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Letter: ‘Me’ vs. ‘Us’ at Town Hall

To the Editor:

The Great Falls Citizen Association held a town hall meeting. The panel included Dranesville Supervisor John Foust (D), Delegate Barbara Comstock (R), and State Senator Barbara Favola (D).

The purpose of the town hall meeting was to discuss legislative priorities as well as key legislation passed during the recent 2013 General Assembly Session. I was very impressed with Supervisor Foust and Delegate Comstock's professionalism and coverage of the issues in the 2013 General Assembly. They clearly had their constituents’ best interests at the forefront and both showed a bi-partisan approach to the issues concerning the people they represent. I have heard both individuals speak on prior occasion and voted for both of them in the past election.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Senator Favola. I have never met her, nor have I heard her views or positions. A first impression is always the most important when one holds a political position and Senator Favola made a very strong first impression to many who sat in this meeting. Her initial 15-minute remarks stressed bi-partisanship, yet she took several opportunities to relate stories that threw her Republican colleagues under the bus. She came across as arrogant, derogatory and conceited. She was more about "me," look what I have accomplished, and less about "us."

For example, she expressed her own views on abortion clinics and used her time to insult pro-life voters. She pushed her beliefs on gun rights. The senator supported the Federal government’s framework and funding for Medicare and the health care exchange that would control our state instead of looking out for our best interest in Virginia. I attended the event to hear what our elected officials had to share about the legislation that was passed and how it would impact our district.

Instead, the senator spent part of her time taking digs at the other party, insulting many of us in the audience, and stressing what Washington wants versus what is best for Virginians. Many of us came away feeling insulted by the senator. Her colleagues on the panel did a very impressive job of informing us on the key issues and the impact of legislation in our district in a polite and non-abrasive manner.

It was inappropriate to use this event as a campaigning platform for oneself and take jabs at the other party. I shared my impression of her after the event and the senator explained to me that her colleagues would not have taken it personally but would have found humor in her words. As for many of us attending the evening, we did not find the humor in her stories. A slice of humble pie would be a much-appreciated dessert for this senator if she wishes to be perceived as an elected official who is truly working for all Virginians in her district instead of shoving her party and disrespectful humor down our throats.

Suzanne Pidgeon

Great Falls