Tuesday, June 02, 2009

AIAW Endorses Mike Signer for Lt. Governor

In the Lieutenant Governor’s race, I am proud to endorse Mike Signer. Before going into the reasons and Mike’s many fine attributes, I want to admit that this was one of the toughest decisions I had to make.

His opponent, Jody Wagner, is a highly capable candidate. For starters, I would normally be naturally disposed to strongly support a competent, intelligent woman for office, if for no other reason, because our daughters need them as role models. You can say to a young girl that she can aspire to any career she wants until you turn blue. But if there aren’t models out there, it’s not believable. Additionally, Ms. Wagner is extremely talented and accomplished. She served in the Warner and Kaine administrations as state treasurer and as the first woman secretary of finance. If we Democrats love to brag that under Warner and Kaine, Virginia has maintained its AAA bond rating and been rated “best managed state to do business in the nation,” Wagner shares the credit for these successes. She was, after all, the person in charge of Virginia’s finances.

In this campaign, Wagner has staked out her position as a solid, pro-business moderate in the tradition of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

There is, however, another tradition within Democratic politics, and that is the progressive and populist tradition of Jim Webb. And that is the wing of the party where you will find Mike Signer, which is why he is my choice.

But this is not a hard left ideological position without regard to the candidate's other qualifications. Far from it. Mike also is enormously gifted and intelligent. And he too served in the Warner administration as Warner's former deputy counselor.

Further, Mike has worked as a national security consultant to the Center for American Progress, foreign policy adviser for the John Edwards presidential campaign and, in 2008, on Barack Obama’s Veterans Policy Development Team. He also was a senior strategist for Tom Perriello’s breathtaking upset victory over Virgil Goode.

Mike has staked out some truly progressive stances on the issue, some of which take great political and personal courage. Like his model, Jim Webb, he will work for the restoration of voting rights for felons upon their release from prison. This is an issue that is deeply important to me, as are all social justice issues.

Another issue for which I have great passion is economic fairness. Indeed, this blog has staked its own reputation on its advocacy of economic populism. The very first candidate that AIAW supported, as a blog, was Jim Webb. And it was for this very reason. Mike Signer is unabashed in his support for unions. He has said, “My grandparents were in unions. My parents were in unions. Unions helped build this country. I don’t think there is any question about that.”

It was that type of straight talk and support for labor that won Signer the endorsement of Leslie Byrne and the endorsements of the following unions:
Fairfax Deputy Sheriff’s Union
Washington, D.C. Building Trades
Asbestos Workers Local #24
Boilermakers Local #193
Bricklayers & Allied Crafts Local # 1
Electrical Workers Local #26
Elevator Constructors Local #10
Iron Workers Local #5
Operating Engineers Local #77
Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons #891
Painters District Council #51
Plumbers Local #5
Reinforced Rodmen Local #201
Roofers & Waterproofers Local #30
Sheet Metal Workers Local #100
Sprinkler Fitters Local #669
Steamfitters Local #602
United Transportation Union of Virginia
Signer, as Lieutenant Governor, would focus on the economy and jobs creation, our single biggest challenge in this current economy. Some of his ideas include creating jobs in health IT, smart grid, weatherization to make homes and offices more energy efficient, and rural jobs. He would use the federal stimulus funds to create jobs in the tourism industry, which already supports 210,000 jobs and generates $1.2 billion worth of state and local taxes.

To encourage young people to return to Virginia after college, he would work for the “Come Home Act,” which would reduce student loan repayment for those who return to their communities after graduation.

Signer has many innovative ideas to create jobs and improve the lives of Virginians. But of all the candidates, he is the one who also seems to realize that we need not only more jobs, but also good, well paying jobs and safe working environments.

As a progressive – indeed, as a proud liberal (which is what my banner proclaims me to be), I proudly endorse Mike Signer and urge you to vote for him on June 9.


J. Tyler Ballance said...

I too, like and admire Mike Signer's record of accomplishments.

When researching his bio, I noticed the absence of a wife and children. He doesn't even have an ex-wife, if the record is correct.

How does a guy go thirty-six years and not be married and have kids, yet think he has the life experience needed to fill a state-wide office?

I am not going to support Jody, but I think Mike would be a more credible candidate if he had spent some years, like most of us, raising a family.

Most Virginians don't mind the occasional bachelor running for County Supervisor or Delegate, but when it comes to state-wide office, the candidates who can show that they have fought the same fight as the rest of us, while trying to raise a family, tend to garner the most solid support.

Over on the Republican side, they are leading off their campaign touting their collective "forty years" of experience in elective office. Citizens should take that bombast and send it right back to the fascists: Sure, your team has been in office a long time; during the entire time, Virginia has experienced the looting of our manufacturing base and massive loss of jobs. These three men all stood by, as the Bushies suspended our Constitutional liberties, spied on American citizens and jailed Americans and foreign nationals, without charges or trial.

No one who loves freedom should ever vote for the Republicans again.

The Democratic Party has a perfect opportunity to seize on the anger that Americans still feel for the fascist-Republicans, but in order to capitalize on this moment, the Democrats must nominate strong, moderate candidates like in the mold of Mark Warner, Jim Webb and John Miller.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Well, I'm not going to argue with most of your arguments. I found my jaw dropping at your bluntness, but you are right. That straight talk is needed now.

As for Mike Signer's marital status, I can't comment on that. But I suspect that a capable, competent person with empathy can be a good leader even if he or she has no wife or children.

Some of history's greatest leaders were bachelors. Others had families whom they neglected. The qualities of great leadership are not necessarily the same ones it takes to be a great mom or dad.

Thank you for coming by and commenting. And please, vote your conscience, which I know you will do.

JR said...

I can't believe we're having a discussion about being a bachelor in 2009. Signer is not gay, but I have to ask, would the poster's reservations about not raising a family apply to gay and lesbian candidates? Is the poster saying s/he would not support such a candidate? Signer has been busy pursuing three degrees, working in politics, and in national security. I for one do not think that raising a family is a qualification for office. As someone with a family, I know how much more I could do if I were single or married w/o kids. Not saying I'd trade it for anything, but it's a fact. You can't do politics fully with a young family and do either one well.