Last month we asked the four candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Eighth District of Virginia, to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).
Here is the unedited response from Rep. Jim Moran (D):
Our country and our region are facing some of the biggest challenges in our lifetime. Gridlock in Congress, driven by Tea Party fueled obstructionism, threatens our economic future. While we currently continue to enjoy a strong economy in Northern Virginia, with unemployment rates at half the national average, a failure by Congress to prevent draconian cuts through the sequestration process could be devastating. Bloomberg News recently reported that sequestration would result in a loss of $10.8 billion just in federal information technology contracts in Virginia’s 8th District. Our congressional district would be harder hit than any other in the country.
I voted against the legislation which created sequestration. I also opposed the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts, which were unpaid for and led to the painful budget situation we are currently in. To avoid this looming threat, I’ve been working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach a bipartisan resolution. The No Labels organization (www.nolabels.org), a movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the politics of problem-solving, recently commended me, giving me their seal of approval for my efforts. Make no mistake, I am a progressive Democrat. But I understand that in order to overcome the crisis we face, it’s going to be necessary to work with Republicans to achieve compromise.
Facts are facts. We currently spend more than we can afford (roughly 25 percent of GDP) and bring in less revenue (roughly 14 percent of GDP) than at any time in modern history. Congress and the President have to find a way to meet in the middle on these figures, doing it in a way that won’t harm our economic recovery. I am committed to reaching that compromise, which will require both parties to put the public interest above partisan politics.
As your Congressman, I spend every waking hour thinking about how to keep our region one of the best places to live and work in the country. I’ve secured billions in federal funding to strengthen our research and technology industries, modernize our infrastructure, and provide many of our local non-profits with the resources needed to care for the most vulnerable in our community. I’ve worked hard to make the Rosslyn to Ballston Metro corridor the apex of information technology and graduate school research in the country. By co-locating the graduate schools of Virginia Tech, George Mason and Marymount with our defense, science and technology activities at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), we have a foundation that will continue to attract the best and brightest members of the “creative class” from around the world. I have also helped fund countless other projects to make housing more affordable, bus and rail transit more accessible, and regional bike trails more enjoyable.
Northern Virginians expect their representatives to reflect their values. I’ve consistently received the highest scores from the League of Conservation Voters, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the U.S. Humane Society, Planned Parenthood, as well as many other environmental, arts, housing, and human service organizations.
As a senior Member of the exclusive Appropriations Committee, I’ve led the fight to defeat conservative attempts to undermine the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Endangered Species Act and other landmark environmental laws. The Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee is ground zero for this battle. As the subcommittee’s top Democrat, I, along with Congressmen Ed Markey and Henry Waxman, serve as our party’s principal legislators on environmental issues.
Northern Virginia is home to the highest concentration of federal workers in the country. Despite constant attacks on their work and their mission, federal employees play an essential role in America’s economy and society. I recently authored several major reforms to our civil service, including providing employees monetary compensation for unused sick leave, fixing outdated rules for CSRS employees interested in performing part time work, and allowing FERS employees to combine their past service with new service for annuity credit calculations.
I feel strongly about the need to protect animals from abusive and inhumane treatment. Given the major problems facing our nation, some consider this a low priority. I disagree. As Chairman of the Animal Protection Caucus, I advocate for all legislation consistent with making this a more caring and compassionate world for all living things. Whether enacting laws to prevent the sale of dog and cat fur, banning the barbaric practice of horse slaughter, or pressing for more humane treatment of circus elephants, lions and tigers, we have sensitized Congress to issues that would otherwise be ignored. It speaks to our humanity, as a nation which believes in fairness and compassion, that all our laws are consistent with our values.