Last night I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Keith Fimian and Gerry Connolly debate at the Montclair Country club. When I got home, I was torn between blogging and snuggling with the husband, and if you look at the posting time for this entry, you'll know what the decision was. But no matter because while in snuggle mode, as hubby and I watched another episode of Babylon 5, it suddenly occurred to me who Keith Fimian looks like. "That's it!" I said, sitting straight up. "He looks like Captain Sheridan!" My husband gave me that look he reserves for me when I'm in some political outer space he doesn't care to share. "No, really. I was trying to figure out who this guy Keith Fimian looks like. I kept thinking it was a meld between a young George Bush and Michael Douglas in The American President. But it's not! It's HIM!" I declared, pointing at the television screen." I got an interplanetary laugh from hubby, and I sunk back into my pillows relieved I finally knew why Keith Fimian seemed somehow familiar to me when he shook my hand.
Which, by the way, is something Gerry Connolly couldn't have been bothered to do. So extra points to Fimian already.
There's something refreshing about Keith Fimian. Don't laugh, but you know when you can stand next to someone and feel whether or not they are being honest with you? I sensed honesty in him. I didn't get that usual creepy feeling I get with politicians--you know, that feeling that says, "you better think four times before you believe anything this person says." His sincerity and I don't know...clarity?...gave me this feeling we could trust him. I don't recall ever feeling that about any political candidate I've ever seen.
I think part of all this stems from Fimian being new to the political scene. Most people ask, "Where did HE come from?" They don't know him. I wouldn't know him either (because I'm always asking, "Where did they get THAT person??" when it comes to politics and it's not always a nice question because in my case, it usually means, "...from under a rock?") But this is something different. Keith Fimian doesn't have that impenetrable cloud around him, the one that chokes the intuitive. I'm not saying he's a political virgin. But I am saying his newness and even sometimes his lapse in debating skills were refreshing. While I disagreed with some of what he had to say, I believe he said it all from his heart and mind, not his wallet or ego.
Fimian was passionate about this week's Wall Street plummet. When he said, "They need to go to jail for this," I wanted to stand up and shout, "Yeah! Go Keith!" Even if he doesn't get in, I hope he helps put these white collar criminal scum in jail. I've had my fill of them myself. I think white collar criminals are the true vermin of society, even more so than messed up violent criminals in some cases because white collar criminals are educated, powerful, ruthless, and capable of mass destruction. Your typical thug isn't.
But I digress.
Keith thinks like a business man, which is both good and bad. But he seems to be an ethical businssman, which is more than I can say for too many. His basic theme is cost cutting. If we don't get rid of the deficit, we're going to trash our children's future (he was a little more eloquent about this, incidentally). His message was that if government tried to pull what they do but do it in the private sector, they would be fired. And he's right. Can you imagine, for example, a business that constantly overdraws on bank accounts? Eventually, the people in charge of the money would be fired.
Except you can't fire elected Congressional members or elected anyone, for that matter, which is too bad in the case of our local government. Seg to the question of how he felt about the PWC Immigration Resolution. He was smart. He kept mostly to the topic of flophouses and crime. He slipped up on this, though because he blamed the increase of Fairfax's school population on immigrants leaving PWC. Had this resolution not caused such panic among ALL immigrants, his county could have been spared this sudden growth (if indeed, it has been a mass exodus from PWC which he didn't really prove last night).
Furthermore, as someone who is committed to cost cutting but does not live in PWC, Fimian needs to be educated on how much our BOCS has squandered our tax revenue by implementing a local plan that first, could never address a federal issue without wreaking havoc on us, and second, has torn apart our communities. Keith Fimian believes businesses and government should always plan for the worst. Our local government did not. He needs to know this. I plan to set Mr. Fimian straight on this and hope he will pass the message on to his party.
The other concern I have about Keith Fimian is, what exactly does he want to cut? In this poor economy (which he came out and called it), will he cut funding to programs we most need? Will he cut impact fees to schools and local government, especially ours when Quanitco and Fort Belvoir have opened up thousands of jobs in our county?
I know he really will try to utilize existing space on Route 1 the way he says he will. Fimian suggests using the breakdown lane as a commuter lane, similar to the arrangement of Route 66. However, he believes we should do this all the time.
Some other notes from the debate: Fimian believes we should invest in alternative energy and drill responsibly, that one solution isn't going to work. By reponsibly, I hope he doesn't take the Palin party route. In fact, I hope he doesn't like Palin. He never said.
He thinks we can subsidize housing by cutting out the government middle-man and oversight. In other words, we can give housing subsidy checks instead of having government buy apartment complexes and be responsible for their oversight. Sounds like a good plan to me so long as the landlord is reputable. Then again, who says government makes good landlords?
Fimian believes we have to protect our southern borders, maintain top intelligence, and better our worldwide reputation.
At the end, he cleared up some myths: he's not completely against stem cell research (only one type). He has no plan to regulate contraception. He doesn't believe women should be submissive (he said to ask his wife and two daughters). All in all, he sounds fairly moderate which as an independent, I appreciate.
Since I was sitting next to them, I got a chance to speak to Fimian's campaigners. I finally got an answer to that question: "Why the heck do you guys put out so many signs? It's obnoxious." Apparently, it's some juvenile game between parties. "Well, stop it," I said. "It looks terrible." They were really nice, professional guys, though, which is more than I can say for Jackson Miller's crew. They still offered me stickers which I politely refused.
So will I vote for Keith Fimian?
I won't tell.
He's an underdog in some ways, and I like underdogs.
Besides, now I know who he reminds me of.
You probably can't go too wrong with Captain Sheridan in Congress.