Keith Fimian and Gerry Connolly — two contenders vying for the same congressional seat. This past week, we got Tom Davis’s take on why he supports Keith Fimian to lead Virginia’s 11th Congressional District. Now Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA, 8th District), lets ExecutiveBiz readers in on why he’s backing Gerry Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
You’ve been a friend, in certain respects, to the government contracting community. Can you provide any insight as to why you believe Gerry Connolly would be a strong supporter?
Jim Moran: Gerry Connolly works for a government contractor, SAIC. He understands how important government contracting is to Northern Virginia and to the country. He has not taken any of these “no new taxes,” “no new government spending” and “no earmark” pledges because those are not helpful in terms of sustaining the federal commitment to government contracting. The most important thing is that he knows the business, he used to be on the staff of the foreign affairs committee in the Senate and he’s done a good job as chairman of the county’s legislative committee.
How do you perceive Connolly’s business background at SAIC in particular as being an asset in Congress, especially these days?
Jim Moran: There are a lot of aspects of the contracting business that many members are not familiar with. Tom Davis was familiar with them because Tom had worked for a government contractor. I’ve been familiar with them because I have worked with them closely as well, but I think it is important to understand the role that outsourcing plays, that A76 plays, and the fact that we need war procurement specialists in the government. We need to accelerate the pace of funding government contracts. The world of government contracting is an alien world to too many members of Congress and Gerry, having worked for government contractors, presents a unique asset that we have very few of within Congress today.
Would you say that background gives him an edge?
Jim Moran: Absolutely I would say it gives him an edge over his colleagues and it’s an edge that people like myself and Congressman [Steny] Hoyer (D-MD) and others who work with government contractors in the Washington area desperately need.
What personal strengths or qualities would serve Connolly well in his position?
Jim Moran: Gerry is a people-person and has a load of energy. He has stood up to the far left wing of the Democratic Party. He has held his ground on the importance of maintaining the defense industry in Northern Virginia. It’s an industry that we want and respect and should be proud of. Gerry is in favor of free trade which a lot of people in the Democratic Party are not so Gerry has proven himself to be a moderate, pro-business, very contentious and energetic person. He is contentious, he’s energetic, he’s very intelligent and he does his homework.
Do you envision any significant changes in the DC area’s government contracting community under a new administration, whichever it may be?
Jim Moran: I think there are going to be some cutbacks government-wide because of the deep deficit spending that we are having to deal with. I want to make sure that the technology particularly does not suffer a cutback even if some of the weapons programs have to be reduced or eliminated. I think we are going to have to hire more federal employees because we’ve lost too many people particularly in the area of procurement and acquisitions and auditing. I think there will still be a strong market for government contracting in the Washington area particularly in Northern Virginia with the defense work.
What does the local government contracting community need from their Congressman?
Jim Moran: An open mind, an alert ear and a helping hand when necessary.