Culpeper voters have important choices to make – first, in the June primaries, and then, in the November election. Those choices may not be easy for any number of reasons, no matter what your political persuasion may be.
There are three Democrats running in the June 12 primary for the opportunity to defeat 7th Congressional District incumbent Dave Brat. Five Republicans, so far, are vying to challenge Democratic Senator Tim Kaine. They are: Corey Stewart, E.W. Jackson, Bert Mizusawa, Ivan Raiklin, and our very own 30th District Delegate, Nick Freitas, despite having just begun his second term. Do your homework. Check out their websites.
Helen Alli is a U.S. Army veteran, a small business owner in the health care industry and a community activist and organizer. She serves as the legislative chair for the Crusade for Voters which led the referendum on the ballot this November to modernize Richmond’s public schools.
Abigail Spanberger grew up in Henrico County just outside Richmond and graduated from the University of Virginia. She began her public career as a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service working drug and money laundering cases. She later spent ten years planning and conducting covert operations with the Central Intelligence Agency. She brought her family back to Virginia in 2014 and has been working with local colleges and universities to create diverse student bodies, increase graduation rates, and break down financial barriers to higher education.
Dan Ward is a 25-year veteran U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot who served in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. He also served as a military advisor with the Department of State and ran cooperative defense programs involving Syria and Ukraine. He currently flies Boeing 777s for United Airlines and has advocated for increased aviation safety on behalf of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). He grew up here in Central Virginia and now lives on a farm in Orange raising cattle. As a teenager, he worked part time at the McDonald’s in Culpeper.
Their opponent, Congressman Dave Brat, has spent most of the past four years touting his experience as an economics professor and reminding everyone that he went to seminary. He has bound himself tightly to the Trumpian agenda and the House do-nothing Freedom Caucus. His main legislative accomplishment has been to rename a Richmond arboretum. He has held only one genuine town hall, in faraway Blackstone, and later complained about women, “getting up in my grill.” Instead, he attends photo opportunities with friendly audiences.
Corey Stewart is well known to Virginia voters for his extreme views and he may very well be the Republican nominee, due to his appeal to Trump’s supporters and the name recognition he achieved as Ed Gillespie’s opponent. E.W. Jackson, also an extremist, ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2013 and was soundly beaten by Ralph Northam. Misuzawa and Raiklin are relatively unknown.
In the midst of campaigning for his delegate’s seat in the last election, after only two years in office, Freitas also start campaigning for the United States Senate, Freitas’ March 2nd speech on the floor of the House of Delegates has gone notoriously viral, as he to implied that abortions and broken homes were the root causes of gun violence, among other things. I urge everyone who’s interested in the truth to read the transcript of his speech, posted in the Star Exponent on Sunday, March 4th, do your own fact-checking, and draw your own conclusions.
Tim Kaine’s remarks at a meeting with about 120 Culpeper citizens this past Saturday, were quite a contrast in tone, substance, humility and public service.
Editor's Note: This letter originally appeared in the March 8th print edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, and is now on-line here, and has been re-posted on this blog with the author's permission.