Renee Sogueco, ‘Doah Managing Editor
September 17, 2014
On Friday, Sept. 12, candidates for both Senate and the House of Representatives greeted and conversed with everyone in the large convention hall of the Corron Community Development Center. Lord Fairfax Community College hosted the 50th Annual Hob Nob, and the event sold a record of 400 tickets. Right outside of the hall, volunteers and workers offered food, wine, beer and other assorted drinks for those attending the event. John Foust and Mark Warner, both Democratic nominees, for the House of Representatives and Senate respectively wandered about and introduced themselves to everyone around them. Videographers and photographers constantly followed all those running for 10th Congressional District seats.
As everyone settled down at the long tables, a speaker came up to the podium to introduce the candidates. Each had an allotted time of four minutes to present their platform to the audience. The first speakers were those running for seats in the Senate, and the House of Representatives candidates would follow thereafter.
Ed Gillespie, a graduate of Catholic University and Republican candidate, began and outlined a plan for upward, economic mobility and growth; he called it the “EG (Squared)” plan. “Ease the squeeze” seemed to be the slogan during the entirety of his speech and referred to providing opportunities for improvement with jobs. Gillespie also planned to replace Obamacare in order to bring in a plan that is more “market-oriented.” He advocated for tax and regulatory relief as well as a balanced budget.
Robert Sarvis, a Libertarian, then came up and immediately began discrediting the two-party system. According to Sarvis, Libertarians have an outstanding and constant 10 percent in the polls. With 50 percent of uncontested seats, he wants to “change Virginia politics.” He spoke of less misregulation according to big money interest and wanted more focus on issues like healthcare, transportation and energy. He especially talked of how bipartisan moves came with constant war.
Democratic nominee and current Senator, Mark Warner, took the stage and immediately rebutted against the accusation towards bipartisanship by stating that “democracy is stronger” with it. He spoke then towards the community college system and how important education is. Another part of his speech included veterans and leaned towards equality for them. With his reelection, the White House can “fix what’s wrong,” which could refer to many things.
Starting the speeches for the House of Representatives candidates, Dianne Blais stood for the Independent Green Party and outlined the party’s entire platform during her speech. She advocated for more trains and increased public transportation, no military aggression, non-military community service, climate change prevention and grassroots democracy. Towards the electoral process, she called the winner-take-all system “fundamentally flawed” and wanted no corporate donations or bribes. She also plans for redistricting without gerrymandering.
Standing as the Republican nominee, Barbara Comstock said she wanted to recapture the “American dream.” Previously, she worked as the Senior Aide to Congressman Frank Wolf and found success in bipartisanship. She talked about supporting the Keystone Pipeline project and offshore drilling and addressed the growing heroin problem in Virginia. She opposed Obamacare and said it was “hurting the economy.”
Independent Brad Eickholt took the stage and first spoke of how he was “not a politician;” he had “difficult times asking people for money.” He spoke negatively towards congressional districts due to the fact that they are catered to reelect the same people again. Mostly, he spoke of the other two parties and their rules during election times.
John Foust, a Democrat originally from the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, first spoke of his background, Pennsylvania born and a first-generation college graduate. This transitioned into what he stood for and believed in investing “in things that really matter” like transportation, education, new jobs and opportunities and infrastructure.
William Redpath, the last of the speakers and Libertarian member, is the current Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia. Previously, he has run for office five times. He mainly iterated the party platform with fiscal conservatism and less government on individuals.
All candidates have specific campaign websites that outline their full platforms and describe their backgrounds in detail. Field Organizer for the John Foust campaign, Anna Stapleton, handed out tickets for the event, so students had the opportunity to attend and brush shoulders with the candidates. Campaigning will be happening until the elections on Nov. 4, and Shenandoah University students need to support the local community by either participating in events or voting.