Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Voters Speak on Illegal Immigration

Politicians had better take heed of what happened in Northern Virginia yesterday.

Voters send clear message

In a stunning victory, Mayor-elect Steve DeBenedittis and four new council members were elected Tuesday night after a record turnout of Herndon voters. Only two incumbents, Dennis Husch and Harlon Reece, were re-elected after all the smoke had cleared.

And from the AP:

Immigrant labor center supporters unseated in Washington suburb

Voters unseated the mayor and two Town Council members who supported the creation of an immigrant day-labor center in a contest that some considered a mini-referendum on the divisive issue of illegal immigration.

I'm actually shocked that the AP was able to bring itself to use the term 'illegal immigration'.

The day-labor center thrust the fast-growing and increasingly diverse Washington, D.C., suburb--where about one in four town residents is Latino--into the national spotlight. Even though fewer than 3,000 people voted Tuesday, advocates on both sides of the issue viewed the election as a test case of public sentiment.

The AP doesn't want you to know that it was the highest turnout ever for city elections in Herndon. In addition, if the illegal immigrants weren't there, that statistic would be quite different. It should also be noted that, even though one in four town residents are Latino, they got lambasted in this election. Imagine what is going to happen in areas where they are less represented.

Political newcomer Steve J. DeBenedittis, 38, defeated Mayor Michael L. O'Reilly with 52 percent of the vote. Council incumbents Carol A. Bruce and Steven D. Mitchell, who voted for the center, were voted out. Jorge Rochac, a Salvadoran businessman who supported the center and was seeking to become the town's first Hispanic council member, was also defeated.

The incumbents and two council members who didn't seek re-election were replaced by William B. Tirrell, Charlie D. Waddell, Connie Haines Hutchinson and David A. Kirby, all opponents of the day-labor center.

I believe what happened in Herndon is representative of what is going to happen all over this country in November. Keep marching.