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Del Ken Plum: Our Civic Duty

by Del. Ken Plum — October 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm 16 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoA basic tenet of all levels of civic education is that citizens should vote. We are told of the importance of voting in social studies classes, Scouting, and in community groups.

Yet, a surprisingly large number of people never learn the lesson. Voter participation in the United States is abysmal when compared to other countries, and Virginia is one of the worst among the states.

Many excuses are given — people do not feel their vote makes a difference; campaigns are too long and too negative; issues are too complex; it does not make a difference who wins; all politicians are crooked. Added to voter uncertainty and apathy are purposeful actions on the part of government to make voting inconvenient and difficult.

Elections are held on days when most people have to go to work. Voting early through the absentee voting process in Virginia requires a specific approved excuse. Please note that this year there is an additional requirement: you must present identification that has your photo on it. Some who see it to their advantage to keep poor people and seniors who might vote for the candidates of the other party from voting have added this additional barrier in order to solve a non-existent problem that people have been voting for someone else.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, is another election. There is one in Virginia every year. Mark it on your calendar and stick a note on the refrigerator. Take a friend or neighbor with you to the polls and certainly ensure that your family members vote. Take along a photo ID. Let’s beat the numbers on low participation and do our civic duty.

This is the federal election year cycle. We can do our part in making Congress functional again. Sen. Mark Warner has been doing his part in taking on the big issues, working across the aisle, and showing leadership in getting the U.S. Senate to do its job. He deserves our support. If you live in the 11th Congressional District as I do, we could not have a better Congressman than Gerry Connolly. He was an excellent member and chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and has shown as a member of Congress that he understands our issues and is not afraid to speak out.

Next door in the 10th Districtm the choice could not be clearer. If the Republican nominee wins, you can expect to see her on Fox News each evening bashing Democrats for that has been her lifetime job. John Foust will provide the district with steady, sensible and principled leadership. Encourage people to vote for him. In the 8th District, former Lt. Governor and Ambassador Don Beyer will bring intelligence and reasonableness to the job.

There are two questions on the ballot. The state constitutional amendment question asks if the General Assembly should be permitted to exempt from taxation the property of surviving spouses of soldiers killed in action as it can now do for veterans. I recommend its approval as another small way that we can show appreciation for the sacrifices of members of the Armed Services and their families.

A Fairfax County bond issue question is on the ballot seeking authorization for a $100 million transportation bond. The money will provide for important road improvements to relieve congestion and to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and access. I recommend that it be approved

Vote on Tuesday, November 4. As the teacher said, it is our civic duty.

To find your Congressional District, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

To find your polling place location, go tohttp://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/precincts.htm

To get more information on voting, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/

Ken Plum (D) represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His views do not necessarily represent those of Reston Now.

  • MJay

    It would have been more respectable for Del. Plum to urge people to go out and vote regardless of who they vote for. Instead, we get what is tantamount to a partisan advertisement. He also says, “We can do our part in making Congress functional again.” His solution: Re-elect the incumbents. He then goes on to bash the Republican candidate in the 10th District by accusing her of “Bashing Democrats.” I’m an independent, reliable voter who looks forward to voting in each election.

  • Laura Calacci

    Thanks Ken Plum for telling us who we should vote for. How can RestonNow allow this? His column should be aborted.

    • Karen Goff

      Laura – it says right there his views do not represent the views of Reston Now. It is an opinion column. In Mr Plum’s OPINION, these are the best candidates. You are welcome to write an op-ed with your opinion on who you think is best and I will post it.

      • Laura Calacci

        Karen – Thanks for your response. My opinion, for what it is worth is to get rid of “belly up to the buffet” Gerry Connolly and Mark Warner. They are both Obama leg humpers.

        • east297

          Laura, perfectly expressed! Thank YOU!

      • Laura Calacci

        Connolly is also strongly anti Israel.

      • Ugh

        Yeah but how come there is never any OTHER opinion besides that of the Crypt Keeper?

  • susie

    Connelly is turning Fairfax County into an illegal alien haven. The FCPS budget is not able to support all these illegal invaders and your taxes WILL go up to pay for them. Just check the FCPS website to read how they anticipate shortages for years due to “changing demographics” and “increased student enrollment”. Vote him out now!

    • Delsin Rowe

      I will try!

  • Reality Bytes

    Its not possible for politicians to get a fair shake in the election, just look at district 11. Connolly has millions in campaign funds, Scholte has 1000s. And the winner is…

    YOU DECIDE.

  • Bill Kotraba

    Wow really? Look at your future Fairfax County. Democrats are driving Montgomery County straight into the toliet. You’re starting to the effects here of the illegal alien invasion driving down the school system and breaking the budget. Watch for higher crime and higher taxes. How about inviting a state delegate from the 10th district to write a collumn to balance this hatchet job.

    • Karen Goff

      Because this publication is Reston Now. And Reston is 100 percent in the 11th district (which is also represented by a Democrat, Gerry Connolly.) In any case, that’s the US Congress. Mr. Plum represents Reston in the state house of delegates and is also a democrat. If an elected official from RESTON were a Republican of course he/she would have the space on here as well.

      • Ugh

        When he says something ABOUT RESTON in his column, that will be a first. All we get is the same old drivel every time — Democrats good, Republicans bad, the cow goes moo, the sheep goes baaaaa.

  • MJay

    I don’t blame Reston Now for this guest post. However, I just find it rather abhorrent that a Reston-based elected official is essentially insinuating that the civic duty is limited to voting for his guys ie Democrats. I know Del. Plum is a career politician and has always been a strict party guy, but I suppose I can dream that one day we will be represented by a bi-partisan breath of fresh air. I don’t know much about Rep. Connolly, but his challenger seemed nice enough and motivated when she was campaigning at the Metro station last week, so this guest post kind of sealed the deal for me on who to vote for–although this is Reston, so the realist in me reluctantly understands that we’re stuck with our incumbents forever.

  • Rational Reston

    Ignore the political hack Ken Plum, vote your conscience, not a political line. Look at the individuals and the issues. His type of partisanism of finger pointing is EXACTLY what is wrong in this country. Respecting opposing views is how we understand each other and bring folks forward together.

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