April 2011

Download and Print The Democrat – April 2011 (PDF)

Message from the Chair


  • The Tea Party is on the Wrong Side of Its Own Movement


  • 8th Congressional District
  • 11th Congressional District


  • National Affairs
  • Diversity


  • Dranesville
  • Hunter Mill
  • Lee
  • Mason
  • Mt Vernon
  • Providence
  • Sully


  • Honor Roll
  • Renewal Form


  • Supervisor Sunday
  • Jefferson Jackson Dinner
  • Saslaw Campaign Kick-Off

About The Democrat


Rex Simmons, FCDC Chair

Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) members and prospective candidates ought to have some understanding of how individuals are chosen for Democratic nominations in Virginia. The process and deadlines are specified by the State Board of Elections, the State Party Plan adopted by the Democratic Party of Virginia, and supplemental policies that FCDC may adopt.

We are operating this year with a more compressed schedule than usual because district boundaries must be adjusted for population changes reported from the latest census. These boundary changes are made by the General Assembly and Governor for legislative districts and by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for magisterial districts. The boundaries are subject to clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice under requirements contained in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For General Assembly candidates (both Delegates and Senators) and local partisan officials (supervisors, sheriff, and commonwealth attorney) there are similarities in the nomination processes. The local party chair in the jurisdiction with the largest number of voters takes the lead in appointing a nominating committee for each position’s district (that is me in Fairfax County). When a district boundary includes voters from more than one jurisdiction, the local committee chair from each jurisdiction will appoint a member of the nominating committee. Committee members will have a vote weighted by the number of votes received by the Democratic candidate receiving the most votes in the most recent general election for all precincts in the district. This is not as confusing as it sounds because the state party provides a spreadsheet with the needed information.

Nominating committee members are typically FCDC members who reside in the district. I am currently getting suggestions for possible appointments from our supervisory district chairs. These appointments will be made by April 15. In this redistricting year, some nNominating cCommittees may need to be revised once boundaries become final. Bob Haley (Hunter Mill co-chair) and I will work together as the nominating committee for the three countywide elected officials.

Once appointed, the nominating committee comes together and handles the nomination. Our State Party Plan specifies there can be one of three methods used—a primary, caucus, or convention. Incumbent Democrats in the General Assembly are allowed to choose their own method of nomination. For a local race where there is an incumbent Democrat, the nominating committee should ask the incumbent, as a courtesy, which nomination method is preferred. When there is no incumbent Democrat in the General Assembly district or any local race, the nominating committee determines the method of nomination. These determinations are turned into the State Board of Elections and to the State Party between May 27 and June 3.

The processes for primaries, caucuses, and conventions differ. FCDC and state party staff will help guide the nominating committees to ensure any process chosen is correctly administered and candidates know what they are required to do to file. The General Assembly has specified that any primary this year will be on August 23 and the general election will be on November 8. If a method other than a primary is used for nominating, it also must be completed by August 23. All other dates discussed are subject to change if the redistricting process is not completed in time for the dates to be complied with.

An important point to keep in mind is that Democratic nominees are chosen with a transparent process according to specified rules. The role of the local committee is to ensure those rules are followed.

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The Tea Party is on the Wrong Side of Its Own Movement

By Todd Smyth

The tea dumped into Boston Harbor in 1773, was not expensive tea. It was cheap, cut-rate tea. The 1773 Tea Act was a big tax cut for the corporate owners of the East India Company. This would have made it possible for them to undercut competition and establish a trade monopoly in the colonies. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against government tax cuts for a wealthy corporation. Today’s Tea Party supporters are being duped by the Republican Party into supporting tax cuts for the same type of wealthy corporations.

The Tea Party movement was quickly co-opted by corporate gangsters like Koch Industries, who fund Freedom Works, which in turn fund and organize the Tea Party rallies and then put Republicans on stage to lead the Tea Party supporters to the wrong side of their own movement.

Freedom Works is a partisan Republican organization. Its purpose and history is to harness any kind of fear, anger or energy in the political sphere and re-channel it into Republican votes. You can read more about that in this article from the NY Times: The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party.

The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party
Brendan Steinhouser, is the Director of Federal and State Campaigns for FreedomWorks and he organizes Tea Party rallies and organizations. He lives in the Franconia area of Fairfax County. I used to ride a Metro shuttle with him to work in the mornings a few years back. Brendan is a pretty upstanding, straightforward looking person but in a former role he produced ‘documentaries’ where he would go to IMF and World Bank protests and record the most extreme communists he could find and then merge them with images of Hitler and Osama bin Laden and title the documentary “What Democrats Believe.” You can see Brendan at work in his new role organizing Tea Party organizations in the video on this

Sourcewatch – Tea Party
The Tea Party scam has been a lot more effective than the fake documentaries because it’s taping into and re-channeling an energy that was already in motion. Don’t let your friends or family drink the Tea Party cool aide without knowing, who’s paying for the tea. And by the way, Koch Industries, who are funding the Tea Party is the largest oil and gas contributor of political money. Guess which party they give it to? Maybe they should just rename it, The Oil Party?

Oil & Gas Political Money Party Split, 1990-2010

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8th Congressional District

Pixie Bell, 8th CD First Vice Chair

The 8th District Committee held its regular meeting on March 21, 8 pm, at the Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St., Falls Church. The City of Alexandria Democratic Committee nominated Patrick Mulloy to replace John Biechman as a member of the 8th CD. The motion was passed unanimously and Pat was warmly welcomed. The 8th CD also voted not to hold its usual 3rd Monday in April meeting as it would fall on the first day of Passover. The next meeting will be held on Monday, May 16. If matters come up in April which require consideration, Chair Margo Horner will contact the Committee. The 8th CD also voted to be a co-sponsor of “Rally Against Citizens United” with Congressman Jim Moran and others. Details on the date and time will be provided in the near future. Sandra Klassen will be the 8th CD liaison for the rally. She can be contacted at SJKINTL@gmail.com.

Resolutions saluting the careers of Senator Mary Margaret Whipple and Senator Patsy Ticer passed unanimously and will be forwarded to the DPVA.

Many members attended Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran’s pancake breakfast that over 250 people attended. Great success! Falls Church will have its J.J. dinner on April 3; Fairfax County’s J.J. will be held on May 8, Arlington’s on June 11, and Alexandria City’s on June 16 or 23.

The next meeting of the DPVA will be on June 3 and 4 in Blacksburg, VA. (Thank you, Charley). Jim Moran kicked off a new “Jim Pitches in” event series, spending a day each month volunteering with local non-profits to highlight their work, the people they serve and the causes they promote. Jim welcomed the study released by the GAO that examined the Defense Access Road program and made clear the need for DOD to accept responsibility for paying its fair share of transportation costs associated with BRAC. Also, in urging Representative King not to go forward with his hearings focused on radicalization among Muslim Americans, he noted that in NOVA alone, the Muslim community played a critical role in the arrest of five individuals attempting to join a terrorist group in Pakistan and the arrest of Farooque Ahmed on charges of conspiring to bomb the Metro transit system. He also stood against Republican attempts to defund National Public Radio. Jim congratulated the president on his Libya decision and those who advocated for action, including Secretary of State Clinton, State’s Susan Rice, and Samantha Power, for understanding how important it is to be on the right side of history and to show the Islamic world that the U.S. will always stand for freedom, justice, and democracy.

11th Congressional District Report

George Burke, 11th CD Chair

More than 115 loyal Democrats joined the 11th Congressional District Democratic Committee and Congressman Gerry Connolly to honor some good Democrats at our annual Sturdivant Awards Brunch in Fairfax City on March 6.

The winner of the John Sturdivant Award was Fairfax County resident Mark Federici, the secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 and long-time labor and Democratic activist. The recipient of the award is kept secret until it is given at our brunch so Mark
was surprised when Northern Virginia Labor Federation president and former 11th CD committee member Dan Duncan took the microphone and identified Mark as this year’s recipient.

The Sturdivant Award is named after John Sturdivant, the late president of the American Federation of Government Employees and longtime Fairfax Democratic activist, who was an original member of the 11th CD Committee.

Walt Mika, the longtime chair of FCDC’s Braddock District Committee, received the Joseph Gartlan award for community service. He accepted the award surrounded by Congressman Connolly, Fairfax Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, and family and friends.

Also receiving awards were former Prince William Board Chairman Kathleen Seefeldt who received the Deloris Hampton Award, and Teddy Goodson of Fairfax City who received the Frederick Silverthorne Award.

A host of elected state and local elected officials joined the 11th CD Committee to honor the awardees and thank them for their service to the community and to the Democratic Party. Thanks to everyone who attended the brunch.

We also thank FCDC; the City of Fairfax Democratic Committee; the Prince William Democratic Committee; the Braddock District Committee; the Mason District Committee; the Mount Vernon District Committee; the 8th CD Committee; the Virginia Democratic Women’s Caucus; Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw; Senator George Barker; Senator Toddy Puller; Senator Chuck Colgan; AFGE; Fairfax County Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 2068; the Laborers Union; the NoVA Labor Federation; Kristin Cabral, Sue Langley; Rick and Burma Bochner, George Waters, Lynn and Dave Miller; Rose Chu; Terry Mansberger; Reed Stockman; Seth Stark; and the other individuals, organizations, and unions from Fairfax County, Fairfax City, and Prince William County who graciously participated as sponsors of the event.

Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners!

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National Affairs

Sandra J. Klassen and Dan Walsch, Co-Chairs
A Commentary by the National Affairs Standing Committee (NAC)

The Republican Party’s War on People

Since winning control of the House of Representatives last fall, the Republican Party has been trying to slash federal social programs, accumulate tax breaks and privileges for corporations and the rich, and neutralize campaign finance laws. At the state level, it now controls 20 legislatures and governorships and has been trying to strip away economic rights and benefits from the middle class, the working class, and the poor. These efforts are not coincidental—they are part of a plan to seize ever more economic and political power for its wealthy clique—the culmination of a 30- year Republican war on the people. I hope this summary of some recent events will help show Democrats what’s happening, what’s at stake in coming elections, and what our elected officials must do to fight for our rights and well-being.

The Republican federal budget proposal would cut many social programs:

  • Head Start education benefits for pre-school children,
  • K-12 and college education assistance,
  • Food safety,
  • Nutritional assistance for poor families,
  • Family planning and women’s health services,
  • Health insurance reform implementation, and
  • Environmental protection.

In Virginia, alone, their budget cuts would also cost nearly 20,000 people their jobs.

At the state level, Republicans are broadly attacking unions and government workers:

  • In Wisconsin and Ohio, they are trying to eliminate nearly all collective bargaining rights for state employees.
  • In Indiana, they’re trying to strip teachers of most collective bargaining rights and make Indiana a “right to work” state – outlawing union or agency shops.
  • In Michigan, they’ve allowed the governor to declare fiscal emergencies in cities and towns and appoint emergency managers with broad powers to fire elected officials, break labor agreements, suspend collective bargaining, take over pension funds, and even dissolve town governments.

State-level GOP leaders have admitted that this is all part of a national campaign to weaken unions and thus the Democratic Party and the people it defends.

While attacking the people, Republicans are also pushing for ever more benefits for the rich. Last fall they took American workers hostage by threatening to deny them unemployment benefits in order to force an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Today they seek to cripple Wall
Street regulation and allow their cronies and benefactors to run wild as they did before the 2008 financial meltdown. The GOP budget would strip funds from the Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Commodity Future Trading Commission. Other bills would eliminate laws making credit-rating agencies liable for faulty ratings, undermine the regulation of financial derivatives, and cut SEC registration requirements for private equity fund managers and certain companies.

Finally, Republicans and right wing interest groups have attacked campaign finance laws through federal and state legislatures and the courts. They are trying to eliminate disclosure requirements; bans on foreign and corporate contributions; party spending limits; and public financing of campaigns.

These are all part of a power grab by the wealthy elite at the expense of the American people. Its 30-year history is detailed in “Winner Take All Politics” by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson. The current wave is an attempt to take advantage of the disarray and the backlash difficulties faced during the great recession with the goal of achie ving radical right wing policies. Author Naomi Klein has called this the “shock doctrine.” As Democrats, we need to be aware of all of these things, speak out loudly against them, and be sure our elected officials are fighting them. This is the only way to defeat such misguided Republican policies and overcome the economic challenges we face on behalf of the people we serve.


Rose Chu and Lina Orr, Co-Chairs

The next Diversity Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30pm at FCDC to discuss outreach activities.

Diversity Committee Tapas Night with international food
on Saturday, May 21 from 5:30 to 8pm
Meet elected officials, candidates, and community leaders!
Details on the FCDC Calendar

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Ron Bleeker, Chair

The DDDC will hold its next meeting on Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 pm at the McLean Government Center on Balls Hill Road.

Hunter Mill

Bettina Lawton and Robert Haley, Co-Chairs

The Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee holds its meetings on the 2nd Thursday, at 7:30 pm every month, alternating between locations in Reston and Vienna. Typical meetings include guest speakers, campaign information, and notice of HMDDC events.

Recent events in which Hunter Mill members participated included FCDC Dems Dining Out at Kalypso’s in Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza. The candidates for the Hunter Mill District school board endorsement include Pat Hynes and Kathleen McKee, making presentations at the March HMDDC meeting. Marie Allen, also making a presentation at the March meeting, is an at-large candidate for school board. Our March HMDDC meeting continued emphasis on the Hunter Mill Annual Lasagna Dinner, to be held on Saturday April 2.

The next HMDDC meeting will be held on Thursday April 14 at 7:30 pm at the Flint Hill Elementary School in Vienna. On Thursday May 12, the HM meeting will be held at the North County Government Center community room in Reston. At the May meeting, the Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee will decide its school board endorsement.

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.

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Steve Bunn and Hugh Robertson, Co-Chairs

Join Lee Democrats as we get ready for the elections of 2011 at our annual Opening Day fundraiser on April 2 from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm at the home of Carson Evans at 6209 Edison Dr., Alexandria, VA 22310. We look forward to welcoming all our elected officials and candidates who represent Lee District. Have a cold beer, a ballpark dog, play a little baseball, and a Democratic good time.

Contribution, $25/person-ticket (other contribution levels appreciated: $50 – Center Field Club, $100 – Lower Terrace, $250 – Baseline Box,
$500 – Dugout Box, $1,000 – Chairman’s Box). If you can’t come, consider a ticket(s) as a contribution to our committee! For more
information or questions, please contact LDDC Co-Chairs Hugh Robertson (703.924.1433) or Steve Bunn (703.861.1343). Details, tickets online at. http://www.leedems.org/about/leedems-opening-day/

Our next Lee District Democratic Committee meeting will be on Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 pm in the home of Susie Warner at 6229 Edison Drive, Alexandria, VA 22310. Be sure to check our website at www.leedems.org for upcoming events and information. We look forward to seeing you then.

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Rachel Rifkind, Chair

Mason District Democrats met on March 16 with two special guests: Senator Dick Saslaw and Brandyn Keating from Organizing for America (OFA). Senator Saslaw gave us an update about the General Assembly and the State Senate and highlighted why it is critical for us to retain both
the House and Senate in Democratic control. We have to pay attention to these elections, both in the House and the Senate and take them seriously because the Republicans certainly are – their goal is to make sure that the Democrats lose control of the Senate and that they retain the lock hold on the House. We cannot let this happen. Brandyn provided a briefing on OFA operations and the joint DPVA/OFA regional trainings. Fairfax’s training was held on March 27 at George Mason University.

The Mason District Thank You Party is on May 15 at the home of Hal and Penny Gross. Please get your volunteer names to me by April 30. We want to thank all of our volunteers from last year. There is a signup sheet on the google doc; many of you have signed up to for a task or to bring a dish – please check it out and see where you can fill in the holes!

The FCDC will hold its annual JJ Dinner on May 8 (5:30 pm-9:00 pm) at the McLean Hilton. Once again, each of the magisterial districts has been asked to have two baskets for the silent auction. Watch for more details but mark your calendar now. The JJ is FCDC’s biggest fundraiser and money raised permits us to operate for the rest of the year and do what we need to do to elect Democrats. Filling two or more tables and participating in the silent auction are two ways we can make sure we succeed. Another way to raise money is through the sale of ads for the printed program. I am the JJ ad coordinator again this year and I ask for your help – buy an ad yourself or find a business in your neighborhood who will support FCDC by placing an ad in the program.

Each year at the JJ dinner we honor our volunteers of the year. This year we are honoring Trevor Smith with the Charles Robb Young Leaders Award; Robert Schwaninger with the Lynda Robb Community Service Award, Anne and Neale Baxter with the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award, and Rose Chu with the Outs tanding Committee Member of the Year Award. Congratulations to all recipients on well-deserved recognition!

Mason Committee member and Back-to-School committee chair Andrew Hunter has accepted an appointment in the Obama administration and had to resign his position on the MDDC. Laurie Lindberg has agreed to take his position as Back-to-School chair. Congratulations to Andrew and thank you to Laurie who will also be assisted by Suzie Phipps.

We will meet on April 19 at the Mason District Governmental Center at 7:30 pm. FCDC will meet on May 24 (location to be determined).

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Mount Vernon

Janet Myhre, Chair

Mt. Vernon Democrats turned the Don Beyer Volvo showroom on Richmond Highway into a street scene from New Orleans on March 5 for their annual Mardi Gras fundraiser. The event drew more than 120 people, including Congressman Jim Moran and Congressman Gerry Connolly.

Tim Kaine won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate and Delegate Adam Ebbin won the nomination for State Senator from the 30th District in the traditional straw poll for the Democratic nominees in upcoming elections, a highlight of the Mardi Gras event. Of the two other candidates in the 30th District, Libby Garvey, Arlington School Board member, came in second and Rob Krupicka, Alexandria City Council member, third. Poll director Chris Ambrose noted that the poll was in fun with voters outside the district allowed to cast ballots.

Representative Jim Moran served as auctioneer, raffling off tickets to a Nationals game donated by Delegate Scott Surovell, as well as lunch with Representative Moran himself at the Capital. State Senator George Barker, Delegate Mark Sickles, County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, Mt.
Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland, and Mt. Vernon School Board member Dan Storck also took the podium.

Many thanks to Dawn Drennen, events chair, Laura and Les Sonnenmark, and all the volunteers who turned the auto showroom into the streets of New Orleans with street scenes on plastic sheeting rolled over the windows, balloons, masks, feathers, and a full buffet of Cajun food. And
thanks to the Don Beyer staff for the generous use of their showroom and all their help.

At its March meeting, MVDDC heard a debriefing of the 2011 legislative session from four of our legislators: Sen. Toddy Puller, and Delegates Scott Surovell, David Englin, and Mark Sickles.

At the next meeting, we will hear from state redistricting citizen advisory council member Jean Jensen and also hear a presentation on wind energy in Virginia from Annette M. Ramos of the Virginia Sierra Club. The meeting is 7–9 pm, April 19, at the South County Center, 8350 Richmond Highway.

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Carrie Nixon, Chair

Providence hosted another Dinner & Discussion event at the end of March, this time at El Tio’s Tex Mex Grill in Falls Church. The topic of this D&D was “Discipline in our schools: Time for reform?” We had a great turnout and terrific participation. The D&D series is part of our outreach strategy in the Providence District. At the March event, we made calls to strong Dems in Timberlane and Shreve precincts inviting them to attend. Please join the Providence Dems group on Facebook for information on next month’s Dinner & Discussion.

Mark your calendars for the annual Providence MayFest that will take place on Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 pm at the home of Susan Weltz. We will feature food from the best restaurants in Providence and live musical entertainment by the Ruins. Please join us!

The next PDDC meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30 pm at FCDC headquarters. All are welcome!

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Dana Cimino, Chair

Sully Democrats meet monthly on the first Tuesday at 7:30 pm at the Sully Governmental Center in Chantilly. Meetings typically involve discussion of what’s going on in our district as well as county and statewide. Information about us can also be found at our website: www.sullydemocrats.org.

In March we were lucky enough to hold the most recent Dems Dine Out at a local favorite, Picante. It was a wonderful night filled with great food and great Dems.

Sadly, last month we lost one of our own. Stan Bromberg passed away suddenly. He was a wonderful man, always contributing in any way he could. He quite often wrote our Democrat submission. He will be greatly missed.

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Honor Roll

Sustainer Sign Up or Renewal Form

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The Democrat is a monthly email publication of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. The purpose of The Democrat is to provide information to Committee members and other interested persons through district and committee reports, campaign reports, articles, and fliers. Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCDC unless specifically approved by an appropriate committee resolution.

How to submit material

Generally material submitted to The Democrat should be limited to 300 words unless exceptions are made by the Editor or FCDC Chair. Please email material to our new Editor, Peggy Abrahamson, at capitaloutreach@gmail.com. Attach text file or photos, or copy the material into the email message. Deadline for submission is the third Monday of each month by 5:00 pm for inclusion in the following month’s issue.

One-page fliers advertising Democratic fundraisers and events will be included with The Democrat if submitted by the deadline. Limited numbers of The Democrat are mailed, primarily to those who do not have access to email. FCDC charges $35 for each flier from non-FCDC organizations.

Contact Peggy Abrahamson, rrifkind@gmail.com with any questions about how to submit material or fliers.