What to do in that 5th District Delegate race

Making a long story short, I am voting for Michael Osborne. If you want to know why, read on.

In the 5th District House of Delegates race in Virginia, we have two candidates:

  • Republican Israel O’Quinn, community and government relations director for Food City’s parent company, K-VA-T Food Stores
  • Independent Michael Osborne, a former pastor educated at Graham Bible College and Liberty University who owns Our Father’s House Christian Bookstore and regards his major disagreement points with Democrats “the moral issues.”

I have read the newspaper interviews, but I have not heard Israel O’Quinn speak. If you haven’t noticed, Republicans aren’t making house calls. They are speaking to their own choirs and not very available to the public. I have bumped into Michael Osborne twice without even trying.

The first time that I met Osborne, who likes to be called “Oz,” was at a candidate forum at Virginia Highlands Community College. He did not talk about the issues, just about being a minister and a Christian, and I think he mentioned coal. Then someone asked him about Cap and Trade, and he stated that he was against it. I asked him if he knew of any places in the United States or elsewhere that Cap and Trade was being used, and he did not. I told him there were such places and suggested that he do a Google search and inform himself on the issue. Then I put Oz in my book as a social conservative who did not have any knowledge of other issues and decided I wouldn’t vote for anyone in the 5th District race for Virginia House of Delegates.

Tonight I got to talk with Oz again when he attended the Washington County Democrats potluck at Abingdon High School. I saw him come into the room, and he came directly to me and told me he had done as I suggested and informed himself on Cap and Trade. We talked about Cap and Trade for a few minutes, then about energy in general, and about the future of energy, the Keystone XL pipeline, and associated ideas, like national energy independence. He was still not incredibly well-informed on a wide range of the energy issues, but to be fair these are national issues and not state issues. More to the point, he had remembered my question, he had learned about Cap and Trade, and he was talking with me about it.

Personally, I think Oz would make a better Democrat than he would a Republican, since I have not met a Republican in the past 15 years who was interested, willing to learn something, or willing to discuss an issue with someone who disagreed.

His opponent Israel O’Quinn is a Republican with a possible personal interest in privatizing the ABC stores in Virginia, which is an economic mistake at least equal to the car tax fiasco. He will be a rubber stamp for the regressive administration now in Richmond, otherwise he would not be their pick or have their solid — and impressively well-funded — backing. There is a chance that with Oz we will have a delegate who informs himself on the issues, thinks about what is best for southwest Virginia, and listens to his constituents and not just to his political and corporate sponsors.

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