The Political Season
In our democracy, campaigning and governing go hand-in-hand, but at times, it's difficult to separate politics from policy-making.
Over the past few years, we've seen excessive partisanship gridlock Washington and Richmond, and even the most mundane issues become politicized to a point where our government fails to serve some of your basic needs.
For example, in just a few weeks, the divided Congress and the President will face another debt ceiling crisis like they did a year ago. The impasse could impact Wall Street and all of our economic futures, yet, no one in Washington seems to be talking about any serious solutions, and instead, using this as a campaign issue.
Likewise, every gubernatorial candidate in Virginia has talked about solving our transportation mess. Yet this session, the one-party-control in Richmond refused to pass anything other than a bill to allow corporations to pay for naming rights on bridges and highway exits. No consideration was allowed for any other transportation solution.
I've always thought that politicians should campaign to govern, not govern to campaign.
In my two and a half years in public office, I've tried hard to leave the partisan bickering and politicking for the campaign trail, and instead, focus on getting things done as a legislator. I've listened to everyone's views, and worked to represent everyone's interests, even those constituents who did not vote for me.
Well, as of this month, the legislative aspects of my Delegate duties has wrapped up for this year, so I will be shifting my attention from governing to campaigning.
You might recall that last month, the Virginia General Assembly returned to Richmond to vote on the Governor's amendments to the budget. On Monday of this week, Governor McDonnell signed that budget bill into law, which means that our legislative work for this year is complete.
On Tuesday, the primary elections for federal candidates were held in Virginia. I want to congratulate former Senator/Governor George Allen for clinching the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, as well as Chris Perkins for winning the Republican nomination for the 11th Congressional District.
I am pleased that incumbent Congressman Jim Moran has won his Democratic primary for the 8th District. My Congressman Gerry Connolly and former Governor Tim Kaine did not face primary contests to be the Democratic nominees for the 11th District and U.S. Senate, respectively.
Now that the field is set for the November 6 elections, I will be working hard over the next five months to support my candidates for President, Senate and Congress: Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran.
If you live in Northern Virginia, I hope you will support these great candidates as well.
Since my own reelection to the House of Delegates won't be until November of next year, I will devote my political attention to the federal races this year, in the hopes that the next Congress will work with the President to get things done.
However, I do plan on holding a couple of fundraisers in the summer and fall to help me pay for some of the expenses that I incur just to keep my Delegate operations running smoothly.
Please keep your eyes open for these "Keam for Delegate" fundraising opportunities, and I hope to count on your generous support for my own campaign. Or if you are willing to help me now, I can certainly use your contribution today!
Democracy is a great tool but only if we all take part in it. I hope you will be engaged in the federal elections this fall so that you can decide who will lead our nation and our state.
Thank you for this incredible opportunity to represent you.
P.S. Last night, the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce named me its "Citizen of the Year." I am truly honored, and I thank the Chamber and its members for their support and friendship!
Here's a photo of me accepting the award, taken (and copyrighted) by my good friend Jeremy Rusnock: