On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was the only House member to vote against a measure to erect a plaque in the Capitol Visitors Center that would acknowledge the role that slave labor had in constructing the building. After his opposition caused a flurry of criticism, King claimed that his vote was in defense of the nation's "Judeo-Christian heritage." He also said in a statement that he opposed the slave labor resolution because it was put up for a vote before a resolution for the depiction of "In God We Trust" in the Visitor Center. Yesterday, however, King changed his justification in a radio interview in Iowa. He said that he voted against the bill because the slave labor resolution wasn't a "balanced depiction of history." He added, "[O]f the 645,000 Africans that were brought here to be forcibly put into slavery in the United States, there were over 600,000 people that gave their lives in the Civil War to put an end to slavery. And I don't see the monument to that in the Congressional Visitor Center, and I think it's important that we have a balanced depiction of history." In fact, there are multiple Civil War monuments around the Capitol. Right outside the Capitol is the Ulysses S. Grant memorial, a monument that commemorates the former general of the Union Army. That statue is flanked on either side by monuments to the Union's Artillery and Cavalry groups. Grant's statue faces west towards the Lincoln Memorial, which honors the President who led the effort to free the slaves. Additionally, in the Congressional Cemetery lies the Arsenal Monument, a memorial in honor of women who died while performing services for the Union Army. And there's also an African American Civil War Memorial that honors the contributions that African-American troops made to the war effort.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
When we started this journey over six months ago, we had a dream and a vision for a brighter future --
A dream of mobilizing and uniting our community for the service and greater good of all communities
A vision of an organized, proactive, participatory, community with exemplary, faithful, citizenship and membership
The dream today is a robust reality as a result of this awesome journey.
The vision, as compelling and as lucid as it may be, is closer to being achieved than any other time, certainly much closer than when we started this arduous track.
I want above all to thank my wife and best supporter Badria, my loving kids Abrar, Anwar, Yousof, and Ibrahim and parents, brothers and sister Samar.
I want first to thank all the pillars of the campaign (not just members or employees) but pillars, your countless efforts and selfless acts despite the ups and downs of the campaign are most greatly appreciated and my feelings of gratitude are immeasurable -- thank you.
I also cannot thank enough our volunteers, it is very clear from the get go, that no campaign can be successful without its volunteers, those who invest their time, resources and energies in it, those who believe in its message and vision and those who recognize the dire need for the work that our campaign is doing, your performance yesterday at the polls was stellar and is a testament of every one’s tenacity and willingness to help and participate -- thank you.
To all those who have been generous and tremendously gracious in supporting our campaign financially, thank you and may the Almighty bless you and your families in abundance and in multitude for what you have given. Campaigns depend heavily on strong resources and their success is directly linked to its ability to bring in resources. Our campaign was ranked as the best performing campaign in the last quarter of this race, not just among the challenger campaigns, but also with the incumbent ones, because of your generosity and support -- thank you.
I want to also thank my colleagues for the races they ran and the efforts they have exerted.
Tonight we are one family and we are joined by our common goal, to keep the 35th district Democrat and espouse the values and principles of common sense progressive policies of our Democratic party. We have an uphill battle to convert the general assembly house of delegates to a Democratic balance to enable our Democratic governor and lieutenant governor to continue the progressive uplifting policies of Governor Kaine and from before Senator Warner.
We have big challenges to tackle especially in the face of a faltering economy and a sobering job market. We are blessed to be in the 35 district and we have enjoyed the prosperity of Fairfax County. We will do everything we can to maintain the very reasons why it is today what it is. The excellence in our schools and the breadth of services provided in Fairfax County must be maintained despite difficult budgetary constraints. We also need to be innovative and responsible as we tackle age-long transportation problems and as we remain environmentally conscientious, while we sustain our support for business and economic growth. We need inclusive independent strong leadership to move us forward in Virginia.
Lastly, today is a celebration of the diversity of our Virginia and the robustness of our great democracy. People from all different communities came out to choose a more representative general assembly to reflect the beautiful colors of Virginia in the General Assembly. There’s nobody better than the Democratic Party to champion this diversity and foster this progress. Thank you FCDC, and fellow Democrats.
This campaign in its ascendancy has met several challenges and many more remain ahead. We are proud of where we are today, but the work is far from over. As I have mentioned earlier, this campaign opened curious eyes and turned inquisitive heads as well as inspired yearning hearts and infused needed energy into souls passionate about community activism and civic engagement. We will engage our inquisitors, inspire our fans and supporters and train and develop those enthralled by the mission of civic engagement and outreach for the greater good.
We will always take the higher road and transcend any difficulties or conflict so that we can concentrate our energies and passions on working together and paving common grounds. We must be ready to serve our constituency in the 35th district well, and be ready to address its challenges and maximize its opportunities for the progress and prosperity of Fairfax County and the 35th district.
We will reach out to all our friends and supporters and create common venues for dialogue and understanding for everybody. We wish to serve, and serve well, every member, every community of the 35th district and address every issue and matter that our district faces today
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Dr. Esam Omeish, a Muslim and resident of Fairfax County, is seeking the office of Representative in the Virginia House of Delegates for the 35th District.
Recently, he agreed to an interview with examiner.com to discuss his campaign. In Part I of this interview, Dr. Omeish tells us about himself. In Part II, he will discuss his politics.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I have lived in Fairfax for 26 years. I was born in Tripoli, Libya, in 1967. My father was a World Bank Executive, and we moved to the United States in 1982, and moved to Fairfax County, Virginia, where I attended J.E.B. Stuart High School. I did not speak any English at the time, but thanks to a few wonderful teachers who believed in me I was able to graduate top of my class, and attend Georgetown University, where I stayed through earning my Medical Doctorate.
Healthcare is an issue that is critically important to me. I have served through many organizations to provide care to those who are uninsured, and underinsured. By addressing the issue of healthcare I see the opportunity to help people in the most fundamental way possible. Addressing healthcare will also create a better environment for businesses, and a stronger Virginia.
I value education highly. I have four children going through our local public schools, and a big concern to me is ensuring that those schools are the best they can be. If I had not had the opportunity to go to good schools with good teachers who made the extra effort to help me, as a student who did not speak English, I don’t know where I would be today. We must maintain the best schools, to keep our local economies strong, and to also give our children the edge in today’s economy.
One needs to only drive around Fairfax to understand that we have serious transportation issues. I strongly support getting the Metro to Tyson’s and Dulles built on time and under budget.
3. You are an extremely successful surgeon, elected the Chief of General Surgery in INOVA Alexandria Hospital in 2006. A year later you were named "Outstanding Physician of the Year" by its Medical Executive Committee. Why would you want to give up that career for politics?
I will not be giving up my medical practice. Delegate is a part time position, and not one Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly has given up their profession to serve as Delegate. I would be doing my patients a great disservice by abandoning my practice, and I have no intention of doing so.
That said, I am inspired to help people. As one doctor, I can provide X number of surgeries and X number consultations to those in need. As a Delegate I can use the experience I have as a doctor who is actively involved in helping people to pass legislation that will help hundreds of thousands of more people than I could ever do alone. Although I will not have as much time to devote to my practice, I am comfortable with the fact that as Delegate I can have the reach to help so many more people than I could ever do alone.
Both. Clearly, our community faces many obstacles to being involved in government. There remain many stereotypes about Muslims. Part of why I am running is that I want to dispel the misconceptions many people have about out community. This is an obstacle other candidates in this race do not face, and so we are challenged to work extra hard, and to make every effort we can to be clear that I am an American who loves his country.
An advantage of being a Muslim is the fact that our community is comprised of many wonderful people, who have stepped up to the challenge of helping our campaign do what it takes to win this election. I believe that it is critical that our community works together to overcome some of the negative stereotypes associated with being Muslim, and demonstrate through their actions everything that our community has to offer the larger society.
5. What Islamic values will help you in this campaign?
I derive strength from my faith. A cornerstone of Islam is being engaged to make your society better. I believe in leading by example. I think our community must take a greater role in government and politics so that we can share our values with others, the same way other communities that are more engaged do with us. A different perspective, and a different understanding, will strengthen our democracy and strengthen our society.
6. Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
I’m a huge Skins fan.
Author: J. Samia Mair
J. Samia Mair is an Examiner from Baltimore. You can see J. Samia's articles on J. Samia's Home Page.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
During these hard times, many Americans have realized just how critical solving our nation's health care crisis has become. Closer to home, thousands of Virginians and their families have lost their employer - provided health care and are living on the bubble, hoping a medical disaster does not strike their household.
Currently, we have no Democrat doctors in Virginia's House of Delegates. As the Chief of General Surgery at INOVA Alexandria Hospital, I have the expertise and perspective Virginia's legislature needs when considering health care policy. I have personally witnessed the disastrous effects this latest economic downturn has had on Virginia's patients. I am committed to providing the best health care possible for both insured and uninsured patients alike. As chairman of a local free medical clinic, we provided free clinical and surgical healthcare to uninsured patients who would otherwise have to go without the necessary medical services. I continue to serve through "Project Access", a program which connects uninsured patients with doctors who will provide them necessary care.
Our campaign for Delegate in Virginia's 35th District is an extension of my life's work to help people. My perspective as a practicing surgeon and my involvement in the community will enable me to give better direction for Virginia's General Assembly to consider policies beneficial to the health and well-being of Virginia's citizens. It is imperative that every Virginian has adequate preventative health care regardless of their circumstances.
The election is on Tuesday, June 9th. We need your help and support. We will be sending out weekly email updates about the campaign, and we'd love your feedback. We hope that you will get involved with our campaign.
Together, we can!
Please visit Esam Omeish's campaign website for more.
Friday, May 22, 2009
As we prepare to begin the Memorial Day weekend, it is important for each of us to pause for a moment and reflect on the meaning for the day. While it can be viewed as the unofficial start of summer and a chance to enjoy a family picnic, we all should recognize Memorial Day is truly a day for remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice to make our Nation free.
Our brave, selfless, and devoted men and women have fought and died to protect the rights and freedoms we all enjoy every day. This is our opportunity to honor them.
As a Americans and a Democrats, we should set an example and educate our children and grandchildren the true meaning of Memorial Day and remind them of the tremendous privileges we Americans enjoy thanks to the valiant service of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
As you enjoy the long weekend with friends and family, I ask you to remember the ideals that make our country great and those who have sacrificed to protect those ideals.
Attend one of the many memorial services across the state. Proudly display the Flag. If you see a veteran or person currently serving our Nation in the Armed Forces, tell them "thank you," because we owe a debt to them that can never fully be repaid. And say a prayer for all those currently serving our Nation in harm's way.
Happy Memorial Day and may God continue to bless Virginia and the United States!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Call it a sign of the times. Despite his stellar record in the community as both a physician and activist for the needy, there is a vocal minority with extreme views in the blogosphere and media who want to distort and tarnish the good name of Dr. Esam Omeish. Read below a few direct comments made by a variety of well-respected community leaders and professionals about Dr. Esam Omeish as they defend his character:
Virginia's Governor Tim Kaine: "Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader."
In 2007, despite the honor of Gov. Kaine selecting him to serve a political appointment, Dr. Omeish sought the appropriate attention be placed on the critical work of Governor Kaine's commission. Out of respect for Gov. Kaine, Dr. Omeish did not want any media controversy created over appointees like himself to detract from the underlying purpose of the Governor's commission.
Other people regrettably understood Dr. Omeish's humble and unselfish decision to forgo fighting the vicious attacks against his honor. Below are just a few examples of how others stood up to offer their moral support to Dr. Omeish.
Father Jerry Creeden, : "Words of support from the Faith community, the Commonwealth (of Virginia) is for all of us."
Rabbi J. Moline: "I am sorry that the juggernaut of prejudice has resulted in your resignation. I would welcome your defense. This is an extended hand from my community, let us do something together."
Attorney Vic Glasberg: "You have handled with grace the indignity visited upon you. What you said was understandable and suitable for its context, and its misuse is regrettable and an injury to us all."
Kate Hanley, Virginia Secretary of State: "Dr. Omeish is one of two elected from his peers from among more than 300 physicians, and he was the recipient of the "Outstanding Physician of the Year Award" for 2007 in Alexandria Hospital".
Many doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, and patients who know Dr. Omeish personally also felt compelled to write their words of support for him. Below is just a couple of statements exemplifying how strongly his colleagues support him.
Dr. L. Kerness: "I have known you (Dr. Omeish) as a caring and skilled surgeon, a gentleman, and a family man. It is hard to imagine you as anything other that a pacifist. Rest assured that I, and all those I have spoken to, have not waivered in our support of you as a person and a surgeon, and are not swayed by media hype and political propaganda. I wish you and your family peace during this stressful time, and remember that this too shall pass."
E. Bushmiller, RN, CNOR, B. Engler, BSN, CNOR, C. Hortman, RN: "The one thing we would like to make clear is the commitment Dr. Omeish has to democracy and more importantly peace. He is a committed family man, hard working and capable surgeon, and a good person. He is knowledgeable in basic tenets of the three Abrahimic religions and points to areas where they intersect, always searching for common ground. We are upset and disheartened with what has happened to Dr. Omeish. We wish to speak up on his behalf."
As the Chief of General Surgery at Alexandria Hospital, Dr. Esam Omeish has earned the highest praise from his colleagues and patients because of his tireless and unconditional advocacy for the highest quality patient care, regardless of a patient's financial status. With your assistance, Dr. Esam Omeish will represent Virginia's 35th District with the same passion as a healthcare advocate at it's General Assembly. He will bring to Richmond his same caring ethical standards and proven leadership skills that have led Dr. Omeish to winning the "Outstanding Physician of the Year Award" in 2007.
We must be able to compete and deliver our winning message of building on the successes of Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. The time to make a much-needed investment in our campaign is now.
Even a small contribution of $10 or $20 makes a real difference.
Over the past few days, Esam has withstood attacks and has continued to focus on talking to voters about his fresh ideas, chairing his comprehensive plans for Accessible quality healthcare, improve NoVA transportaion, Conscientious environmental stewardship, and Continued excellence in education.
With just less than one month to go, we need your help to make sure Esam can be heard over the chorus of attacks, and spread his positive message throughout the 35th District.
To take a stand with Esam, please make a contribution today.
Let's give Dr. Omeish the opportunity to be the same role model for Virginians for which he has already been awarded by his medical peers at Alexandria Hospital. Help Dr. Omeish to give excellence in healthcare to all Virginians.
Together We Can!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The bill also allows for $125 million in assistance to extend insurance benefits and provide retraining assistance to unemployed Virginians. Given the opportunity to serve Virginia as the 35th District Delegate, I would not elect to send the Stimulus funds back to Washington. Instead I would support Gov. Tim Kaine's statement that an additional $4.50 per worker annually is manageable for Virginia's employers.
This is particularly true since the additional $4.50 per worker would only be paid for those Virginians still unemployed 2 years after the Stimulus funds have taken their effect on Virginia's economy. This is a relatively small price to pay to avoid a worsening middle class economic meltdown that would otherwise translate into more suffering for our Virginia neighbors across the board. I would instead seek to provide immediate relief for unemployed Virginian workers to help them manage their financial affairs during what is the worst economic crisis they have suffered since The Great Depression.
Looking ahead, I see Virginia's 35th District as a vibrant, diverse, and progressive community with much untapped economic potential. I would seek to help generate more "green" jobs to lead Virginia towards a renewable energy economy while we respect and protect Virginia's natural beauty and environment. I would also seek to invest more funds for providing greater internet access to further develop Virginia's electronic infrastructure. Additionally, I would support more research and development funding for Virginia's universities. This would encourage a Virginia economy based on "the best and the brightest" it has to offer it's citizens. Expanded funding for small business and entrepreneurship programs will also help Virginia continue as a national leader in job innovation.
Help me be Virginia's next 35th District Delegate
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I have appreciated from an early age the opportunities that hard work combined with a quality education can provide to anyone living in America. I pursued my education with a double major in Biology and Government at Georgetown University, making the Dean's List each year. I then completed my schooling at The Georgetown School of Medicine. With the support of my nearby parents and siblings, I was proud to become the first doctor ever in the Omeish family.
I am now raising the next Omeish generation as students of the same Fairfax County public school system that I attended. As the beneficiary of a system nurturing academic excellence, I would like my children to have the same quality education I was fortunate enough to have available growing up. I will work hard to preserve the same high standard of education I benefited from as a Fairfax County student for my own children as well as for all of the students of Virginia.
With your help, I would like to represent Virginia's citizens on education issues as Virginia's 35th District Delegate. I will work to have Virginia's General Assembly consider policies that will encourage even greater opportunities for our next generation of students. I know that the brightest future possible for Virginians will only be through a Virginia education system that provides our youth with a solid foundation critical for it's success.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The future of our environment is an issue which transcends politics. However, as delegate it would be my responsibility to fight for policies which protect our environment, strengthen our economy and compliments the efforts people make on a daily basis to make Virginia a better place. According to a recent poll, 76% of Virginians think that global warming is real and will adversely affect our environment. Capitalizing on alternative energy sources and investing in smart, green technology that taps into local talents and resources will help ensure Virginia becomes and remains a leader in the stewardship for a better community for us all.
Together, we can!
Dr. Esam Omeish pledges support for health care, transportation and education.
By Donna Manz, The Connection
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Dr. Esam Omeish is running in the 35th District Democratic primary on June 9, and on Saturday, he kicked off his campaign in a room crowded with cheering supporters. A practicing physician and Chief of General Surgery at Inova Alexandria Hospital, Omeish promises to advocate for affordable quality health care in the General Assembly in Richmond.
"I love Virginia and I’ve been involved in community activities since I came here. My candidacy is a continuation of a lifelong passion for public and community service.
"As a physician and health care provider, I think this year health care is going to be one of the major issues we bring to the General Assembly."
Omeish, of Vienna, came to the U.S. from Tripoli, Libya, as a youngster in 1982. He graduated from Jeb Stuart High School and received his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University, majoring in biology and government. He received his medical degree from Georgetown, as well. He is married to Dr. Badria Kafala and is the father of four children.
"His mother is my friend," said Riaza Ahmed of Vienna. "All our children go to the same school. Dr. Omeish grew up here so he knows what we need."
Beyond health care issues, Omeish said he is committed to continuing the region’s excellence in education, finding sustainable transportation solutions and supporting small business and job creation.
"He’s a very logical person," said Matthew Kavosi, Vienna resident and Omeish supporter. "He’s a very patriotic American who speaks the people’s language. What he says he really means."
Mukit Hossain, president of the Virginian Muslim Political Action Committee, said that, of the more-than 5,000 surgeries Omeish has performed, many of those were done at no charge to the patient. "He [Omeish] serves people in need whether they can afford it or not."
Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova (D-At-large) and the State Sen. George Barker (D-39) stopped by to congratulate Omeish on his candidacy.
"Quite frankly, I’ve found the General Assembly to be somewhat limited by its partisan politics," Omeish said. "I think the Assembly is in need of independent, strong and fresh voices to transcend partisanship."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Dr. Esam Omeish had a full house for his Campaign Kickoff Party at the Vienna Firehouse this past Saturday. The party was the official start of Dr. Esam Omeish's race for Virginia's 35th District Delegate. Over 250 supporters came and listened to Dr. Esam Omeish speak about issues like healthcare, education, and the economy. "This is an exciting time to be engaged in politics" said Dr. Omeish. Speaking about his experience as a Physician and one of the only Surgeons in Va that has a clinic that provides free surgeries to the uninsured and under insured. Dr. Omeish went on to say that "First, I am a physician, an advocate of health care and a staunch supporter of the right of all Americans and all Virginians to have accessible, affordable, quality health care. This year is the year for serious health care reform and I want to be part of that change"
Special political guests who came to congratulate Dr. Esam Omeish included Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova, State Senator of VA 39th District George Barker, Drainesville District Board of Supervisors John Foust, and Maryland State Delegate Saqib Ali.
The campaign could use your help so please sign up today to volunteer! Any amount of time will help us reach our goal.
After all, TOGETHER WE CAN!