Below is the statement given by Family Foundation Action President Victoria Cobb at a recently completed news conference releasing the organization's 2008-09 General Assembly Report Card. The Report Card is available at www.tffaction.org.
TFF ACTION PRESIDENT VICTORIA COBB ON THE RELEASE OF ITS 2008-09 GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPORT CARD
Good afternoon, I'm Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation Action. The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan and non-tax deductible organization whose mission is to protect families and promote responsible citizenship by giving Virginians the tools they need to hold their elected officials accountable. While The Family Foundation's primary role is education and Advocacy, The Family Foundation Action's primary role is Accountability. Both organizations engage in issue advocacy, citizen education and grassroots organization and mobilization.
The Family Foundation Action is not a PAC and cannot endorse candidates. It can distribute voter educational on materials and direct mail pieces that inform citizens about the position candidates take on important issues. Along with today's Report Card, this organization will be producing and distributing voter guides for the statewide campaigns and select House Of Delegate races in the fall.
Since 1991, this biennial Report Card has been one of the most anticipated documents in Virginia politics, setting the stage for a meaningful dialogue about issues and elected officials. It is my pleasure today to unveil this important piece.
This pro-family Report Card has become a tradition of Virginia politics. This document reveals to citizens where their representatives stand on key issues based on their actual votes in the General Assembly. The Report Card cuts through the rhetoric of campaigns and the warm and fuzzy pictures of political Websites straight to the votes legislators actually took. Legislators have come to expect that they will be held accountable to for their votes on matters important to Virginia families.
As with each Report Card distributed over the years, we reviewed hundreds of votes taken by our legislature during the past two sessions. You can read on the first page the criteria we used in determining which votes to include in the Report Card. Non-partisan and broadbased, this report card seeks not to benefit one party or one candidate over the other, but to arm voting Virginians with the information they need to make an informed choice when they go to the ballot box.
In addition, you can see analysis of voting patterns for recent General Assemblies on the inside cover page. Here you can see voting records of the Senate and House.
Some interesting things to note in this year's Report Card: In the House of Delegates, two-thirds of members voted in favor of The Family Foundation legislative agenda more than half the time, indicating a broadbased, bipartisan support for The Family Foundation's commonsense proposals. Interestingly, the Democrat Minority Leader, Ward Armstrong, scored a very high 81 percent, illustrating that The Family Foundation agenda has broad bipartisan appeal. Another note of interest: Several Family Foundation priorities received unanimous or nearly unanimous votes in both the House and Senate during the past two sessions, again, showing an agenda that is very mainstream.
This year, there are 42 House members that scored 100 percent, an increase of seven over the previous report card. There are, however, only four 100- percenters in the Senate; yet that is twice as many as 2007. On the flip side, there are no zeroes in the House or the Senate.
You can see on the analysis page the continued disparity on values issues between the House and the Senate. While those elected every two years, and thus are closer to the people, continue to shift back toward traditional values, the State Senate continues to distance itself from the people.
It is our hope that Virginians will use the Report Card, along with voter guides that Family Foundation Action will distribute in the fall, to educate themselves about sitting legislators as they begin their comparisons and make their choices about who better represents their values. These resources give citizens the confidence to make knowledgeable choices. We encourage Virginians to review this Report Card, compare legislator votes with their campaign promises of the past and present. We encourage them to personally contact those running for office and ask them specific questions regarding specific proposals and then, when possible, compare their responses to their actual votes. The more information a voter has the more likely they will choose a candidate that best fits their values.
It is vitally important that pro-family citizens get involved, stay involved and continue to hold their elected officials accountable. This Report Card is intended to help citizens fulfill that civic obligation. Toward that end, The Family Foundation Action plans to give out more Report Cards than ever before — in fact, 100,000 Report Cards distributed throughout Virginia. This doubles our distribution from the last edition, which was the highest distribution in our history.