Del. Ken Plum: Heat of the Election Season

by Del. Ken Plum July 12, 2018 at 10:15 am 16 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

On the fourth of July last week I rode on a float in the Fairfax City Independence Day Parade, one of the largest in the state, with local Democrats promoting the candidacies of Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Gerry Connelly for re-election and the election of Jennifer Wexton for Congress in the Tenth District. It brought back some pleasant old memories. When I first ran for elective office in the mid-1970s, I was running for the House of Delegates in what was then the 18th District.

It was represented by five at-large delegates. After the courts declared the Virginia redistricting unconstitutional after the 1970 census because it short-changed Northern Virginia in representation, the legislature simply divided Fairfax County into two halves with each half having five at-large members.

When I was first elected in 1978 I was part of a five-person delegation of three Democrats and two Republicans who represented the northern half of Fairfax County from Herndon to Baileys Crossroads including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. These large districts were declared unconstitutional in 1982, and single-member districts including District 36 were put into place and have been adjusted each census to reflect the changing population and a bit of gerrymandering of some districts to protect incumbents.

Except for Fourth of July celebrations political campaigns largely got underway after Labor Day. It seems that now they are perpetual. Door knocking on hot summer weekends was questionable when your body was dripping in sweat. Now there are regularly scheduled canvasses each weekend regardless of the heat. There is no better formula for success than direct contact with voters. In the fall the days get shorter and there is less opportunity to knock on doors in the evenings. Ringing doorbells after dark may lose as many votes as gained. Regardless of the heat, candidates need to be out and about to see voters.

At the parade and at neighborhood canvassing I have visited I have been impressed at the dedication of people who are volunteering to help identify, register and persuade voters. While I am overwhelmingly anxious about the direction of our country, I am encouraged and reassured by the volunteers I meet. They are determined to save our democratic institutions and to put us back on the path of a caring and open society.

When a volunteer comes to your door, please thank them for their work on behalf of our democracy. When volunteers from the other persuasion come by be polite and civil. Have faith that they will eventually see the light and join us. I am sure that we will win the vote in November, and we will go back to living together after that.

Thankfully I rode on a float in the parade because the heat was exhausting. It felt good to hear the cheers and see the friendly waves. Nothing like a parade to cheer you up. When the heat of the election season is past, I am confident that our country will have sent a message that we are returning to the moral values we share.

File photo

  • 30yearsinreston

    ‘…… a bit of gerrymandering..’

    Is the Understatement of the year
    Thanks for reminding us of how long you have been ‘representing’ your party
    Mr speaker is well past his shelf life as a delegate

    • Willie Reston

      How are you liking the Trump family’s moral values so far? And way to completely skip over the more recent Democratic president who had basically zero scandals of morality while in office. The unrelenting fixation on the Clintons is the primary example of the noxious whataboutism coming from the right.

  • Jim

    Sir, I am fully behind you on being civil and polite to the political door-knockers, regardless of party. They are people, and engaged and thoughtful citizens – and underpin the democracy.

    What I find presumptuous and troubling, however, is your assumption that those who are of another political view will “eventually see the light and join us.”

    Who is “us?” Do you really think that every reader shares your viewpoint(s)? Your op-ed reads like a letter to a political club newsletter, as opposed to the general population of your district. Tighten up, sir. You can alienate people with such assumptions.

    • 30yearsinreston

      His polemics havent changed as he practices his divisive methods
      He aspires to be Mr Speaker and has to show he is a loyal apparatchik of his party. His constituents are the party faithful
      Despite his efforts at projecting compassion, He cares for nothing else but his self aggrandizement

    • drb

      The “us” are the people we saw in Charlottesville. The left attacking the left.
      The “us” are the people yelling and badgering those that are bringing the country back from near collapse.
      The “us” are the corrupt leaders at the FBI and Justice Dept. that tried to rig the election.
      The “us” are the ones that went out and killed the cops across the country during Barack O’s administration.
      The “us” are the ones that hate Democracy, Liberty and Freedom for all.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Would a “No Soliciting” sign keep these folks away from my door? I don’t mind chatting about politics in internet forums, but I don’t want my dinner interrupted by somebody shilling for votes, sales or holy redemption.

  • Reston Realist

    I want to know why you do not respond to ANYONE’S comments on this forum. You just lob out your opinion and ignore those who dissent from it (you)

  • No to Ken

    No offense Ken, but when you retire, I’m going to throw a party. We’re talking bouncy house for the kids, margarita machine for the adults. It’s gonna be a great time! You’re not invited.

  • Joyce W

    You “have faith that those of the other side will eventually see the light and join us.” Wow Ken! So much for diversity of thought!

    • 30yearsinreston

      He fancies himself as a messiah

  • Spaced out

    I know Ken lives in his alternate reality but this post is truly revealing.

    Enjoy your life and atmosphere of negativity, mr speaker.

  • Ken, is an excellent representative of Reston in Richmond. He is the longest serving member of the House of Delegates. Having worked for a Republican governor down there I can attest that he is well liked.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Maybe being liked by cronies may help him in his quest for Mr Speaker , but he has done nothing but lecture us on how bad the opposition are

      He has done nothing to alleviate the woes that come with out of control development and lack of infrastructure
      I expect you are satisfied because you are a realtor who expects to profit from the mess that is Reston 2018

      • Well I first met Bob Simon in the late 1960s and he thought highly of Delegate Plum…and during the 21st century at Reston its founder thought highly of Plum. I respect Simon more than I do the radical Tea Party people….who think that nothing is right in or about America.

        • 30yearsinreston

          News flash:
          St Bob, the patron saint of developers, is dead

  • Mike M

    Ken, you have been “short-changing” Northern Virginia since you got in office. The good ole boys have been pushing you down and taking our lunch money ever since. Your supporters should know that you are a cash cow for the DNC in Virginia, aren’t you?

    I challenge Reston’s libbies to wake up and see what little Plum, Connolly, and Kaine really do for them. Shock them at the polls and see what good can sprout in your party next time.


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