We have decided who we're supporting to succeed Barbara Comstock as our representative from Virginia's 10th congressional district in the US House of Representatives, and it's Dan Helmer. Yes, we mean THAT Dan Helmer, the one with the ad that was a spoof of a scene from Top Gun that got a bit of national attention a month or so ago. Our endorsement is our own, and should not be seen as an endorsement by any group that we are members of, or volunteer with.
Here's the thing: We've talked to Dan about where he thinks Congress has lost its footing in recent years, what the problems are he'd like to address and his ideas on how to address them. We've found Dan to be incredibly intelligent, principled and someone who we're convinced will work extremely hard in congress for all of us back home in Virginia and for the entire country. We've decided that we would be quite proud to have Dan represent us in our nation's House of Representatives.
Among our largest concerns with what's going on in this country right now is the environment and rampant fossil fuel consumption. We believe that loose regulation, lack of oversight and lack of enforcement are creating a situation where fossil fuel extraction, transmission and consumption are causing destruction of the natural world that will be challenging, if not impossible, to repair in the future. This is a justice issue. Destruction of the environment isn't just a moral issue (but it is certainly that), it's a debt that is being handed down to future generations, without their knowledge, consent or influence. We also see anthropogenic climate change as a threat to national security in that it is expected to increase the frequency and severity of global conflict due to the resource scarcities that will directly cause wars (this is already happening in places like Yemen).
Dan is someone who thoroughly understands the urgency of protecting the environment, how it relates to national security and what the intersections are in how the country produces and consumes energy. Dan has shown an un-politician like willingness to take hardline positions on critical issues, such as the two large natural gas pipeline projects proposed for Virginia, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline. We've talked to Dan about these projects and are convinced that he will be a strong defender of the Commonwealth and the nation against these specific projects and projects like them in the future, whether it's because they destroy forests, contaminate water, or contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Dan has been talking about being opposed to the ACP and MVP as far back as April 29th of 2016, when he showed up to bring coffee to Loudouners headed off to DC to protest for Climate, Jobs, and Justice at People’s Climate March. He is the original anti-pipeline candidate in the CD10 race.
Dan understands that renewable energy is the future and we have no doubt that he will be a strong advocate for an aggressive transition to the myriad renewable energy sources that Virginia has available to it and away from fossil fuels. He sees that there problems and offers realistic solutions to them for protecting our environment.
Having served in war zones, in three different countries, and based on our conversations with Dan, we feel that he best understands our country's place in the world. Dan understands what can be done using diplomacy and the reasons that diplomacy doesn't always work. We also believe he's someone who will strike the right balance in regard to funding our military and make the right decisions on matters under his purview as a representative to keep American lives saves at home and abroad. From Dan’s experience serving in war zones, we believe he will treat military conflict as the option of last resort that it should always be. Like all patriotic Americans, we respect and value our military and those who serve in it. We expect our elected representatives to do the same and act accordingly to protect those who serve as they protect us at home and put them in harm’s way only when absolutely necessary.
A true progressive leader
Virginians are sick of politics and the people need more from Congress than tired rhetoric and duplicitous promises. Virginians need advocates for real progress in Congress. Dan is someone who has the intellect and character to do what needs to be done, even if it isn't politically convenient. From our conversations with him, we know Dan understands that progress doesn't happen overnight, or easily, but he will work extremely hard to not only push a progressive agenda, but make it accessible to others. We trust him to promote a Democratic vision for America that delivers on language the Party has promoted for a long time, but often fails to manifest in legislation or outcomes. When politics gets heated, Dan brings the conversation back to our values, and to delivering results for average Americans -- that’s the kind of leadership we appreciate.
Dan the unifier
It may be a long shot, but in the modern era of hyper-polarized politics, we look to candidates to bring a progressive message, and ideas, in a way that is accessible to those who might not initially agree. Dan strikes us as adept at this, and someone that conservatives in Congress might find difficult to dismiss as just another liberal.
Dan can win
There are a lot of great candidates running for CD10 and things are looking pretty good right now for a Democrat to defeat Barbara Comstock. A lot can change in a year though. We want to make sure that whoever wins the primary is prepared for the general election and can ultimately win. As poor of a representative of this district as Barbara Comstock has been, it's extremely important that we get a candidate that can stand up to what is likely to be a very heated, nasty general election. I don't think we'll see conservatives saying much about Dan's background, because it's a background of service and patriotism that anyone can respect. The only attack line that seems plausible, is that Dan's a political outsider. Democrats and Republicans alike are sick of cronyism in Washington, and showed that in 2016, whether the sentiment was well placed or not. Painting Dan as inexperienced might actually do as much good for his campaign as harm it. Simply put, there's no attack line against Dan that we think will be terribly effective, which will force Barbara Comstock to campaign solely on her own abysmal record.
In closing, CD10 has a huge opportunity to elect a steward of the environment that understands international relations, has the intelligence and vision to represent the district well, and can certainly win. Meet Dan at one of his many campaign appearances, and ask him for yourself why he's running. We've made our decision, and hope you'll join us in our support of Dan Helmer for CD10.
-Amanda and Chris Tandy