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Votes

Commentary: Also on the Ballot

With all the buzz about the presidential election, some voters may be surprised to learn that there are other electoral contests and issues on the ballot. At the request of many people, each year I write about the ballot facing voters and share my intentions on how I will be voting. It will come as no surprise to anyone that I will be voting for President Obama for re-election. This campaign as much as any has been about the clear role of government, and President Obama reflects views that I hold that our society must be open to opportunity for all and not to a privileged few. There is no reason to stay home from this vote. It does not get any more fundamental than this one.

Virginia will also elect a new U.S. Senator to replace retiring Senator Jim Webb. I will be voting for former Governor Tim Kaine who demonstrated as mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor and governor his ability to work across party lines and to govern effectively during some truly challenging economic times. He will be a really great partner working with Senator Mark Warner.

Reston is now in the 11th Congressional District as a result of redistricting after the federal census. Congressman Gerry Connolly deserves re-election. He is tuned into the needs of our community and has proven himself as a problem solver in the Congress and previously as a member and chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Two proposed amendments to the State Constitution are also on the ballot. The first amends the Virginia Bill of Rights related to the taking of private property through eminent domain. I voted against this amendment both times it passed the General Assembly. The abuses that it proposes to cure did not occur in Virginia. It shifts the delicate balance of the uses of property between private and public use that has been in the Virginia constitution since Virginia became a state and through hundreds of years of common law. It is opposed by many business groups. The second constitutional amendment, to allow the General Assembly to change the time of its reconvened session to avoid meeting on religious holidays, is a good one and should be supported. For the full text of amendments go to http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/.

Fairfax County has four bond issues on the ballot related to public libraries, public safety, parks, and stormwater control that merit our support. Fairfax County has the best credit rating available and this time of low interest rates is the best to invest in needed infrastructure.

Election Day is Nov. 6; polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bring your ID to the polls. Your driver’s license, voter registration card and other forms of identification listed as voter identification will suffice. Information on absentee voting is available at absentee voting. Send questions to kenplum@aol.com.