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Moran Seeks 12th Term, Faces Newcomer in Primary

Northern Virginia congressman says his seniority benefits constituents.

Since 1990, when Rep. Jim Moran was first elected to Congress, ‘80s music has lost its popularity, come back in style and is on its way out again. A lot can happen in 22 years, the time Moran has spent serving in Congress.

It’s the seniority gained over that time, said Moran, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 8th District, that allows him to influence legislation beneficial to the people of Northern Virginia and is the reason why he deserves a 12th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

While Moran’s critics say a fresh face is needed in Congress, he maintains that his seniority works for the benefit of his constituency.

“For lack of a better method, people’s ability to influence the priorities and the direction of the Congress is largely dependent upon their seniority,” he said. “People who don’t have that experience are more dependent on lobbyists, staff that have been here longer periods of time and the senior members, who have their chairmanships and are who able to decide what the priorities are and how the money is distributed and where it goes.”

Moran, 67, who in Tuesday's Democratic primary, is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, serves as the ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment and also serves on the Defense and Military Construction subcommittees. He also holds a leadership role in the Democratic Caucus as a member of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Moran said although he could earn more working in the private sector, he’s reached a point in his career in Congress in which his seniority gives him influence that many members don’t have. That seniority has allowed him to secure funding for transportation-related projects, provisions benefiting federal employees and legislation protecting the environment.

“I know that somebody that replaced me wouldn’t be able to get on (the House Appropriations Committee), wouldn’t be able to deliver what I’m able to for the district,” he said. “So I know it seems immodest, but there’s no question in my mind about it.”

Moran his position on the Appropriations Committee, for instance, helped with the politics surrounding the successful fight to keep the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, in Arlington County, despite fierce competition from other locations.

Northern Virginia Legislation

Moran prides himself on voting against Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations in 2005. Claiming new traffic at the BRAC campus at Mark Center would clog local roads, he succeeded in securing a 2,000-space parking cap at Mark Center and $20 million in short- and mid-term transportation improvements in the immediate area.

Moran maintains BRAC should have relocated federal employees to a Metro-accessible location.

“I argued that there was no good cause for moving 20,000 federal employees out of commercial office space in Rosslyn and Crystal City and forcing them to go on to a base,” he said. “They were using Metro. The office buildings where they were located had access to Metro.

“But [Defense] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld made a decision that was basically unilateral and, I thought, less than thoughtful, to take those folks out of office buildings and cram them on to military bases.”

Moran also helped secure $180 million for the future widening of Route 1 at Fort Belvoir to handle an expansion in personnel at the main post and the new hospital. Controversy has erupted over the possibility the road could run through Woodlawn Stables, and Moran said he’s concerned about the possible loss of historic property, including that of a local church.

“I don’t want that to happen,” he said. “So I’m inclined to support Supervisor (Gerry) Hyland’s position, which is that it should go straight through so as not to disrupt the stable activity and the land a lot of people use for riding and recreation.”

Moran points to his help in improving pay and other benefits for the 65,000 federal employees who live in the 8th District and more than 110,000 federal employees who work there. He has introduced the Federal Employees Leave Transfer Act of 2011 and the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act to ensure federal employees receive retroactive pay during a government shutdown. 

In 2009, he succeeded in helping pass a law that allows Federal Employees Retirement System employees to use their unused, accumulated sick leave in the computation of annuities upon retirement. He also spearheaded legislation to allow Civil Service Retirement System workers to phase-down to part-time status at the end of their careers without reducing their final annuities and pensions. 

Moran also helped put a provision into law that allows federal employee commuters to use a mass transit benefit of $100 per month.

“We have consistently fought for better pay and benefits for federal workers, because the whole population depends on the ability of the federal government to hire the best and brightest people, and you have to pay them in order to be able to do that,” he said.

Moran likes to talk about the environment, too. During this fiscal year, he opposed more than 20 anti-environmental and anti-conservation provisions, including bills allowing uranium mining near the Grand Canyon and exempting oil companies from Clean Air Act restrictions. He’s also taken stands against mountaintop removal mining and for protecting endangered species.

Making Congress Work

In an interview with Patch, Moran addressed allegations from author Peter Schweizer in the 2011 book “Throw Them All Out” that Moran misused information from a Sept. 16, 2008, briefing by the Treasury secretary and Federal Reserve chairman, who warned of an impending financial crisis. Schweizer claimed Moran dumped shares in more than a dozen major companies the following day in what he called a case of political insider trading.

Moran strongly refuted those allegations, saying he didn’t attend the meeting, and noting the stock was part of a mutual fund sold by his wife, a corporate businesswoman.

“The idea of her consulting with me is just silly,” he said. “It’s kind of insulting to her. So, I didn’t know and wouldn’t have had any reason to know that she was selling a mutual fund.”

Also, the congressman noted, the fragile state of the economy was well-broadcast in the newspapers at the time. Earlier this year, his staff noted, he also voted in favor of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, of which he was a co-sponsor.

Moran bemoaned the current partisan gridlock in Congress but laid no blame on Democrats for the impasse. In any case, an independent candidate, such as opponent , would have to choose a party with which to caucus, he noted.

“I’ve never seen a more closed-minded, obstructionist Congress in my life,” he said. “I never thought I would see it. So I’m just trying to protect the interests of Northern Virginia until we can get a more rational, more responsible Congress. When that happens, then I’ll be in a position to do much more in terms of what I think needs to be done.”

The ‘Energizer Bunny’

Moran, said Mike Lieberman, who chairs the Arlington County Democratic Committee, is like the Energizer Bunny—he works hard to be present in the community, to get to know his constituents to find out what matters most to them and advocate for them in Congress.

“He’s a fighter,” Lieberman said. “He believes very strongly in what I consider to be core Democratic values, and he’s not afraid to mix it up for things he believes in. … He’s an unabashed progressive.”

Dan Steen, a corporate lawyer and former chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, has helped campaign for Moran in past years. Moran has his vote again this year, Steen said.

“He’s an effective legislator on things that matter,” he said. “We need more Jim Morans, frankly, in my view. Secondly, everyone knows Jim’s a very passionate guy. So he combines being a passionate legislator with caring for things that I care about as a progressive.”

If Moran beats Shuttleworth in Tuesday's primary, he’ll compete for his seat against and Howell. According to the latest data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Moran has raised more than $720,000 in the race to date. Shuttleworth has raised approximately $76,000; Murray has raised $71,000. Howell has raised only slightly more than $5,000.

JohnInNova June 06, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Moran has my vote!
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I think Moran is a very effective legislator. He represents ideas and positions that I agree with. I have gone to shuttleworth's website and read about him and I think he would also be an excellent legislator and I find his positions on social, environmental and financial issues entirely in line with mine. However, in the current political climate, I think it does make sense to back the candidate with the most experience.
T Ailshire June 06, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Yeah, we should return a corrupt politician so he can use his advanced seniority for status quo. No, thanks.
Nat June 06, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Yep, time for change...he has been complacent for too long, he only becomes motivated close to election time.
barbin June 06, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Mine, too.
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM
It would be helpful if you had some specific criticism that you could cite rather than just calling him corrupt. Is there a particular event ot incident that supports your opinion? I am sincere in this request, not just trying to start an argument. I said earlier that I would vote for shuttleworth based on what I have read about him, but I need more information than just negative conclusions.
NoBS June 06, 2012 at 03:29 PM
It's true that Shuttleworth "pals around with Republicans." He has ties to a large conservative PAC out of Texas that was going to fund his campaign, but I heard that fell through. I also heard that Shuttleworth's wife is a conservative Republican with a lot of money of her own and that she's funding his campaign. I'd like Bruce to come here and tell us himself. I don't have time to go over his campaign finance reports today. I spoke with Bruce on Monday night. He's not a bad guy to talk too, but we were discussing issues not directly related to his campaign so I don't know if the story abous his wife is correct. Our conversation was more about the debacle at the DPVA convention this weekend. He might make a good candidate when Jim Moran decides to retire, but the Republican ties bother me.
T Ailshire June 06, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Since I don't vote party, I don't give a flying feather whether he's been a D or an R, or who he pals around with. Someone who will listen to BOTH sides would certainly be a breath of fresh air, particularly in Northern Virginia.
T Ailshire June 06, 2012 at 04:29 PM
"In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look to his character." --Noah Webster
julie June 06, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Time for Moran to retire. Passing out band aid $50,000 earmarks to a laundry list of his pet special interests isn't being an effective legislator.
CSG June 06, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Moran squandered valuable opportunities after Democrats took control of the House of Representatives because he was caught up in scandals involving his campaign contributor cronies, the bi-partisan earmarks scandal, and other scandals. This Primary Election is a great opportunity for Democrats to start stopping holding our noses when we vote every two years.
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I disagree, I think that the two parties have very distinct platforms and ideologies, in many ways opposite ideologies. These differences have become more pronounced over recent years. While both sides use rhetoric that is calculated to inflame emotions, I find that the Republican party has spent a lot of time over the last several years attempting to and succeeding in some cases, enact legislation affecting social and medical and personal issues that I do not agree with. They have made it clear that they are anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-marriage equality, anti-union, anti-medicare, anti-social security, most recently against making it easier for women to receive equal pay for equal work. They have also made it clear that they support big business over and above anything else, including environmental controls, clean water, clean air, regulation of food safety and manufacturing, among others. They are against the health care act because they believe that it infringes on the rights of people not to have health insurance. They claim that President Obama is pushing our country toward socialism. No, I am not talking about the fringe - but about republican icons like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, Richard Shelby. I cannot abide by any of these positions and I do not believe that strengthening and further enriching the rich will ultimately benefit the poor and middle class and cannot vote for someone who is a member of the party who does.
No Name June 06, 2012 at 07:05 PM
A good summary: http://xianleft.blogspot.com/2010/10/fire-jim-moran.html http://shuttleworthforcongress.org/mr-morans-bad-credit/
No Name June 06, 2012 at 07:14 PM
While on the topic of wives - why are Jim Moran 3 former wives no longer with him? hmmm... was that a siren I just heard?
No Name June 06, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Only heard of Shuttleworth putting in an appearance at the GOP hosted debate (where candidates and those in the audience where from all parties)... what others has he showed up to?
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 07:20 PM
What does Moran's wives have to do with his work performance?
Karen Gautney June 06, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Wow, "No Name." Anonymity really emboldens the snarky, eh? I don't understand why a person of integrity wouldn't sign their name to their comments.
Amanda Bowen June 06, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Whether you love or hate Jim Moran, there is a reality that everyone should recognize when selecting the individual that will represent them in Congress. Moran is a very senior legislator. He has a seat on the Appropriations Committee, which means he has a large say in what the national budget funds and doesn't fund. Furthermore, he is able to do the number one job he has been elected to do, which is represent his constituents. For example, when the Defense Department expanded Fort Belvoir, it was Jim Moran that secured the federal funding to improve road and traffic conditions to handle this expansion. Without this money, the Route 1 traffic that drives us all crazy now would come to a complete standstill over the next decade. I don't know anything about Bruce Shuttleworth, but I do know this - if he replaces Jim Moran, he will be a freshman representative with NO power, NO influence, and our district will not receive the same representation it does now. There would be no additional federal funding for traffic improvement if Bruce Shuttleworth had been on the job. So, if you are interested in setting our district back by 20 years, you should vote for Shuttleworth.
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Or for anyone else for that matter. Thank you for making some excellent points.
Ed Stoddard June 06, 2012 at 07:51 PM
People do that because they are too embarrassed to be associated with their opinions and behavior. They may also create aliases to give the impression of support for their position when there is little or none. No Name could be someone on the Shuttleworth campaign or even.......
T Ailshire June 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM
So we should accept low morals in favor of seniority. Why bother with elections then -- the senior politicians we have now have done such good work at making our country strong, proud, and prosperous. [/sarcasm]
Mike June 07, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Sorry but I'm done with Moran and it's time for change. I don't want to see his staff have to pull him out of the middle of Mount Vernon Ave in a drunken stupor during a First Thursday anymore. I can't trust a man who demanded DoD build the new Mark Center facility against the recommendations of the BRAC Committee and then when the whole traffic nightmare comes to light denied involvement and demanded parking limits that force taxpayers to subsidize free buses from the Pentagon to the Mark Center so people can get to a job site they never asked for. And finally, how many more times are we going to elect members to the House of Representatives who are incapable of getting a budget passed in time to start the fiscal year? Just maybe getting his job done and on time might help our local economy. Don't think it's a problem? Just wait until January 3 when all the mandatory spending cuts hit. Sorry, Jim Moran has a proven record of poor performance and he certainly does not have my vote.
Linda Kelly June 07, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Gail--Bruce's wife, who is a personal friend of mine, is not a conservative Republican. If you take a look at his FEC report, you will see that he has raised money from a bunch of individual donors.
Barry June 07, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Mubarak Regime is alive and well and living in Arlington. Keep holding your noses and voting for Moran, who currently has about the same power on the Appropriations Committee as any freshman member. Moran uses his so-called 'influence' on the Appropriations Committee to obtain nickel and dime federal gifts, grants, and gimmies to fifty or so of Moran's best pals and favorite charities.
Shelley June 07, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Congressman Moran has dedicated his career as a public servant; I am amazed how some can turn this type of commitment and experience into something negative. I have had nothing but admiration for the tireless devotion he has to our district and constituents. While I would never vote on an elected official based only on seniority, it is certainly something that shouldn't be discounted on how it benefits our district...Especially, given that his leadership position on one of the most powerful (and coveted) panels in Congress. Since his stance on political issues follows many of my own, I find I approve of most of his work...When I haven't, I have always found he and his staff are responsive to my comments.
T Ailshire June 07, 2012 at 11:34 AM
If by "responsive" you mean "responding with a form letter that may or may not address the specific concern you have on an issue" - I agree.
Amanda Bowen June 07, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Well, if all you loyal constituents are so fed up with Moran and his "despotic" rule, despite his apparent lack of influence in Congress -- then why has Shuttleworth raised no money as reported, and Murray has raised only $55k? Its time to spend less time just publicizing your complaints and put your money where your mouth is.
C.D. June 07, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Moran has wasted and squandered multiple opportunities over the past 21 years. Even when earmarks were plentiful Moran would use whatever influence he had to obtain $50K for this non-profit and $100K for that non-profit run by his friends and contributors. Plus a million here and a million there for widening street and highway intersections. Most of his 'constituent service' has involved sending out letters stating there is nothing he can do.
T Ailshire June 08, 2012 at 11:57 AM
In many ways, you're right about what the Republicans want. However, one has to balance that with a party that believes merit shouldn't matter;that hardworking Americans who have succeeded due to their own efforts should be penalized by being told how to spend their money; that all the world's problems can be solved by just letting other countries do what they want; that touts a "health care" act which does almost nothing to reform health care, but that simply dictates who pays for what; that calls for civil liberties but ignores the items in the Constitution they disagree with; that believes government can solve problems better than individuals exercising their ingenuity; that thinks the market is better centralized in the hands of the government. Neither party is right, and we're stuck with partisans who will not accept the beliefs of "the others."
Mark Williams June 10, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Shuttleworth was originally sponsored by a Texas Republican PAC, which subsequently dropped him. A USNA-grad Navy pilot has up to a fourteen-year service obligation (this is actually explicit in statutes and Navy regulations), but Shuttleworth was released after the “basic 8.” Shuttleworth has literally no local political, policy or government record at all, and hasn’t even been actively employed for much of his post-Navy civilian life. He has not articulated a single credible policy position – on anything. His campaign now is being funded by his wife’s law firm colleagues; she represents the fast-food industry in litigation. Shuttleworth has no visible means of his own support. Shuttleworth has fraudulently claimed an affiliation with Democratic Congressional leader Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whose campaign has completely disavowed Shuttleworth and called Shuttleworth’s actions “inappropriate.” Shuttleworth is peculiar, apparently unemployable, and has been taking liberties with the truth in his campaign.

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