Editorial: Clear differences
Oftentimes in elections, voters complain that there’s nothing really different about any of the candidates on the ballot. Whatever else may be said about this contest, it’s clear that the candidates in the 1st Congressional District race offer voters distinct choices for the direction of this country.
Incumbent Republican Rob Wittman and Democratic challenger Krystal Ball have staked quite different positions on many of the key issues that will be facing Congress and this nation in the coming years.
Ball favors the health care legislation that passed this year, just wanting to tweak some of its requirements. Witt-
man voted against it and would like to see it overturned in favor of tort reform and allowing health insurance policies to be sold across state lines. Wittman says it is critical that all of President Bush’s 2001-2003 tax cuts be extended. Ball says that continuing the tax break for the top 2 percent wealthiest of Americans would be the least effective way to stimulate the economy. Ball opposes drilling off Virginia’s coast, favoring wind farms in their place. Wittman proposes an "all-of-the-above" energy policy that encompasses both traditional and alternative fuels. Ball would repeal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," saying it’s a matter of basic fairness; Wittman wants to determine effects on the military before that legislation is overturned. The differences go on and on.
Each candidate also brings unique positives. Wittman has a great deal of knowledge of and experience with issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay, having worked as field director for the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation. Having a voice in Congress familiar with the needs of this region is a definite plus.
In the nearly three years that he has served as our representative, Wittman has proved himself responsive to his constituents. Unlike Congressmen who only show up when it’s election time, Wittman has made a point of visiting the people in his district on a regular basis, listening to their problems and concerns.
Ball is a newcomer to politics, which, in this current anti-incumbency climate, is likely considered a plus. If she wins, Ball would be the only woman under the age of 30 elected to Congress.
That, combined with the fact that she would have orchestrated one of the biggest political upsets of recent history, would certainly give her the national spotlight, at least for a while. And Ball said that, if elected, she plans to use that spotlight to try to change the way Congress does business—getting Democrats and Republicans to look at one another as colleagues, not opponents. It’s a tall order, but a worthy goal as well.
Of course, for those looking for an entirely different perspective, there’s the Independent Green candidate, G. Gail "for Rail" Parker. While Parker may seem at times to have (literally) a one-track mind, with her insistence upon a national network of high-speed rail, she does hold positions on a variety of other issues, from turning over U.S. overseas bases to our allies and bringing our troops home, to eliminating no-bid, uncontested government contracts. And her advocacy for rail has definitely brought that issue to the fore, regardless who eventually wins.
We encourage you to check out all the three candidates’ websites (krystalballforcongress.com, robwittmanforcongress.com and gailparker.us), examine at their stands on the issues and then decide who you want to be your voice in Washington.
But whichever candidate you eventually choose, make sure that you get out and vote on Tuesday. For over 230 years, American men and women have sacrificed to ensure we have the right to vote. Casting a ballot is an easy and painless way to remember them.