Virginians will vote for a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and members of the House of Delegates on November 7. Are there races you're tracking where some of our issues are relevant?
To the extent we can with our volunteer structure, Greater Greater Washington strives to educate readers about where elected officials and their challengers stand on the topics we write about most, like transportation and housing. So far, much of the coverage of Virginia campaigns has focused on the issues with national stature, like health care or Confederate statues. While those matter to our community (the statue issue is quite relevant to urbanism, and health care certainly affects where you can live!) we would like to help readers delve beyond the national Democrat-versus-Republican issues.
Without a doubt, the next governor will have a tremendous influence over transportation projects, especially through his appointments: the Secretary of Transportation, members of the policy-making Commonwealth Transportation Board, and a WMATA board member. His approach to the funding needs for Metro, VRE and transit in general will be critical in 2018.
So will the General Assembly, whose support is needed for any dedicated revenue plan. Many of its conservative members have taken a pledge never to authorize any new taxes, even ones that just would apply in Northern Virginia, complicating efforts for a dedicated funding source. The General Assembly also considers bills concerning bicycle infrastructure, the rules of the road, whether there should be an Outer Beltway, and much more.
On housing, the governor proposes and the General Assembly ultimately decides the levels of funding for statewide housing programs. The legislature also decides what powers localities can and can't exercise. In practice, that's meant each jurisdiction has to get permission before it can try a new strategy for affordable housing. Thus, housing policy is a patchwork of different rules for different communities.
There's much more as well. And we'd like to identify races where GGWash should make an endorsement, where we know that one candidate would be better for transportation, housing, or something else we care about. Not because that person is a Democrat or Republican and we want that party to have the power, but because they've shown on their campaign website, in campaign events, or serving in office in the past where they stand and how they will act.
If you have been following any races in the Washington region's part of Virginia, post your thoughts on that race in the comments. Please explain what stances, beliefs, or actions you've seen from the candidate that suggest voting for or against him or her.
Our contributors and Editorial Board will take that into consideration and craft some endorsements. And maybe we'll quote from your comment! Thanks!
Also: do you want to be one of the people driving the coverage and deciding endorsements for 2018 (where Maryland will be most exciting, but also some key races in Virginia and DC)? Apply for our 2018 Elections Committee!