Alexandria

Quote Of The Day

Today's QOD comes from this morning's meeting of the House Finance Committee. Committee members at first honored Delegate David Englin's (D-45, Alexandria) request to carry over his HB 275 for the year, a polite way of killing it. But the bill would repeal Virginia's Estate Tax exemption, which would amount to a massive tax increase. Seeing its ultimate demise, he used the out that since it is tied to pending federal legislation, it made sense to see the outcome of the Congressional bill first. But then committee Republicans had a change of heart and decided to have the bill only carried over to another meeting, all the better to get committee Democrats on record for or against a tax increase, especially one that specifically hurts families, small businesses and farmers. Commenting on the lengths the GOP members were taking to reverse course on a bill everyone knows is going about as far as a pro-life bill in the Senate, Delegate Albert Pollard (D-99, Lancaster) said:

I believe Delegate Englin only wanted a blind fold and a cigarette today. 

Our Favorite Campaign

Most people might think we at The Family Foundation of Virginia, as involved in Virginia policy and politics as we are, love this time of year for its campaign season. Yes, but . . . not exactly what you might think. It's a different type of campaign that stirs our hearts. The campaign we speak of has nothing to do with politicians, ads or promises. This  campaign is called 40 Days For Life and we encourage you to take part in this wonderful, prayerful opportunity for Virginians to take a stand against abortion.

Unlike our statewide political campaigns, we're not alone. Beginning this Wednesday, September 23, and through the next 40 days ending November 1, citizens in Richmond, Alexandria, Charlottesville, Falls Church, Manassas and Roanoke will unite with more than 200 cities in 45 states for the largest simultaneous nationwide pro-life mobilization in history.

The 40 Days for Life campaign is a focused pro-life effort that has generated measurable lifesaving results in every community where it has been held. Some cities have reported as much as a 28 percent drop in local abortions and hundreds of new people joining local lifesaving ministry efforts. It is made up of three key components:

» Prayer and Fasting: inviting people of faith to join together for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting for an end to abortion;

» Peaceful Constant Vigil: standing for life through a 40-day peaceful public witness outside a local abortion center; and

» Community Outreach: taking a positive, upbeat pro-life message to every corner of your city through media efforts, church presentations, petition drives and public visibility.

For more information about events in your area, please click on one of the following links:

Alexandria   Charlottesville   Falls Church   Manassas   Richmond   Roanoke

We encourage you to get your church involved. Volunteers are needed to take part in each aspect of 40 Days for Life. Along with prayer and fasting, people need to sign up for the vigil at a local abortion center, and for the community outreach. Please consider joining this important effort.

If you do not live in, or near, one of these localities, then think about starting a 40 Days For Life campaign where you live. For more information, visit 40 Days For Life, here.

This unique opportunity does require a commitment of time. But we truly believe that we need God’s direct intervention if we are going to renew a culture of life in America. We hope you will join thousands of citizens from across the nation and be a part of 40 Days For Life.

Forty Days For Life 

40 Days for Life

What Do You Expect? It's The Washington Post

A Saturday morning headline in the Washington Post, regarding the Virginia State Republican Party Convention:

3-Way GOP Rivalry Presents Tough Choice for Convention

The article elaborated on how difficult the decision would be for delegates and how close the Republican attorney general nomination contest was. But of the three candidates, the eventual winner, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, received the loudest — thunderous, in fact — applause of the day; louder even than what conservative radio and television talk show star Sean Hannity received. He obviously had the most delegates and only if delegate voting proportions were way out of whack would he lose (or if those applauding were strictly the 3,000 guests and not the 7,100 delegates that made up an attendance greater than 10-large).

After the balloting, and even before runners-up John Brownlee and Dave Foster jointly, and classfully, conceded and moved to nominate Senator Cuccinelli by acclimation, there were rumors Cuccinelli had won by a slight majority or received in the high 40-percentile, making a second ballot fruitless. However, although official numbers weren't released, a high-ranking official told me Senator Cuccinelli blew the doors off with a very large majority, even carrying Alexandria, thought to be a more moderate locale of Republicanism.

As for the lieutenant governor nomination, a very high-ranking member of the Patrick Muldoon campaign told me two months ago the former Congressional candidate would pull between 20-30 percent of the delegate vote. Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, in fact, received 84 percent, the highest percentage ever for a contested Republican nomination.

Sine Die

The end of session is upon us. Session is unlike anything I know. It is intense, hard, extremely long (even in "short sessions") has gruelling hours, and you get by almost only on adrenaline. But it is immensely fun (with a good share of laughs) and rewarding — rewarding in that you know you are fighting the good fight for the right causes and rewarding in the relationships you build with all types of people from across the Commonwealth, whether liberal or conservative. It's the ultimate — and original and real — network. For example, who would have thought Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) and I could share a laugh in a sub-committee, sitting on patron's row of all places (committee room front rows reserved for bill patrons), about how I helped defeat one of his bills? We may criticize him here, but at least now we spell his name right (it's David, not Dave).

This truly has been the session of odd alliances and strange bedfellows. We even worked with or had constructive talks with Delegates Englin and Adam Ebbin (D-49, Alexandria) on matters where we have mutual concern, such as human trafficking.

Traditionally, this is the night of the Sine Die party ("sine die" being the Latin phrase used to conclude a parliamentary session). It's held at a local microbrewery, where delegates, senators, their staffs, lobbyists, reporters and other assorted types (no doubt some bloggers may sneak in) congregate for a session-ending night of fellowship. Yes, they still have a day left, and some years they've been in session during the party only to get out in time to make the last part of it. Breaking news, though: The House just adjourned and I expect great attendance in just a few hours.

Sine Die is a great way to get to know all involved in the legislative process away from the battle ground of the GAB and capitol, a culmination of the weekly Thursday Night Caucus get-togethers. Making friends, even with those with whom you are philosophically opposed, pays dividends down the line.

Two sessions back I was having a great time at Sine Die when our president  surprised me and showed up. All was great and we even got a normally quiet senator to open up and share some humor. It was getting late and I was looking forward to a long-overdue sleep-in. Then a delegate engaged us and, after a great discussion, he asked for some last-second help on a bill. The boss volunteered me to come down to Saturday's final session. Other than that it was already 11:00 at that point and knowing I had to be up at 6:00, it was a blast.

Session does allow you to develop relationships in a non-business circumstances and normally they're worthwhile — except when one senator reamed me out with false accusations of running negative ads against him. (We don't run ads. We're not a PAC and we're not allowed.) Still, I've met lobbyists, legislative assistants and others who have told me they admire what we do, and wish they could speak up but, as with the for-profit lobbyists, they have no dogs in our hunts. Knowing they are there, though, is reassuring and helpful in its own way.

Tonight is for fun, trading stories, learning some inside scoop. The next weeks will be for decompressing and reorganizing, and self examining. In time, we'll prepare for next session. That's then. This is now. For now . . .  

Sine Die.

When Not Making History Is Good (Or, Watch The Libs Stumble All Over Themselves)

Earlier this evening, in House Room 2 in Mr. Jefferson's historic capitol, a House sub-committee defeated HB 1625, a major homosexual rights agenda item. The bill would have created sexual orientation as a protected class in housing discrimination laws by allowing local jurisdictions to carve out their own housing policies irrespective of the Commonwealth's current code. The House General Laws Sub-Committee on Housing, by a 4-3 vote, tabled the bill by Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria), as amended. When he introduced the it before the committee Delegate Englin admitted previous incarnations of the bill were geared to sexual orientation. But he said his new bill was broader and protected no particular class of people.

Ironically, the broader aspects of the bill cost him votes from the liberal members of the sub-committee. Delegate Bob Hull (D-38, Falls Church) immediately brought up the difficulties and complexities this would present to the real estate industry in metropolitan areas composed of several jurisdictions. During the week, The Family Foundation lobbied members of the sub-committee on roughly the same lines, as well as the protected class argument. But the real unintended consequences — not imagined ones as our opponents conjure up — came when the representatives of the home building, apartment and real estate trade associations testified against the bill, citing the fact that it would create an unintended protected income class. In other words, homebuilders would have to accept HUD Section 8 housing vouchers and the like, and succumb to a host of prohibitive federal regulations.

Realizing that even his own caucus mates were deserting him, Delegate Englin said he would consider it "a friendly amendment to narrow the bill to sexual orientation," at which point the liberals on the committee, who opposed the bill on commonsense economic and governance grounds, stumbled excitedly all over themselves to make the motion. Delegate Hull beat them to the punch, and Delegates David Bulova (D-37, Fairfax) and Rosalyn Dance (D-63, Petersburg) quickly shouted a seconding motion. Speaking to the proposed amendment, Delegate John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) said, if approved, it would be the first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be made a protected class and therefore he could not support the bill. He motioned to table the bill and it was seconded, and the vote carried on a 4-3 party line voice vote. Joining Delegate Cosgrove were Delegates Bill Carrico (R-5, Independence), Bill Fralin (R-17, Roanoke) and sub-committee chairman, Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News). 

So many committee meetings take place in the drab General Assembly building, so when one is in the ambiance of 200-plus years of history, where so much that has affected our nation has taken place, one wonders what type of modern history may be made. Tonight, as Delegate Cosgrove pointed out, we are happy the wrong type of history was not made.

Are The Tea Leaves Looking That Bad For The GOP?

Maybe not. If you haven't heard by now, the House didn't disappoint today with its traditional first day fireworks over matters that usually are nothing more than housekeeping. At issue was whether to seat a new delegate in what was an unusually close special election last night in the 46th district to replace Democrat Brian Moran, who resigned recently to run full time for governor. Unusually close because this district is all but two precincts in Alexandria and is one of the most reliably liberal districts in the commonwealth. This should have been a slam dunk for Democrat Charniele Herring over Republican Joe Murray, but she won by just 16 votes out of about 2,700. Until the automatic recount, House Republicans took the prudent measure, as we see in Congress every two years, of waiting until all is official and challenges exhausted.

(On a side note, what does this say about Moran's coattails, especially when Democrat gubernatorial rival Terry McAuliffe is promising to raise $75 million for the joint Dem statewide/House campaigns? Terry Mac's fundraising prowess combined with his lack of office to restrict what he raises during the G.A. is what spooked Moran to leave the House prematurely to begin with.)

This scarily narrow win in the People's Republic of Alexandria, combined with a special election in heavily African-American Richmond, where new mayor and former delegate Dwight Jones' handpicked successor Delores McQuinn won against a stealth write-in Republican candidate with only 63 percent of the vote, and a Republican blowout by Barry Knight (83 percent of the vote) in a Virginia Beach special to replace retired former delegate Terry Suit, where the Dems had hoped to at least run close, all point to a glimmer of hope that the House GOP has mobilized its grassroots.

We don't know that tea leaves can read deep into the soil, or if any of this pertains to anything come fall '09. But if ever a caucus needed a boost, even from a surprisingly close loss, this may have been it.

Watch The House And Senate Live

For those not aware, whether in Richmond, or anywhere from Alexandria to Alleghany to the Eastern Shore, you can keep up with your elected officials in Richmond. The General Assembly maintains a good Web site, with bill tracking capability and many other bells and whistles. You can also listen to or watch via Web streaming the floor sessions.

Check it out at http://legis.state.va.us and bookmark it; or, simply find it under Virginia General Assembly on our blog roll. The best way to affect public policy is to stay on top of it and to see and hear what the politicians actually say, especially when they think no one is watching.

Virginia News Stand: December 17, 2008

As one might expect, the state budget dominates state news today and will, most likely, from now and throughout the General Assembly's short session, which commences January 14. We have it covered below, with a few political articles of interest thrown in, as well as an eye-popping commentary by Brian Kirwin from Bearing Drift. And, could there be an upset in the special election for Brian Moran's recently resigned House seat in heavily liberal Alexandria? A Washington Post reporter says it's possible. News:

Kaine would double cigarette tax (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine expected to push for hike in cigarette tax (The Daily Press)

Kaine proposes cuts, cigarette tax increase (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Gov. Kaine to propose big cuts, doubling of cigarette tax (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Kaine's budget plan is divulged (Roanoke Times)

Md., Va. Eye Even Deeper Cutbacks (Washington Post)

Richmonder eyes lieutenant governor race (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Lawmakers, Business Leaders Sound Alarm (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Legislators foresee tough fiscal future (Winchester Star)

Norfolk delegate to lead caucus (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Opinion/Analysis:

Bearing Drift on Patrick Muldoon's LG campaign (Bearing Drift)

Tim Craig Sees Potential Upset In 46th Dist. Race (Virginia Virtucon)

McAuliffe Gearing Up For Gubernatorial Bid

Although only in an "exploratory" stage, make no mistake: Top Clintonista Terry McAuliffe is running to be the commonwealth's next governor, just as we predicted in September (see here). Before all the ballots could be counted from the just completed election, he announced a tour of Virginia to meet and listen to voters (or just to learn town and county names and locations, thinks the cynic). However, based on who he is lining up as campaign staff, he's fully committed to go. According to Wednesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, he has secured the services and/or commitments of Mike Henry, who ran Mark Warner's winning U.S. Senate campaign and Governor Tim Kaine's2005 gubernatorial race; Jenny Nadicksbernd, a fundraiser for Warner and Kaine; and communications veteran Mo Elleithee. Other consultants under consideration for polling and advertising all have long-time Virginia Democrat connections.

McAuliffe will face Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) and Delegate Brian Moran (D-46, Alexandria) in a June primary. While there is plenty of material to use against McAuliffe, such as his ties to Teamsters Union corruption (see Counterpunch, here) and his massive stock profit while Global Crossing went bankrupt (Enron, before Enron), Dem supporters of the two legislators may be queuing up another line of attack: Not only is he a come-here with no experience in Virginia government, he flirted with running for governor once before — in Florida. The degree of the nastiness of the Democrat campaign may go a long way in determining the success of presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, his ticket mates and House candidates.

Virginia's Own Jim Moran . . . "In The Long Run" We're Going To Take Everything You Own

Virginia's very own U.S. Representative Jim Moran (D-8, Alexandria) has some very chilling observations about how to solve what he thinks is the selfishness of Americans who desire to keep what they earn. (See The Weekly Standard here for Moran exploding at constituents.) (Never mind that Americans are the most generous people on earth, both for domestic and international relief causes.) We just became aware of this tape, so we don't know how old it is — if it's a post-election warning or a wistful longing from long ago. Either way, it's very scary and very real now that like minded socialists will run the Congress and White House. But, hey, Virginia, we tried to tell you. We placed their own words here as did other blogs and media. We do give the redistributionists credit — they never tried to hide their intentions. Whether it was anxiety over the economic crisis or disapproval over the bailout solution, or both, voters apparently swallowed the "spread the wealth around" philosophy. So without further adieu, hear what's in store for you. (Oh, by the way, Moran's brother, Delegate Brian Moran, is a candidate for governor next year.)

Clintons Creep Into Virginia

The Clintons are looking to expand their political empire into Virginia. While most thought the 2009 Democrat nomination for governor would be between two established Virginia pols, Delegate Brian Moran (D-46, Alexandria) and Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath), it looks like a complete outsider to Old Dominion politics, Terry McAuliffe, the very top Clinton lieutenant — he was handpicked by Bill to run the DNC and was Hillary's presidential campaign chairman — wants to usurp the nomination from both Moran and Deeds. McAuliffe, a native New Yorker, while never active in Virginia politics, doubtless is familiar to many, showing up on any and all political television shows, even on Fox News (to the chagrin of The Angry Left). While he's floated the idea for some time, he pretty much gave away his intentions last night to a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter:

McAuliffe, 51, who lives in McLean, is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009. He said he will make a decision after the Nov. 4 election, but he indicated he likely would run.

So, the Clintons want to creep into Virginia? Arkansas and New York aren't enough. There is a method to the madness here: Hillary lost the Virginia primary, huge. But suppose the Democrat presidential nomination is open again in 2012? Having a friendly governor here to swing Virginia's Democrat delegates her way would be significant. All of a sudden, Delegate Moran and Senator Deeds have a lot more to be concerned about than only each other.

McAuliffe has his baggage, though. He's never been fully vetted by the Mainstream Media for a get-rich-quick scheme in the Global Crossing bankruptcy scandal; and the media, for all his thousands of appearances on their networks, have never questioned him about the widely known Teamsters money laundering scheme he hatched; nor have authorities fully investigated him for it, even though several Teamster bosses went down for their participation. (Maybe because it was during Bill's presidency?) Other McAuliffe money scandals, where he enriched himself, are well documented here, at Counter Punch. He's escaped scrutiny thus far. Charmed? Or just well protected?

But does he want to risk all of it coming out in a gubernatorial campaign to a state he has little connection? For Clinton creep, apparently yes.

Saslaw vs. Children

On a daily basis conservatives are accused of being against children . . . mostly because they don't spend enough money on anything, at least according to liberals. Well, the shoe is apparently on the other foot for Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield).

The General Assembly is looking at appropriating just over $1 million for "Alicia's Law," (sponored by Delegate Brian Moran, D-46, Alexandria, a Democrat candidate for governor). "Alicia's Law" would expand the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to help protect children from Interent predators. In a time where nearly every day we see another young, innocent victim of Internet predators, this program has done extraordinary work. Expanding it to more communities in Virginia would help protect more children from this horrific crime.

Shockingly, Senator Saslaw is fighting the budget amendment! While everyone is well aware that money is tight in Richmond and legislators are finding creating a new budget very difficult, public safety is a core responsibility of government!  This is where they should actually be spending our money. Why in the world would Senator Salslaw be against children like this? 

Senator Saslaw is getting hammered by people from all over the nation, and word has it that Bill O'Reilly has targeted him for his show sometime this week.

We're just wondering when the liberal, pro-children groups are going to start calling out Senator Saslaw for his hostility toward children?