08 September 2016
Guns facilitate violence
On Aug. 11 I attended the Senior Statesmen of Virginia’s Candidate Forum in Charlottesville featuring the two primary candidates for the 5th District congressional seat, Tom Garrett (R) and Jane Dittmar (D). The podcast of this event can be found at the Senior Statesmen website, http://www.seniorstatesmen.org.
Below are excerpts from the candidates’ responses to a question concerning gun violence and the Second Amendment:
Tom Garrett: “When…you learn that long guns, for example, what some people would brand ‘assault weapons,’ I think you’re four times more likely to be killed with a knife. You’re twice as likely to be killed by hands or feet. Time and a half more likely to be bludgeoned than to be killed by these weapons so, ultimately the problem I don’t think is guns. The problem is violence… So, until we can crack down on knife murder and bludgeoning murder and hands and feet murder, I don’t think vilifying an object, an inanimate object, is necessarily the solution...”
Jane Dittmar: “To protect the Second Amendment, we’ve got to do something and we need to do it in this next Congress. We need to have universal background checks. We need to make sure that people who shouldn’t own guns are not allowed to buy them. Now, there are a lot of guns out there. There is a gun for every person in America. So it’s not as if we are going to be going out and getting those guns, but, in the future, we do not want to sell to people who have certain types of mental illness, a proclivity towards violence, particularly under protective orders, and anybody who we’ve identified as a terrorist.”
On June 12 Omar Mateen carried an assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX into the packed Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and started shooting, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53 others.
Mr. Garrett obviously does not understand that the weapon is part of the violence. Such a brutal massacre would not have occurred if Mateen’s weapons had been limited to a knife, hands and/or feet.
Jeannine “JJ” Towler
Dittmar works for constituents
Kudos to the folks that got us more transparency between Aqua and its customers, including Lake Monticello’s Ida Swenson, who worked tirelessly, and state Sen. Tom Garrett, who carried the bill through the Senate. The law requires Aqua Virginia to let all of their customers know that they are requesting a rate increase from the State Corporation Commission. Previously, Aqua could simply publish notices in the newspaper. However, the law did nothing to lower our water bills.
Furthermore, it didn’t cost Mr. Garrett anything to carry the bill, except that it points out his hypocrisy in relation to other utilities. Mr. Garrett voted in favor of SB 1349 last year.
SB 1349 stopped utility reviews through 2023. That means Dominion and Appalachian won’t have to refund excess profits for the next eight years. In return, the utilities agreed to freeze their “base” rates, which make up only a little more than half of a customer’s bill. The other portions of your bill have not been frozen, and Dominion raised its rates last September. Mr. Garrett will not defend us against utilities.
His opponent for the 5th District congressional seat, Jane Dittmar, has refused to take money from Dominion. She has always worked hard for her constituents. Just last winter, as chairwoman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, she voted against a real estate tax increase.
Ms. Dittmar has also spoken about the need to reform our tax code so that fewer loopholes exist and everyone pays their fair share, rather than taxes falling disproportionately on the middle class. Ms. Dittmar will also fight to protect Social Security. By removing the artificial cap on individuals earning over $118,500 we can sustain a solvent system through 2078.
Ms. Dittmar was instrumental in the approval of a strategy ensuring competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and other county employees. She also championed the creation of the economic development office in Albemarle.
Ms. Dittmar will fight for economic prosperity for the 5th District. She deserves your vote. She cares enough about Fluvanna to open a campaign office across from Food Lion in the Jefferson Shopping Center. Stop by to learn more about Jane.