Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Berg’

Vote HereTomorrow features a number of party primaries across Virginia.  In some districts, incumbent members of the House of Delegates are facing challengers from within their own party.  For example, in the northern Shenandoah Valley, Delegate Bev Sherwood faces Dr. Mark Berg and Delegate Todd Gilbert squares off against Mark Prince.  All in all, about half a dozen Republican delegates have an interparty challenge.  In addition, two Democratic delegates also will also have to defend themselves from within their own ranks.

Delegates in a vast majority of the commonwealth are unchallenged.  However, regardless of the delegates’ races, in every single polling place there will be a primary; the Democratic Party will be selecting their nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general for the 2013 general election.

Given that Virginia does not have party registration, every voter, regardless of party preference, can vote in tomorrow’s primary.  It is not merely a contest for Democrats, but for Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, and independents.  However, with those thoughts in mind, one important exception is that no one can vote in both parties’ primaries.  Therefore, if you vote in a Republican contest on Tuesday, you will be ineligible to participate in the Democratic one as well (or vice versa).

Now, many Republicans I know are abstaining from voting tomorrow, claiming that it would be improper for Republicans to participate in a Democratic Party issue.  I take a different approach.  If the Democratic Party didn’t want outsiders to participate, then they would have held a convention like the Republicans did on May 18th and the Libertarians did on April 21st.  In addition, given that the contest is decided by a primary, that means that the Virginia taxpayers pay for Tuesday’s contest.  If a party takes my money, either directly or indirectly, then I believe that I am entitled to voice my opinion in that process.

With these thoughts in mind, how can we differentiate among the candidates?  After all, the Democratic Party offers two choices for lieutenant governor and two choices for attorney general.  They are (with a link included to their websites):

Lieutenant Governor

Aneesh Chopra

State Senator Ralph Northam

Attorney General

Mark Herring

Justin Fairfax

But for which of the candidates should you vote?  Well, there are several competing theories, that I discussed more in depth in an article four years ago.  You could vote for the candidate who you believe is the strongest (or weakest), in order to give the Democratic Party the best (or worst) chance of victory.  However, my recommendation is to support whichever candidate best represents your political principles.  After all, if a Democrat does win in the general election in November, I’m hoping we would get the most conservative of the candidates (assuming such a candidate exists).

For me, control of the Virginia Senate is a very important issue in the LG race.  Given his openness to creating a power sharing agreement in the Virginia Senate (which is currently evenly split between Democratic and Republican Parties), I will be casting my primary vote for Ralph Northam.  Then again, this very same issue may be the driving point which convinces some of my more liberal friends to choose Aneesh Chopra.

Although I know that many of my readers have no plans to vote in tomorrow’s primary, I still encourage you to learn about the various choices and cast a ballot based upon your research.  Never go to the polls in ignorance; arrive well informed.  Our political system requires a knowledgeable electorate.

Don’t forget tomorrow’s primary!

Thanks to Lowell Fulk for indirectly reminding me to write this piece through his Facebook post.

Read Full Post »

Mark BergOn Friday morning, I had the opportunity to sit down to speak with Dr. Mark Berg.  Dr. Berg is running for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 29th district House of Delegates seat, a seat that encompasses the city of Winchester along with a portion of Frederick and Warren Counties.  In the June 11th primary, he will be squaring off against Beverly Sherwood who has represented the district since 1994.

In the approximately hour long conversation, we spoke about a variety of issues, most notably why Republican voters should vote for Dr. Berg over Delegate Sherwood.  The reasoning against Sherwood is fairly clear for most conservatives.  Sherwood has not compiled a record that indicates she favors limited government.  For example, in the most recent General Assembly session, she voted for the transportation tax hike, labeled the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history, as well as approving the implementation of Obamacare in this state, expanded Medicaid, and creating a virtual statewide Environmental Protection Agency through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  Dr. Berg also stated that in recent years Delegate Sherwood “has voted for four out of the five big tax increases.” Certainly these are all issues that would make just about any fiscal or constitutional conservative cringe.

But what motivates Dr. Berg?  Well, professionally and politically he is a retired family practice doctor who has served on the Republican State Central Committee for the 10th district since last year.  However, as is the case with any candidate, it is his position on the issues that is most valuable.  When I asked him about his principles, Dr Berg responded by saying,  “There are two big principles that I think are not promoted and not adhered to well and that’s limited government and individual liberty.”  Unlike Sherwood, Dr. Berg opposes Obamacare and the tax bill.  Regarding Obamacare, he stated, “I know what it is going to do, as a physician I can see what it is going to do and it is a huge mistake both financially for the state and for personal liberty.”  He believes that the state needs to stand up for itself and for its citizens against the ever-expanding encroachment of the federal government.

One big challenge, according to Mark Berg, is that a lot of Sherwood’s constituents don’t know her record.  Her thinking doesn’t match the Republican creed and the traditional conservative values of the Shenandoah Valley.  Government policy should not be designed merely to pick winners and losers.  Too many politicians, in his mind, say one thing and then vote another way.  However, Dr. Berg believes that each legislator ought to be able to justify his or her votes according to his or her own political philosophy.  With those thoughts in mind, given that this year marks the first that Delegate Sherwood has faced a challenge from within her own party, will she listen to the conservative voices in her district by transforming herself into a legislator who promotes their values?  Dr. Berg thinks it is unlikely.  “…After nineteen years of being an incumbent, (she) pretty much continue(s) to do what she’s done.  I don’t think her record is what we need to go forward with right now.”

It seems that Dr. Berg’s message of liberty coupled with a general distaste for Delegate Sherwood’s policies, is attracting considerable support from both within the 29th district, in a coalition of conservatives and the local tea party, as well as recruiting volunteers from other portions of the Shenandoah Valley.   His goal is to speak with as many voters in the district as possible, either in person or through his supporters, in order to form a connection with them and gather feedback, rather than simply blanketing the area with glossy direct mail pieces.

Given that 29th district Republican primary happens to fall on the same day as the statewide Democratic primary and that voters will only be able to vote in one of these two primaries, it seems unlikely that too many Democrats will participate.  However, Dr. Berg thinks that this fact could likely benefit his campaign given that he is the more conservative of the two candidates in the race.

I very much appreciate Dr. Mark Berg taking a bit of time from his campaign schedule to travel down to Harrisonburg to share his message with the readers of The Virginia Conservative.

Lastly, as a bit of personal commentary, for those fellow conservative and liberty-minded voters and activists, I’m sure you’ll agree that Dr. Berg seems to be a candidate who not only shares our values, but also is willing to ardently fight for them in Richmond.  Given everything that I know about the two candidates, if I lived in the 29th district, not only would I be voting for Mark Berg, I’d also do my best to help spread his message to my friends and neighbors and encourage them to get informed and be involved.

Don’t forget to vote on June 11th!

Read Full Post »

Delegate Todd Gilbert

Delegate Todd Gilbert

As hinted in my previous piece, Delegate Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah County could also be facing a Republican primary challenger this election cycle.  The 15th district, which Mr. Gilbert has represented since 2006, includes Shenandoah and Page Counties as well as a portion of Warren and Rockingham Counties.  As reported in today’s issue of the Daily News Record, Mark Prince, a retired airline pilot from northern Shenandoah County may seek the nomination as well.  Should Mr. Prince choose to run, his central issues are, as of yet, unknown.

 

Last night at the meeting of the Harrisonburg Tea Party, I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Berg, a 10th district representative on the Virginia Republican State Central Committee.  He announced that he is challenging Beverly Sherwood for the GOP nod in the 29th district.  The 29th district, which Ms. Sherwood has represented since 1994, includes the city of Winchester, Frederick County, and a portion of Warren County.  As Mr. Berg mentioned, Delegate Sherwood is among a number of Republicans who voted for the recent transportation tax hike, called the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

The Shenandoah Valley is quickly entering uncharted political territory, incumbent legislators facing intraparty challengers.  For the nearly two decades that I’ve been involved and active, most elected officials in this region have captured the Republican nomination without question, year after year for as long as they choose to remain in that office.  So is 2013 the dawn of a new era of political competition?  Will even more candidates emerge to challenge the status quo?  Or will this election serve as a mere hiccup in the normal routine?  Only time will tell.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: