Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recap of 47th District Candidate Forum

Recap of forum for the race for House Delegate in Arlington’s 47th District

Last night I was at the candidates' forum for the House Delegate Race in Arlington. The five candidates vying for this seat were Miles Grant, Alan Howze, Adam Parkhomenko, Patrick Hope and Andres Tobar. All were in agreement on issues such as gay marriage and against using coal for energy production. Based on my observations and the general consensus of the audience, Miles, Alan and Patrick all performed the strongest. What follows is my summary of the each candidate’s strong points (and setbacks) for each one.

Miles Grant: Miles had very good answers on most of the questions. He restated his position of running a platform of environmental protection, civil liberties, and civic engagement. In terms of gay marriage, he says that making it legal in Virginia should be one of the next delegate’s top priorities. While some people see gay marriage as impossible to have in Virginia, he stressed that there are states that just recently made it legal (like Iowa) where most did not think it would happen. A question was asked about whether the position should be a full time job. He stressed that he would use experiences from his full time job in his role as legislator.

His response to a question of what he would do to protect women’s rights, he cited an example of how he knew of a pharmacy that would not fill birth control prescriptions. He could not fathom how that was possible. Additionally, when asked who his political role models were, he cited Henry Waxman and Paul Wellstone, who fought the good fight although they were in the minority. He had one egg out of line when discussing universal health care in Massachusetts (which was pointed out) but overall it was a good presentation by him.

Adam Parkhomenko: He stressed that he is the only candidate that has lived in Arlington all of his life. He was in agreement with the Democratic positions that were presented. He did say that he distinguishes himself from the other candidates because he would make his job as delegate a full time job (although it pays a part time salary) and the job was too important to do otherwise. Patrick Hope called him on that saying that eventually he would have to settle down and buy a house and that was difficult to do on a part time salary.

Patrick Hope: He also stressed support of most Democratic positions. When asked about what out of state program interested him, he responded that a program in the state of North Carolina that funds homecare services was critical as that state had a lack of those. In terms of women’s issues, he said that he would support programs that would fund treatment for women’s health issues. Of all the candidates, he was the only one that made negative remarks, correcting Miles on his presentation of health care in Massachusetts and telling Adam that he could not live on a part time salary forever.

Alan Howze: He stressed that he has lived across the state and worked for Mark Warner. His most interesting answer was regarding his favorite out of state program, which was the California decoupling program where private energy companies invest in conservation. The concern that voters might have with him is that of living across the state as opposed to staying in Arlington.

Andres Tobar: He said that his top priority was education. His strongest response was also regarding the out of state program that he liked-that being in Maryland where legal immigration status is not a barrier to getting a drivers' license. In my observation, he was not answering all questions completely and voters might be concerned that he is running on just one issue.

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