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Del. Ken Plum: What Now?

by Del. Ken Plum November 28, 2017 at 11:30 am 54 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

What happens if a dog that chases vehicles catches one? What happens if a political party that struggles for nearly a decade to regain the majority in a political body realizes its goal? The question is not theoretical. Democrats in the House of Delegates have been working at a 34 to 66 seat disadvantage for the last several years.

In an election that produced results seemingly impossible, before recounts Democrats are down by one vote from being tied for control of the House. An even 50-50 or a one vote advantage are possible as soon as the official vote tallies in three elections are determined.

Regardless of the final number, the House of Delegates will have to operate more on consensus than on an absolute dominance of one party over the other. That is a good thing. Rather than either party having to play defense all the time, both parties will be responsible for the ultimate outcome of a legislative session. The new shift in the balance of power should be good for the Commonwealth.

There should be less bottling up tough bills in a committee or subcommittee without a hearing or vote. Legislators will be put on the spot to cast tough votes, but that is the way the legislative process should work. Some issues that have been side-stepped in recent years should reach the floor for a public vote.

For years members of the majority party of the House of Delegates have refused to allow a vote on health insurance for 400,000 of our most vulnerable citizens leaving more than 10 billion federal dollars on the table. I think the vote in the recent election reflected in part a disgust on the part of citizens for the legislators who refused to deal with a real public health issue. An early vote on agreeing to Medicaid expansion would send a signal to voters that their message has been received. 

Election results also demonstrated the impact of gerry-rigging election district lines that has been going on for many years. Establishing a non-partisan redistricting commission as I have advocated for many years and as proposed by the OneVirginia2021 organization will reduce the politics in the redistricting process that will come again after the 2020 federal census. Voters will choose their representatives rather than having legislators choose their voters.

I believe that a newly constituted House of Delegates made up of members elected by the highest level of voter participation in decades will also be less prone to involve themselves in the personal lives and social issues of the times. Too much time has been expended in the recent past debating who someone should be able to love or marry or who should make health decisions for women.

Some incumbents may find difficulty adjusting to a wonderfully more diverse House membership or feel uncomfortable in a new power-sharing agreement with another party, but the outcome should be good for Virginia. What now? Great opportunities for moving Virginia forward!

  • The Constitutionalist

    What now? Well, like always, you’ll ignore your constituents while promoting your agenda of attempting to raise taxes, enact diversity employment quotas, gutting the second amendment, revising history, and of course, continuing your crusade against the straight, white, Christian male.

    • Willie Reston

      Only in a Republican’s mind could a push for equality somehow be misinterpreted as a crusade against straight, white, Christian males.

      • OneReally

        So what exactly is your interpretation of “a push for equality”?

        • Chuck Morningwood

          I think it’s a matter of perspective: are you trying to push everybody down to the same level, or pull everybody up to the same level.

          • drb

            Now that is the right question to ask.

        • The Constitutionalist

          Well quotas of course. We have to make sure that in every place in society, regardless of ANYTHING else, there are exactly 73.6% are white, 12.6 are black, 5.1% are Asian, and of those we have to make sure that there are exactly .97 men for every 1 working female, and then we have to make sure that only 92% of them are straight and equally spread the remaining 8% across the rest of the LGBT spectrum, then adjust, equally of course, for religion, disabilities, and financial hardships. The list goes on, and on, and on, but the most important thing is to make sure that these are the only reasons that you are evaluating your fellow mankind, not all all based on their qualifications, personalities, experience, or contribution to society, and if you deviate from these quotes even in the slightest, regardless of any circumstance, you’re a f*cking racist and probably a Republican.

          • OneReally

            Dammit I forgetting the quotas. It’s like commas…..

            My favorite line from HR. This candidate would really round out our team.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Hmm..round… I forgot a whole section – large people and small people, add it to the list. We wouldn’t want one group to feel unequal to the other. Fat people need representation too. You know, I should start a movement called the FSTOUQ, fat, skinny, thick, obese, underweight, and questioning. You can join if you identify as any of the above, if you’re outside of those qualifications or you don’t identify with the above, well I hate you and you should be ashamed (not fat shamed – all body types are beautiful) because you’re a racist.

          • OneReally

            You would be a Fatist!!!

            And don’t forget Dad bodies.

          • The Constitutionalist

            This is getting complicated, we’re going to have to get some government funding and start a new agency.

          • OneReally

            And then compliance of the agency and a constant revenue funding source.

          • Mike M

            Not to stray too far, but there is a true meaning of the word “millennials” coming from HR. It means immigrants. Think about it.

  • JoeInReston

    2020 is the key because of the redrawing of the districts. Need to work the gerrymandering karma in favor of Northern VA and recoup some the tax revenues that leave NoVa and never come back.

  • OneReally

    “Too much time has been expended in the recent past
    debating who someone should be able to love or marry or who should make
    health decisions for women.”

    Don’t forget about to much time worrying about someone’s 2nd amendment right.
    Oh wait, that’s you!

    • Willie Reston

      Cool false equivalency you’ve got there. Are you saying government shouldn’t look into ways to prevent crazy people from acquiring powerful weapons, or that government should be dictating who can/cannot get married? Either way, you’re wrong.

      • OneReally

        Your question has left me confused..

        Have you been in Uncle Ken’s playbook again?

        BTW, I tend to lean to the right, but I don’t need a Republican answer key.

        I feel anyone can marry anyone they want if they’re of age.
        My marriage would have frowned upon in the 1960s.

        I just don’t think you need a pride parade.

        I don’t think there’s a tradition partnership parade………

        • drb

          Now I am being just a butt head here to ask you why do you place a restriction on age?

          • OneReally

            Well you know my son would have been married about 25 times now. He would have started with his 2nd grade sweetheart.

          • drb

            Ok it is a stupid question. But if you can make a restriction what is to stop any restriction?

          • OneReally

            The restriction of restrictions of course…..

          • OneReally

            Ok if the law says your an adult at 18. Then you’re an adult at 18. Can make adult decisions. Marriage being one of them.
            Also, let them drink.

            If the law states you can get married at 12 with a parent signature then go for it. Just don’t apply for welfare.

          • drb

            But the law stated what is a marriage and yet we think the law is not what it says and a judge should say all of history and every society in history had it wrong. They get to legislate from the bench. Why one restriction and not another?

            There have been so many different societies throughout world history. There have been the most brutal perverse and unimaginably despicable. There have been societies that have allowed marriage of the young and very young, still legal in some states, and many various pluralistic marriages but never what we have done. Not even when it is tolerated as behavior and even when leaders engaged in it themselves. Never in any society had it been legalized as a marriage. So we are the most evolved of all history?

          • OneReally

            Good points. Just stating I don’t want to get into your (anyone’s) business.Also, shouldn’t taken the SCOTUS to decide it.

            Interracial marriages have only been allowed since around 1967 (Also bc of the SCOTUS). Were they bad before and what has changed?
            I wouldn’t want someone telling me you can’t marry that woman cause she is of a different race.

            it will be easier to revise in 100 years of what is happening in present day.

            In a 100 years is there still a thing called marriage?

          • drb

            My next question is should the government be involved in marriage to begin with? Since they don’t seem to know what it is to start with.

          • OneReally

            Never been a government that didn’t think they know best.

          • drb

            Net Neutrality is another that they know best and should be the monopoly holder.

          • OneReally

            True.

            Might be bias, but working for an ISP/carrier. I don’t like Netflix or some 3rd party streaming dumping their context on the wire. Then expecting us to maintain that stream through our network without paying for that service.

          • drb

            I pay extra to mail things faster with the Post Office and FedEx and it works.

            I pay extra for long distance with the phone companies. I pay extra for fine service and food at a nice restaurant as opposed to fast food gut buster food. I pay extra for a nice car instead of a Yugo, that doesn’t.

            I pay higher taxes for good cheap health insurance and don’t get it. I pay higher taxes for a couple of decades to get internet to all parts of the country and it isn’t even available a few miles down route 95 or route 81. I pay higher taxes for a good education system and kids from countries our kids never heard of are out scoring them.

            Why is it when there is a hint at some company gaining a monopoly that the whole force of Liberalism and government comes down on them? But, when the government implements a monopoly it is suppose to be a good thing.

            You get what you pay for. government picking winners and losers usually means we the public are picked to be the losers.

          • Greg

            “I pay extra for long distance with the phone companies.”

            You do? Why?

          • drb

            I still have a phone bill from a major network. I know I do not have to but made this decision with my wife who wants it this way.

          • Greg

            But, we do agree with the rest.

            Look at “social security.” It was meant to keep seniors from living in poverty, but most who depend on it still live in poverty.

            Meanwhile, the wisest among us who don’t earn their incomes from wages do not have to pay social security (15.3%) taxes and can invest the savings into much more lucrative investments.

          • drb

            I like your Social Security response. I should have thought of it. I am getting slow in my old age.

          • OneReally

            Agreed!

            Below is the example I was going for:

            I believe even Net Neutrality has limits.

            Verizon Wireless customers this week noticed that Netflix’s speed test tool appears to be capped at 10Mbps, raising fears that the carrier is throttling video streaming on its mobile network.

            When contacted by Ars this morning, Verizon acknowledged using a new video optimization system but said it is part of a temporary test and that it did not affect the actual quality of video. The video optimization appears to apply both to unlimited and limited mobile plans.

            But some YouTube users are reporting degraded video, saying that using a VPN service can bypass the Verizon throttling. The Federal Communications Commission generally allows mobile carriers to limit video quality as long as the limitations are imposed equally across different video services despite net neutrality rules that outlaw throttling. The net neutrality rules have exceptions for network
            management.

          • drb

            Thanks for the discourse. I liked it.

          • The Constitutionalist

            We’ve had the working concept of marriage since the beginning of recorded history, I’m sure we’ll still have marriage in 100 years.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Willie, I’m about to ask a question that may very well cause you to have an aneurysm so don’t read ahead if you’re worried about that.

        Have you ever tried to purchase a firearm here in VA?

        • Willie Reston

          No. Why do you ask?

          • The Constitutionalist

            I was just curious, I’ll keep that in mind when you talk to us about preventing crazy people from acquiring ‘powerful’ weapons.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I think you’re reading too much into this, Mr. Plum. My take on this election is that it was a referendum against Trump, and little more. Dems should do what they can to make the most of this advantage because, I suspect that this will be short-lived, and the legislature will revert to Repub control as the Trump effect wears off, just like it has been for a long time.

    • drb

      I disagree that it is about Trump. It is about the Republicans not doing what they run on and promising next time they will and still they don’t. It was an old Democrat trick that worked to a great extent with the black community till now it doesn’t.

  • Straight White Christian Male

    Great article, lets hear from Ken next week as he prepares a huge blogspot on population density.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Looking forward to Ken putting his actions where his mouth is
    His recourse to identity politics as shown in the election is a disgrace and further highlights his hypocrisy

  • Willie Reston

    So you’re still saying you’re against your elected officials spending time debating sensible gun legislation?

    • Greg

      Oh, please. “[S]ensible” gun legislation.

      Not to be confused, of course, with “common-sense” gun legislation.

    • drb

      What would your ” sensible gun legislation” be?

      • Greg

        ..

    • OneReally

      Sensible to you means no guns.

      How about he stand up to other elected officials and bring more of our money back to Fairfax.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Everyone above and below, please keep in mind Willie has no experience buying firearms.

  • Greg

    What now? RETIRE!

  • Willie Reston

    Oh look, you hypocritically called me out for painting people with a broad brush by … painting liberals with a broad brush! Don’t ever change; your earnest and hilariously mistaken holier-than-thou routine cracks me up every time.

    And we adults have gone over it in this forum several times but it appears you’ve yet to cover this in your Poli Sci 101 course: the Republican Party of the 1950s bears almost no resemblance to the party you see today. Southern Conservatives (yes, most of them were racist) jumped from the Dem Party to the GOP in the 1960s and brought all their backward ideas with them where they’ve resided to this day. So no, the GOP of 2017 does not get to take credit for the civil rights advancements of the 20th century nor (and this one always cracks me up) the freeing of the slaves in the 19th century under Lincoln. The more accurate way to track this is to frame it as a conservative/liberal history versus a GOP/Dem history, so I will grant you that in my original response I should have said “only in a Conservative’s mind…”

    • The Constitutionalist

      I’m sorry, where did I paint a broad group of people any way? I painted you a specific color.

      Oh look, you deflected from what your post was originally about – equality, or the lack thereof.

    • OneReally

      “Southern Conservatives (yes, most of them were racist) jumped from the
      Dem Party to the GOP in the 1960s and brought all their backward ideas
      with them where they’ve resided to this day.”

      So you were there to poll them and know they were racist? They were racist cause they were white?

      All white people are racist, right? That’s basically what your saying.

  • RoadApples

    Delegate Plum:
    I have asked this similar question for years with nary a response from you.
    What is the financial exposure dollars wise each year for the Commonwealth of Virginia if Federal Dollars are excepted for Medicaid Expansion?

  • kiki

    The idea should be getting people off of medicaid not adding more people on to it. He should worry about creating good economic conditions and opportunities for people so they can get off Medicaid.

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