When I first heard Pete Snyder was running for lieutenant governor, I thought, “so, the guy who just blew RPV’s Victory operation is now gonna offer himself up as a candidate. If this isn’t the best example of the Peter Principle, I’m not sure what is.”
Not long thereafter, he invited me to lunch. We talked about the things that are important to me: rights restoration, education, and how to reach out to minority voters. It was a good discussion, and I left wanting to know more about him; wanting to see if the “big ideas” were really there, or if that was just another catchy slogan that would soon be forgotten.
Virginia’s lieutenant governor has a relatively recent, important, and somewhat unofficial role: serving as the Commonwealth’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer. The LG’s supposed to help attract businesses to the state, and keep those that are already here. It would help, then, if the person who fills Bill Bolling’s shoes has some ideas on how to do that-and probably more importantly, the experience of having done it.
Pete Snyder has that. His story, by now, is somewhat known: launched one of the first social media companies in the nation, grew it into a successful business. Fast forward to today, when you’ll find Pete already working to bring businesses to Virginia, even in the midst of his campaign; he’s actively working to bring Berretta USA to Virginia, following Maryland’s decision to strengthen their gun laws. That he’s willing to take on this task, regardless of victory or defeat in Richmond, says a lot to me about his character.
In talking with Pete about education, you begin to see some of his big ideas: wanting to get rid of teacher tenure, cutting back on school administration, and aggressively helping to turn around failing schools. On rights restoration, he believes as I do: that non-violent felons should be able to show themselves as productive citizens and be given their right to vote back. As far as his thoughts on minority outreach, he says he’s willing to go to areas where Republicans traditionally don’t, and to engage in the discussions Republicans traditionally don’t. Having found nothing in his record to indicate otherwise, I take him at his word.
Pete Snyder-as his signs say-is different. He’s not a politician in the sense of having been elected to something before. He doesn’t have the record of having to make hard decisions in the political world.
I like that about him. He brings a new energy to a party of, well, old guys. When we look at where those with experience have gotten us-and that’s not just the Democrats!-maybe it is time for something different, for someone to come shake things up, for someone who doesn’t know what “business as usual” is and therefore, isn’t tied to it.
Pete Snyder is that guy. And I look forward to supporting him at the convention in Richmond.