Sunday, May 28, 2006

My first wine festival

Beautiful weather…great music…good food…awesome wine.

The 2006 Fiesta de Primavera at Mountain Cove Vineyards ended late this afternoon. Having seen the festival information on a campaign calendar for Al Weed, we decided to attend his annual Memorial Day weekend event. I, for one, wasn’t disappointed at all.

It was good to see Al in a different venue—at home this time. There were no campaign signs, bumper stickers, or staff members. No itinerary, phones or cameras flashing (although we did take some pictures for our own use.) Just a pretty laid-back affair with live music, pork barbecue, some local vendors and plenty of wine to taste. (And obviously a little R & R for everyone else in the campaign!) Other than support stickers on some fellow attendees and visiting cars with Weed bumper stickers today, you’d never know that Al is actually running for Congress.

Al Weed explains the winery operation during a tour at Mountain Cove Vineyards.
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During a hiatus for the band, Al personally lead a tour of the winery operation to a group of about 20 people and explained the setup from planting the vines (eight acres of white and red grapes) to the wine cellar. The wine business is a very complicated and amazing operation—at the whim of the weather and science (think chemistry!) more than I imagined. Having been in business since 1973, the vineyard has had its share of hurricanes, late frosts and, even more devastating to the crops, droughts. Most of the vines were replanted in 1996 and are just coming back into full production. Al’s learned from experience what makes the best wines from his grapes and how to utilize other materials in the area (apples, peaches, and blackberries) to supplement his own crops. He is now one of the foremost producers of fruit wines in the state.

From its beginnings as a one-man bottling operation (with seasonal help for harvesting grapes) to an operation that now employs a full-time staff, Virginia’s oldest winery has grown as the wine industry has expanded in not only Virginia, but also Nelson County (with six other vineyards). I plan to visit more vineyards in the future and see what they have to offer. Looks like I’ve missed out on a whole lot of fun over the years.

NOTE: While I was talking to his wife about the grounds today, Mrs. Weed was telling me about one worker’s comment about a flower bed we were near. As she repeated the statement (including his use of “Senora”), she turned to me and said, “He is a legal immigrant.” I had to laugh--there was no doubt in my mind that Al Weed would use nothing else to work his operation. As a matter of fact, many 5th District farmers use legal immigrants to work their farms. Cumberland County farmers use them with their truck crops and in their chicken houses.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A new link has been added

The Southern Democrat has been added to my links section. Check him out!

Any corruption is too much for me

A diary by habeas on Raising Kaine says it all:

When recently confronted by reports of ethical violations, Virgil Goode (R-VA 5th) deflected the question, saying that the accusations of wrongdoing were coming from a liberal group, Common Cause, without addressing the merits of the accusation. Instead, he chose to argue "Everyone else in Washington is corrupt, why does it matter if I am?"
And then Virgil issued a press release that clouded the issue. (see the complete release on the RK site)

habeas' response?
But all of this misses the point. It doesn't much matter to me who Harry Reid took money from. Becuase Harry Reid is not running for Congress in Virginia's 5th District. And neither is Hillary Clinton.

Our choice is between Virgil Goode and Al Weed. One has taken illegal money from corrupt contractors and one hasn't. One has been named in a Federal criminal prosecution and one hasn't.

Virgil Goode is running for Congress in Virginia's 5th District, and we don't care if other people in government are crooked.

We care if he is.

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

They’re back…

One of the best things about living in the country is watching the seasons change and observing the cycle of life all around us. The flowers are blooming, the garden is growing and tonight...the lightning bugs have returned.

Treated like "regular folks"?

With Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) being in the midst of a federal investigation involving bribery, it is refreshing to see one Senator supporting the view that Congress be treated just like regular folks. Virginia's own John Warner (R) issued a statement on Wednesday that said:

I think it's very important that Congress be treated no differently than the average citizen when it comes to criminal matters.

Of course, I am not surprised that the President has frozen the access to documents taken from the Congressman's office. I personally see this as a way of preventing the FBI from later seizing information from the offices of corrupt Republicans in Washington, D.C. (including the 5th District's Virgil Goode). Given Bush's past record of changing/ignoring the laws to suit himself and the actions of his adminstration and making documents classified when they are requested for other federal investigations, I would expect no less from our Dear Leader, who thinks he's the king rather than a servant of the people.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What's your favorite political/campaign button?

Last night, while looking at different fundraising ideas, I came across some buttons designed specifically for Democrats. There were several I liked, although most didn't even come close to State Senator Roscoe Reynolds' quip at the 5th District Dinner in March: "Jesus didn't ride in on an elephant." Some were a little more hopeful (listing various candidates for President in 2008) and some were heading toward profane. [Don't get me wrong. The profane buttons are okay, unless you have impressionable school-aged children or live in a community where your every movement and action are often fodder for the gossip-mongers and passed on to your boss at the first opportunity. I qualify on both those counts.]

Still, I'd have to say my favorite (although definitely a little risqué in my house and community) is:

Love a Democrat. Whoever heard of a good piece of elephant?

With the primary upon us and the general election less than six months away, we'll be seeing more campaign buttons and bumper stickers as we go along. What's your favorite all-time political or campaign saying?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Show Your “Donkey” Spirit

A fellow Cumberland County committee member and I were discussing fundraising ideas at the 5th Congressional District Democratic Convention in Buckingham today. Having noticed some of the other women wearing various donkey pins and scarves, I mentioned that selling those kinds of items might be an option. I later found out that the Campbell County Democratic Committee has a wide selection of donkey jewelry, tack pins, bags, etc. Interested? Contact Jennifer Mayhew.

Bern Ewert throws his support behind Al Weed

The 5th Congressional District Democratic Convention was held today in Buckingham County at the high school. Christine Senger-Bryan (Buckingham’s county chairman) and her committee had the task of preparing the site for our meeting. They should be commended by everyone on a job well done. I told several of them personally, but thanks again for the hard work put into this event!

In all, 187 delegates were seated for the convention with many alternates and guests also in attendance. Both Bern Ewert and Al Weed had satisfied district requirements for running and were nominated for the 5th District’s Democratic candidate for Congress. After voting by secret ballot (and while awaiting the results), those in attendance had a chance to listen to both Senate candidates speak: Harris Miller and Jim Webb. Having heard Harris Miller speak previously, I was more interested in hearing what Jim Webb had to say today. He did not disappoint me.

Finally, the moment came for the important announcement. Would there be a candidate or would we need a second ballot? As many of us thought would happen, there was a candidate. Al Weed won the election by a 114-73 vote. Given the chance to speak first, Bern said he fully supported Al and would work to help him beat Virgil Goode in the November election. He was given a standing ovation as he left the podium. I’m so glad that he is working to unite the 5th district. After all, working together can make all the difference.

Then it was time for Al to accept the nomination. I think he was touched by the welcome he received as our elected candidate. His acceptance speech (which I should’ve taken better notes on) brought out something to keep in mind as we go through the next 5-6 months:

We all think we know Virgil Goode. He comes to our communities and our events. He shakes our hands, listens to our concerns and asks how things are going. But do we really know him?

Do we really know the Mr. Goode who has voted with President Bush 97% of the time? Do we really know the Mr. Goode that supports deporting 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants and building a wall between the United States and Mexico? Do we really know the Mr. Goode who accepted over $90,000 in illegal campaign funds from Mitchell Wade and made over $9 million dollars in earmarks for his company MZM?

Virgil has been in office for 10 years. What has he done to help us? Southside Virginia suffers from double digit unemployment in some areas. What jobs has Virgil really brought to the area? Even MZM (now Athena) may be taken over by a new company in the not so distant future. How has he improved education in the 5th CD? Let’s check his voting record on No Child Left Behind and other pieces of education legislation. Besides giving his illegal contributions to fire departments and rescue squads in the district, what else has Virgil done for them? I’m not talking about photo-ops, festivals or celebrations, or showing up when grant checks or awards are being presented (like in the pictures on his campaign website or government webpage). I’m talking about something Virgil introduced, worked for and supported that benefited this district. There really won’t be many things that will come to mind.

Therefore, it’s time to send Virgil Goode back to Rocky Mount. Let’s all rally behind Al Weed and do our part to make that happen.

Virgil not ostentatious?

I read this quote on the VA 5th Congressional District site (original source here):

….."Virgil is not ostentatious," said Jim Severt, a political consultant and his former chief of staff. "He doesn't need a mansion or a Cadillac, because his life is politics."

I know that Jim probably did not see the limousine in which Virgil arrived at Buckingham County Days last weekend. I did--and I'm looking around to see if anyone there took a picture. I'd like to post a photo of this "ordinary" vehicle for everyone to see.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Editorial Online

An opinion piece with Friday's date has come out on the Daily Progress website (just one day before the Convention in Buckingham). You can check it out here. It discusses Bern Ewert's recent activities regarding asking 5th District delegates to break pledges.

I wonder why the papers in the Martinsville/Danville/Roanoke area aren't printing pieces like this or the one by Bob Gibson earlier this week. Oh, yes, I forgot. Bern has promised to lift them out of their economic troubles. What a crock! While Ewert claims to have created 16,000 jobs in the Roanoke area alone, Larry Campbell of Danville says he has a record of creating 7,000 jobs. Check that out on Bern's own website.

Another email makes the rounds

This email from Bern Ewert about Saturday’s 5th District Convention (printed as received) is going around the 5th District:

Dear ________ (name withheld),

The Virginia Democratic Rules govern this Convention and not the personal interpretations of any one individual. Those rules state that delegates can not be bound, only pledged. I am following the rules to the letter of those rules and only stating facts in my literature. I am running to help the people of the entire district and in part icular the unemployed in Southside Virginia, which would have the highest unemployment in America were it not for the devestated communities of the Gulf Coast. This nomination will be decided by the entire 5th District delegation, as it should be. I do not understand why you would deny the people of Southside the opportunity to speak their mind at the convention.

Best wishes, Bern Ewert

Isn’t it funny? He’s never once really come out with any ideas (new or not recycled) and outlined how he can help anyone in this district. Of course, it’s easy to see that he’s now pandering to the unemployed in Southside. Has anyone heard what’s he has offered to do for them? But wait, I bet he would only pledge to support them and provide assistance in their time of need. Based on his own words and actions, we all know that means he can’t be bound to those promises. Sounds like good old fashioned Republican politics to me!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An interesting article

While I was reading Crashing the Gate (by Jerome Armstrong of MyDD and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos), I received a link to this article in an email. Called "Not as Lame as You Think," the subtitle says "Democrats learn the art of opposition." I found it interesting. Hope you do too.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What this woman wants

I’ve given a lot of time and thought to the 5th District Democratic nomination for Congress. I have researched both candidates heavily and even asked questions when I didn’t understand and couldn’t find out what I wanted to know. As May 20, 2006, draws nearer, it’s almost time for that fat lady to sing—but I still don’t have answers from Bern Ewert to my questions from February. So I guess I’ll just have to decide what I’m really looking for in a candidate and go from there in making the final decision as to my vote at the convention.

If I was looking to hire someone to balance a budget in the 5th District, I would have to consider Bern an excellent candidate for the position. He has come up against some really large deficits in the past (not in Virginia, however) and helped to whittle them down to a workable amount. However, if you consider all the localities where he’s worked in the U.S., the jobs he takes credit for creating (all on his own, of course) are probably running pretty close to the jobs that have been lost on his watch (due to company downsizing, moving outside the locality, closure, etc.) and the jobs that have been eliminated to balance budgets. [I’m only looking at jobs for which there are documented statistics—like the civil labor force numbers from VELMA, part of the Virginia Employment Commission website. If the jobs can’t be documented by outside sources, then they don’t really count. As a college class it would be called “Fun with Numbers.” Know any former economics and management professors out there who might qualify to teach that class?]

However, when it comes right down to it, what I’m looking for right now is a candidate for Congress—not a fiscal manager for the 5th District. What are my criteria?

  • I’m looking for someone who will answer the hard questions regardless of whether the responses are popular—about his record, his stand on the issues, and why things were or should be done one way rather than another. In other words, I’m looking for someone who will not blow off even one person’s questions or consider themselves above answering whatever is asked of them.
  • I’m looking for someone who can bring new ideas to help in the district’s widespread corners—someone who has ideas in many different areas for the broad range of localities that the 5th District contains—not someone who only wants to create another layer of bureaucracy in Southside to examine the economic issues “one more time.”
  • I’m looking for someone who considers every constituent important and goes out to visit every locality in the 5th District to meet and greet voters. Not someone who picks the area(s) where he’s best known and caters to them more than the rest of the district.
  • I’m looking for someone who doesn’t pander to any group—women, African-Americans, gays/lesbians, military veterans, etc.—or use “civil rights” as the key focus for their record without being able to prove it with numbers rather than only words. Words are cheap—where are the facts?
  • I’m looking for someone who doesn’t lose his cool when things don’t go his way or when his ideas are not accepted. I’m not looking for someone who screams or tries to shout his opponents down, blames others for his problems or poor record, or tries to divert attention away from areas of concern. I’m looking for a people person who can work with others—even when those people are difficult to deal with.
  • I’m looking for someone who will not joke his way out of a problem by claiming “temporary insanity.” Those of us with real mental illnesses (like depression) don’t appreciate your jokes—no matter how politically motivated or cute they may seem to you.
  • I’m looking for a candidate who has real opinions on the issues and whose stand on those issues is supported by his past actions. Don’t tell me you’re for civil rights for women and have your record show that you supported a city employee whose actions were against the very policies he is supposed to monitor (sexual harassment). Don’t talk about being a union supporter when you’ve talked about unions being a major problem with city budgets in the past and don’t even use union printers to produce your current campaign signs.
  • And above all, I’m looking for the honest candidate—not someone who lies about FEC filings (without being able to produce copies of the initial paperwork), can’t produce letters of support from prominent individuals, or tells a reporter a story that he knows isn’t true.

As it stands right now, Bern Ewert doesn’t meet ANY of my criteria. But there’s still a few days left until the convention and I’ve been a patient person so far. A few more days of waiting for answers won’t kill me.

Read anything lately?

I got a letter from Al Weed today in response to the last Bern Ewert flyer that I received. I’m sure there were several different letters again, since mine addresses uncommitted delegates. As seems typical of the Weed campaign, this one was also printed on their stationery and personally signed by Al. I’ve got to hand it to them—they don’t skimp when it comes to communicating with the delegates to this Saturday’s convention in Buckingham. I’m sure that the cost of mailing 196 letters to delegates several times to provide details about Saturday or clear up mistruths (at $76.44 a pop just for postage each time) is not quite how they planned to spend donated funds. But sometimes you have to do it anyway. (If anyone would like to see a copy of the letter, please let me know.)

Speaking of reading something, did anyone read the latest Daily Progress article on the Ewert/Weed race? Bob Gibson’s piece can be found here. He talks to each of the candidates as well as 5th District Chairman Fred Hudson, former Delegate Mitchell Van Yahres and Charlottesville resident and Weed delegate Virginia Germino. I’ll have to check some of the other 5th District newspapers to see if they are also covering this story.

UPDATE: According to reliable sources, Virginia Germino is an alternate delegate to Saturday's 5th District Convention. I apologize for passing on this mistake in my post.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Desperation in Bern Ewert's Campaign?

All I can say is: Wow! After all the hoopla raised about a previous Weed flyer, Bern has now attacked Al Weed one week before the 5th District Convention.

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He attacks Al on three major points (immigration, jobs and gay marriage) and shows in his discourse that he has very little working knowledge about any of them. He has also proven that he doesn’t know the people in the entire district or their livelihood very well either. He has gone out so far from reality—into outer space even—that I’m surprised he’s still able to breathe any air.

On immigration, Bern makes a connection that illegal immigrants and migrant workers are the same thing. How ludicrous! There are several market farmers in Cumberland County who use migrant labor to harvest vegetables and small fruits, not to mention working in the Tyson chicken houses they may operate as well. I teach the migrant children when they are here and send them back to Florida in the winter to harvest citrus each year. Migrant workers are very hard working individuals who earn their money often by toiling in the hot sun to earn money for their families. They are not illegal aliens and have the visas to prove it. And, believe me, there are few competitors for the jobs they are doing in Cumberland. This same scenario is played out in counties across this district—if Bern had bothered to check his data.

On jobs, once again Bern Ewert has dragged out the same old tired employment statistics—without providing even a shred of evidence. I’ve gone out to the VEC websites myself and posted the data from them showing that he is wrong. He talks about the numbers—but never provides actual documentation of his figures or their validity. Let’s also talk about Bern’s success in Southside for a minute. What happened at Explore Park? Isn’t it ironic that after not having his contract renewed by the River Foundation amidst claims of mismanagement in the Roanoke Times Bern actually left the country for several years [the accounts differ (three, three and a half, or four years) depending upon where you look and what Bern has said in various newspaper articles]. How convenient! And what about the Virgil Goode/Dickie Cranwell/Bern Ewert connection? They worked closely together during that same Explore Park experience. Virgil was in the State Senate, Dickie was in the House and Bern was in charge of Explore Park and was working with both of them to obtain funding, favorable legislative changes, and support. It is also laughable that Dickie supported Bern’s run for Congress, but neither could find the copy of the letter written early last year. Is that another example of his success? Not in my book. The successful businessmen I know can find their paperwork, since responding to lawsuits or complaints make the documentation of vital importance.

His information about Gay Marriage is also a hoot. He doesn’t even state his position on the matter, but once again mentions his work in civil rights as evidence that he is the answer to these “considerations.” In his public appearances he has pandered to African-Americans and women when making his points about his civil rights record—by referring to them specifically in his answers to the questions. I’ve even asked him to provide information on this “supposed” record and never heard a word from him to support his claims. Now he offers the absurd idea that he is the end all, be all savior of civil rights for everyone. His comments about “not redefining marriage” and “not denying gay people their rights” make him look more like a homophobe than anything. Where do you stand on this issue, Bern?

Actually, Bern, where do you stand on any of the issues? Do you have ANY new ideas or are you content to just talk about yourself and your undocumented record in public without offering any suggestions other than the same old tired ones that have already been tried? I’ve already asked these questions several times before—and I’m still waiting for my answers.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Some have accused Al Weed of taking the low road? What do they think now?

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Buckingham County Day

Today was Buckingham County Day. An excellent job of organizing the event helped to make it a very successful day for many of the clubs and vendors on the grounds. The great weather helped too.

Both Al Weed and Bern Ewert were in attendance. Virgil Goode was also there for a little while. Al and Virgil participated in the parade, but I didn’t see a vehicle with Bern’s name on it. Someone please correct me, if I’m wrong.

Virgil had rented a huge white limousine that had local residents talking. He also was handing out his usual pencils along the parade route. I saw him a couple of times around the grounds, including once at the Buckingham County Democratic Committee booth when he greeted Al and his staff.

Al was in his modified Checker cab. I looked over the vehicle while his staff decorated it. He had added a pickup bed to the back and had done an excellent job. Al had several volunteers as well as his campaign staff assisting him in handing out literature and greeting voters.

I saw Bern several times. However, other than one other man with a Ewert sticker on his shirt who looking for the Democratic Committee booth when I arrived at the grounds around 10 A.M., I saw no other Ewert-identified workers. There wasn’t even any campaign literature at the booth. Perhaps the letters he’s sending delegates are taking the place of letting the public know that he’s still running for Congress and hoping for the 5th District nomination on Saturday.

The food was good, the drinks were cold, and the weather was just right for a festival in the spring. Pictures are being posted at this site.

Politics in the mail as well

I got more political information today than just the weird call from the RNC.

I got a Harris Miller flyer, which I much prefer to any robo-call. Funny, though—none of the pictures included looked like some of the ones I’ve seen on other blogs in recent weeks. Every one was an excellent shot (no eyes closed, no mouth open, no weird expressions). Harris says that we can count on him “for real change.” I’d much prefer the dollars that Republicans keep giving to their own, but I do agree that we must shift the balance of power to the Democrats and take back our country. However, the information I’ve seen lately about his record shows that he is probably not likely to alter the way that things are being done. (In spite of the union baggage he’s carrying, the flyer did carry a union logo, however. That’s one thing I like to see on candidate information.)

I also got a letter from Al Weed. There were three letters sent from what I understand—different letters to Ewert supporters, Weed supporters, and uncommitted delegates like me. Unlike the one I received from Bern on Friday, this one had my mailing address, my name in the salutation line and was personally signed by the candidate. (No photocopied “Dear Friends” low budget communication here.) While I understand this is standard fare for convention delegates, it is nice to see that personal touch. It makes you feel you have an important role in the political arena.

As an uncommitted delegate, Al congratulated me on being elected and outlined his plans for the future (dependent upon being nominated by the district this coming Saturday to run against Virgil Goode). In the two different letters I’ve seen, there were no attacks on his primary candidate. And considering the fallout from Weed supporters over Bern’s request to Al’s delegates to change their vote, I doubt there was a request to Ewert delegates to break their promises to Bern.

If anyone wants to see a copy of the letter from Al Weed, just let me know. I’ll be happy to scan and post it for you.

Perhaps I have an evil twin?

I just got the strangest phone call. Turns out I’m one of the loyal supporters of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and they just wanted to thank me. I was quick to ask the lady calling how that could be, since I am a member of the Democratic Party and a delegate to the 5th District Democratic Convention next weekend.

She said they must be confusing me with someone else in this area. I assured her that the only other person in this county with the same name as me was also not a Republican. After laughing at the irony of the situation, she said she would remove my name from her calling list. Unfortunately, she could not remove my name from the mailing list—so I’m still not immune from Dennis Hastert’s stupid RNC questionnaires asking how much I like President Bush and his initiatives.

This whole RNC thing is almost as annoying as the Harris Miller robo-calls or our local schools’ Instant Alert messages about the landfill meetings that were conducted by the county.

Breaking News: I just heard that there is a new Ewert letter being mailed to delegates in the 5th District, which is different than the one I posted about yesterday. I'll let you know more when I have a copy.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ewert Persists in Asking Delegates to Break Promise

The letter targets uncommitted and Weed delegates. Bern uses the words of 5th District Chairman Fred Hudson to give it a tone of authority and authenticity, which would make it seem more acceptable to committed delegates who may not know that they could be called dishonest for following his advice. Justifying asking people to "lie" by voting against the person they were elected to nominate is absolutely deceitful.

As an uncommitted delegate to the May 20 5th District Convention in Buckingham, I got this letter in my mailbox today. I'm still waiting for the answers to my questions--and this wasn't it.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Concerned about Tactics

The emails I posted the other night (about Bern Ewert’s campaign trying to get Al Weed delegates to change their vote at the 5th District Convention) are making the rounds of the 5th District, as some county chairmen are forwarding the copies they received to their delegates and alternates. Responses the chairs received are also being sent around the district and will be published here (as they were written) with the authors' permission.

I received your e-mail concerning the efforts on the part of the Ewert campaign to have delegates change their vote at the 5th district convention later in the month. I wish to respond and was hoping you could pass my message on to as many persons that you think would be interested.

As one of Nelson counties delegates to the fifth district convention to nominate a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, I am deeply concerned by the tactics being employed by Marlin Adams on behalf of the Ewert for Congress campaign.

At the beginning of this process to nominate a candidate I was interested to hear what Mr. Ewert had to offer and was entirely ready to shift my support to him had he shown himself to be a better voice than Mr. Weed. This, however, did not occur, as the only thing that came out of the Ewert camp was the same negative rhetoric, which Marlin Adams continues to spout off today in hopes that those of us committed to Al Weed will change our minds. I submit to Mr. Adams that this party in-fighting does not help either candidate and is high up on the list of why my support, and hopefully the support of the other 105 committed Al Weed delegates will not be changing their votes.

I have yet to hear what Mr. Ewert has to offer the citizens of this district and the country in general. I am positive that he has ideas, and I am equally as positive that those ideas may very well be what the citizens of the fifth district are seeking. The problem is I have not heard them. By contrast, I have heard Mr. Weed. Al Weed has spoken of bringing economic and educational vitality back to the district, and replace the rubber stamp vote of Virgil Goode.

The fact of the matter remains," Mr. Ewert"," Mr. Adams", the citizens of the fifth district have spoken and what we are saying is that we want Al Weed as our nominee. While we respect your efforts, what the party needs now is your support, not your disdain. Perhaps it is the Ewert delegates who should change their votes as a gesture toward party unity in defeating Virgil Goode this November. Since Mr. Weed posses enough delegates for the nomination perhaps the Ewert campaign would care to join the effort in defeating the Republican candidate instead of creating turmoil within the Democratic party.

In closing, I would just like to remind the Ewert campaign of a candidate who made the effort and was also unsuccessful many times. At age 23, he lost a bid for state legislature, at 34 was defeated for a nomination to the House, was later elected at 37, but lost the nomination again at 39, at age 40 was defeated in bid for land office (that's right land office), at 45 and 49 defeated in bid for U.S. Senate.

So not everyone succeeds when they run, the point is that they run and it seems clear that the citizens of this district want Mr. Weed to run again. By the way, that candidate above was Abraham Lincoln who was elected President at age 51. So if your argument is Al Weed cannot win because he has failed to in the past, I would say that is a futile argument.

While I do not presume to compare Mr. Weed with former President Lincoln, I am merely pointing out the similarities in circumstance and would argue for the sake of Mr. Weed that there is no reason why he cannot start a string of positive outcomes starting with this November.

Matt Matzeder
5th district delegate
Nelson County

A second response says:

…When I received your letter the other day, I went to the Ewert web site and sent a message that said this; " I find it very disturbing that some one would ask me to renege on a pledge. That is a tactic that Republicans use and I do not want to be a Republican. I have listened to Mr. Ewert's campaign speech and read the literature. To me it sounds too much like a Republican campaign. I am leery that should Mr. Ewert win the nomination he would end up doing what Virgil did after the Democrat's gave him the office.

It is my belief that Mr. Ewert should accept defeat and bow out gracefully and stop embarrassing himself and the Democratic Party by these underhanded tactics.

Gordon A. Koerner
Voting Nov. 7th! Remember
"Jesus DID NOT travel Jerusalem on an Elephant"

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What is a pledge?

This is an interesting question that has come up in response to some email I received a little while ago from my county chairman. All emails are as I received them. None have been changed in any way.

The initial message is from a Campbell County Democrat:

Hello Bern,

This is Jennifer Mayhew it Campbell County. I think that what your website is saying, and I quote ". . . once Delegates arrive at the convention on May 20th, they are free to vote for either one of the candidates, regardless of whom they voted for in the Caucuses." is a lie. The first vote will be Delegates who have declared who they are voting for. I don't understand why you are trying to get Delegates to switch their minds. In my oponion you are doing a great disservice to first the Democratic party and 2nd to yourself. Please reply to this email and explain yourself.

Jennifer T. Mayhew

She received two responses—one from Bern Ewert’s campaign manager Marlin Adams and the other from Fred Hudson, the 5th District Chairman.

Mr. Adams’ response:

Hello, Ms. Mayhew,

thank you contacting the campaign.

While we disagree with your statements, we do appreciate you taking the time to visit the Ewert For Congress website.

The 5th District Call To Convention states specifically that the first ballot at the convention is a written, private ballot, which means that delegates are free to vote for the candidate that they think has the best chance of winning in November.

We do in fact intend to let all delegates know why we believe that Bern Ewert is the Democrat with the best chance of unseating the Republican incumbent, and in so doing, we will in fact, I'm sure you would agree, be doing a great service to the Democratic Party, and the Nation.

If you are a Al Weed delegate, we hope you will reconsider your support for Mr. Weeds 5th attempt to win public support in this district. The fact of the matter is is that Mr. Weed doesn't stand in a chance in this very conservative district. Al Weed is the same candidate he was 2 years ago when he was beat badily, 3 votes to every 1, in what has to be seen as a decisive rejection of his candidacy by the people of this district. He is the same candidate that has run 4 other loosing campaigns, dating back to 1975. Al Weed should stop now and give Democrats a better chance of winning.

You can do the Party a great service by switching your support to Bern Ewert because he can actually put together the coalition of conservative voters and Democrats to beat Mr. Goode. Al Weed cannot, has not, will not. That's the only conclusion people of good will and objectivity can reach judging by his 4 decisive losses.

Thanks again for your note.
Marlin Adams
Manager, Ewert For Congress
434-220-2498-o; 917-232-1906-c

Mr. Hudson’s response:


You have asked a very good question. With most good questions, the answer is not a simple yes or no!

The reality is that the Caucuses elected the delegates to "pledge" their vote on the first ballot at the May 20 convention. In my opinion, the delegates should vote that pledge as that is how they have represented themselves.

However, there is no specific rule in the Party Plan, 5th District Call, or the 5th District Rules that prevent the delegate from changing their vote. We try to anticipate every possible situation. However, in this case, Bern Ewert is technically correct. In my opinion, the statement on the web site is a bit of an over extention of the facts, but still technically correct. I personally hope that well intentioned people like you, Carter, and I can assure people that it is not just a "free" vote on the first ballot in the Convention, but one to be very aware of why people were elected to be a delegate to the Convention.

As to subsequent ballots, there is no restriction on people's vote in the 2nd and additional ballots. There never was an intention to restrict those votes or we might never get a candidate!

I hope I have answered your question. I wish I could give you a simple yes or no, but I have explained it as well as I can.

Thank you for your inquiry, and I hope to see you in Buckingham.


So, to repeat my question from the title of this post: What is a pledge?

According to, the noun pledge is “A solemn binding promise to do, give, or refrain from doing something.” When used as a verb, pledge means “promise solemnly and formally” or to “give as a guarantee” ( In simplest terms, a pledge is a promise or guarantee given by an individual.

There are only a few things that I can promise or guarantee:

  • I need air, food and water to live.
  • I will have to pay taxes.
  • I always try my best to do whatever task I am given.
  • If I give you my word, I will do what I say.

So, a pledge is also giving your word.

My dad taught me that there are only two things you always have in this world: your word and your good name. He also said that what you do to one affects the other. Therefore, if you go against what you’ve promised or guaranteed (pledged) to do, your good name will suffer. Once you’ve broken a promise, people never seem to trust you as much as before. And those people who ask you to break your word or destroy someone’s trust in you? They’ll have to live with their own “good” name.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Shades of the past?

As things stand now, it appears that Al Weed has the delegates to win the 5th District nomination for November's election. Michael had a wonderful post on Friday about that and about everyone moving on in the whole process.

However, the word on the street is that Bern lost his cool last night at a candidates' forum in Brunswick. Anyone out there hear about that? Actually, if it's true, I'm not really surprised. I've been writing about his temper and actions when things don't go his way beginning back in February. Check details here and here.