In the race for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District (Fairfax City and portions of Fairfax and Prince William Counties), moderate incumbent Tom Davis (R) is up against Andrew Hurst (D) and Ferdinando Greco (IG). Davis is seeking his seventh term representing the 11th District in the House.
Greco’s long-shot campaign under the Independent Green banner seems to revolve entirely around building more rail and balancing the budget—not bad ideas, but many other important issues (like education, the war in Iraq, Social Security, homeland security, road improvements, social issues, and more) seem to be entirely ignored by his campaign. Further, there is no sufficient explanation from Greco on how he would fund his planned improvements in Virginia’s rail system or what he would cut to get our budget balanced. He shares with Hurst a desire to enact congressional term limits—a popular stance, but anti-democratic.
Needless to say, Greco’s campaign is a non-starter for me, leaving this race between Davis and Hurst.
Part of me longed to vote Democrat in this race. Given some of my frustrations with the Republican Party of late—interfering in the Terri Shiavo case, running huge budget deficits, and generally behaving like a party drunk on ten years of congressional control—a little voice in the back of my head kept hoping that the House of Representatives would swing to a Democratic majority.
And Hurst does have some good ideas. His reform plan for the No Child Left Behind act—which would increase funding for the act’s implementation, expand criteria for deciding whether a school is ‘failing’, and better target resources for improvement—is among the most reasonable plans for addressing the act’s problems I’ve seen to-date. He also endorses indexing the minimum wage to inflation rates, and some of his ideas for congressional reform—putting redistricting decisions in the hands of nonpartisan commissions and the creation of an independent Inspector General for Congress—are worth fair consideration as well.
But Hurst, unfortunately, does not deliver on some of the most important local and national issues—including some where Davis’s record speaks volumes.
Of major local concern, Davis has a strong record of securing much-needed federal funding for road and transportation improvements in the 11th District. Hurst, on the other hand, simply advocates reforming the transportation earmarking process and promoting telecommuting for federal employees—half-measures, at best. Davis has also worked hard to help fund economic revitalization throughout the 11th District and the greater D.C. metro area, while Hurst does not even address local revitalization issues on his campaign web site.
Nationally, the biggest issue before us is the War on Terror and hostilities in Iraq. I am disappointed that Davis does not speak to these issues on his campaign web site, but it is worth noting that Davis did vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq. Hurst, on the other hand, is among those short-sighted Democrats who support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq—a move that would be utterly catastrophic for the middle east and U.S. national security. Davis has also supported necessary Social Security reform and lowering taxes for the middle class—issues seemingly not addressed at all by Hurst’s campaign materials.
After a careful examination of the candidates’ stances (or lack thereof) on these and other issues, the choice is clear. Representative Tom Davis has served the 11th District well in Congress, and is the best choice to represent us for the next two years.