Campaign a chance to envision Virginia’s future

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

by Brian Moran

As Virginians prepare for a 2011 campaign in which every state legislator is up for election, many are probably wondering what the real differences are between the two parties competing for their votes.

Fortunately, state government provides a clear contrast between the divergent priorities of Democrats and Republicans in the commonwealth.

Democrats believe that making our nation more equal, fair and just for every person isn’t just the morally right thing to do; it’s also sound public policy. We base our values on the idea that, in appropriate circumstances, government is a force for good when it helps ensure that every person in our society has the same access to the American dream of building a better life.

We strive for a country in which race, gender, creed, economic status and sexual orientation are irrelevant to a person’s ability to get a job, earn enough to make a living and build a better life for his or her family.

These values translate into Democratic support for investments in people that empower them to succeed. Public education, civil rights protections and preserving a clean environment generate and protect real equality of opportunity for middle-class families, and they also give people the tools and security to contribute to maximize their potential in today’s economy.

Those values are what guide Virginia Democrats at all levels of government as they stand up to a Republican Party that understands the cost of everything. but the value of nothing. Since taking power in Richmond, the Virginia GOP has sought to cut or eliminate smart investments that they regard as “too much government,” seemingly without regard for the essential role that many of them play in giving every Virginian the opportunity to build a better life for their families.

The shortsighted “cut government at all costs” philosophy of the Virginia Republican Party was on display during this year’s session of the General Assembly. The governor and Republican legislators offered several proposals to cut millions of dollars out of our children’s schools to accomplish a political objective that has no ostensible connection to preparing our kids for the future.

Fortunately for Virginians, Democrats recognize that investing in schools not only prepares the next generation to compete and build the economy of the future, it also encourages businesses to locate and create jobs here in the present. Democrats fought off the Republican education cuts and actually succeeded in restoring some funding from past cuts to schools.

These are just some of the many differences that Virginia voters will consider this November. Here in Virginia and across the country, Democrats are fighting to move the people of this commonwealth and this country forward by making investments in people that create jobs and promote the common benefit.

Republicans are obsessed with shrinking or eliminating those investments to score political points, even if it means leaving middle-class families behind.

As a lifelong Democrat, I am proud of my friends and former colleagues in the General Assembly who are fighting so valiantly for our shared values. If we do our job and explain those values in every corner of this commonwealth, I am confident that 2011 will be a great year, not just for Democrats, but for the Virginia families we serve.

BRIAN MORAN of Alexandria is chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. He can be reached at