Ken Elston
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Thanks to the generosity of veteran, teacher and community leader, Atif Qarni, I attended a luncheon and dialogue with Senator Mark Warner this week. Our state’s senior senator is, of course, running for reelection this November. He won election to the US Senate the first time by an enormous margin, and I hope he will do that again. His broad bipartisan appeal is based upon his past service as Virginia’s Governor, his business experience, and his willingness to stand up for good ideas, regardless of either party’s political position of the moment. He calls that being “an equal opportunity offender.” I call it championing effective government.

Warner and Elston

There is much to be said for working toward effective choices over ideology. In my campaign for Manassas City Council, I call that “common sense for our community.” It is what our city needs.

Favoring or advocating change, improvement, or reform to make progress toward better conditions for a community.

I am always surprised when I hear the term progressive used as a slur or derogatory label. Truth is, though, I only hear the word used that way by partisan political types, and so I shouldn’t be surprised. When I knock on doors and meet the citizens of our city, there is nearly uniform desire for a progressive vision for the city. Too often our elected representatives provide us false choices, and demonizing the term progressive is probably one of those. Progress is inevitable. The real question is whether we move forward in a way that makes our community better, or do we progress fettered by the limiters of division, distrust, and fear.

Pursuing a course of action midway between extremes, especially following a course in politics that is neither liberal nor conservative.

Politics is not a dirty word, either, though we are rearing a generation that has every right to believe it is. Public service should be an honor bestowed on those who deserve and earn the trust of all those they represent. The lay of the current political landscape is pocked, because too many seek only to represent only a few or a narrow point of view. That way takes us to the dangerous edges. Navigating community is generally best accomplished down the middle of the road.

Effective government should be about problem solving and working across the board and across party lines to resolve issues (and, undoubtedly, differences). Approaching problem solving through balanced and fact-based dialogue, always with resolution as the goal, is what I intend to contribute as a public servant. I welcome partners in that intent. You can be an important partner by voting on November 4. Encourage your friends and neighbors to vote for new voices on Manassas City Council. Let’s be all for one great city and one city great for all.

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