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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jim Webb urges Democrats to focus on income inequality

Former Sen. Jim Webb may or may not be actively contemplating a run for the presidency but he certainly sounded like a candidate in a brief speech at a brunch sponsored by the Mason District Democratic Committee Oct. 18. When asked if he is running for president, Webb told the Annandale Blog, “not at this time.”

After representing Virginia in the U.S. Senate for one term, 2007-13, Webb, a decorated military veteran and author, did not seek re-election. There is widespread speculation that he might go up against frontrunner Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

In his speech to local Democrats yesterday at the Luna Restaurant and Sports Bar, an Ethiopian place in Bailey’s Crossroads, Webb said, “It’s time to really think about what the Democratic Party stands for nationally. We can be a lot better.”

Webb urged the party to focus on “inclusiveness, economic fairness, and social justice,” noting, “If the Democratic Party doesn’t care about these issues, they won’t be discussed.”

“Income inequality needs to be in the forefront,” Webb said. He called on the party to do a better job of seeking solutions and solving this problem, rather than just talking about it.

Regarding social justice, Webb cited the problem of mass incarceration, noting there are 2.3 million people in prison in the United States. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prisoners.

While in the Senate, Webb held extensive hearings and crafted legislation to fix the problem of mass incarceration, yet the effort was blocked by a filibuster. Now, he says, “Rand Paul is running on this issue. Where are the Democrats? Where is the leadership? We need to get back in the game on this issue.”

“With the right kind of leadership and working across the aisle, we can get things done,” Webb said.

Rep. Jim Moran, the outgoing congressman from the 8th District, urged the audience to campaign for the election of Democratic candidate John Foust, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, in the hotly contested race to replace Rep. Frank Wolf (R) in the 10th congressional district.

Moran called the Republican candidate, Del. Barbara Comstock, an “extremist” who is “as bad on women’s issues as anyone in the country.” He noted that Comstock voted for legislation that would have required women seeking abortions to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds and voted against the transportation bill.

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