To the Alexandria Gazette:
My name is Holley Thames Lutz. I am a registered Democrat who has lived in the City of Alexandria for 27 years. And, I write with a full-throated endorsement of Darryl Nirenberg for City Council.
It has come to my attention that some Alexandria City residents (urged by Democratic City Council candidates) are writing letters in opposition to Darryl’s candidacy because of his work experience with Jesse Helms, the former Senator from North Carolina. This type of negative, knee-jerk politics makes me embarrassed for Democrats in this City.
Am I embarrassed because this type of smear campaign is mischaracterizing and stereotyping a good man? Yes. Am I embarrassed because Democrats are throwing stones at an accomplished, dedicated man while all the while ignoring the whole of his work history, pro bono activities and commitment to community? Yes. Is this the precise type of behavior we raise our children not to engage in, i.e., lashing out without all the facts? Yes.
My family has known the Nirenberg family for 20 years. Let me tell those nay-sayers a few things I guarantee you they do not know (or are ignoring) about Darryl. Early in his Hill career Darryl worked for Sen. Jacob Javits, a liberal Republican who supported much of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs and civil rights. Darryl worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he served senators from both sides of the aisle, and worked alongside Rep. Gerry Connolly and Sen. Chris VanHollen (both Democrats). Then, and now, Darryl knew the importance of reaching across the aisle, finding common ground to move forward common sense legislation for the good of the people.
Later in his Hill career when Darryl had the opportunity to work for Sen. Jesse Helms, he called his father, affectionately known as Grandpa Duck, who was counsel for the local chapter of the NAACP in the 1960s. After hearing about the opportunity, and some reservations from Darryl, his dad told him, “You should take it. God may be putting you there for a reason. If Helms wants to hire a Jewish New Yorker to be his chief, maybe that tells you something.” Darryl left the Hill after being recruited by Democratic powerhouse lawyer-lobbyist, Tom Boggs.
The fact that some attempt to define (and discount) Darryl Nirenberg by pointing to but one of his many stations on the Hill is juvenile. They ignore the fact that Darryl dedicates time and attention to important causes outside of his busy professional career. Darryl represented, pro bono, the Negros League Baseball Museum as well as the Humane Society. Darryl is also a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance, which brings youth sports to underserved communities.
What is it that Darryl proposes that Democrats are so quick to run away from? Fixing storm drains to stop repeated flooding? Putting School Resource Officers back into our schools? Preserving green spaces and preventing condensed, adult housing co-located on elementary school grounds? Common sense solutions to Alexandria’s problems. Really?
Darryl is a smart, compassionate, motivated man with the political experience we need to get things done in this City. I have seen Darryl as a neighbor, a friend, a husband and father and fellow attorney. He is the same guy in his backyard or on the ball field as he is on your doorstep reaching out to Alexandrians to learn what you care about and how he can help. Darryl has run a positive, issues-based campaign because he wants to be clear about his vision for our City.
Speaking for myself, I’ll go with a straight talker with political experience and practical solutions. I’m voting for Darryl Nirenberg.