Following the lead of a 3-million strong national political action committee, MoveOn.org, a group of local residents completed its first project since forming a political action group in December. The 11th District Council has prepared a photo petition under the guidelines of MoveOn's Mandate for Change campaign, which it hopes to present to U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11).
Those who participated in the campaign signed petitions on behalf of issues they felt were most pressing. Some petitioned for clean energy, while others asked for U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Other issues, such as universal health care, also found their way onto the petition. However, after a letter and three subsequent e-mails to Davis's office, the group has not received a response yet. The group wishes to hand the petition to Davis, instead of mailing it to his office.
"It will lose all the impact if we just mailed it in," said John Frey, whose son Will is a senior at Oakton High School and also a member of the group. "We are patiently waiting for Davis's staff to respond to the multiple communications," said John Frey. He added that the group does not have intentions of creating a confrontational environment with Davis. He said the lack of a response is reflecting negatively with his constituents who are vocal and politically active.
Another member of the group, Vienna resident Karen Mortensen, said it was frustrating to not receive an answer because the petition required a lot of work. "There is no question," added Todd Berner of Falls Church, "we staked out as ambitious an approach as possible to this project." Berner said members of the group would not wait much longer for the response, and would pay Davis a visit, invited or uninvited.
"We need closure," said Frey.
Davis's staff said that it is looking into scheduling an appointment with the group in the congressman's Annandale office.
THE 11TH DISTRICT Council met on Monday night at the Patrick Henry Library not only to discuss the petition campaign, but also to organize itself for upcoming projects and events. Under MoveOn's guidance, the group will host a movie night on Feb. 15 at a member's house, showing "The Ground Truth," an anti-Iraq War documentary featuring interviews with U.S. soldiers. The purpose of the screening, according to Berner, is to build excitement for ending the war. Vienna resident Ira Hamburg agreed to host the screening.
"We, the U.S., went in there and we broke it. We own it and it's our responsibility to try to fix it," said Hamburg about the Iraq War. He added that a political solution is needed in Iraq, and that the United States has a major moral obligation to ensure the conflict comes to that solution.
Dean Glenn of Vienna has sent several e-mails to Davis, and has received a few responses. He said the congressman opposed the surge of U.S. forces in Iraq. "He is not in favor of what [President] Bush is doing [in Iraq], which came as a shock to me," said Glenn.
After the movie screening, members of the group plan on participating in another February event. They are planning a rally in front of one of Davis's offices during the House of Representatives' recess, Feb. 22-23.