AARP Eye Center
DWF in Virginia
By Alejandra Owens, April 30, 2008 01:37 PM
An update from Virginia AARP's Bill Ballas:
Last week, I attended the annual Virginia21 award soiree at George Mason University's Johnson Center. The event was to fete Virginia21's outstanding chapter for the past year which, not coincidentally, belonged to George Mason University. A highlight of the evening was a conversation between best friends and MOC colleagues, Tom Davis (R) and Jim Moran (D) -- both of whom signed the Divided We Fail (DWF) pledge.
Festivities began with a cocktail party where Kelly Porrell and Stephen Jones, Virginia21's Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director, respectively, introduced us to representatives from their chapters across the commonwealth. (A special shout-out goes to Carl and Chelsea from Old Dominion University who were exceptionally bright and eager to get started with DWF. Kelly mentioned that their members want to conduct a YouTube contest where they will create videos explaining why they should be selected to wear the Champ costume at an upcoming event. )
After dinner, Representatives Davis (who is retiring) and Moran took the stage and answered questions by the moderator, a very distinguished political science professor whose name now escapes me! The very first question he asked was why they endorsed Divided We Fail. Their answers were not surprising so much as revealing; both officials shared their insights on how the topics of social security and healthcare reform are essential -- not just from a cost perspective, but as a moral imperative. Mr. Davis and Mr. Moran clearly and painstakingly cited case after case where petty partisan bickering had brought the country to a standstill and with partisanship guiding redistricting, that voters don't choose their elected officials so much as politicians choose their voters. They recalled the dozens of times that they had worked together across the aisle to help one another and their colleagues get things done. At the close of their conversation, I thought to myself, "These guys are a great team. They reminded everyone that elected officials represent everyone in their districts -- those who voted for them and those who didn't."