Thursday, January 10, 2008

Congratulations to Scott Surovell, New FCDC Chairman

I've been remiss in getting around to this but a hearty congratulations to Scott Surovell, who was elected chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee this past Tuesday night. As RK reported here and here, and Leslie Byrne and Bryan Scafford also reported, 374 people showed up at the FCDC reorganization meeting because they cared passionately about participating in the future of the Fairfax Democratic Party.

Scott made one of the most eloquent speeches I've ever heard. He basically hit every button for me. He recounted how his grandparents had been union organizers in Brooklyn during the Depression. His grandfather was an artist who came to Fairfax County as part of FDR's WPA federal works program. Once here, Scott's grandparents tried to join the local Democratic Party, which was then in the grip of the Harry Byrd machine, and they weren't welcome because they were liberal and Jewish.

The only organization that welcomed them back in the 1930s was the NAACP. In a time when "change agent" has become the buzz word, the elder Surovells were definitely agents of change and fighters for social justice, inclusiveness, and the core principles of the Democratic Party.

Here, from RK, is a summary of Scott's speech.

Scott talked about his grandparents moving to Virginia and fighting the Harry Byrd machine. He noted that Democratic Party politics is "in my blood." He highlighted his accomplishments as Mt. Vernon committee chair, and said that Dave Albo is "terrified of Mt. Vernon." He emphasized the importance of FCDC operating on "all cylinders," pointing out that if it doesn't, we end up with people like Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling in office. He said "this isn't a social club," it's a vehicle to elect Democrats. "We're gonna take this committee to the next level." "I've got a lot of energy, we're gonna do great things" and "you're gonna be proud."

As Leslie put it, on her blog, both Scott and his opponent, Steve Bunn, were class acts. The next day, Steve issued this statement:

My friends,

We are Democrats because we believe in Democracy. We exercised our Democratic privileges last night with an electoral contest. All those elected now have the responsibility to pull our party together. We have a primary in 34 days, and another primary 119 days after that. The general election in November is just 300 days away. We have a lot of work to do to win in November, and we must to do it together to elect our Democrats for President, Senate and Congress.

Please tell those who could not be present last evening that we had an election and the Fairfax County Democratic Party won.

I urge you to support your new Chairman, Scott Surovell, to build a strong Democratic team through consensus and openness, civility and respect. Congratulations and great success for all of our Democrats this year.

In addition, Shannon Sullivan, the chair of the FCDC Labor Committe, who originally supported Steve Bunn, urged everybody to get behind the new chairman.

I think the FCDC is stronger because of the vigorous debate that went on, and I too look forward to working with Scott, who is as energetic and capable as he is eloquent. He's going to be a good leader.


Kevin said...

Me too...

Scott is going take the FCDC to new heights.

Scott Surovell said...

Thanks Folks.

I am really excited about the next two years. We have lots to get done!

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

One warning Scott, I heard tell that there may be a plot by Lowell Feld and Lee Diamond to draft you for higher office after your two years as chair. I'd be very careful because I've also heard they had moderate success doing that once before.

So, if your intention was to lead a peaceful, easy life with no excitement, this probably wasn't the best move.

On the other hand, if you are determined to fight for change, work hard, and make a difference, then, once again, Congratulations :)

BTW, it really was an excellent speech the other night. I look forward to working with you.

Anonymous said...

I have a question -- there is going to be a vigorous and important congressional Democratic primary in the district. Scott -- what do you see as the role of the FCDC in that intraparty dispute. There are lots of rumors that you are connected to one of the candidates and will use your position to favor that candidate. Is that accurate? Will you remain neutral? Will you make an assessment as to which candidate is most likely to beat a Rep in Nov and support that candidate?

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I can't answer for Scott and I'm not sure how often he drops by here because even I know I'm not the most well-read site (I don't compete with NLS or RK for number of hits).

I'll forward the question to him so that he can answer if he likes.

Personally, I expect him to remain neutral as chairman regardless of whom his personal preference is.


Scott A. Surovell said...

I love rumors. Did you ever play the game where you whisper something in someone's ear and by the time it gets around the circle, it's totally morphed.

Before I decided to run for FCDC Chair and while Chair of the Mt. Vernon District Democratic Committee, I made a decision to endorse Leslie Byrne. My grandmother who died in 1999 once told me that she greatly admired Leslie Byrne - the first female congresswoman in Virginia - and that she would "give Leslie her right arm." My grandmother was one of my best friends and the inspiration and happiness that Leslie gave her after her six decades of political activism meant a lot to me. I think she's a terrific candidate, inspiring to many Virginians, and I think she will give Tom Davis, Tom May, Tim Hugo, or whoever what they deserve if she wins the nomination.

I think Gerry Connolly has been an excellent County Board Chair and will make a terrific candidate if he chooses to run and wins, and Doug Denneny has shown some real depth and thoughtfulness and should be taken very seriously. These are all serious, bright and accomplished people. We will have a wealth of choices in this race.

As for FCDC, from my point of view, FCDC plays very little role in party primaries. In the last four years while chairing the Mt. Vernon Committee, I endorsed (1) my law school buddy and now law partner Chap Petersen (over Leslie) in 2005, (2) Jim Moran in 2004, and (3) John Edwards in 2008. No one has ever complained.

The only thing I've done or encouraged my committee to do at every primary is sign up as many Democratic volunteers as possible in preparation for November and promoted any candidate's events when asked. My priority is the Democratic Party, not my chosen candidates.

Going forward, I see the role of FCDC is to promote our primaries as much as possible to encourage as many Democrats to participate and on primary day in June, I hope to encourage FCDC members to get out to sign up new recruits at the polling places by representing the Party, not their candidates. I also hope to propose that FCDC and its Magisterial District Committees can sponsor some debates with the 11the Congressional District Committee. The FCDC Steering Committee or membership may also have a say what the committee is going to do - it's not just my decision.

Please also remember that it appears that we will have a contested primary in the 10th Congressional District and there is presently a challenger gathering signatures for a run against Jim Moran. We could have three primaries, not just one.

Right now, so many candidates in party primaries is a sign of a healthy party. It was not long ago that we could not find anyone willing to take on Tom Davis or Frank Wolf, and I had Stan Parris as my congressman in the 8th. It's an exciting time to be a Democrat.

I hope that answers your questions.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thank you Scott for coming by and answering the anonymous poster who asked about your neutrality in the upcoming 11th CD primary.

By the way, I didn't forward the question to him, as I said I would, because I no longer had his email address handy. My old service, Verizon, doesn't automatically store email addresses as AOL and GMail and most other decent services do (which is why I switched to GMail). I kept meaning to look up Scott's email address and then forgot. So my apologies to Scott for that. I'm grateful he reads this often enough to answer.

Also thank you, Scott, for your detailed and balanced answer.

It sounds to me like Scott is interested in promoting the Democratic Party not taking sides to the detriment of any candidate.

He appears to take seriously doing the job he was elected by the FCDC to do.