Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Habeeb wins in the 8th district – “it’s not about me” – Video

Delegate-elect Greg Habeeb with wife Christy and son Daniel.

If you heard nothing else Tuesday evening from Greg Habeeb at his Salem headquarters you heard him vehemently say to his supporters, “it’s not about me – it’s never been about me – it’s been about the valley, the community and the voters.” Habeeb won handily over his Democratic challenger Ginger Mumpower with 63.75% of the vote.

Mumpower received 36.2 percent of the vote – almost six percent more then Democrat Carter Turner received when he ran against Morgan Griffith in 2009. Twenty percent of registered voters in the 8th district turned out for the special election.

Habeeb takes Morgan Griffith’s place on Wednesday the first day of the 2011 session. The former 8th district delegate and majority leader Morgan Griffith is now a Congressional freshman sleeping in the half-bath of his office in Washington, DC. His wife Hilary said he’s still there and it’s a little noisy in the hallowed halls at night but he’s still toughing it out.

Delegate-elect Habeeb has big shoes to fill and Hilary has no doubt he’ll be able to do just that. Mrs. Griffith when asked if her Congressman husband might be able to give Habeeb some direction from afar she quickly quipped, “I don’t think Greg needs any help.”

Habeeb was leaving for Richmond just as soon as he could pull away from well-wishers and the press. His wife Christy said he hadn’t packed a thing. She will be traveling to Richmond for the swearing in ceremony.

Habeeb plans to be home every weekend and says he will communicate with his family via Skype, email, phone, and text. Habeeb is an avid social media user. He was adamant about arriving in Richmond in time for the prayer breakfast at 7:00 a.m.

He still has to be certified as the winner before he can take his oath of office. All paper and electronic votes cast are being rushed to Virginia’s State Board of Elections in Richmond. Habeeb will have to file a post election finance report before taking the oath of office at noon Wednesday.

Habeeb realized that 36 percent of the voters did not vote for him “fight with us; hold us accountable where we stray; give us a chance to succeed,” he told them.

Habeeb is just getting his feet wet but if confidence of tone says anything about the youthful 34 year-old delegate he is likely to jump into the deep end of the pool without hesitation. He was already talking about jobs initiatives, transparency and government issues. He said, “it all fits into a broader picture of advancing the agenda of families, small businesses, protection of our schools and neighbors and creating economic opportunities.”

Habeeb said that every agency’s budget should be available to the public via the web. He wants to update the fraud against taxpayers act that allows regular citizens to bring attention to government fraud.

“The reality is that people have lost faith in government,” said Habeeb. “When we bring market forces into government with things like audits, incentive compensation, holding people accountable – those things bring transparency back,” he said.

“I love the Internet generation. I’m not one who believes in backroom deals. I believe in blogs and open information and all the kinds of things that our generation has helped bring to the world – questions are answered in ways they’ve never been answered before.”

“Anybody that takes a vote and doesn’t want the world to know they’ve taken it isn’t the type of person who should be leading us in Richmond. You will never, never go wrong with being on the side of more transparency and more openness in government,” said Habeeb.

Habeeb didn’t directly say he would support a bill like HB778 that was introduced by Republican James LeMunyon in the 2010 session. General Assembly and Senate votes would be compiled in such a way as to make it easy for a citizen to compare legislator’s votes. Senator John Edwards killed it in the sub-committee. Habeeb did say, “he would be in favor of compiling legislators votes in any mechanism that could be displayed transparently to voters.”

Habeeb thanked his supporters and volunteers for taking time from the holiday season. “You donated your hard earned money and stood out in the freezing cold … It will be an honor to serve the people of the 8th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.”

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins sent congratulations to Habeeb and the 19th district Senator Bill Stanley who won with 61 percent of the vote. Mullins gave special thanks to the voters “for slogging out through the snow and sleet to make their voices heard. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and everyone who made the effort to have their voice heard in difficult circumstances is to be commended.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2011, Elections, Politics, State Politics

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