House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong

Eminent Domain Reform Bill In Sub-Committee Tomorrow Afternoon!

Okay, here's one that defines strange political bedfellows. The Family Foundation, the Farm Bureau, Tertium Quids and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, are backing a HB 562, patroned by House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville). The bill provides just compensation to those who have land rendered useless because of an eminent domain taking. Right now, people are compensated only for the land taken, not additional land that the taking has rendered unusable. The bill is a complement to the landmark 2007 eminent domain reform law which limits government abuse of people's property rights.  In other words, condemners want to take the land they need but not pay for all of it. This bill will allow the addition of the unusable land to be factored into the price of the compensation for the eminent domain taking. Very fair. Very needed. (For those who think the 2007 law solved all our problems, see this about the Burkholder's — a Roanoke couple and its small business, via FromOnHigh.)

The bill comes before the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee (click here for members)tomorrow afternoon. Contact the members and ask them to support property rights in Virginia. This bill will go a long way to restoring the rights of farmers, small businesses and home owners who work very hard for their property, only for government agencies to take it, or worse, play games with it with no fair compensation.

Victoria Cobb's Report Card News Conference Statement

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.

Virginia News Stand: April 20, 2009

Welcome back to the work week where the top story seems to be the Dem gab fest. Funny how different media see the same story. One reports the news out of the debate is the economy, two others say it's the claims and counter claims about fundraising, another says no issues were discussed. Apart from the gubernatorial campaign, the House elections are getting a fair amount of coverage. Liberal activists already are out knocking on doors, making the rejection of federal "stimulus" money an issue. (Maybe they didn't notice last week's Tea Parties.) There is an interesting Democrat primary taking shape in Norfolk, while a Republican is leaving the primary field to run as an indie in the general election in another district. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem) and House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Henry) debate each side's chances through a Roanoke Times article. Finally, as in the last article included, not that the issue is settled by any means, the state GOP may have a new leadership team in place.

News:

Issues shortchanged in Democratic candidates' debate (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Gubernatorial candidates trade jabs on donations (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds Criticizes Rivals' Funding (Washington Post)

Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate economy (The Daily Press)

Democrats spar in gubernatorial debate (Washington Times)

Va. Democrats target GOP delegates over stimulus vote (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. Democrats set sights on House of Delegates (Roanoke Times)

Poquoson mayor will run as independent for House seat (The Daily Press)

Lionell Spruill Jr. to take on Chesapeake's Del. Howell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Mullins declares candidacy; Liddy to serve as "Victory" chair (BearingDrift.com)