By Jeff Dufour - 04/19/06 12:00 AM EDT
Thanks in part to his own political savvy, soon-to-be-former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) fashioned a Republican-dominated environment in and around his suburban Houston district. Which means his new district, Virginia’s 8th, will be quite a change of pace for him.
The district, which includes Alexandria and Arlington, gave 64 percent support for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in the 2004 presidential election, nearly a mirror opposite of Texas’s 22nd District, which threw 67 percent to President Bush.
Nevertheless, his new congressman, Rep. Jim Moran (D), promises a warm welcome for the ex-majority leader.
“I welcome Mr. DeLay to Alexandria, a progressive, tolerant and open-minded community of caring, diverse and forward-thinking citizens who believe in government’s ability to make this country even greater than it has been for the last five years,” he said.
That paled in comparison to the shot that Moran’s brother, Del. Brian Moran (D), who will be representing DeLay in the Virginia state Assembly, took at the longtime GOP leader.
“I have been an advocate of restoring voting rights to felons for many years,” he told the Alexandria Gazette Packet. “I think DeLay will enjoy my representation.”
DeLay, who has owned his unit at the Greenhouse condominium development in Alexandria since 1994, is taking up official residence there to have his name removed from the ballot in Texas.
His 1,013-square-foot condo is worth $286,000, according to 2006 city tax assessments.
D.C., Ohio push Statuary Hall changes
The D.C. government and the city’s congressional voice, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), are pushing an effort to allow the District to place two statues in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, just like the 50 states.
The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is seeking nominations from the public as to whom the District’s two representatives should be.
The commission has suggested about 30 historic figures from which citizens can choose on its ballot at www.dcarts.dc.gov, among them Frederick Douglass, Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, jazz great Duke Ellington, city architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant and Walter Washington, the District’s first mayor.
Voters may also write in their own choice, although the site warns that nominees “must have significantly distinguished themselves for their civic, military or historic renown” and must have “been born or resided in the District of Columbia for a significant amount of time.”
The balloting closes April 28.
Of course, District officials and voters can choose all the statues they want, but it won’t make much difference if Congress doesn’t authorize it.
Legislation introduced by Norton last fall has been referred to the House Administration Committee, but a spokesman for Chairman Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) said no hearings are planned at this time.
Speaking of Statuary Hall, a group of Ohio state legislators want to remove Ohioan William Allen from the room.
Allen, a pro-slavery congressman and governor in the 1800s, was known for his racist views. Late last month, a state Senate committee passed a bill to replace Allen’s statue with another, to be determined by a committee of state lawmakers.
Council campaign calls on ‘West Wing’ star power
A sexy cast member from “The West Wing” is on her way to D.C., and she’s not even promoting a cause with a member of Congress.
Melissa Fitzgerald, who plays Carol Fitzpatrick on the show, will be hosting a fundraiser for Ward 3 D.C. City Council candidate Robert Gordon on Sunday at the Parthenon restaurant on Connecticut Avenue.
An e-mail sent out by the Gordon campaign promises the chance “to meet and share memories with a featured cast member” — for only $50.
Turns out the brunette beauty is close friends with Gordon’s campaign manager, Shelley Cohen. The two met while working on the Gore-Lieberman campaign in 2000. Fitzgerald was a celebrity spokeswoman, and Cohen was charged with booking her TV and radio appearances.
They later worked together in 2004 for Environment 2004, a 527 group now known as the Environmental Alliance.
Gordon and Fitzgerald “really bonded because they have so many similar interests,” Cohen said.
Moran does the college tour
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was spotted Friday strolling around Pierson Dining Hall at Yale University.
“I saw him today at Yale walking around with some frat boys in my dining hall,” a Hill spy at Yale said. “One of the guys he was with is in DKE [pronounced ‘deke’], which was Bush’s frat” – the 43rd president, not the 41st.
So was Moran, an alumnus of the Holy Cross and the University of Pittsburgh, angling for an honorary degree, or perhaps a late membership into the elite Skull and Bones society?
Or, as our source surmised, perhaps he was on campus for Saturday night’s DKE Bunny Hop Dance Party.
But — alas — no, said Moran spokesman Austin Durrer, who explained that the congressman was simply taking his son Patrick, a junior in high school, around to visit colleges.
So maybe if things go his way young Patrick will soon join the likes of Bushes 41 and 43, William F. Buckley Jr., Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Time-Life founder Henry Luce as a Bonesman himself.
Kucinich witnesses school bus hit-and-run
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) rushed to the scene of a bizarre hit-and-run accident that occurred Friday afternoon out the window of his campaign office in Cleveland.
David Tvrdik, 68, was leaving a neighboring business when he was struck by a school bus outside Kucinich’s West Side office.
“I was working in my office, and I looked up from the desk and saw Mr. Tvrdik lying in the street,” Kucinich told WKYC Channel 3.
He immediately ran outside to help the man. Kucinich spokesman Doug Gordon said the congressman took Tvrdik’s pulse, checked his breathing and told him that help was coming.
An ambulance arrived and took Tvrdik to a local hospital, but tragically he died of his head injuries a short time later.
Police are still trying to identify the operator of the bus, who did not stop after hitting Tvrdik.
Gordon said that Kucinich “worked with the police to identify the bus driver” and that he has asked local residents to come forward if they have any information.
Speaking on WKYC, Kucinich implored viewers to “contact the Cleveland police or call me. … We need to resolve this. A man lost his life.”
Rob, Bob, potato, potahto
A missive came yesterday from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) regarding the White House nomination of one “Bob Portman” to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Wait, Bob Portman? Is Reid more familiar with the former congressman from Ohio than the rest of us?
Well, we found out 21 minutes later. “From record trade deficits to record budget deficits, Rob Portman should fit right in at George Bush’s OMB,” Reid said this time around (emphasis added).