Monday, March 12, 2007

Borrowed Representation

In Augusta County, Democrats are unrepresented in the Virginia General Assembly. Oh, sure, we have a State Senator, and parts of three House of Delegates districts carve up the county, but I don’t feel like any of Messrs. Hanger, Saxman, Landes, or Cline really care what I think. They’re interested in imposing the right-wing ultra-conservative agenda on everyone, and never mind that a sizable minority in Augusta County feel that they are moving the state in the wrong direction. (Hanger, of course, gets sympathy for being on the outs with his own party, but that doesn’t mean he’s my voice in the Senate.)

Since we are unrepresented, but still want to have a voice in the legislature, we (the Augusta County Democratic Committee) hosted a breakfast session on March 10 at which Delegate David Toscano (pictured) of the 57th District (that’s Charlottesville and Albemarle County) reported eloquently on events in the recently concluded session of the General Assembly. Although there were a number of issues discussed, one of the most controversial is the transportation plan that the Republican majority pushed through. It’s hard to understand how anyone thinks that the bill is good. It fails to fund adequately the transportation needs of the state, and while Republicans can crow that they held the line on taxes, the absolute truth of the matter is that they are forcing cities and counties to raise taxes in order to pay for the burden that the bill places on them. Because there is no money in the plan for rural roads, Augusta County will have to fund road maintenance and improvement from somewhere—either through unlikely new taxes, or at the expense of education. Thanks a lot, Republican Majority! This approach is typically shortsighted and cowardly. I can’t promise that the local Democrats will be able to field candidates to oppose Saxman, Landes and Cline in this November’s election, but I can promise we will do what we can to make sure the public knows how they have failed us all.

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