This was a strange one: Lobby Day and I had nary a thing to do with it. My first two sessions, 2006 and 2007, I was knee deep in planning and executing the event. Last year, not so much. This year, virtually nada. That's what happens when you're trying to put coalitions together in support of various bills. Somebody had to mind the store and work on our legislative initiatives, research and make lawmaker contacts. Still, it's pretty impressive to see more than 250 people, with yellow "I Vote Values" stickers enter Mr. Jefferson's capitol. More people than last year, even. Who said values voters no longer matter? Here's how the day went:
More than 250 people from around the commonwealth met in the capital city today to support traditional values in Virginia this legislative season. They were energized by elected officials such as Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Centerville), and Delegate Bill Carrico (R-5, Independence), who spoke of the opportunities that currently exist to promote fundamental rights, such as chaplains being allowed to pray "in Jesus name," as well as seeing to it that Planned Parenthood doesn't continue to receive taxpayer funds.
These encouraging messages were followed by keynote speaker, Jordan Lorence, Senior Counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, who affirmed the fact that by championing traditional values one also is championing the ideas believed in and sacrificed for by the constitutional framers. Attendees also heard from Adam Schaeffer (TQ Radio interview here) of the CATO Institute who addressed education freedom after also addressing the House Education Committee earlier in the morning.
After hearing from this great line up, citizens made their way to the Capitol where they observed both legislative bodies in action. While in the galleries and watching in other rooms they were introduced in the House of Delegates by Delegate Kenneth Alexander (D-89, Norfolk), who also is the new chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, and in the Senate, by Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester).
Equipped and encouraged, these hundreds of grassroots conservative activists then went in small groups and met personally with more than half of the legislators in the General Assembly. Because of their efforts to make their voices heard we know that we will see victories in this year's General Assembly, and we are thankful for their time and commitment to traditional values.
Although you may not have been able to join us today, if you are reading this, you will have another opportunity to participate in a Family Foundation Lobby Day — on February 5 we will have a Virtual Lobby Day when we use the power of the Internet to promote our message. Continue to check back here and future e-mail alerts for more details as we make staying connected to your government and elected officials as easy as logging on and clicking a mouse. It may be short session, but we have a lot planned, both in person and online to make a significant impact on our elected officials.
Speaking of which, pay close attention to our e-mail alerts throughout the session and be prepared to call, write and e-mail your legislators to remind them that Virginia is and should remain a great place to raise a family.