Connolly Blog

Fighting for Northern Virginia on Metro Board

By Kytja Weir

Two Virginia members of Congress accused the state's governor of "budgetary blackmail" on Thursday for threatening to withhold $50 million in funding for Metro unless the state can appoint two members to the Metro board, saying the move could unravel a regional deal involving millions more in desperately needed funding and safety improvements.

Reps. Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran, both Democrats, wrote a letter to Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell stressing "serious concerns" about the proposal to give two of the four Virginia board slots to political appointees instead of elected officials from Northern Virginia.

They specifically disputed the McDonnell administration's claim that the commonwealth deserved half the positions as it was contributing 52 percent of the overall $249 million in state and local subsidies for the pending $2.1 billion Metro budget, which starts July 1.

They argue that Northern Virginia riders' fares and parking fees are not included in those numbers, thus underestimating how much local residents are contributing.

Furthermore, Connolly told The Washington Examiner, that the $50 million the state is threatening to withhold comes from revenue paid by Northern Virginia drivers through the 2 percent gas tax.

"I know who pays the bills. It's local taxpayers, not Richmond, not the commonwealth," Connolly said. "This is our own money that Virginia is suddenly laying claim to."

Withholding the money, which is Virginia's share of a $150 million annual local match to $150 million in federal funding, could cause the other jurisdictions to pull out of the 10-year "dedicated funding" agreement, they said.

Connolly said they are not opposed to changing how Virginia representatives are added to the Metro board but questioned the timing of the move. He also said if Virginia ponied up more money, as Maryland does, he would be more open to giving the state some direct representation on the board.

Transit advocates, however, have argued that elected officials are more responsive and accessible to riders than appointees.

Again, Neutral Observers Cite Fimian's Extremism as a Problem in Moderate 11th District

Read what Isaac Wood, communications director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, had to say about Keith Fimian in the Fairfax Times.

"The fact that he was portraying himself so conservatively certainly helped in the primary," Wood said. "The question is, will that turn off the independent voters in the middle and the swing voters? That's a very large group of voters when you're talking about the climate in Fairfax."

Keith Fimian: Hiding on the 17th Amendment

Since we launched our petition to Save the 17th Amendment, the response from Northern Virginians has been overwhelming.  Thousands of you have signed our petition, called our office, and watched the video.  And yet, days later, Keith Fimian still refuses to tell the people where he stands.  Instead, he's hiding behind his staff and refusing to answer the question.

Will the Tea Party candidate Keith Fimian stick to his original position that taking away our right to vote for U.S. Senators has "merit?"  Is he still "not sure" why it was changed in the first place?  Or will he flip-flop now that the primary is over?  Your guess is as good as ours.  Stay tuned...

Fight back against Keith Fimian’s radical agenda and keep the pressure on him to stand up for voting rights. Click here to sign the petition now!

Keep Your Right to Vote: Save the 17th Amendment

Keith Fimian has adopted one of the most radical planks in the entire tea party platform.  He actually favors repealing the 17th Amendment. In 1913 the 17th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified to give people the right to vote directly for their United States Senators. 

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people..." --17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Repealing the 17th Amendment would strip you of your right to vote for your U.S. Senators and allow political insiders in Richmond to decide who represents us in the Senate. Today our campaign launched a website at www.savethe17th.com where you can sign the petition and demand that Keith Fimian abandon his reckless plan to abolish the 17th Amendment.  We also put together this video where we ask some Northern Virginians, including some Republicans, how they feel about Fimian's extreme platform.

 

Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Connolly

 

After a very costly, negative and ugly campaign, voters in the recent Republican primary selected their candidate for the 11th Congressional race this fall—Keith Fimian.

Mr. Fimian is a man whose extreme views include, among others, the position that there is "some merit" in repealing the 17th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for the direct election of United States senators (Radio debate on the Mark Plotkin show)!  He is a Tea Party extremist who is out of touch with Northern Virginia's working families, who have traditionally supported moderate candidates such as former Rep. Tom Davis, and more recently, Rep. Gerry Connolly. The results of this primary represent another defeat for the moderate wing of the Republican Party as they unsuccessfully attempt to bring reason back to their ranks in the face of increasing right-wing extremism.

Mr. Fimian will face incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly, past chair of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, who, according to the Washington Post and other sources, is a pragmatic, pro-business leader in line with the views of this district.  May the best man win.

JANE TOUCHET

Woodbridge

Moderate Republicans Scratching Their Heads over Fimian

Yesterday, we posted the media's reaction to Keith Fimian's nomination and how neutral, non-partisan observers agree that Keith Fimian's extreme views are out of touch with Northern Virginians. Today in the Washington Post, Fimian's fellow Republicans denounce his extreme Tea Party positions.  The Washington Post notes that Fimian is a "tea party-backed conservative."

 

[...]"Fimian, who runs a home-inspection company and raised nearly $1 million for his primary battle, will now face freshman Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) in a general election rematch in November. He lost to Connolly in 2008 by 12 percentage points but has been born anew as a "tea party"-backed conservative." [...]


[...]"Meanwhile, Northern Virginia's moderate Republicans, once defined by an unusual brand of fiscal conservatism and an independent streak on social issues, such as immigration, are scratching their heads and wondering about their futures."[...]


[...]"[Former Republican Congressman (VA-11) Tom] Davis said that independent candidates and outside political groups were siphoning off support to centrist politicians such as himself."[...]


Media Roundup: Day 1 of the General Election

Here are a few press clips from the first day of the general election.  Click on the links to read the full articles.  The bottom line is that neutral observers agree: Keith Fimian's extreme views are out of step with Northern Virginia families and the Republican Party made a huge mistake in giving him the nomination.

 

"It is a defeat of the moderate wing of the Republican Party […] [Connolly] would rather face Fimian than Herrity, who appeals more to the local demographic." - Mark Plotkin, WTOP Political Analyist, 6/9/10 

Click here to hear the show

 

"The more conservative candidate, businessman Keith Fimian, also prevailed against Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity in Northern Virginia's 11th Congressional District -- but again, Fimian's challenge will be to connect with the region's moderate voters and to draw a winning contrast with freshman Democrat (and pro-business moderate) Gerald E. Connolly." Washington Post, 6/9/10 

Click here to read the entire story


“Fimian simply has stronger support among the very conservative core of the party. […] He has emphasized the idea that he is the true conservative in the race. […] Herrity thinks that could happen again, calling himself 'the only candidate that can beat Gerry Connolly in November.”- The Washington Post, 6/8/10 

Click here to read the entire story


"Fimian is more closely associated with the Tea Party movement."- Gainesville Times, 6/2/10

Click here to read the entire story

 

"Republican contenders Patrick Herrity and Keith Fimian engaged in a costly, ugly and perhaps suicidal primary battle. […] Connolly seems to have moved from the endangered-species list of congressional freshman to a more secure footing, all because Herrity and Fimian couldn’t resist the temptation to go nuclear on each other, rather than train their attacks on the Democrat."-The Sun Gazette, 6/9/2010

Click here to read the entire story

 

"The nastiness of the campaign could make it difficult to coalesce the more conservative and moderate factions of the party, [Stephen] Farnsworth said." - The Examiner, 6/9/2010

Stephen Farnsworth is a Communication professor at George Mason University

Click here to read the entire story

 

"The 11th District's recent history suggests it is favorable to centrists. Connolly and his predecessor, GOP Rep. Tom Davis, lean toward the middle ideologically, and Connolly beat Fimian in 2008 partly by arguing that the Republican was too conservative. […] "Without explicitly calling himself a moderate, Herrity said he was the only Republican who could beat Connolly. Many national party strategists privately agreed with that assessment, although some worried about the effectiveness of Herrity's campaign."- The Washington Post,6/9/10

Click here to read the entire story

 

"The seat had been vacated by a moderate Republican, Tom Davis, who had held it for more than a decade. Fimian, who is anti-abortion, was portrayed as too extreme for this suburban Washington, D.C., district two years ago."- The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/10

Click here to read the entire story

Occoquan Craft Show

Thousands of balloons, hundreds of signs, and dozens of volunteers made the weekend a huge success. Team Connolly was out in full force this past weekend at the Occoquan Craft Show. Our campaign registered voters, signed up volunteers, and met with new supporters.

If you’re interested in helping Team Connolly at our next event, click here to sign up.

On the Blogs: Democrats reenergize drive for voters

Dedicated volunteers work hard to re-elect Gerry Connolly, courtesy of the Post Politics Blog.

Team Connolly at Viva Vienna


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