May 6, 2005: Headlines: COS - Central African Republic: School Boards: Education Reform: Election2006 - Garvey: Raising Kaine: An Interview with Libby Garvey (RPCV Central African Republic) candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 45th district

Peace Corps Online: State: Virginia: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Virginia: May 6, 2005: Headlines: COS - Central African Republic: School Boards: Education Reform: Election2006 - Garvey: Raising Kaine: An Interview with Libby Garvey (RPCV Central African Republic) candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 45th district

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Saturday, May 07, 2005 - 11:59 am: Edit Post

An Interview with Libby Garvey (RPCV Central African Republic) candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 45th district

An Interview with Libby Garvey (RPCV Central African Republic) candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 45th district

An Interview with Libby Garvey (RPCV Central African Republic) candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 45th district

Interview with Libby Garvey (45th District)

— Lowell @ 7:45 pm

I had the privilege today of speaking with Libby Garvey, 54, candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 45th district (parts of Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax). Previously, I had interviewed one of her chief rivals for the nomination, David Englin, and would welcome interviews with the remaining candidates in the district. In addition to the face-to-face interview with Garvey, I also submitted written questions to her campaign, the answers to which are available in their entirety on the RaisingKaine website.

My impression of Libby Garvey is that she is a direct, focused, tough, competitive, and very smart woman. She is highly personable and a skilled politician — a formidable candidate, no doubt. Libby, as she likes to be called, is obviously proud of her accomplishments on the Arlington School Board, as well as her work with other school boards around the state. First and foremost, this has involved coordination with the neighboring school district in Alexandria. This is not surprising, given the fact that Libby lives right on the border between Arlington and Alexandria — a point she emphasized more than once in our meeting.

Why should people vote for Libby Garvey instead of one of the other candidates for the 45th district? Although Garvey would not say anything bad about the other candidates, she made it very clear that she believes herself to be by far the most experienced and most qualified for the job. In particular, Garvey cites her eight years of work on the Arlington County school board, as well as her work with school boards around the state. She also mentions her varied background, including time in the Peace Corps and stints in Canada, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Massachusetts, and Peoria, Illinois. Finally, she talks about the fact that the 45th district is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse in the state, with Arlington even having the highest percentage of Mongolian speakers — yes, Mongolian! — in the country.

In addition to her experience in education, Libby Garvey certainly has collected an impressive list of endorsements, including nearly the entire Arlington County Board plus school board members from around the state. The value of endorsements can be tricky, but in a low-turnout election like this, with six candidates running, they could prove pivotal. In addition, Garvey points out that the electorate in the 45th district is “highly educated” and “know who the players are.” In her opinion, this means that the endorsements by respected local politicians carry even more weight.

If Libby Garvey wins the Democratic nomination for the 45th district, she plans first to help other Democratic candidates get elected. She specifically mentioned Greg Werkheiser (42nd district) and David Poisson (32nd district). In addition, she said she would be more than happy to help out the state-wide ticket in any way possible, if asked.

If she is elected in November, Libby Garvey plans to reach out to other delegates of both political parties. She also hopes to tour and learn about other districts across Virginia. Garvey does not believe in “bashing Republicans,” but in being “always respectful” and trying to get to know and understand “how they think.” And, while certainly fighting for her own constituents, Garvey believes that the whole state is in it together, that the more economically advanced parts of Virginia should be helping to raise up the less economically fortunate. This comment, and her citation of a quote from Martin Luther King (people should be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”) would appear to indicate that Garvey has an idealistic side — not necessarily a bad thing in a politician.

Finally, Libby Garvey would undoubtedly focus her energies on education. During our meeting, we discussed “standards of quality,” “standards of learning” (SOLs), and “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB). In particular, Garvey noted the importance of teaching for meaning and understanding, not just memorizing a bunch of facts for a test. Garvey noted that the NCLB misuses the SOLs, and how some aspects of the test were adopted with a political agenda.

What are Libby Garvey’s chances of winning this race? It’s difficult to tell exactly, in part due to a lack of polling data, but her endorsements, organization, and deep roots in the community certainly make her a leading candidate. In terms of money, she is about even with several other candidates, so that is unlikely to be the determinative factor.

Most importantly, in my opinion, the primary election will boil down to turnout. A field of six candidates in a (likely) low turnout election makes predictions difficult at best. Having said that, my gut feeling– and the fact that Libby Garvey has received by far the largest number of individual donations of any candidate for this seat — is that Garvey is the leading candidate for this seat at the moment, with David Englin close behind. How well the other candidates do, though, will make a big difference, and that’s also very hard to tell. No matter what, it should be an interesting 5+ weeks until the election on June 14.

It is worth noting that whoever wins the Democratic nomination for the 45th district is almost assured of being elected in November, as the Republicans don’t appear to be running anyone. Most likely, this is a strategic attempt to hold down turnout in this heavily Democratic part of the state, thus hurting Tim Kaine’s overall chances. We’ll see what happens on that front…

When this story was posted in May 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Raising Kaine

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Central African Republic; School Boards; Education Reform; Election2006 - Garvey



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