BY ANNA HALBROOKS-FULKS
With only a few weeks to go, elections have begun to gain the attention of more and more Virginians. The main focus is the showdown between Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, but it is important that we don’t lose sight of the other candidates running for office.
Most people can roughly explain what a governor does, but they aren’t so clear on other offices. The Attorney General is the highest-ranking legal office in the state of Virginia and provides legal advice and interpretation for the Virginia Assembly and governor. The democratic candidate is Steve Shannon and the republican candidate is Ken Cucchinelli, who has a radical right-wing cultural agenda for the position.
The lieutenant governor’s duties include breaking ties in the senate, attending meetings of state commissions and serving as governor, should the governor no longer be able to perform his (the only candidates are male) duties. It is the responsibility of the lieutenant governor to maintain relationships with decision-making commissions and boards by serving as a presence at meetings with these groups (the incumbent, Bill Boilling, was only present at 6 percent of these meetings).
As a college student who will soon be graduating and entering the workforce, Virginia’s economy is an issue which will have especially grave weight when I cast my vote. Jody Wagner, the opposing candidate for lieutenant governor, will be an incredible asset, as one of six state wide candidates to have had hands-on experience with Virginia’s budget. Under her leadership Virginia kept its AAA credit rating and received several awards such as “Best managed State,” “Best Place to Raise Children” and eight “Best State for Business” Awards. There is a reason Gov. Warner named her State Treasurer and Gov. Kaine named her his secretary of finance.
As a small business owner, she has the knowledge it takes to provide the leadership Virginia will need in order to grow it’s economy and her record shows it. She worked hard to balance Virginia’s budget in times of financial crisis. Along with the Washington Post She has been endorsed by environmental groups like The Sierra Club and The League of Conservation Voters.
Especially telling is the fact that several republican leaders have endorsed her. The mayor of Virginia Beach, Will Sessoms, and Norfolk City Councilmen Barclay Winn and Randy Wright, all have publicly declared that he will be crossing party lines to vote for her because of her unique qualifications.
We will continue seeing the usual campaign push until Nov. 3, with Deeds and McDonnell right in the spot light. But let us not forget about the other candidates or take their positions lightly.