Steve Shannon in the 35th
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Steve Shannon in the 35th

There are two ways to decide who to vote for in the 35th. Voters can decide who to vote for or they can decide who to vote against. Both paths lead to the same decision.

Steve Shannon (D), just finishing his first term in the House of Delegates, describes himself as a centrist who doesn’t wear his party on his sleeve.

While his centrist views and voting record sometimes dismayed fellow Democrats, Shannon is just right for his district, which voted for John Kerry by a slim margin (51 to 48 percent) over George Bush in the last presidential election.

His centrist and strategic approach in the General Assembly helped him team up with moderate Republicans to support budget reform and other important measures.

Shannon is thoughtful and committed to public service. A former Fairfax County prosecutor, he has a special interest in safety for children.

Jim Hyland (R) has learned a lot about being a candidate since his run two years ago for Board of Supervisors, but he admits he has not been to Richmond to observe the legislature in action anytime recently. It’s hard to imagine a serious candidate for the House of Delegates who has not clocked in the time and miles to find out what he or she is running for. The General Assembly, once in session, moves at a velocity that will not accommodate learning on the job.

Imagine 3,000 bills in 60 days or less.

Hyland is not alone in failing the “been-there” test. Chris Craddock (R), challenger in the 67th, admits he has never attended any session of the General Assembly.