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McAuliffe, Signer, Marrow

It’s time we get past the divisions that we’ve allowed to hold us back the past several years in Richmond and get Virginia moving forward, and most importantly get our economy moving forward. That’s why I’m endorsing in the Tuesday, June 9, primary Terry McAuliffe for governor, Mike Signer for lieutenant governor and Greg Marrow for the 25th House District Democratic Party nomination.

The McAuliffe endorsement from me is not breaking news. I announced my support for McAuliffe several weeks ago, citing his push for “big ideas” to jumpstart the state economy, his pledge to bring a renewed focus on jobs, and his plans to get moving on improvements to the transportation infrastructure needed to support a renewed focus on economic development and to put Virginia back on the cutting edge of innovation in the development and utilization of the emerging green economy.

It is for similar reasons that I am backing Mike Signer in the race for the lieutenant-governor nomination against Jody Wagner, a former state treasurer and Secretary of Finance under Tim Kaine. Like McAuliffe, Signer’s resume in state-government affairs is thin in comparison to that of the opposition, but also like McAuliffe, it’s not as if Signer has been twiddling his thumbs the past several years doing nothing. A member of the Mark Warner gubernatorial team who played a key role in the Tom Perriello Fifth District upset last fall, Signer impresses me as someone who has big ideas as to how to get Virginia into gear, something we so dearly need in the face of a decade of coagulation brought about by the bad cholesterol that has been the House Republican Caucus, which hasn’t met a good idea from Democrats and even their moderate Republican brethren in the Senate that they didn’t want to keep from happening.

That’s why I’m endorsing Greg Marrow for the 25th District nomination. A successful businessman and U.S. Navy veteran, Marrow has getting things done encoded in his DNA. He will no doubt pose a stiff challenge to Republican State Del. Steve Landes, a former House GOP Caucus chair who last faced a Democratic Party opponent in his first bid for the 25th District seat in 1995.

Marrow has already brought about a bit of a paradigm shift in the approach of Landes, who a couple of weeks ago toured the district to talk up his campaign talking himself up as a jobs guy when his record, which includes joining in the party-line House GOP vote in April to block the expansion of unemployment benefits to include benefits for Virginians undergoing job retraining, might suggest otherwise.

My nod to Signer is more of a gut call than anything else. Reading the tea leaves, the race seems to be Wagner’s to win at this point, even as I recognize that in the area of 60 percent of the expected Democratic primary voters are still undecided on a lieutenant-governor candidate. Signer appeals to me as my kind of progressive – forward-thinking in his approach to social issues, and coolly pragmatic in his approach to fiscal and management issues.

McAuliffe would bring a similar skill set to Richmond, as well as a much-needed breath of fresh air. Not to demean the attributes of the other three candidates in the governor’s race, including newly-minted Republican nominee Bob McDonnell, but I’m just not sure that hiring somebody who is well-versed in the ways of Richmond is the way we need to go considering the ways of Richmond, if you catch my drift.

Virginia, without a doubt, is in a much better place than it was eight years ago when we were first trying to wrap our hands around the idea that a fast-talking guy from Northern Virginia who had made millions in business and had not yet held a single public office was trying to get us to hire him to be our next governor.

McAuliffe, Signer and a Democratic Party majority in the House of Delegates with the likes of Marrow on the Democratic Caucus team will take our state to the next level.


– Column by Chris Graham



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