansion, and for Gov. McAuliffe to expand it unilaterally if he has to.

*As cease-fire expires in Ukraine, violence escalates
*Kerry warns Russia as peace talks falter
*Benghazi suspect's fervor drove attack, prosecutors say
*After Hobby Lobby, These 82 Corporations Could Drop Birth Control Coverage (Just appalling, shows what happens when we put a bunch of corporatist, theocratic Republicans in charge of the Supreme Court. The answer: vote Democratic!)
*Obama mocks Congress on highway spending (The answer yet again: vote Democratic to avoid Republican obstructionism and extremism!)
*Arthur strengthens off Florida while tourists watch forecast
*Juan Williams: GOP has lost O-Care fight
*Morrissey fires back at charges of illicit relationship
*Jeff Schapiro: Veteran GOP hand caught in party's crosshairs ("Ray Allen is a slash-and-burn Republican campaign consultant with numerous impressive - and bloody - wins. Allen is now best known for the race he wasn't supposed to lose: U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's shocker defeat for renomination to a poorly financed nobody, Dave Brat.")

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 197 words in story)

Blue Virginia 48th House of Delegates District Q&As: Andrew Schneider

by: Laura Saul Edwards

Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 22:21:21 PM EDT

I've sent questionnaires to all the announced 48th House of Delegates district Democratic candidates. Given the extremely short time frame we're dealing with - election THIS Sunday! - I'm going to print candidate responses as I receive them. Also note that given how frantic these candidates' schedules are, I'm not going to mark them down for brevity, although obviously I'd prefer fully-fleshed-out answers if possible, and certainly at least a short response to every question. With that, here are the responses from Yorktown Civic Association President Andrew Schneider.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and specifically, what in your background and/or temperament makes you the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to represent the 48th House of Delegates district in Richmond.  
I am a lifelong Arlingtonian dedicated to service and a commitment to making a difference. I have built my professional career around listening, communicating and advocating on behalf of people and communities.  Whether as the Civic Association President, serving on the boards of local non-profits, or in my professional life of working to engage and grow the William & Mary network, the skills I have developed and honed over the past 15 years have prepared me for this stage.  I am excited and thrilled to be considered for this seat and commit to listening and fiercely advocating for the needs, interests and views of the folks of the 48th District- every single day - the same way I have my whole life.

2. What three issues are you most passionate about and why?   What specifically have you done to further those issues?
I am committed to expanding the economic pie for all Virginians - Arlington is one of the wealthiest counties in the Country and yet we have thousands of Virgininans without health care and thousands of children on free and reduced lunch.  I am committed to reforming our mental health care system and working to ensure that those who need care can get it, and I am passionate about children.  As the father of two schoolage children, I am committed to ensure they and their peers will be able to compete in a rapidly changing regional and global economy.   That said, I want to keep our kids safe- sensible and stronger gun laws will be a constant focus of mine in Richmond.  

What would be the first bill you'd introduce in the House of Delegates? Election reform that would prevent a snap election like this one from ever being able to happen again.  

3. How would you describe yourself ideologically - "progressive," "moderate," "liberal," or something else?  How does your record of votes, endorsements, employment, and other activities reflect your political ideology?
I am a lifelong Democrat that has supported local and national politics since I was a teenager.  I worked on Mary Hynes' first campaign for school board when I was in high school, volunteered for Mark Warner when he was considering running for President in 2005 and 2006, Tim Kaine when he ran for Governor in 2005, and worked for Bill Dolan when he ran for Attorney General in 1993.  I am proud of my progressive and liberal values and at my ability to not let my ideology get in the way of working with many folks of different political persuasions and viewpoints. Part of the reason I obtained my MBA was to better learn how the business community works and views the world.   If you look at my entire record of service and the commitment that my parents, Ginna and Al Schneider, instilled in me through their acts of community service, volunteerism and community engagement, I stand for progressive, compassionate open minded engagement.

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 1500 words in story)
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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