Raskin is teaming up with Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) on the Fair Representation Act, under which an independent commission would draw the lines. But their proposal goes further, requiring ranked choice voting. Voters would be given a list of candidates from both parties, and they’d then vote for their top three choices. If a politician fails to garner enough support, he or she gets knocked out, and the voter’s second and third choices become more important. The lawmakers also want to end most single-district seats and instead have from three to five lawmakers representing a single seat, which they argue will force politicians to run to the middle to appeal to a broad array of voters and not just the extremes in both parties.
Daniel Sheehy, director of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Folk & Traditional Arts program between 1992 and 2000, was the recipient of this year’s Arts Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements of an artist in any discipline. Following his eight years at the NEA, Sheehy, a resident of Baileys Crossroad, became the director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Under his leadership, Folkways published more than 200 recordings, earned five Grammy Awards and a Latin Grammy. In addition, he launched Smithsonian Global Sound, an online MP3 music store in 2005.
In Arlington, Democrats hold almost all levers of power. The voters there are so solidly blue that they are among the Northern Virginians who usually provide the margin of victory for Democrats who win statewide .