Saturday, March 21, 2009

Creigh Deeds - A Vision for Virginia's Future

(UPDATE: Lowell at Blue Virginia now has posted a video from last night's on-the-record dinner in which Creigh speaks about these issues. His words are much better than mine could ever hope to be. You can see the video here)  

(Update 2 - Lowell has more video up of Creigh discussing energy issues and social issues. Also, hear Creigh tell Lowell in answer to one question, "Well, figure it out, Lowell," and in response to another, "You're a smart guy. Do some research." Funny stuff, watching Creigh charm the blogosphere!

As the primary is moving into the final ninety days, I have been troubled by the failure of any of the campaigns to really articulate an overarching vision – as distinct from a specific policy position on this issue or that -- for Virginia’s future – that one thing that sets the candidate apart and that will profoundly improve the lives of everyone in the Commonwealth. This was true even for the candidate I support, Creigh Deeds.

Tonight changed that. Tonight I heard Creigh Deeds describe a vision of what his term as Governor would mean for Virginians, how he would achieve it, and why he is the person to accomplish it. Creigh spoke with genuine conviction about his desire to transform Virginia politics to take control of our government away from the entrenched political and moneyed interests that currently command it and return to its rightful place, we the people.

He is right, of course. At the end of the day, government must both serve and reflect the needs and desires of the electorate. When it fails to do so, public confidence and trust is eroded. The current system of redistricting makes this impossible.  

Second, Creigh notes that a Virginia governor has 48 months to accomplish his goals, and it is imperative to hit the ground running. As the only candidate to serve in the General Assembly this past session, as the only candidate to have served in a body in which Democrats were in the majority, and with eighteen years of experience in Richmond, he make a convincing argument that he understands the needs of Virginia and knows his way around state government in order to deliver, not just talk about, the pragmatic solutions that Virginians need.  

Creigh’s approach to the Commonwealth’s considerable transportation issues is an example. He doesn’t pit region against region when he discusses transportation. Creigh flatly asserts an obvious truth: Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are the economic engines that fuels the commonwealth, and ensuring adequate transportation in those regions benefits all Virginians. At the same time, those prosperous regions will benefit if economic opportunity is developed in all parts of the Commonwealth, so that regions that currently are depressed are able to share a greater burden of Virginia’s needs.  

Creigh spoke at a small dinner for several bloggers -- me, Lowell Feld (Blue Virginia), Ben Tribbett (NLS), and James Martin (New Dominion Project), as well as several of Creigh’s staffers, including campaign manager Joe Abbey. We met an Arlington restaurant where we ate some terrific pizza and drank a few beers. The casual setting and good feeling at the table allowed for plenty of give and take between Creigh and the bloggers. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

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