MAY 2010

MAY 2010

CONTENT

Message from the Chair

National Issues and Reports

Report from Congressman Gerry Connolly

8th Congressional District Report

10th Congressional District Report

Supreme Court Decision Trumps People’s Will

What Democrats Have Accomplished

State Issues

A Wink and a Nod

FCDC Denounces Virginia Attorney General Opinion

Local Issues and Reports

Supervisor Sunday

Hunter Mill Report

Providence Report

Sully Report

Lee Report

Braddock Report

Springfield Report

Mason Report

Dranesville Report

Special Reports

Passing of William Parrish

Strife in Times of Change

Fliers

Calendar


MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR

Rex Simmons, FCDC Chair

This is the first edition of The Democrat in an entirely electronic format.  The Democrat should be an informative newsletter with timely information about the Fairfax County Democratic Committee; insights on political issues in our community, the commonwealth, and the nation; and status reports from Democratic candidates and their campaigns that will help us get them elected and keep them in office.

You will notice some added articles and commentary in this month’s edition.  In addition, there are some of the reports you have been familiar with from our past printed editions.  For now, the format will be simple because it can be produced at a lower cost and facilitate easier navigation through the document.

I would like to see The Democrat continuously improve.  I have appointed a temporary Communications Task Force, chaired by Tom Goldsmith from Hunter Mill, to recommend further improvements.  I welcome any suggestions you have, and you can send them directly to me or to Tom.  Also, I am asking for a volunteer who would be Editor-in-Chief and who will help carry out this vision.  My email address is RexSimmons@gmail.com and Tom’s email is Tom@tomgoldsmith.com.

One of the most important events for FCDC this year is our annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Sunday evening, May 23 at the Tysons Corner Hilton.  Please plan to attend.  For information and reservations, go to www.fairfaxdemocrats.org.

NATIONAL ISSUES AND REPORTS

Report from Congressman Gerry Connolly

Election Day is only 6 months away and it is critical that we mobilize, energize, and educate our Fairfax Democrats now so that we have strong turnout at the polls on November 2nd.

Six months seems like a long time, but it will be here before we know it.  Midterm elections always result in a substantially lower turnout than presidential election years so it is important that we redouble our efforts this year.  I assure you that this election with be anything but a cake walk.

I appreciate the hard work and planning that Chair Rex Simmons, the Steering Committee, and many of you on FCDC are already putting into the process.

Over the last 14 months in the U.S. House of Representatives, I have accomplished much of what I pledged to do during the 2008 campaign despite Republican obstructionism and misleading rhetoric that has scared many voters.

We have turned the corner on the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Here in Fairfax, my efforts in Congress have helped save the jobs of hundreds of teachers, kept class sizes down, and helped county government minimize the impact of the sluggish economy on our children. I have brought hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation funds into the county for Rail to Dulles, completion of the Fairfax County Parkway, the Fair Lakes Interchange, and other regional transportation priorities.

I supported our successful effort in the House to take concrete steps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and promote renewable energy sources and green jobs.  I voted to stand with middle-class taxpayers in Northern Virginia by enacting real Wall Street reform that holds these elite investment banks accountable for their actions and I championed the new law that clamps down on the credit card companies and their abuse of consumers.  I was also proud to support passage of the largest single tax cut in history for small businesses and 95 percent of all Northern Virginians.

Most recently, we enacted meaningful health care reform that will prohibit insurance companies from dropping people when they get sick, allow parents to keep their kids on their insurance until they are 26, make it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and strengthen Medicare and close the prescription drug donut hole for our seniors.  Meanwhile, the two Republicans running to face me in November want to cater to the big insurance companies and repeal these meaningful reforms.

After Republicans cavalierly squandered record surpluses and left us with record deficits, we are slowly but surely putting our economy back on track.  But we still have work to do and we have to take more steps to reduce the deficit.  That is why I voted for the PAYGO law and other deficit reduction measures to rein in deficit spending.

Between now and November, we have to remind the voters that it was the Republicans who got us into this economic mess.  And we must fight rigorously for every vote because we cannot afford to turn Congress back over to the Republicans. They will undo everything we have done to improve our economy, worship at the altar of big oil, big banks, and the insurance companies, weaken Social Security and Medicare, and return our health care system to a path that is not sustainable.

We can’t let them do it, and together we will make sure they won’t.


8th Congressional District Report

Pixie Bell, 8th CD First Vice Chair

The 8th CD met on April 19 and voted to buy ½ page in each 8th CD jurisdictions J.J. dinner programs.  As most of you know, the State Democratic Party has vacancies in the office of Vice Chair for Finance and 1st Vice Chair for Organization.  The elections will be held at the June meeting, with filing deadline June 4, before 5 PM.  Congressman Moran attended the 8th meeting.  Charley Conrad gave us a quote from Jim “We have a lot to be proud of, a good record to run on,  a dynamic President who is delivering on his campaign promises and we are digging ourselves out of an enormous debt.”  Jim also announced that a growing number of insurance companies are voluntarily providing coverage for graduating college seniors under the age of 26 in advance of the September start date that is in the recently signed health insurance reform legislation.  He noted that Republicans in Congress who wish to repeal the health bill ought to be clear just what that will mean for these young adults.  In case anyone missed it, Jim is now Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.  See below pictures from a luncheon with Vicki Kennedy, and a dedication of Our Military Kids Program, securing $800,000 for fiscal year 2010 and supporting their request for $2.5 million this year, and Jim receiving an award from Everybody Wins!

Excerpt from Remarks by Congressman Jim Moran (VA-08) at Our Military Kids Awards Ceremony, April 2010

“The United States military has had to rely heavily on the Guard and Reserve to fight the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has been ongoing since 2001 and 2003 respectively.  While the families of the active duty soldiers live on or near military installations, the same cannot be said for many National Guard and Reserve families.”

“Our Military Kids provides grants for after-school activities for the children of Guard and Reserve service members who don’t live close to a military installation and therefore most pay out-of-pocket for sports, tutoring, and other recreational and educational activities. I’m proud to support this meaningful service.”

Moran has been a dedicated champion of the Our Military Kids program  in Congress, securing $800,000 for fiscal year 2010 and supporting the organization’s request for $2.5 million this year.


Congressman Moran received a Congressional Service Award from Everybody Wins, the DC reading mentoring program last month. The award was presented by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s wife Vickie. Rep. Moran’s staff has seven people reading in Everybody Wins’ power lunch reading program. Staffers spend one hour a week during their lunch break reading to children in the DC public schools.




10th Congressional District Report

Patsy Brown, 10th CD Vice Chair, Sam Crockett 10th CD Chair

Previously, the Tenth District Democratic Committee (10 CD) choose to hold a Primary as our method of nomination. However, only one person was certified as a candidate on the April 14th deadline, so the Primary was cancelled.

Our candidate is JEFF BARNETT of McLean.

Barnett’s Campaign Manager, Marc Abanto reports that Jeff has already set up two campaign offices: one is Herndon and one in McLean—with others to follow across the district.

On April 24, the 10 CD held its Spring Fling fundraiser at Dondoric Farm in The Plains, which is a historic home owned by one of our 10 CD members, Bob Zwick.

We bid adieu to long-time FCDC member and 10 CD member, Eileen Manning, who is moving to Florida. We will miss Eileen’s energy.

The next 10 CD meeting will be in the Barnett for Congress Herndon Office @ 2 pm on Sunday, May 23, 2010; after we adjourn, several of us will attend the FCDC JJ Dinner.

Virginia‘s 10th Congressional District includes all or portions of 10 jurisdictions:  all of Clarke, Frederick, Loudoun, and Warren Counties, and the Cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester; and portions of Fairfax, Fauquier, and Prince William Counties.

Supreme Court Decision Trumps People’s Will

A commentary by Sandra J. Klassen and Dan Walsch, National Affairs Committee Co-chairs

The Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision trumps the will of the people.  In rendering their decision, the majority in Citizens United v. FEC swept away decades of concerns expressed regarding corporate influence on US elections.  From Brandeis to Rhenquist to Marshall, justices have consistently, and at times unanimously, ruled that the interests of the public in maintaining fair and open elections extended to limiting corporate campaign expenditures.  It cannot be stressed enough how complete a reversal this ruling represents.

Corporations may now spend freely on elections.  Not only were the strictures of McCain-Feingold lifted, no new legislation attempting to implement any similar ordnance is likely to survive a court challenge.  The only corrective measure that could possibly return corporations to their status as instruments of law and not as legal persons would be a constitutional amendment, and the odds of such an amendment passing with the necessary three-quarters of the states ratifying it are remote.

The consequences of this ruling on federal elections are cause for concern.  However, it is the effect on the Supreme Court’s modus operandi that is equally chilling.  In 1936, Justice Brandeis stressed the importance of following the rules the Court had developed for its own governance, noting that making rulings on broad constitutional theories rather than narrow statutory grounds would create greater risk for error.  Few rulings have been as broad as the majority’s ruling in Citizens United.  For example, in 1986, Sandra Day O’Connor ruled with the majority upholding the anti-sodomy statutes in Bowers v Hardwick, which was subsequently overturned by Lawrence v Texas, in which O’Connor also concurred.  This might appear as “flip-flopping”.  However, as O’Connor noted in her concurring decision in Lawrence, the question in Bowers was one of due process while the question in Lawrence was one of equal protection.  O’Connor, despite identifying the legal and moral problem with Bowers knew her hands were tied by how the Supreme Court limited its rulings.  She was only able to correct the injustice 17 years later.

The majority did not just change 100 years of legal precedent, but also upset 220 years of Court precedent by choosing to move beyond the complaint filed by Citizens United and consider the First Amendment implications of the entire statute.  This established a precedent for future courts to make dramatic rulings that even alters the balance of powers.  Whereas before the Court could only go so far in contradicting the legislation passed by our elected members of congress and signed by our elected president.  In effect, the Court has taken the power to trump the will of the people in toto.

The only bright spot in this ruling is that eight members of the court concurred on the issue of transparency.  Congress may require ads disclose who is paying for them, and those regulations enforcing transparency might mitigate their influence.  Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Chris Van Hollen have started drafting legislation to those ends, and supporting that legislation is the most important thing we can do until a future court can find some way of overturning Citizens United.


What Democrats Have Accomplished

A commentary by Rex Simmons, FCDC Chair

Despite all the histrionics from the other side of the aisle, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have accomplished a lot.  As grassroots activists we should arm ourselves with a few facts to counter arguments we read and hear.  Here’s a primer.

Health Care. In March 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed landmark health care legislation that will reduce costs, increase access, and reform the insurance industry so that it can no longer discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.  The law will create jobs by providing relief to small businesses and is a critical step in reducing the nation’s long-term deficit.

Economy. After the near cataclysmic collapse of the economy at the end of the Bush Administration, the Dow Jones industrial average has rebounded 70 percent in the past 13 months, the economy added 162,000 jobs in March, the dollar has gained strength, and the United States economy is growing more rapidly than almost every other industrialized countries’ economy.  A lot of credit should be given to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which curbed the economy’s downturn, cut taxes for 95% of Americans, and created and maintained millions of jobs.

Children’s Heath Care. The Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIP) was signed into law in February 2009, expanding health care to four million additional children.  Bush had vetoed a similar law twice.

Equal Pay for Women. The Democratic Congress and President Obama enacted the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that seeks to end pay discrimination based on gender and corrects an injustice in a Supreme Court decision by allowing women to seek redress of such discrimination without time limitations.

Iraq and Afghanistan. As a candidate, President Obama pledged to responsibly end the war in Iraq. Shortly after taking office, he put forward a plan to remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of August 2010, while transitioning responsibility to the Iraqis for security and governance.  When the President took office, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan had grown increasingly perilous.  Despite being the launching point for the 9/11 attacks, our effort had been under-resourced, and al Qaeda and its extremist allies posed a growing threat.  The President’s review of our policy resulted in a new strategy with the goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda and its extremist allies.  Huge challenges remain, and our troops are bearing a remarkable burden.  But we have a strategy in place that provides the resources that this urgent challenge demands.

Hate Crimes Prevention Act. President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act, legislation that extends new federal protections to people who are victims of violent crime because of their gender, sexual orientation or identity, or disability.

Stem Cell Research. President Obama lifted a ban on federal funding of stem cell research, ensuring that scientific decisions are based on facts, not ideology.

Credit Card Reform. In 2009, Democrats sided with consumers and against predatory credit card companies.  In the recession, many consumers struggled with payments yet many in the credit card industry acted by raising rates and disguising or even changing the terms offered.  Democrats showed they will not tolerate the abuses of big banks and Wall Street.

Of course, this is only a partial list and much remains to be done with developing a climate and energy policy, bringing down unemployment, stemming the tide of home foreclosures, protecting our borders and reforming immigration policies, ensuring homeland security, making the world a safer place for our children, improving our schools, bringing down the budget deficit, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” protecting consumers from predatory lending, and ensuring financial institutions are appropriately regulated and do not come back for more bailouts.  Work is underway in all these areas, often in the face of unrelenting Republican and special interest opposition and obstruction.  We really are in an historic political debate over the future of our country.  Don’t let up.



STATE ISSUES

A Wink and a Nod

A commentary by Del. Ken Plum, House Democratic Caucus Chairman

April 9 was the 145th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Although hostilities ended that day, the war of words over the causes and outcomes of the Civil War continues to rage.  Governor Bob McDonnell contributed to the controversy by issuing a proclamation that recognized April as Confederate History Month and that shockingly addressed the “four year war between the states for independence.”  Nowhere in the proclamation could the words “slaves” or “slavery” be found until days later a correction was issued, after public outrage and attempts to defend the proclamation on educational and tourism grounds failed.

Days later the website of the Virginia Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans (www.scvva.org) continued to use the original language of the Governor’s proclamation sans any reference to slavery.  The site provides a link to thank Governor McDonnell for issuing the proclamation saying, “…if the proclamation does anything, it hopefully will be a nail in the coffin of political correctness, an insidious disease infecting our nation.”  There is no reference to what it does for historical accuracy.

Once again, Governor McDonnell appears with a wink and a nod to want to have it both ways.  The proclamation appeals to some of his most ardent supporters; they got what they wanted.  And when his biggest political contributor, Sheila Johnson, raised objections along with former Governor L. Douglas Wilder, he added a few words on slavery to appease them.  Which view truly reflects the personal position of the Governor?

This pattern of behavior is repetitive for McDonnell.  While unwilling to issue a longstanding Executive Order to protect state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and when over-shadowed on the issue by his Attorney General saying there was no legal authority to protect such workers, the Governor again backtracked after public outrage and issued an executive directive, but with no real effect on the subject. Wink, wink!

In his campaign for Governor he nodded to those who sought relief from traffic congestion stating that he had a 19-page plan, however during the legislative session that plan did not produce a single new mile of highway construction.  He winked at educational reform, but the bills he promoted will help only a small fraction of students, if any, at some distant time in the future.  His zigzag behavior from his base to trying to be a moderate has made him a regular target on late-night television.  Virginians need more than a wink and a nod from the Governor if we are to survive these challenging times.

FCDC Denounces Virginia Attorney General Opinion

At the March 23, 2010 County Committee meeting, FCDC members passed the following resolution unanimously with a show of hands.

“Whereas it is the birthright of every one of Virginia’s children to receive the best possible education; and

“Whereas no student can receive a proper education in an atmosphere of fear and discrimination; and

“Whereas Virginia’s public colleges and universities are among the best in the nation; and

“Whereas Virginia’s public colleges and universities will not be able to maintain their tradition of excellence unless professors, administrators, and all other personnel are selected without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation; and

“Whereas Virginia’s public college system was created by Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, which states “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” and that included among these rights is the right to an education in an open, non-hostile environment; and

“Whereas The United States Constitution provides that every person is entitled to equal protection; and

“Whereas the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States;

“The Fairfax County Democratic Committee hereby denounces the opinion letter issued by the Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II on March 4, 2010 to Virginia’s public colleges and universities advising these institutions that they are prohibited ‘from including sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ and ‘like terms in their non-discrimination policy….’ and asks the Attorney General to immediately rescind the opinion letter.”


LOCAL ISSUES AND REPORTS

Supervisor Sunday

Mary Ann Hovis, Vice-Chair Finance

On Sunday afternoon, April 11th, FCDC sponsored “Supervisor Sunday” in Reston. Members of the community took the opportunity to speak with members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors while enjoying refreshments. The Supervisors in attendance, Chair Sharon Bulova, Vice Chair and Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, and Dranesville Supervisor John Foust, gave an overview of current issues before the board and the status of this year’s budget. A question and answer period followed. Most questions concerned the county budget and its expected effect on various programs.  FCDC Chair Rex Simmons thanked the Supervisors for their attendance and informative discussion.

Hunter Mill Report

Bettina Lawton and Robert Haley, Hunter Mill Co-Chairs

The Hunter Mill Annual Lasagna Dinner fundraiser, held on Saturday April 10th, was a highly successful fundraising event and entertaining evening.  With music contributed by Miles Stiebel entertainment, the event included short talks by Congressman Jim Moran, Congressman Jerry Connolly, former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Chairman Sharon Bulova, and Hunter Mill’s own Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.  Delegate Ken Plum auctioneered an exciting live auction, and the many donated auction items included a week vacation to a seaside cottage in Nova Scotia.  Needless to say, everyone had all of the lasagna they desired.

At the Hunter Mill Democratic Committee February meeting at Dogwood Elementary School the members heard from Jeff Barnett and Richard Anthony, candidates in the Democratic primary for the 10th Congressional District seat currently held by Frank Wolf.  Additional discussion included Filler-Corn campaign activities; absentee voting, poll staffing, canvassing, phone banking, and flushing.  Further discussion included Precinct Captain status and VAN training, Officer status, FCDC Standing Committee status, and planning for the 2011 Hunter Mill Annual Lasagna Dinner.  Noteworthy announcements included the FCDC JJ dinner on May 23rd, and the HMDDC Picnic on July 24th.

The next HMDDC meeting will be held on April 15th, 7:30PM, at the Flint Hill Elementary in Vienna.  Please refer to the Hunter Mill web site calendar at www.huntermilldemocrats.org for other local area political events, and to the FCDC web site calendar at www.fairfaxdemocrats.org for Fairfax County wide events.

Providence Report

Carrie Nixon, Providence Chair and John Jennison, Member

MayFest is coming on Sunday, May 2nd! Please join us for Providence’s annual fundraiser, where attendees will be treated to live music by the Ruins, great food and drinks, live and silent auctions with Congressman Gerry Connolly starring as our auctioneer, and the best Progressive and Proud Democrats in our part of the county! MayFest tickets may be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/2010mayfest or at the door. Susan Weltz is hosting the event at her lovely home located at 2409 Rocky Branch, Vienna, 22181 (Oakton precinct). MayFest starts at 3pm.

Providence Dems were mesmerized on April 11th at the screening of 9500 Liberty, a documentary film that is a must-see for every Democrat!  The movie is an extremely well-documented portrayal of the anti-immigrant movement encouraged by Prince William County Republican elected officials. The hero is the chief of police. Delegate Jim Scott gives it two enthusiastic blue thumbs up! Special thanks to Tania Hossain, Susan Weltz and Gil Conrad for their work on this free party-building event.

PDDC’s “Progressive & Proud” stainless steel water bottles are here!  The water bottles will be available at FCDC meetings and PDDC events for a minimum contribution of $20.

Upcoming events: PDDC is sponsoring the Faces of Providence Global Bazaar on June 12th from 10am-3pm at Marshall High School.  We are currently seeking vendors and performers representing ethnic communities in Providence. Please contact Velma Massenburg at vburg@verizon.net if you are interested or have suggestions.  The event will include great food and activities for children.

The next full PDDC meeting is on June 22nd at 7:30pm.

Providence District puts on a going away party for two fantastic long time members who are moving out of Providence District. Patty Parker (left) and Colleen Leyrer (right), with Chair Carrie Nixon (center)

Sully Report

Dana Cimino, Sully Chair and Stu Bromberg, Member

A well attended Sully Democratic Committee meeting took place on Tuesday, April 6. The main focus was long term support of FCDC and our candidates in the fall elections.  We are already planning Back to School Nights, the preparation of personalized literature supporting President Obama’s programs and ramping up a letter writing campaign for neighborhood and local newspapers. Mark Abanto, Campaign Manager, and Dan Henshaw, Field Coordinator for Jeff Barnett’s 10th Congressional District Campaign brought us up to date on office openings, events and fundraisers. We also received a report on events and additional information on the 10th Congressional race; updates from the FCDC meeting including the hiring of two organizers and were reminded that there will be a retreat for precinct captains on May 16th. Please become an active member and join us for our next meeting. Your participation is essential to the success of the group and our candidates. Additional information may be found at our site www.sullydemocrats.org

Lee Report

Hugh Robertson and Steve Bunn, Lee Co-Chairs

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Opening Day fundraiser on April 10th.  We had a good turnout, lots of food, and fun in the sun including our own baseball game (later in the day).  Also thanks to our host, Carson Evans, and our Sponsors, Bernard Fagelson and Michael Wells.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, May 27th at 7:30pm in the home of Susie Warner at 6229 Edison Road.  We hope you will join us as we talk about our upcoming Fairfax JJ Dinner and plan for our Precinct parties.

Braddock Report

Jan Hedetniemi and Lynn Miller, Braddock Co-Chairs

Braddock District’s signature event is Derby Day and we welcome everyone to celebrate with us on Saturday, May 1st from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. at Kilroy’s Restaurant.  Join your fellow Democrats and our elected officials including newly elected Senator David Marsden and Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn!   Auction items will be plentiful as will food including shrimp and desserts.  The big screen television set on Kilroy’s back porch is a great way to watch the Derby and to cheer on your pick.

You can register and purchase tickets via the FCDC website here.

In other Braddock business, at its April meeting, the Committee voted to continue sponsorship of the Guinea Road clean-up project.  This is an effort that was under the able direction of Bob Donargo and called for an annual gathering of committee members to clean Guinea Road from Braddock Road to Little River Turnpike.  The committee wants to continue this project and will be identifying a Saturday morning date once Derby Day is behind us.

Looking forward to seeing as many as can attend on Saturday, May 1st at Kilroy’s!

Springfield Report

Springfield District congratulates our Democratic nominees for the U.S. House: Jeff Barnett (10th District) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (11th District).  We look forward to helping these two great candidates to victory in November!

The Springfield Dems are hosting two fun outings to the Potomac Nationals professional baseball club in Woodbridge.  Join us on Sunday, May 16 for the 1 pm game, in which our future Washington Nationals stars will take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a farm team for the Kansas City Royals.  Tickets are only $8!  Purchase yours today at www.SpringfieldDemocrats.org.

Mason Report

Rachel Rifkind, Mason Chair

Thanks to all Mason Committee members who helped with the thank you party.  Thanks to Ross and Kaye Kory for opening up their lovely home. It could not have been a better day for our annual thank you to all of our volunteers. Congressman Connolly joined us and offered his thanks as well and made sure we all did not leave the house without a Connolly for Congress bumper sticker. Delegate Vivian Watts and Supervisor Penny Gross said a few words about the upcoming election and how important it is that we all get out there and do what we do best to make sure Gerry and Jim are elected in November.

Alex Rodriguez (Mason representative to the Precinct Operations committee) is working on a plan for building a precinct block captain program. We will use his precinct (St Albans) as the test precinct and we are asking everyone on the committee to send him names of people they know who live in St Albans. We will add those names to his list and begin building the block captain program in St Albans. When that works (and it will work) we will start expanding to the other precincts. Please put on your thinking caps and send me names of your St Albans friends!

The FCDC JJ Dinner and silent auction will be held on Sunday, May 23rd at the McLean Hilton. I want to thank Norma Jean Young and Mary Tycz for honchoing the two baskets Mason will offer: Basket #1 Theme:  Nationals/Baseball and Basket #2 Theme: 3 Day, 2 Night Get Away at John & Sue Clark’s West Virginia Home. If you want to contribute please call Mary or Norma Jean. We will also have two tables for the dinner. If you have signed up and not paid please send your check to me made payable to FCDC JJ Dinner as soon as possible and by May 11th. If you want to attend let me know ASAP.

Two new members were voted on the committee at the FCDC meeting in March: George Lamb and Sean Barnett – we welcome you both!

Dranesville Report

Ron Bleeker, Dranesville Chair

The Dranesville District Democratic Committee held its first (as far as we know) meeting in Herndon on April 15th. We had a good turnout from the Herndon Dems and we promise we will be back again!

The Committee was pleased to endorse one its own members — Jeff Barnett — as the Democratic candidate for the 10th Congressional District, opposing Frank Wolf. Later in the day, Jeff was officially certified by the 10th CD Committee. Jeff was present at our meeting and spoke about why the people of the 10th need a new Congressman who will put their interests first, and who will not simply vote for the Republican agenda.

The Committee also had an incisive report on the 2010 session of the Virginia General Assembly from Margi Vanderhye, who reminds us all why we are proud to be Democrats.

Come visit our booth at McLean Day in Lewinsville Park on May 15th. Our June meeting will be a combination business meeting and Sunday afternoon social event, date TBA.




SPECIAL REPORTS

In Memory of William Parrish

Larry Byrne, Mason Member

Bill Parrish was a gentleman with a capital G and an extremely loyal democrat. He was an old fashioned gentleman who simply expected others would meet the same standard. As a long time volunteer with his good friend Sue Biderman at FCDC he was a joy to have answering our phones. Even today I can almost see his gentle smile when he was correcting some grammatical mistake I had made on the phone. Sometimes I continued the mistake just to have a slightly longer conversation with him.

Bill was also a man of passion. He was a teacher who loved educating children and everyone else around him but he was never preachy about the way he did it. I am sure students who learned from him learned well. His leadership as a high school principal and as an advocate for education furthered the career of many students. His long support and activity on behalf of education is well documented. What was clear was that he cared deeply about children and about the quality of education in our state.

Bill was also a generous man who gave of his time and his money to many causes – particularly democratic causes. He loved his farm that he and his wife Marianna had so beautifully restored and he opened that house for many causes in which he believed.

Bill was a good friend and one you could count on. When Sue Biderman was dying Bill was always there to help her. He had suffered a great loss in the too early death of his son but he wasn’t bitter and his son’s friends continued to visit with him and to frequently stay with him as part of the memorial he and his wife built to honor their son. He could be counted on to lick envelopes, make calls or lend his advice to any candidate he supported. Yes, he was a gentleman of the first order, polite, generous, caring and passionate.  Leslie and I will both miss him.

Strife in Times of Change

A commentary by Todd Smyth, Vice Chair Technology

If you think the political climate is rough today, compare it to the life of Cassius Clay who was beaten, stabbed and shot on different occasions, while campaigning on a platform to abolish slavery in Kentucky before the Civil War. Cassius Clay was a wealthy land owner who freed his slaves and at great personal risk, took up the cause of ending slavery throughout his life.  He published the first anti-slavery newspaper in the South, inspired a young Abraham Lincoln to take a stand against slavery, and drafted the Emancipation Proclamation.  Below is a brief sketch that leaves out many interesting details but it’s an amazing story that few know about.

During a political debate in 1843 Clay was shot in the chest by a paid assassin named Samuel Brown.  Luckily for Clay, he kept a Bowie knife strapped to his chest, which stopped the bullet.  Clay pulled his knife and seriously injured the assassin.

In 1845 Cassius Clay published an anti-slavery newspaper called The True American in Lexington, KY where he appealed to rank and file whites who didn’t own slaves.  He made the practical argument that both black and white were enslaved by the few wealthy slave owners who forced labor from blacks while denying paid labor for whites.

Three years later at another political debate in 1849, Clay was disarmed, beaten and stabbed in the chest by an angry mob. His attacker claimed he was going to cut Clay’s heart out and cut through 3 rib bones when Clay grabbed his own knife by the blade, took it back from his attacker, found the man who started the disturbance, Cyrus Turner, and stabbed him.  A relative of Turner’s tried to shoot Clay in the head, but the gun misfired.  Clay eventually recovered, Cyrus Turner did not.

In 1854 Cassius Clay gave an anti-slavery speech in Springfield, IL which impressed his old friend Abraham Lincoln.  Four months later Lincoln distinguished himself and first stood out against slavery in his famous “Peoria Speech” where he spoke out against the Kansas-Nebraska Act saying: “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself.”  During Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign, Clay drew record crowds to speak on Lincoln’s behalf and gave Lincoln critical financial support.

In 1861 Clay was sent to Russia as minister to the court of Czar Alexander II where he witnessed the Emancipation Edict of 1861 which freed Russian peasants from feudal servitude.  Upon his return in 1862, Clay continued his anti-slavery speeches and began to lobby for and helped draft an Emancipation Proclamation that would free the slaves.  On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves in territories still at war with the Union to be free.  Clay considered the event to be “the culminating act of my life’s aspirations.

Cassius Clay was someone who understood CHANGE only happens from the bottom up.  He had HOPE, took ACTION and made great CHANGE happen in his lifetime.  Clay could have lived an easy life but he fought instead to make a difference and left a legacy of equality and justice that helped America continue on a path to fulfill its promise.

Cassius Clay: Biography – KET
http://www.ket.org/trips/whitehall/clay_1.htm

Cassius Clay (1810-1903) – Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassius_Marcellus_Clay_%28abolitionist%29

The Kentucky Lion, Cassius Clay – Richard Kiel
http://www.richardkiel.com/clay.html

FLIERS

CALENDAR

Click here for details of all events below

May 1st

Mt. Vernon Garden Party

Braddock Derby Day

May 2nd

Providence MayFest

May 4th

Springfield District Meeting

Sully District Meeting

May 5th

Drinking Liberally – Mt.Vernon/Lorton

May 6th

Bylaws Taskforce Meeting

May 8th

Voter Registration Kick-off Rally

Cinco De Surovell Fundraiser

May 10th

Sports in the City

May 11th

FCDC Steering Meeting

May 12th

Mason District Meeting

May 13th

Education Committee Meeting

May 16th

Precinct Captain Retreat

Potomac Nationals Game with Springfield Dems

3rd Annual Friends of Foust Fundraiser

Democratic Women of Clifton Family Picnic

May 17th

8th CD Meeting

11th CD Meeting

May 18th

Mt. Vernon District Meeting

May 19th

National Affairs Committee Meeting

May 20th

Hunter Mill District Meeting

May 23rd

FCDC Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

May 24th

Precinct Ops. Committee Meeting

May 25th

FCDC General Committee Meeting

May 26th

State and Local Affairs Committee Meeting

May 27th

Lee District Meeting

Voter Registration Committee Meeting

May 30th

Viva Vienna Festival

May 31st

Viva Vienna Festival

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