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Sun Gazette: Sun Gazette endorsement: House of Delegates races in Arlington Print

Created:  Wednesday, September 23, 2015 10:00 am


Toss out the word "Arlington" and the view of many in elected office in Richmond – not just Republicans – is one of disdain verging on contempt.

At times, as was the case with the County Board's ridiculous lawsuit over HOT lanes a few years back, or its more recent forays into debates ranging from national immigration policy to the name "Washington Redskins," Arlington's local elected leaders have earned that negative reaction. And the community has paid a price.

It's up to members of the local delegation in both Chambers of the General Assembly to ensure that Arlington residents are well-represented, despite that animosity.

The Arlington delegation is losing a thoughtful member with the resignation of Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45th), who in his few years in office has proved to be insightful, relatively moderate, mostly supportive of economic growth and a rising star in thinking through education issues. His departure, to spend more time on business ventures, is a net loss not just locally, but to the commonwealth.

We are not yet sold on Mark Levine, who won a crowded Democratic primary to move unopposed into the general election in the 45th, and will not be endorsing him this time around.

If Levine proves himself serious-minded and focused on issues of importance to local residents, we'll give him our nod in 2017. For now, there is not enough evidence to determine whether he plans to try and be taken seriously in Richmond, or grab headlines and further his own agenda.

The remainder of the House of Delegates' contingent features incumbents: Dels. Patrick Hope (D-47th), Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) and Rip Sullivan (D-48th). Lopez and Sullivan are unopposed this year; Hope has token opposition from Independent Green Janet Murphy.

All three incumbents are smart and savvy. Each may well have aspirations of moving out of the House of Delegates, which hasn't proved a congenial place in decades.

Time will tell if those dreams come true for any (or all) of the three, or whether they opt to settle down for a lengthy spell in the lower chamber and build effectiveness by becoming coalition-builders with Republicans when possible.

We do not always agree with the local delegation on the issues, but on the most important question – do they adequately represent the interests of their constituents and the commonwealth? – the three incumbents score passing grades. For that reason, we support Hope, Lopez and Sullivan, and will wait and see on Levine.