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Votes

A Capitol Wedding

After nuptials, Congressman Moran reflects on just completed primary victory.

A wedding ceremony for family only was held at the chapel in the U. S. Capitol on June 12 for U.S. Congressman James P. Moran (D-8) and LouAnn Bennett.

This was the bride’s second marriage and the groom’s third. About three dozen people attended and were treated to a tour of the Capitol and a view of Washington from the balcony outside the House Speaker’s office.

“We really did invite only family — our children and our siblings and their families,” Moran said. “It was a lovely ceremony.”

Moran’s oldest daughter, Mary Elise, spoke at the ceremony. The new groom said, “She talked about praying for me to be happy and having her prayers answered. We were all in tears,” the congressman said.

Bennett and Moran have known each other for just over a year. Their first date was arranged by Moran’s daughter and Bennett’s son who work together. The couple plan a brief honeymoon on the Eastern shore. They will live in north Arlington, where Bennett recently purchased a home. That’s where the reception was held.

“It was a terrific reception,” said Nancy LaValle, a long-time supporter and friend of Moran’s. “There were about 120 people, mostly people that go way back with Jim. They [the newlyweds] looked very happy.”

THE WEDDING came just days after Moran won the eighth district’s Democratic primary, the first challenge he has faced from a Democrat since he was first elected to Congress in 1990. Political newcomer Andrew Rosenberg got 41 percent of the vote to Moran’s 59 percent; a disappointment to Moran.

“First of all, I want to thank those 59 percent who voted for me,” Moran said. “They stuck with me in spite of the ad homonym attacks, particularly in the last couple of weeks before the election. Those people know my record and know that I have worked hard and done a great deal for the district. I am very grateful to those people and will continue to work hard for them.

“However, I am disappointed that I didn’t get more of the vote. This entire campaign was about me — it was never about the issues. Mr. Rosenberg wasn’t running on the issues. He was simply running against me and it is disappointing that so many people in the district voted for him,” he said.

Moran also spoke about the comments of a former pollster Alan Seacrest, who accused Moran of making anti-Semitic comments at a private meeting.

“He never did say what those comments were because he knows that there were five other people in the room during that meeting who could have refuted what he said,” Moran said. “They know and I know that I never made any such remarks.”

MORAN IS aware that he needs to reach out to those who didn’t vote for him. “We lost Reston and that’s an area where I don’t know people well,” he said. “I have just recently begun representing the people in that community — just since the last redistricting — so I know I need to get out there and get to know them.

“Also, we lost some of the areas in Arlington where there are high-rises. The Rosenberg people targeted those areas very heavily. We need to get our message out to them and talk about my record,” he said.

That record has included bringing jobs and money, particularly for homeland security projects, to the 8th district. “I am proud of what I have accomplished and am not sure what else I can do,” Moran said. “Except for the time that I spend with my children, I have given my life to serving the district. I have worked hard for the neediest of our residents and those are the people who don’t vote, but I have done it because it’s the right thing to do and I will continue to do so."

Moran went on to say, “I am outspoken and I won’t tolerate bullies. As the oldest child, it fell to me to protect my younger brothers and sisters when people were picking on them. I guess I learned that lesson very well because I never hesitate to express my opinion when I think it’s important,” he said.

As Moran sat talking, two of his constituents approached him. One was a teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington. “I just wanted to come and tell you that I voted for you and that I will continue to support you,” the teacher told him. “You changed your schedule to meet with me and a group of students I brought to the Capitol. You made time for us and had your picture taken with us on the Capitol steps. I will never forget that.”

Moran said that this is the kind of constituent service he intends to continue. “I try to be available and to respond to requests from people,” he said. “I just don’t know what else I can do.”

Moran will face Republican challenger Lisa Marie Cheney in the November general elections. “We will really get the campaign in high gear after Labor Day,” Moran said. “I think people will get enough politics with the two national conventions this summer,” he said.