We are hiring a new Governor on Tuesday.
To me, it is not a question of party label. It is a question of qualifications and the demonstrated core values of one’s character expressed through one’s career. Let’s take a look at each candidate.
In my mind, Ed Gillespie looks at Virginia as a product to be used, consumed, and manipulated. He was a Washington D.C. corporate lobbyist and political operative for decades and views us, Virginians, through that lens. He only recently dissolved his interest in his lobbying firm, but I guarantee he kept the rolodex. That rolodex includes names of the terrible people who ruined thousands of lives at Enron, the retirement savings of those who invested in Enron, plus the tens of thousands who lost their jobs at firms that did business with Enron. The Enron corruption was one of the worst corporate meltdowns in our history and Gillespie had a hand in that disaster. To Ed Gillespie, we are not neighbors, friends, employees, and families. We are numbers, extractable resources, and production stats to be manipulated. He speaks in these terms on the campaign trail.
Ralph Northam, however, through his work as a pediatrician and RAM clinic volunteer sees Virginians as people. To him, we are friends, neighbors, families, patients, citizens, and a vibrant community. He is a steward of and a shepherd for the Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens. He has dedicated his life in service to our country, rising to the rank Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and serving overseas. He has dedicated his life in public service to Virginia as a state senator and Lt. Governor. He has dedicated his life to Virginians as a pediatrician and neurologist, including performing compassionate work at a local children’s hospice.
Governance is hard. Balancing the needs of many with the rights of one takes perseverance, thoughtfulness, and a commitment to minimize harm. As a doctor having graduated from VMI, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and medical residency, Ralph Northam has a demonstrated intelligence, grit and core values for helping and serving others.
Ed Gillespie completed a four-year bachelor’s degree at Catholic University. He got his start in politics after graduating, leading to a career as a lobbyist and political operative. Turning his back on his Irish-immigrant parents’ Democratic leanings, he embraced trickle-down Reaganomics that allowed him to profit off the hard work of everyday people through his lobbying work. A former Anthem and Cigna lobbyist, he saw children stricken with cancer and their heartbroken parents as numbers and statistics, not as human beings fighting for their lives and their loved ones. What core values are demonstrated in such work? What are the values of a person who adopts Trump’s campaign tactics of fear and division?
Ralph Northam is a Virginian. Born and raised in Virginia’s Eastern Shore. He attended county public schools, held part-time jobs with waterman on the Chesapeake Bay, and went to Virginia colleges. He sees and knows the big picture that makes Virginia a great place to live, to visit, and do business. He understands what it means to bootstrap one’s way up in the world. Throughout his life he has extended a hand to help those trying to do the same.
Ed Gillespie was born and raised in New Jersey. He was not steeped in southern hospitality or in the importance of protecting our blue and green infrastructure. Gillespie doesn’t have the hard working hands of a waterman or the comforting touch of a pediatrician. Virginia is not his place. It is his stepping stone. He was head of the Republican National Committee in Washington D.C. and a collaborator with the infamous Karl Rove in creating a political super PAC that brought corrupting dark money into our elections. To a Texan like Karl Rove, boots are s$#!kickers and he has schooled Gillespie to grind Virginians under a boot heel.
I ask you this. Do you want to hire the Virginian man who wore boots to work on a crabbing boat? Or do you want hire the New Jersey man who wears boots to impress his Texas and corporate friends?
This is Virginia. I am voting for the doctor who once learned at the knee of a waterman and not for the lobbyist who learned at the knees of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Join me. Let’s vote for a Virginian to govern Virginia. Vote for Ralph Northam.
Blogger S. Martin left Texas in 1998 for Virginia and has never looked back. Virginia’s genuine hospitality beats Texas snake oil hands down. Her daughter is an oncology patient in Dr. Northam’s CHKD Pediatric Neurology practice.