Werkheiser Blasts Albo
If Democrat Greg Werkheiser's open letter today to Republican Del. Dave Albo of southeastern Fairfax County is any indication, voters of the 42nd House District are in for a high-energy election year.
Werkheiser, who is challenging Albo for the second time after an unsuccessful bid four years ago, distributed a pointed and lengthy attack on Albo for sending out a mail piece to supporters that is "chock full of lies" about whether Werkheiser lives in the district, works there, and would do a good job representing its residents if elected in November.
In Albo's letter, which he said he sent to about 1,200 supporters inviting them to his campaign kickoff event June 4 at the Springfield Country Club, the 16-year incumbent suggested that Werkheiser lives in Petersburg and that his business, the nonprofit Phoenix Project, focuses on helping the poor in other parts of the state but not Northern Virginia.
Nothing could be further from the truth, Werkheiser said.
Albo cited property records showing that Werkheiser owns a home in Petersburg; Werkheiser said he bought the house in 2006 for his retired parents, who moved down from Pennsylvania to be closer to him and his wife, Marion. Albo said a Google search of the Phoenix Project yields "three pages" of links that talk about projects in Petersburg; Werkheiser said the nonprofit, which he launched with his wife in 2006, is headquartered on Little River Turnpike in Alexandria and manages collaborations between universities and impoverished communities across the state including Petersburg, Newport News and the Route 1 corridor right in the 42nd District.
Albo also said Werkheiser didn't move into the 42nd District until 2005, the year of his first challenge. That, too, is false, Werkheiser said. He has lived in the Charlestown neighborhood of Springfield since 2002, and in the early years he lived just a few doors down from Albo himself, he said.
The larger point, Albo said, is that while he has been working on behalf of Springfield residents, attending their civic association meetings and working in the community, Werkheiser has not.
"I'm not ragging on the guy for doing the Phoenix Project," Albo said. "It's a really nice thing to do. But what a lot of this campaign will be about is my service to the community over 16 years and his service to the community over 16 years, and that's what the letter was about."
That's a fine campaign theme, Werkheiser said, but the discussion shouldn't be based on patent untruths. In his open letter, Werkheiser talked of sitting with Albo "in my dining room" and talking of "the need for more honest, ethical political campaigns
that focus on the issues, rather than baseless personal attacks."
"I'm not going to assert that he's not around town, but nor should he assert that I'm not consistently involved," Werkheiser said. "This race is going to be about whose sets of ideas are forward-looking and are going to stabilize our local economy, repair our schools, all the things that he's either been late to the game on or ineffective on."
May 13, 2009; 6:45 PM ET
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