“Leaders need to be servant Leaders.” – Randy Forbes
I am a registered independent. Generally speaking; I don’t like (read: trust) the Republican nor Democrat parties (Look left). This election cycle a wrench was thrown into the mix by our Representative, Scott Rigell; and then again by the state of Virginia. Scott Rigell is very popular, and I respect him a lot. Unfortunately for me, he has decided to step down. This combined with the state complying with federal regulations to redistrict the 3rd district – has thrown the proverbial wrench into my voting scheme.
Why do I like Rigell? He is a moderate. He isn’t one of those crazy tea types and doesn’t want to socialize everything…he is pretty middle of the road, and (this is important to me) he sends emails to the people he represents asking what is important to us, and how do we feel regarding key issues. In short, he communicates with the people he represents. I don’t agree with everything he does, hell, I didn’t even vote for him the first time. But he has earned my trust, which is more than I can say for most politicians. You can see his voting record here.
The Federal court ruled that the 3rd Congressional district was not in accordance with federal guidelines. As such it ruled that the district had to be redrawn. This impacted the surrounding districts greatly. Of the four districts that touched Hampton Roads. The Supreme Court upheld the redrawing of districts.
- 1st District no longer has any presence in Hampton Roads
- 2nd District was marginally affected; it was expanded to include Williamsburg, York County, part of James City county and other nearby communities. It lost a chunk of Newport News.
- 3rd District was greatly altered. This district lost Richmond and Petersburg, but gained parts of Hampton Roads. It includes Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampton, the 2nds lost chunk of Newport News and Isle of Wight county.
- 4th District was also greatly altered. This district lost Suffolk and Isle of Wight county. It retained Chesapeake and gained the cities of Richmond and Petersburg. it also has a lot of land that connect them all together.
So, who is going to replace my representative? Currently there are four folks running to replace him (click on any name to be taken to their website):
- Shaun Brown (D) – She is a community activist from Newport News. Her website did not load when I tried to navigate to it.
- Scott Taylor (R) – He is a Navy Veteran, who is currently a real estate broker and state delegate. He has made positive changes for the local community and is well respected and liked. He is a nice guy. The only thing I hear from his campaign…he is an ex-SEAL, Iraq war veteran, and businessman. I encourage you to read his voting record while a state delegate.
- Randy Forbes (R) – He has spent the last 14 years representing the 4th Congressional district. His district was affected by the court-ordered redrawing of the 3rd Congressional district (I’ll address this in more detail later). He sits as Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. With the military presence located around Hampton Roads, this is an important committee; and “our” guy is the lead on the committee. He has a long voting record, and generally he and Scott Rigell vote the same – but there are key differences (I like to believe that Scott listens more). His House of Rep webpage.
- Pat Cardwell (R) – An attorney who wants to see a return to the Constitution. I like what he has to say, I just don’t think he has the juice to do it.
- The good Dr D. (?) – I pretty much write myself in whenever I don’t like the candidates. So far I’ve received two votes for dog catcher. The two votes were me and my cat (he knows I’d make a terrible dog catcher). Not even the Boss Lady voted for me. I think it pretty obvious – I don’t stand a chance in hell of being elected; I guess I’ll stick with one of the above; but which one?
I want to cover a lot of ground, so I’m not going to chart out each how I feel about each candidate. I’m only going to hit my big points for Randy Forbes…
Endorsed by Scott Rigell (There are many others; but this is the one that counts for me) and Thelma Drake. He’s also endorsed by 200’ish really important people (I’m sure); but I trust Scott.
1 of only 17 members of Congress to vote against every bailout bill (Under both Bush & Obama).
He plays well with others. While silly sounding, it is important that he can work across the isle.
He looks at you and looks eye to eye when speaking with you (passed my bullshit meter).
He didn’t speak negatively about folks in other parties and he respected differences of opinion.
He has spent his entire life in Hampton Roads and is clearly knows its issues and priorities.
People I know personally that live in the 4th District like him and feel he has represented them well.
Brought us the Albert G. Horton Jr. VA Cemetery (This is where me and the Boss Lady are scheduled to be planted).
He’s a Republican!
Has an A rating from the NRA.
I actually got to meet Mr. Forbes the other day, when he was in town speaking with the Filipino American Community Action Group of Hampton Roads (The honorable Nony Abrajano is Chairman). It was a very informal setting, and he answered all of our questions. He was not boisterous. He impressed me, not like the usual “look at me…look at me” chest thumping politician. He was laid back, he actually introduced himself to every person in the room and thanked them for coming. When he tapped me on the shoulder, I had to ask who he was. He was not what I was expecting; and I was very pleasantly surprised. Soft but well articulated – definitely comes across as someone who knows what he is talking about. The voice of experience.
I had the opportunity to speak with him one-on-one and later in the group session. I asked him a couple of questions…
- The Pentagon has proposed major changes to military healthcare premiums, what was his position on the proposed changes? He answered me quite frankly that the Pentagon has asked for major changes and the Senate will go along with the request. He is of the opinion that they are asking too much, and will work to lower the impact of the changes. The American Military Retirees Assn has stated their views in a position paper. I encourage all veterans to visit the AMRA website and see how you can make your voice heard. I remember when I joined the military. You do 20 years, you’ll never have to worry; you’ll be taken care of: we take care of our own. To bad it isn’t working out that way. But that is another story for another day.
- What is his plan for our national debt. Here he played the politician. His focus was on the military, and this question wasn’t on his radar; so I got the typical political response. The debt is large, we have to do something. We have to pick our priorities…blah…blah..blah. All a bunch of political non-sense.
As an Independent, I vote for who I feel will serve me and my locality the best. I don’t give a hoot about which party a person belongs to (I refer you to the opening graphic). And I believe that Mr. Forbes is the right man at this time. I think he will do right. This article is my way of coming to a decision, I am only one man, but I vote, and my vote matters. See you in the neighborhood on June 14th, 2016.
If you’d like to read more, I encourage you to follow up with some of my other sources which I didn’t use in this article.:
Richmond Times about the redistricting:
Virginia Redistricting by “All about redistricting”
http://redistricting.lls.edu/cases-VA.php#VA – Court cases
http://cnu.edu/redistrictingcommission/index.asp – Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting
http://www.fairvote.org/virginia-redistricting-a-better-method – another approach on redistricting
Supreme Court upholds redistricting: