January 23

Regarding the Jan. 16 front-page article “N.Va.’s Moran joins crowd of lawmakers who will leave Congress”:

I appreciated the battles that Rep. James P. Moran (D) waged for his constituents in his 35 years in politics. He had no qualms about “speaking truth to power” as a member of the Alexandria City Council or as a member of Congress. Mr. Moran listened to people, fought on their behalf and got results.

During the Base Realignment and Closure process that began in 2005, Mr. Moran stood firm in a long battle with the Army when it was determined to dump the high-rise Mark Center and 6,000 workers into a residential neighborhood without adequate infrastructure. Mr. Moran met with residents, hammered out tough responses to government officials and sent his staff to numerous public meetings. He battled the Defense Department on our behalf. He was similarly a forceful advocate when the Virginia Department of Transportation tried to steamroll residents over proposed expansions of Interstate 395 and the Seminary Road exit. 

None of the politicians being mentioned as a replacement has the qualities that endeared Mr. Moran to so many constituents. Love him or hate him, you knew exactly where he stood on every issue. He was never a Democrat “in name only.” Rather, he was a guy with great people skills and a memory for faces. And he had the backbone to challenge his party, including the president. He will be a hard act to follow. 

Kathleen M. Burns, Alexandria