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Democrats to hold town hall meetings on ABC privatization

Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is not the only politician holding town hall meetings to discuss privatization of state-run liquor stores with voters.

Fairfax Democratic Sen. Toddy Puller and Del. Scott Surovell are jointly hosting a town hall Monday evening in their district to hear from constituents on the same issue. Surovell said they're holding the event in part at the suggestion of Democratic Caucus Chairman Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who recommended that members of the minority caucus hold public meetings on ABC.

Unlike McDonnell's events, those at the Democrats' town halls are likely to be skeptical of the idea. Puller argued against privatization at a public event hosted in Richmond by the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week.

And Surovell said that he is "strongly leaning against" privatization and has posted an item on his blog raising questions about McDonnell's proposal. (You can find details for the town hall on Surovell's blog as well.)

Surovell said today that e-mails and phone calls he received from constituents about the idea have mostly come from people who are opposed to McDonnell's proposal. But he said he's eager to hear from anyone with opinions. "I'm open ears," he said. "I'm not totally closed minded on it. I just have a lot of questions."

Plum said he didn't know how many other Democrats have followed through on his suggestion this month that they begin holding a series of local town halls, starting with ones on ABC privatization. He said the goal is to make sure that delegates are remaining visible and to ensure that voters don't feel like their delegates only hold events just before elections.

Plum insisted that the town halls would not be an effort to galvanize public support against privatization, though Democrats have made clear they are unlikely to back the idea.

"This is an effort on the part of the Democratic caucus to be visible and in touch with people," Plum said. "We now have an issue that captures the public imagination. It's an easy one to use for a kickoff."

By Rosalind Helderman  | September 27, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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