Chap Petersen and Pete Snyder: Get Virginia Back to Work

By DJ Rippert

Odd bedfellows? In a recent Op-Ed entitled, “Time to get back to business, Virginia” State Senator Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, and entrepreneur and Republican activist Pete Snyder call for a more aggressive reopening of Virginia. The piece questions why large companies like Home Depot are allowed to thrive while “Mom and Pop” operations are being regulated out of existence. As the duo write, “Unlike the Wal-Marts and Home Depots whose sales have risen, small businesses have been devastated by the “shut down” economy of the past two months.” Their prescription for change is relatively simple: “What is needed is a defined plan for reopening Virginia’s small business economy, one that gets healthy workers back on the job, while still protecting the vulnerable from the spread of COVID-19.”

Undercurrents. It’s pretty easy to understand why a Republican serial entrepreneur like Pete Snyder would be concerned about small businesses in Virginia. Snyder and his wife not only worry about small businesses in Virginia but they are doing something to help. They founded the Virginia 30 Day Fund to help small businesses struggling with Northam’s shutdown. Anybody looking to donate their stimulus check to charity might consider Snyder’s fund. But what about Chap Petersen? Petersen is a long-time Democratic politician hailing from one of the bluest areas of the Commonwealth. Many of his constituents are liberal government employees working from home and secure in the belief that their government pensions will be paid regardless of the lockdown’s damage to the private sector. Why antagonize the constituents who so support Petersen that Republicans no longer bother to run an opponent against him? Perhaps Sen Petersen has bigger aspirations than simply being one of 40 state senators. A broader base of statewide support than can be found among the fops and dandies of Fairfax County would certainly help with that. Or maybe it’s more philosophical and personal.

The ghosts of the Byrd Machine. Chap Petersen is not a member of Virginia’s plantation elite. He has often said and done things which put him at odds with Virginia’s old guard politicians who came of age in the privileged world of the Byrd Machine. For example, Petersen routinely sponsors legislation that would have Virginia join the vast majority of American states that limit campaign contributions to state politicians. Needless to say, his efforts to check institutionalized corruption in the state have been successfully opposed by “Virginia Way” adherents from both parties. Could it be that his sense of fair play is offended by the Northam Administration’s regulations that put Arkansas- based Wal Mart ahead of Virginia-based small business?

Seoul train. Petersen is married to Sharon Kim, a Korean-born attorney and the mother of his four children. He is an active participant in the various Korean-American civic organizations that abound in Northern Virginia. As such, he is keenly aware of the vast economic contributions made to Virginia by Asian-American small businessmen and businesswomen. The very businesspeople who are having their heads metaphorically held underwater by the policies of a governor who, as an adult, thought it was clever to attend a party in blackface accompanied by a date in Klan robes. Perhaps Northam’s racial sensitivity training would benefit from a meeting with Asian-American small businesspeople in Northern Virginia. Our governor cavorts on boardwalks taking selfies sans mask or social distancing while hard-working immigrants are seeing the businesses they spent their lives sacrificing to build go away.

Summary. The Op-Ed with Pete Snyder was Petersen’s second public criticism of the Northam Administration’s lockdown policies in the last month. His first was an editorial you can read here. Regardless of his motivations, Petersen is proving to be the rarest kind of Virginia politician … an independent thinker willing to take on the old guard and their “Virginia Way” bible. Given his deep Democratic roots this independent streak has the state’s liberal chattering class up in arms. The comments on his Facebook page where these editorials were cross-posted would make you think that Petersen is the reincarnation of Richard Nixon rather than a moderate Democrat who disagrees with Northam’s Vulcan Death Grip on Virginia’s economy. Good for Chap. It’s about time that Virginia produced an independent thinking honest politician willing to cross the aisle and do what’s right for Virginians. Run for governor, Chap. We need something a lot better than what we presently have.

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28 responses to “Chap Petersen and Pete Snyder: Get Virginia Back to Work

  1. Great post. Well-written with important information. Thank you.

  2. I thought this was Phase 2.

    How does Virginia compare to Maryland ?

    I think Chap is gunning for Governor, myself.

  3. We have plans for masks, a committee for school reopening, where is our plan for the economy – “ What is needed is a defined plan for reopening Virginia’s small business economy.”

    Well said.

  4. Isn’t Phase 2 that plan?

    In Phase Two, limits on social gatherings climb from no more than 10 people to no more than 50 people.

    If the state sees a spike in cases or hot spots in particular areas, officials are now able to provide testing and contact tracing, Northam said.

    “If we see numbers not going in the right direction, we’ll make adjustments,” he said.

    Northern Virginia leaders said earlier this week they’d be interested in moving to Phase Two at the same time as the rest of the state.

    Northam said Thursday, “I’d like to see everybody in Virginia moving together at the same time.”

    The state’s testing capability has been an important measure in weighing reopening plans.

    Another important measure for reopening has been the availability of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for medical staff. Northam noted Thursday that the state has sent out 200 shipments of PPE, including more than 30,000 N95 masks.

    Phase One could be moving fast, but phase two may be with us for some time. Phase Three would only follow “no evidence of rebound for a sustained period of time,” the governor said in May.

    Beginning Friday, face coverings will be required in public places, such as restaurants, stores, public transit, government buildings or anywhere else where people congregate.

    “If you shouldn’t go into a public place without shoes or a shirt, then you shouldn’t go in without a face covering,” Northam said Thursday.

    The governor noted a mask is meant to protect the people around you from exposure in the event you unknowingly have COVID-19. And he dismissed attacks from Republican leaders regarding his statewide mask requirements.

    “We need to get the politics out of this,” Northam said. “This is about a health crisis.”

    NASCAR will be granted permission to hold auto races in the state without fans, and live horse racing can also resume without fans. NASCAR has scheduled a race at Martinsville Speedway on June 10. “We believe there is minimal risk in allowing them to go forward, with restrictions,” Northam said.

    All beaches in Virginia may open on Friday under the same guidelines and restrictions as the beaches in Virginia Beach.”

    There IS a PLAN – continuing to ask where is the plan just ignores the fact that there is one.

    The point is that it’s not the plan that some folks want – but the reality is that there actually IS a PLAN!

    • No, Larry. A plan is usually something that is well-thought out, is organized, has a beginning and an end, and seeks to do more than temporize.

      • it’s also very subjective… .. and dependent on circumstances…

        “plans” are attempts to organize a response – and they are by their very nature – changeable… Go view the movie Midway and you’ll get the idea.

        • No, plans are not “subjective”, whatever you think that means in this context. When you lay out a plan, it is not vague, it says “We’re gonna do this, then that, and then that.” It does not include vague concepts such as “anywhere where people congregate” which is almost meaningless.

          Yes, plans can be changed, but you don’t start with the kind of thing that once appeared in a public offering by a ne’er-do-well member of the Strawbridge family of Strawbridge & Clothier fame. Under “Nature of the Business”, there was the following: “We intend to go into business”

          “If we see numbers not going in the right direction, we’ll make adjustments,” he said.

          What adjustments? Another lockdown? That’s not a plan, that’s speculation. When you don’t know what you will do, say so. At least engage in some Donald Rumsfeld-isms

          “If you shouldn’t go into a public place without shoes or a shirt, then you shouldn’t go in without a face covering” What are we calling a public place? Does that include an outside park?

          For someone who claims he’s following the science, Northam sure has missed the boat. He doesn’t have a clue.

          • Well, he does have a “plan”. It’s just not acceptable to you and other critics. That’s subjective.

            He DOES have a Phase 2 and it DOES point to metrics.

            re: ” “If we see numbers not going in the right direction, we’ll make adjustments,” he said.

            What adjustments? Another lockdown? That’s not a plan, that’s speculation. ”

            It’s the opposite. He is saying that if the metrics that he is using go in the wrong direction – he WILL adjust accordingly.

            And yes, it could mean a return to restrictions. What exactly would you want in a plan if the virus does go high order?

            re: ” “If you shouldn’t go into a public place without shoes or a shirt, then you shouldn’t go in without a face covering” What are we calling a public place? Does that include an outside park?”

            I thought it was clear that masks were not needed in outdoor places… but you seem to be dinging him for not being specific enough to suit you…

            I do not have the problem you have – given the dynamic nature of the virus… we cannot lay down things that won’t change… it’s just the nature of the problem.

            The PLAN is to lay out a path -but be prepared to change if circumstances change – this is exactly what the US military does when it goes into a battle ….

            They have a saying about that even – ” “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

            Some of us are DEMANDING certainty – in a time where we simply don’t have strong guarantees about how things will play out.

            I’m surprised at you … of all folks – you always struck me as someone who knew that certainty was not a given!

            For someone who claims he’s following the science, Northam sure has missed the boat. He doesn’t have a clue.

  5. Imagine if Chap and Pete ran against each other for governor, and we had a nice debate over issues and priorities, maybe a little rough and tumble, but knew that either one would do a great job. That’s when the process works best….so rare now….

    • Chap can win in NoVa. Can he win in RoVa and rural Red counties?

      hmm.. maybe better than Corey Stewart … RPV won’t be happy.

      • “Chap can win in NoVa”….and then the election is over, Larry. That’s largely been true my whole adult life. More so every years.

        • Amen, the only way a politician can even offset an opponents NOVA win is by getting the tidewater. However, it remains to be seen that however NOVA goes the tidewater goes.

        • Probably true…but your whole adult life even when McDonnell was Gov?

          geeze! I did not realize you’re a whippersnapper… 😉

          • Steve Haner

            Well, define “Northern VA,” so I’ll narrow my claim. G. Allen, J Gilmore and B McDonnell all carried Fairfax County. Alexandria and Arlington always deep blue but Fairfax used to be a battleground, just like PW and Loudoun were even more likely to vote R than Fairfax.

            Not going to refresh the aging memory about John Dalton or M. Godwin v.2. First gubernatorial campaign in VA I remember was Holton’s win in 1969 (was in CA in 1966 for Reagan’s win.)

  6. I misread “Virginia way ‘bible'” as “Virginia way bile”.

    It works either way, I suppose.

  7. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I don’t know much about Petersen. I remember one election round in Fairfax was a bit ugly for him and his opponent. Didn’t Petersen help Jim Webb push George Allen out of the Senate? He might be too moderate for blue Virginia. He is going to have to defend his record on hot button issues like abortion. I like the bow tie but Northam’s infamous picture has killed that fashion accessory. It would be good for Virginia to have Petersen in the next race for Governor. I wish him the best of luck.

  8. “The piece questions why large companies like Home Depot are allowed to thrive while “Mom and Pop” operations are being regulated out of existence. As the duo write, “Unlike the Wal-Marts and Home Depots whose sales have risen, small businesses have been devastated by the “shut down” economy of the past two months.”

    Not only is this obviously true, its leading Virginia into disaster. The incrediable fact is, most Democrats do not appear to see the train wreck they now keep running madly down the track. Blame it on Higher Education, its teaching nihilism and junk knowledge for so long. Now we, our culture and society, are dashing blindly into debacle, leaderless. Save for these two guys, Chap and Snyder, apparently, the last of the sane left standing.

  9. Chap Petersen is also right-minded about higher ed matters, holding costs down to preserve access for Virginians and limiting the academy playground.

  10. What is a Vulcan Death Grip?

    • Uh, oh. A culturally deprived indiviual.

      The Vulcan death grip was never really the Vulcan Death Grip. It merely put somebody out of action. I don’t remember it ever being used to kill somebody, but maybe somebody else does.

      See the 78 original Star Trek episodes.

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        The Vulcan death grip was only used on one episode. The one when Spock gets married. Your thinking of the Vulcan “nerve pinch”. Used just about every episode.

    • You place a knee on the neck…

  11. Ripper.you are a freaking genius

  12. Can’t wait to see him primaried out of the Senate and Virginia politics for good in 2023. He and his conservative views need to be removed from elective office. I’ll gladly write a five figure check to any progressive who primaries him in 2023.

  13. Check with Senator Amy Klobachar on that one (former Hennepin County, Minnesota District Attorney).

    I’ve known Chap for quite a few years. He won his state senate seat, in large part, by opposing the gun restrictions favored by his GOP opponent, incumbent senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis.

  14. I like Chap’s independence. I also appreciate that he has taken the time to understand the issues those of us struggling with high pressure natural gas lines taking over our communities, homes and small businesses. He’s also tried to help. I don’t always agree with him but then when people are willing to think independently, we’ll always find situations where we come to different conclusions. That would be good for all of us and would help us escape the damaging “my group all the time no matter what” perspective. We’d get better outcomes if we were willing to really independently consider things rather than follow what someone else tells us.

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