Last time Virginia elected a governor, 1.7 million voters failed to vote after voting the previous year.
In 2008, 74.5 percent of Virginia’s registered voters turned out to vote in the presidential election. In 2009, the last time Virginians elected a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates, just 40.4 percent of registered voters came out to vote.
The sacrifices of those who died in war.
1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, of the Kings Park West neighborhood of Fairfax, was killed by enemy fire on April 23, 2013 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan. Hess was known as “RJ” and graduated from Robinson Secondary School in 2005, where he played football, lacrosse and was the captain of the swim team. He was a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot who deployed to Afghanistan on April 11, 2013. His family remembers his sense of humor and his natural leadership ability.
Primary voting, absentee voting, Republican convention.
Absentee voting, including “in-person” absentee voting, is already underway for the June 11 primary, a statewide Democratic party primary for lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race in Northern Virginia. Voters in the Democratic primary will choose between Ralph S. Northam and Aneesh Chopra for lieutenant governor; and between Mark R. Herring and Justin E. Fairfax for attorney general.
Primary voting, absentee voting, Republican convention
Absentee voting, including “in-person” absentee voting, is already underway for the June 11 primary, a statewide Democratic party primary for lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race in Northern Virginia.
Virginia does not benefit from elected officials being awash in cash donations and gifts.
Virginia got a failing grade for vulnerability to corruption. Corruption in the commonwealth is probably not any more rampant than voter fraud, as we said last year. But in terms of practices that could undermine trust, Virginia has vast room for improvement.
Investigative reporting, in depth coverage, education writing, photography, art, design, sports, garner Virginia Press Association honors.
The Connection Newspapers won dozens of awards from the Virginia Press Association, with winners announced on Saturday, April 20, in Norfolk.
TJ admissions illustrate growing gap between “haves” and “have-nots.”
More than 181,000 students attend Fairfax County Public Schools. So why do the 480 students who were accepted for next year’s freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology seem so important? Fairfax County Public Schools have a single elite magnet school, Thomas Jefferson, and TJ is frequently referred to as the top high school in the country. Dramatic disparity in the makeup of admissions at TJ is an indicator of disparity in early identification of students as gifted and talented, of access to advanced classes and enrichment, and in the basic education that the Fairfax County Public school system offers to all of its students.
Every year is election year in Virginia, and it’s a bit much.
The most hotly contested race for statewide office in Virginia, the Republican contest for lieutenant governor, will be decided at a statewide convention on May 18. That’s about a month from now.
General Assembly puts more information out of public reach, but other factors also limit access.
The first paragraph of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, passed by the General Assembly in 1968, states that all public records "shall be presumed open." It doesn’t add, “except when we don’t want to,” although that provision does seem to be available in many cases. Individual government entities have a variety of ways of making it hard for the public to access public information.
Governor, state panel must accept coverage for 400,000 Virginians without health insurance.
More than 140,000 residents of Fairfax County have no health insurance. That’s more than 13 percent of the slightly more than 1 million people who live in the wealthiest county in the nation. Arlington and Alexandria have similar percentages of uninsured.
Future of Brickyard site still unclear.
After two years of civic activism, legal action on multiple fronts, political outreach, public education and fundraising through bake sales and barn dances, members of the Brickyard Coalition came to last week’s West Montgomery County Citizens Association to talk about their success.
Discouraging innovation in high-tech Virginia.
Consider this as a possible scenario (although perhaps we should have saved this for April 1): Fewer people are smoking, and many of those who do are smoking less. Virginia’s cigarette tax, the lowest of any state at 30 cents a pack, is a declining revenue source. Higher cigarette taxes are proven to reduce smoking. Under current logic in the commonwealth, there would be two courses of action to raise revenue: a) cut the cigarette tax, and b) charge non-smokers a fee to make up the difference and to compensate for the fact that they don’t pay cigarette taxes.
Compromise, in the works, should include indexing the gas tax to inflation.
Virginia needs more options, not fewer, in developing revenue to pay for roads and transportation. Compromise on a plan to increase transportation revenue should not include making Virginia the only state in the nation without a gas tax. The current, ridiculously low gas tax should be indexed to inflation. The last thing the commonwealth needs is to do away with an existing, major source of money for roads.
More than 150 volunteers needed to survey chronic homeless for three days in February.
The real solution to homelessness is housing. This week in Northern Virginia, a point-in-time survey will record all of the “literally homeless” individuals and families in the region. Last year, on Jan. 25, 2012, there were 1,534 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community; 697 of them were single individuals and 837 were people in families. A third of the total number of homeless were children. Nearly 60 percent of the adult members of the homeless families were employed.
Real health coverage for an additional 400,000 people is in reach.
Virginia has an opportunity to expand Medicaid in a way that could extend health coverage to more than 400,000 residents who currently have no health insurance while the Federal government picks up the tab; Virginia would pay 10 percent of the additional cost after 2020.
Eliminating the gas tax makes no sense.
Virginia, and especially Northern Virginia, is woefully short on funds for transportation. One reason is that its gas tax, a logical way to fund transportation infrastructure, is one of the lowest in the nation, and has remained flat since the ’80s, since it is not indexed for inflation. So the buying power of the gas tax has been dwindling.
2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly will tackle serious issues.
The 2013 30-day session of the Virginia General Assembly begins on Wednesday, Jan. 9. We can only hope that the various legislative proposals do not provide as much fodder for comedy as last session. The Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia will offer live streaming video of the 2013 Legislative Sessions, and it is well worth tuning in once or twice.
Reflecting and reinforcing the sense of community.
As local, weekly newspapers, the Connection’s mission is to bring the news you need about your community, to give you the information you need to enjoy the best things in and near your community, to advocate for community good, to call attention to unmet needs, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record milestones and events in community and people’s lives. To succeed at any of that, we need your help.
Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas
We are a nation of immigrants, to invoke the title of John F. Kennedy’s posthumously published book; undeniably a nation descended from immigrants and a nation greatly augmented by immigration. From this perspective, with the first immigrants motivated by the search for religious freedom, even Christmas is a religious holiday of immigrants.
A serious backup, but seriously, make a plan ahead of time.
You know the drill, the five-to-seven or six-to-eight drop-in happy hour, you've been invited to five of them, and you could attend an infinite number of these between now and the second day of 2013. And there are many other varieties of holiday festivities, many involving more than a drink or two. So make a plan.
Students in Fairfax County speak 160 languages.
This week our ongoing series about immigration in Fairfax County takes a look at county schools, and some of the joys and challenges of having a diverse student body that speaks as many as 160 different languages at home.
More than 80 people gathered at Normandie Farm restaurant in Potomac on Thursday, Nov. 15 to honor the 2012 People of the Year, as named by the Potomac Chamber of Commerce.
Tune in to our series on immigration.
This week, the Connection kicks off a series about immigration, diversity and the growing population of foreign-born residents in Fairfax County. County reporter Victoria Ross opens with a story that captures vignettes and statistics of the changing population. It is a topic consistent with the original Thanksgiving story. More than 28 percent of Fairfax County's population is foreign born; that's 317,000 residents.
Small business Saturday isn't enough; don't wait until then, and don't stop after that.
An effort to support locally owned businesses has resulted in the recognition of Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year that is Nov. 24. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day of national zeal for shopping. Presumably the next day shoppers can focus on local shopping.
Presidential campaigns traverse Northern Virginia on last days, mark the importance of every vote.
The images from the last weeks of the presidential Election of 2012 make it clear that it would be hard to overstate the importance of voting, especially in Virginia, especially in Northern Virginia.
Variety of choices in political landscape.
Hurricane Sandy means that the week preceding the election will not be what we were expecting. This editorial is being written Sunday night, Oct. 28, as forecasters predict five inches of rain and 65-mile-per-hour winds over the next two days. With some predicting that power could take a week or more to restore, we have to worry about the likely condition of the Eastern seaboard will be on Election Day, Nov. 6. Absentee voting in person had been cancelled for Monday, and most government offices were closed in anticipation of the storm. What will this mean for voter turnout, for access to voting places on Election Day?
Variety of choices in political landscape.
Hurricane Sandy means that the week preceding the election will not be what we were expecting. This editorial is being written Sunday night, Oct. 28, as forecasters predict five inches of rain and 65-mile-per-hour winds over the next two days.
Call for student artwork and writing; deadline Dec. 3.
During the last week of each year, The Connection devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. The results are always remarkable. It is a keepsake edition for many families.
Call for student artwork and writing; deadline Dec. 3.
During the last week of each year, The Gazette Packet devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. The results are always remarkable. It is a keepsake edition for many families.
Call for student artwork and writing; deadline Dec. 3.
During the last week of each year, The Almanac devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children. The results are always remarkable. It is a keepsake edition for many families.
It's called “absentee voting in person,” and there are a lot of reasons why you should.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. The deadline to register to vote is past, although in Northern Virginia, it's clear that a very high percentage of eligible voters are registered. Four years ago in the presidential election of 2008, there were 5,034,660 voters registered in Virginia, and 3,752,858 actually voted. Just in the month of September 2012, Fairfax County saw more than 6,000 newly registered voters, for a total of 646,881 active voters. Arlington registered more than 3,300 new voters in September, with more than 130,000 active voters total. Alexandria added more than 1,300 new voters last month alone, with 81,847 active voters.
Success with breast cancer awareness should help other cancers.
October is breast cancer awareness month. Anyone connected to media of any variety already knows this. A massive marketing success, we all know that pink shows support for breast cancer prevention, especially in October.
To vote on Election Day, you must be registered at your current address no later than Oct. 15, 2012. Registered voters should have received a new voter card in the mail by now. You can check your registration status online by visiting the State Board of Elections website at www.sbe.virginia.gov. There you can also download a voter registration form and mail or fax it to your elections office address.
Don't sweat voter ID; voter registration card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check with name, address of voter will work.
Changes in Virginia's voter identification rules are causing confusion in many quarters, and some voters might be tempted to stay home rather than deal with a difficult situation. What about your 92-year-old mother who hasn't driven in almost a decade? Do you need to schlep her to the DMV to get her a photo ID before November?
Rare opportunity to see George Washington's copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments, are a model of spare writing, packing every word and phrase with meaning, anticipating much and providing a framework for future. Here is the text of the Bill of Rights, courtesy of the Library of Congress. I cannot imagine that 500 words anywhere from any era convey so much power. These 500 words are what make democracy work.
Eleven years after terrorist attacks.
On Sept. 11, 2001, 9:37:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. The Pentagon's on-site firehouse responded immediately to the crash. Firefighters from nearby Reagan National Airport and Arlington County Fire Department arrived within minutes.
Oct. 15 deadline; encourage eligible high school and college students to vote as well.
It's a key question that must be answered by Oct. 15 in order to vote in this presidential election: are you registered to vote at your current address? Answering that question early, and voting early, will help ensure that your vote is counted and will contribute to a more orderly Election Day.
And never too early for parents to get involved.
The first day of school in most of Northern Virginia is Tuesday, Sept. 4. We don't agree with having the General Assembly dictate the first day of school, requiring the start date to be after Labor Day, but starting school after Labor Day does seem more hospitable than the Aug. 27 start in many other areas.
Election Day is Nov. 6, but you can vote as early as Sept. 21.
How important is it for Virginia voters to turn out on or before Nov. 6? As a critical “battleground” state, Virginia will be key in determining who will be the next President of the United States. Who will represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate is also too close to call. Since polling shows that there are very few undecided voters in the Commonwealth, every eligible voter will want to be sure to cast a ballot.
The paper you're reading, the Mount Vernon Gazette is one of 15 papers published by the independent, locally owned Local Media Connection LLC, serving the suburbs of Metropolitan Washington in Northern Virginia and Potomac, Md.
The paper you're reading, the Alexandria Gazette Packet is one of 15 papers published by the independent, locally owned Local Media Connection LLC, serving the suburbs of Metropolitan Washington in Northern Virginia and Potomac, Md.
Automatic cuts set to kick in January would harm Northern Virginia more than any other region.
While reducing the federal deficit is critical to the nation's economic health in the long run, the knee jerk, slash and burn method based only on cuts that is coming at us like a freight train will do immense damage to the economy nationally. But no place would feel the pain more intensely than Northern Virginia.
The paper you're reading, the Potomac Almanac is one of 15 papers published by the independent, locally owned Local Media Connection LLC, serving the suburbs of Metropolitan Washington in Northern Virginia and Potomac.
Newcomers and Community Guide 2012-2013
The independent, locally owned Local Media Connection LLC publishes 15 papers serving the suburbs of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. in Northern Virginia and Potomac, Md. Our flagship paper, the Alexandria Gazette Packet, is one of the oldest continuously publishing papers in the country, beginning publication in 1784.
The paper you're reading, the Arlington Connection is one of 15 papers published by the independent, locally owned Local Media Connection LLC, serving the suburbs of Metropolitan Washington in Northern Virginia and Potomac, Md.
First day of school is Sept. 4; local nonprofits provide school supplies and weekend food.
With school beginning in a few weeks, area charitable organizations have been collecting contributions of new backpacks, calculators, other school supplies, money and gift cards and winter coats to help the tens of thousands of truly needy Northern Virginia students.
"Stop making smart 8th graders feel inferior because they are not admitted."
Readers responded to last week's editorial, which cited a civil rights complaint about the apparent lack of access to gifted and talented programs and admission to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Virginia should embrace opportunity for more health care coverage for poor residents.
Chances are that if you are reading this, you have employer-provided health insurance. While you might worry about the young adults in your family or the lower wage workers in your organization, you also know that if you are sick, you can go to the doctor.
Top presidential donor zip codes in this area show Virginia is purple; Romney or Obama to be decided on Election Day.
If you wonder if presidential politics really matters in this area, consider that Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland hold some of the top zip codes for contributions to the two major party candidates.
Voting restrictions, abortion restrictions, DUI restrictions, fewer gun restrictions, more go into effect July 1.
A plethora of new laws will go into effect in the Commonwealth on July 1, including restrictive new procedures for voting, and the loosening of multiple gun regulations.