I will be back to cold, late fall reality by tomorrow afternoon. But for now, I'm enjoying one more 80 degree day visiting with my dad.
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In accepting the award, Connolly said his efforts were aimed at “humanizing our community and leaving a wonderful legacy for future generations.” Connolly stressed the importance of parks in rapidly urbanizing and developing areas of the County. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who presented the award to Connolly, said, “He is a man of accomplishment and vision. He is an environmentalist and a realist. He has demonstrated the ability to make positive environmental change and to lead others to understand why those changes are important.”Once again, congratulations to Representative Connolly for his dedication and hard work on environmental issues in Fairfax County.
Connolly is recognized as the “father” of the recently-completed 41-mile Cross County Trail from the Potomac River to the Occoquan, which he cited at the ceremony as one of his proudest achievements. Working with the late Sally Ormsby, he developed the County’s first 20-year environmental plan. His proposal to create “dog parks” where dogs could run and play without leashes was met with skepticism at first, but over time they have become some of the most popular parks in the county.
More than 1,500 acres of parkland were added to the county during Connolly’s tenure as part of his plan to increase the total amount of the county’s parkland holdings to 10 percent of the land mass in Fairfax. Today, nearly 1 out of every 10 acres in Fairfax is open space. Similarly, Connolly started an aggressive program to halt the elimination of the tree canopy in the county with a goal of increasing it to 45 percent. Today the canopy has reached 41 percent.
FAIRFAX – To help federal employees and retirees navigate through the many changes in the 2010 Federal Employees Health Benefits plans, dental and vision insurance programs, and flexible spending accounts, Congressman Gerry Connolly will hold an Open Season Workshop on November 30.Thank you to Congressman Connolly and to his staff for presenting this workshop for federal employees, who make up a large percentage of his constituents.
Connolly’s Open Season Workshop for Federal Employees and Retirees will take place at the Fairfax County Government Center on Monday, November 30, from 10 am to noon. The address is 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA.
“Most FEHB plans have benefit and rate changes for 2010 so it is important that federal employees and retirees know the details on how their current plans are changing and whether or not there is another option that better suits their needs,” Connolly said. “Some plans are changing their coverage options or service areas, while others are dropping out of the FEHB program so it is important that every federal employees and retiree reviews the status of their current coverage.”
Connolly urged every federal employee and retiree, as well as survivor and former spouse annuitants to make sure they review their FEHB plan coverage and other benefits before Open Season ends on December 14. “Federal employees, retirees, and annuitants who have questions or want to make sure that they have the coverage they need and want under the FEHB plans is welcome to attend my Open Season Workshop on November 30,” he said.
Congressman Connolly’s Open Season workshop will feature:
· Dean Schleicher, the Office of Personnel Management’s project leader for the FEHB program annual Open Season and an expert on health plan performance and quality
· Walt Francis, an economist and policy analyst who has authored CHECKBOOK’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees for three decades and worked for the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services.
· Representatives of various FEHB health plans who will be available to provide information and answer questions concerning plan offerings for 2010
Federal employees seeking further information about FEHB plans can visit OPM’s FEHB Open Season website at: http://www.opm.gov/insure/openseason/ .
Federal retirees, survivor annuitants, and former spouse annuitants can get additional information concerning their Open Season options at: https://retireefehb.opm.gov/index.asp .
Both of these OPM websites contain detailed information about FEHB plans, dental insurance, vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts for federal employees and dependents. The sites also provide links to frequently asked questions and other information that federal employees and retirees might need to help them make decisions about their current and future coverage.
Federal employees, retirees, or annuitants seeking more information about the Open Season workshop may call Connolly’s District Office at 703-256-3071.
CheersI heartily concur with that assessment. Personally, I strongly oppose the Stupak Amendement and will do all I can to encourage Congress to remove it in conference. If that fails, I will continue to work behind the scenes to help create more understanding of why this is bad law and needs to be changed. But we couldn't let a good bill be shot down by one bad amendment. The old cliche that you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good applies here.
Tom Perriello (5th CD): It wasn't easy, but in the end he did the right thing on the overall bill, voting "yes." More than that, Tom Perriello proved himself a courageous leader when he faced dozens of angry "town hall" meetings in August, presented his views firmly but respectfully, listened to his constituents, read the bill, thought long and hard about it, and then voted the way he thought was right. That's extremely admirable, and I just wanted to thank Tom Perriello for being a thoughtful public servant who takes his job extremely seriously.
Glenn Nye (2nd CD): Arguably, the biggest disappointment among any Democrat in the House of Representatives, Glenn Nye added a "no" vote on this historic legislation to his previous "no" vote on historic climate and clean energy legislation. Unfortunately for Glenn Nye, voting over and over against history could make him...well, "history" in 2010. Bad, bad mistake, both on substantive policy as well as political grounds by Nye. I'm already hearing serious rumblings of a potential primary challenge to Nye. Stay tuned... [Note: in fairness, I should mention that Nye voted "no" on the Stupak amendment, but that hardly makes up for his vote against the overall health reform bill]And of Boucher
Rick Boucher (9th CD): For years, many of us progressive activists figured that Boucher was simply the best we could get from a tough district politically. And, indeed, Boucher votes about 98% of the time with his Democratic colleagues. Still, last night's vote by Boucher against health reform was not good. Not good at all. [Again, in fairness, Boucher voted no on the Stupak amendment.]In cases like this, I would defer to the best judgment of local progressive grassroots and netroots activists on what they want to do about primarying local electeds based on votes. Based on last night, I've been hearing more anger at Nye, whom Lowell called "arguably the biggest disappointment..."
Indeed, reading the book, I often found myself wondering what Candidate Obama would think of President Obama. Would he look at what the White House is doing and say, "that's what I and my supporters worked so hard for?"Huffington goes on to rightly castigate Obama's reliance on Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser and former Clinton-era Treasury Secretary, who opposed extending unemployment benefits and favored bank bailouts but no aid to middle class homeowners facing foreclosure.
How did the candidate who got into the race because he'd decided that "the core leadership had turned rotten" and that "the people were getting hosed" become the president who has decided that the American people can only have as much change as Olympia Snowe will allow?
How did the candidate who told a stadium of supporters in Denver that "the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result" become the president who has surrounded himself with the same old players trying the same old politics, expecting a different result?
How could a president whose North Star as a candidate was that he "would not forget the middle class" choose as his chief economic advisor a man who recently argued against extending unemployment benefits in the middle of the worst economic times since the Great Depression?
But if last night's election results reveal nothing else, the time for swooning over photo-ops has long passed. This is not rocket science. Throughout the country, Republican turnout stayed the same as in 2008 while Democratic turnout cratered. That's what happens when you don't deliver the goods. For all the people who voted Democrat because they wanted to bring home the troops, stand for civil rights for all people, and see real job creation and union protections, the last year has been a thin gruel indeed.Indeed, there has been a steady drumbeat of disappointment with Obama's leadership and his choices over at Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Daily Kos, and other national progressive sites.
It's not about accomplishing my personal laundry list of wishes. It's about forward progress -- or even effort -- from the Oval office. The White House didn't say one word about the Maine referendum to protect LBGT marriage equality. AG Holder even said last week that he didn't "know enough about it" to comment, which was both a lie and a slap in the face. Obama hasn't fought a lick for the pro-labor Employee Free Choice Act or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act known as ENDA. And please don't mention Afghanistan, Iraq or the Wall Street bailouts. Please don't mention an economic policy geared toward socializing debt and privatizing profit. There is no effort coming from the White House that moves the people toward the direction that people rallied, campaigned, and voted for in 2008 and that is an indictment of this administration. It also reveals something very bankrupt about the nature of our political system and the Democratic Party. The people spoke and it mattered little. Now we need to do more.
In New Jersey, you had an electorate that gave Barack Obama a 57 percent approval rating -- the identical fraction to the 57 percent that elected Obama last November. In Virginia, Obama's approval rating was 47 percent, a significant drop from the 53 percent of the vote that he earned.As much as I hate to go against the wind in the Virginia blogosphere, Democrats have to realize the truth, which is that all politics isn't local - that oft-quoted statement was made by a very wise man in the middle of the last century who didn't live long enough to experience the instant connection of today's Internet, blogs, and Facebook and Twitter feeds, which make the whole globe local.
In New Jersey, it was Jon Corzine who tried to nationalize the race, making sure that everyone knew that Chris Christie was a Republican. And insofar as this went, it worked: voters who said their main issue was health care went for Corzine 78-19 (!), according to exit polls, and he won voters focused on the economy and jobs 58-36. Christie won because he focused on two local issues that are very important to New Jerseyans -- corruption and property taxes, and won overwhelmingly among voters who keyed in on these issues. In Virginia, meanwhile, it was Bob McDonnell who won the economy voters -- 57-42, and the candidates split the vote among those most concerned about health care.