True conservatives are needed

An open letter to my fellow Virginians who are elected Republicans —

First of all, please be Republicans, the kind of Republicans you used to be. The kind who warn against over-spending and excessive government. The kind who caution against jarring change that could fray the very fabric that knits us together. The conservative kind. You are needed in the balance. Your voices need to be heard in the discussion. Virginia is what Virginia is today in part because of you.

Since 2016, there have been too many days that I have hung my head as an American, but I have never been anything but proud to be a Virginian. I am even more so today. We likely will have our first female Speaker of the House of Delegates in our 400 years of existence. Virginia will almost certainly become the 38th and final state needed for ratification of the long-awaited Equal Rights Amendment.

My hope for your successful, continued existence as a viable political party involves two things:

First, I hope that you will return to Richmond for this General Assembly session with a fresh perspective on what it really means to “reach across the aisle.” In order to do this, you must silence those among you who seek to sow nothing but discord. Chief among these is the soon-to-be former president pro tempore of the State Senate, Steve Newman. Following his party’s statewide defeat Tuesday night in both legislative houses, he had not one conciliatory or congratulatory word to speak. Instead, he reached into his steady supply of fear-mongering mistruths and offered this: “I’m very concerned about law enforcement, that you could see a big movement toward the left that would not be supportive of, or protect, our law enforcement.” Was this truly the best he had to offer? Are these the words of a leader, a statesman?

Secondly, I hope that you will reject the politics of Donald Trump. Embracing him runs counter to every value that Virginians hold dear. Family. Faith. Fair play. Facts. I refuse to believe that there is a person among you who truly agrees with Trump. You know better. Being in league with this president involves putting your morality on hold. I shudder to think that this may be true in some quarters in Washington, D.C., but I refuse to accept it in Richmond. Virginians are too good for this, no matter what party they belong to.

Someday, some blessed day, Trump will fade as a sad chapter of American history. I don’t want to watch one single Virginia leader fade into shamed obscurity along with him. Please — be a Virginian, and do the right thing. History is scribing. Our children are watching. Time is ticking ... .

DONNA StCLAIR

Forest

Thanks to Woofter, Zilles

Those of us who welcome the narrow but significant victory of progressive Democrats in our state Senate and House of Delegates want to thank Jennifer Woofter and David Zilles for the dignified and substantive campaigns they ran locally in the 22nd and 23rd House districts.

The discussions they enabled on health care, environment, gun reform, fair wages and education will continue. And there are more elections coming!

The 2020 election looms. Buckle up, Trump Republicans.

PETER KJESETH

Lynchburg

Republican life in the minority

It will be interesting to see how our Republican legislators conduct themselves in their significantly reduced power roles as minority members in the General Assembly. Maybe they can appreciate what it is to have a voice, but no real say. That’s what they did to many black citizens when they gerrymandered their voting districts to drown out their voices.

No doubt, some GOP veterans will retire, since they lost the ability to champion their bills, while trampling on the bills of the minority party. Maybe they can solicit a visit from Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who can help them start their own “Freedom Caucus.”

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, will be remembered as a sad day on the GOP plantation.

WILLIAM MILLER

Forest

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