Earlier today, Aneesh Chopra, one of the two Democratic candidates to be Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, spoke to a crowd in Harrisonburg. About 40 people were in attendance at the Beyond restaurant; this group included a number of JMU students, local high school students, and a bevy of Democrats including past and present members of the Harrisonburg City Council.
Mr. Chopra discussed his experience, including his time working for the Kaine administration, as well as his plans to stimulate economic growth in the Commonwealth. After these remarks, he opened the floor to questions from the audience. Then, at the end of the gathering, Larry Rogers, the former mayor of the city endorsed Chopra.
I took the opportunity to ask Mr. Chopra about his opinion regarding the organization of the Virginia Senate. If you may recall, the body was split evenly between Democratic and Republican members after the 2011 elections. Rather than engaging in some sort of power sharing arrangement, the Republican Party declared that they were in the majority due to the fact that the lieutenant governor was a Republican. Perhaps not surprisingly, Aneesh Chopra mentioned that, if elected, he would act as the 21st Democratic senator, which would allow the Democratic Party to assume control that body in much the same precedent as set by Bill Bolling several years ago.
Unlike the Republicans who are running a convention, the Democratic Party will be holding an open primary on June 12th to select their nominees for statewide office. As any registered voter will be allowed to participate, it is important for interested citizens, be they Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, or independents to learn about our choices and to select which one of them best represents their values.