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I am writing in response to Mr. George Goodwin’s letter last week, which was a response to my letter the week before. I am directing my comments directly to Mr. Goodwin. I wish more people would write in to discuss the issues that affect us all, but you elected to make your letter more about your internal experience than the issue of ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses due to unpaid court fines.
It is interesting that you had such an emotional reaction to one sentence in one letter to the editor. You identified yourself as a staffer for Senator Mark Peake. Perhaps you are new to politics. It seems what we have here is a miscommunication leading to a misunderstanding.
I was correct when I stated that Mr. Peake was not present at the General Assembly to vote on April 3. I am sorry that he had a family situation that pulled him away from Richmond. We all have had times when family obligations interfere with our ability to do our jobs. Most of us are required to let our bosses know when we are unable to be at work, especially when there is an important meeting that day.
Mr. Peake works for his constituents. Every single resident of the 22nd district is his boss. In the January 10, 2017 special election, 25,842 people voted. Communicating directly with that many people can be onerous, so most politicians rely on the press via press releases and other mechanisms.
Yet when The CV ran a front page story on this very issue the same week as my original letter, they noted that he did not vote, but had no explanation as to why. They had no idea. There was nothing on his Facebook page. The last news event on his peakeforsenate.com is dated Oct. 17, 2017.
I am not sure who in his office is responsible for communicating with the press, but you collectively (yourself, the senator himself, or some other staffer) did not do their job in communicating that he was not able to be present on an important day to vote. You let people in Richmond know but no one else. I think that having this oversight pointed out is what inflamed you the most.
Unlike yourself, I will not speculate on the content of your character but will heed the advice of Michelle Obama and my mother and “Take the high road.” People so often these days have difficulty separating words and actions from human beings. This leads to increasing division.
We can disagree with someone without questioning their character or asking around about them. Each person’s opinion (and vote) have value regardless of the judgments of others. I hope through our exchange that Mr. Peake’s constituents have learned that unlike other Republicans representing Louisa, he did indeed support the majority of the General Assembly in ending prosecuting people for being poor when he had the opportunity.
The exchange of ideas is after all one of the things that make local newspapers so valuable. I hope voters will take the time to research his votes on other issues important to them well before the November election. Voters in the 22nd will have an alternative in the voting booth this November when Dakota Claytor hopes to become Virginia’s youngest legislator. Fare thee well Mr. Goodwin.
Editor’s Note: this originally appeared in the April 25th edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission
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