Arlington, VA – Based on a membership vote, Arlington/Alexandria for Democracy (AAfD) enthusiastically endorses David Englin for the 45th District House of Delegates seat. A clear majority of members voted for Englin as their first choice, citing his progressive values and energizing campaign. AAfD urges 45th District residents to cast their votes for Englin in the June 14 Democratic primary.
Englin has distinguished himself from his five competitors for the nomination with a vigorous grassroots campaign that is breathing fresh life into the movement to fight for our socially progressive, fiscally responsible values in Richmond. Co-host Matthew Munsey of Arlington explained: "The strong consensus among our members is that David Englin embodies our mission by reaching out to everyone in our community, including many who have been disengaged from the political process. He has demonstrated strong leadership in fighting unabashedly for progressive values, even as an Air Force officer stationed in George Bush's Pentagon."
The full press release is here and discussion after the jump!
AAfD worked for months on developing a fair and inclusive process which would educate and inform not only regular members but others in the general public about all of the candidates running in this important House of Delegates race. AAfD invited all six candidates to complete a public candidate questionnaire and attend the group's monthly meetings. Some candidates attended and participated in AAfD meetings; other candidates sent surrogates. In addition to researching candidates' Web sites and answers to the AAfD questionnaire, many AAfD members also attended numerous candidate forums in order to compare candidates in person.
AAfD leaders have emphasized that each of the six candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 45th would be great additions to the House of Delegates in Richmond. But it was the Englin campaign's focus on grassroots outreach that appears to have tipped the scales overwhelmingly in his favor for those who participated in this membership vote:
The Englin campaign is already looking beyond the June 14 Virginia primary, committing to put its strong grassroots base to work for gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine and other progressive candidates who are challenging the leaders of the right-wing agenda that threatens our values and constructive economic development in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Englin stated, "On behalf of the dozens of grassroots volunteers devoting their time and energy to our fight for a progressive future, I'm honored to accept the endorsement of Arlington/Alexandria for Democracy. These local Democracy for America activists share our campaign's vision and commitment to building the grassroots and standing up for progressive values, and I'm proud to have their support."
One significant aspect of this endorsement is that it adds a different perspective to one that was expressed by outgoing Delegate Marian Van Landringham in an article in the Arlington Connection newspaper this week:
"David is a very nice young man but he hasn't been around very long," she said [...] "It's unusual to have someone who hasn't paid their community dues to turn around and run for office."
Van Landingham — who worked with Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) both during his tenure as mayor of Alexandria and in the U.S. House — also questioned Englin's role in Andy Rosenberg's 2004 Democratic campaign for Congress. A significant segment of his support, she said, comes from Democrats dissatisfied with Moran's leadership.
For the record, the vast majority of activists both from the old Arlington for Dean and new Arlington/Alexandria for Democracy Meetup groups enthusiastically supported Jim Moran in last year's primary.
And while it is understandable that some longtime party activists may assume that all of the "new people" who have gotten energized in the past couple of years may be the same people as those who haven't been longtime party activists but got involved in the Rosenberg campaign, it is definitely not the case that Englin's support comes primarily from those who are dissatisfied with Congressman Moran.
From what I've seen of the positive AAfD process, this endorsement
is not made as a negative reflection on anyone - certainly not
Congressman Moran, nor any of the very fine other Democrats who are
fighting for this nomination. It is in recognition of very positive,
unique aspects of the Englin campaign.
Personally, I proudly worked my heart out for Jim Moran in last year's primary. I've met all of the candidates and think that each one of them would be an asset to the House of Delegates. And I, like the AAfD members who picked David as their first choice, recognize the unique, deep investment that the Englin campaign has made in grassroots outreach this year. As one of many similar examples, take this recent post from the VoteStrong blog (emphasis mine):
This past Sunday we hosted a cookout in the Berg, the Section 8 housing project in Old Town, Alexandria. Prior to the event, a local reporter suggested to me that it would be a waste of my time as a candidate to devote energy to a community not likely to vote in a primary. Whether or not the wonderful people in Alexandria's public housing neighborhoods who are supporting me will turn out on June 14th is besides the point, in my opinion. It's never a waste of a Democrat's time to reach out to empower people who need a voice. Few people in our community need a voice more than the residents of the Berg and of Alexandria's other low-income neighborhoods, for whom housing, health care, education, and safety are daily struggles that most of us in the privileged middle-class can barely fathom.
How can we as Democrats honestly claim to be the party of social justice if we ignore the people most in need of social justice during the only election where those people will have a chance to choose who represents them? Moreover, we have an obligation to actively engage those in need of social justice throughout the year and not just at election time. Residents of the Berg have made it clear to me that they're tired of Democrats showing up before elections, asking them for their votes, and then disappearing until the next election. Shayna and I have been knocking on doors and getting to know people in the Berg for some time now. It has been a real pleasure for our family to spend some time getting to know their families, and I'm committed to continuing that relationship year-round, and not just at election time.
Leadership is demonstrated not just after a candidate wins, but also in the running. All six candidates for this nomination have demonstrated different approaches to leadership in this race; it is the Englins' approach that has resonated most with the majority of AAfD activists who participated in this vote. I congratulate David, Shayna, and all of the volunteers and campaign staff who've worked so hard together as the Englin campaign on earning this endorsement from AAfD.
(Note: While there is similarity in names and mission among these three groups, AAfd, Democracy for Virginia, and Democracy for America are all distinctly separate entities with separate endorsement processes. You can nominate any candidate for the Democracy for America DFA-List endorsement here. Democracy for Virginia will not be endorsing in contested HOD primaries this year, and this post was not authorized by any candidate or committee.)