The Family Foundation Action

Judging By The Score

In sports, it's often said, "The game was closer than the final score indicates," or, "It wasn't as close as the score indicates." It reveals that the final score is not always indicative of how close, or not, a game may have been. Often, there’s more to the story. The most popular document created by The Family Foundation Action is our semi-annual General Assembly Report Card. In it you’ll find the "score" of every member of the General Assembly based on their legislative votes on Family Foundation priorities over a two-session period. The snap-shot of votes taken by their elected representatives gives citizens a good idea of where their legislators stand on key issues.

The Report Card also serves as a reminder to legislators that they can’t hide from the public. Every session our legislative team is asked over and over again by legislators, "Will this be a score card vote?" The message is: the Report Card matters. Legislators, at least those who are in more conservative districts, want to be able to prove their pro-family "credentials" with a good score. On the flip side, more liberal legislators often trumpet their low scores as proof of their "progressive" values. All in all, everybody wins!

Well, except that no document, or score, is a perfect reflection of the whole game. We make clear on the Report Card that it isn't meant to be used as a measure of one's personal faith. It is a great measure, as close as we've been able to come up with, of one's commitment to conservative, pro-family, pro-life principles, but it really is just part of the story. It's based only on votes and can't measure one's motives or reasoning behind a vote. That's for the legislators to explain to their constituents.

Some of the "100 percenters" on the Report Card are tried and true heroes of our values. They lead, they vocalize our values, they carry our legislation, and they work behind the scenes to advance our agenda.  Some "100 percenters," however, simply vote right when the time comes, but either offer no help or actually work behind the scenes in some instances to derail our agenda. At the same time, legislators who vote against our position in some situations may lead more than some "100 percenters." An example of that would be Delegate Todd Gilbert, who was our Legislator of the Year for 2013 with a score of 95 percent on the Report Card. But Delegate Gilbert leads on, fights for and carries our legislation.

And sometimes, there are issues that are just very complicated, though our position is very clear, that makes a vote more difficult to understand. For example, at last year's veto session, an amendment to a "Healthcare Exchange" bill relating to ObamaCare that prohibited the insurance companies in the exchange from offering abortion coverage was a high priority for The Family Foundation. The amendment passed and is now part of the law. But a couple of House of Delegates members, Barbara Comstock and Rick Morris, voted against the amendment. Was it a vote against life?  Well, no. They made it clear to us that they will not vote in favor of anything having to do with ObamaCare. It wasn't about the amendment; it was about the overall policy. Of course, we also made it clear that if we're going to have an exchange, we had the responsibility to make sure it included pro-life language. Also, last year, Delegate Bob Marshall voted incorrectly on a floor amendment granting special protections based on sexual behavior, but he did so out of an objection to how the House was operating on amendments, and not the underlying policy. Again, something that is impossible to explain in the Report Card.

The best answer to the problem is t make sure you know your legislators. The Report Card is the absolute best document in Virginia to get a picture of how dedicated to pro-family, pro-life values our legislators are during a two-year period. But if you see a vote that you don't understand, call them, or call us. Ask. Dig deeper and learn more. Stay involved during session so you know what’s happening and how your delegate and senator are voting. We don't want the Report Card to be the final authority, we want it to be a document that doesn't just educate, but motivates you to learn more and get more involved.

Don't just read the final score. Watch the whole game.

Tuesday Is Primary Day In Virginia

Tuesday is primary day in Virginia and several intraparty races will be decided in preparation for November's elections. Democrats will decide on their candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Senator Ralph Northam (D-6, Norfolk) is facing off against former Obama administration appointee Aneesh Chopra for the nomination for lieutenant governor. Northam, who received a 25 on The Family Foundation Action's 2013 General Assembly Report Card, has the endorsement of Planned Parenthood and has been one of the abortion industry's most vocal apologists. Chopra, who served as Secretary of Technology for then-Governor Tim Kaine, has made public statements that are supportive of the abortion industry and abortion on demand, is supportive of elevating sexual behavior to a protected class, and opposes the "Tebow Bill" (see Blue Virginia). The winner of the nomination will face Republican E.W. Jackson in November.

Democrats also will decide their candidate for attorney general between Senator Mark Herring (D-33, Fairfax) and former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax. Herring, who received an 18 on TFF Action’s Report Card, also is an ally of the abortion industry in Virginia. Fairfax has made comments in opposition to Virginia's abortion center health and safety standards. The winner will face Republican Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) in November’s general election.

In addition to these two statewide nomination campaigns, there are several House of Delegates primaries in both parties. Follow this link to see if there is a primary in your district for either or both parties. In November, all 100 seats in the House are up for election.

As you know, The Family Foundation is restricted by federal law from endorsing any candidates for office and we do not participate in primaries for either party. Our goal is simply to keep you up to date on the elections that are happening and to ensure that you have the best information available on the candidates' stances on important values issues so that you can make an informed decision.

 

Did He Or She Pass Or Fail? The 2012-13 Family Foundation General Assembly Report Card

The Family Foundation Action today released the 12th edition of its non-partisan General Assembly Report Card. The educational document informs citizens on key votes taken by the General Assembly during the 2012 and 2013 sessions. You can view the Report Card by clicking here.

It is our hope that the Report Card, along with Voter Guides TFF Action will distribute in the fall, will motivate citizens to vote, and help them make informed choices when they go to the voting booth. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election this year, as well as the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. Depending on outcomes of the Republican convention and Democrat primary, as many as four members from the House of Delegates or Virginia Senate with scores on this Report Card could be on the ballot for those statewide offices in November.

2013 Report Card

How well did your delegate and senator vote? Click on the image to access the 2012-13 Family Foundation General Assembly Report Card

As with each Report Card distributed over the years, hundreds of votes taken by the legislature during the past two years were reviewed. The first page of the Report Card explains the criteria used in determining which votes to include. Non-partisan and broad-based, the Report Card seeks not to benefit one party or one candidate over another, but to arm voting Virginians with the information they need to make an informed choice when they go to the ballot box.

This year's Report Card has 13 "100 percenters" in the House o Delegates and nine in the Senate.

The Family Foundation Action distributed 100,000 copies of the last edition, not including those that were downloaded from the Action website. Our goal this year is to distribute more than 120,000.

To order additional copies of the Report Card to distribute in your church, community group and to like-minded friends and neighbors, click here, or contact Roger Pogge at The Family Foundation Action at 804-343-0010 or at roger@tffaction.org. A suggested donation of $.25 per copy is encouraged to help defray costs of printing and distribution. Please also consider sponsoring the distribution of 100, 500 or even 1,000 Report Cards with a donation of $25, $125 or $250. Checks should be written to "TFF Action" and sent to 919 East Main Street, Suite 1110, Richmond, VA 23219;,or you may pay by credit card here. Thank you for your support.

The mission of The Family Foundation Action is to protect families and promote responsible citizenship by giving Virginians the tools they need to hold their elected officials accountable. The Family Foundation Action is not a PAC and cannot endorse candidates.

Paid for by The Family Foundation Action.

Update: Winning Matters Grassroots Workshops Continue Saturday, Throughout August

The Family Foundation Action continues its grassroots training workshops this weekend and throughout August. It’s not too late to sign up for the Martinsville training event this Saturday. It's all part of TFF Action's 2011 Winning Matters campaign. Winning Matters 2011 is a voter education and mobilization campaign. Just as in 2009, when Winning Matters was instrumental in educating voters on the statewide and House of Delegates candidates' records on traditional values, involvement by grassroots activists is vital to its success. It is your opportunity to help elect a pro-family, pro-life conservative majority in the entire General Assembly — including the Virginia Senate, the graveyard of commonsense reform legislation.

To that end, TFF Action has joined with two of the nation's best grassroots training organizations — The Leadership Institute and American Majority — to bring you several grassroots workshop opportunities in the next several weeks. You'll learn important get-out-the-vote secrets, how to use social media, coalition building and much more. The education is of great practical value, one that you will find of use not only during campaign season but in building up the conservative movement throughout time. The first such workshop, in July in Fredericksburg, was a success, and we know the next several will be as well. So, please plan on joining us at the workshop near you.

Martinsville/Collinsville: Leadership Institute

On Saturday, August 6, the training will be held at Collinsville Victory Fellowship Church, 3790 Virginia Avenue, beginning at 9:00 am. When registering, enter "family" in the promotion code box on the right side of the page and click "submit code" prior to filling out any other information. This will entitle you to The Family Foundation discount cost of only $10! Click here to register.

Salem/Roanoke: Leadership Institute

Saturday, August 13, at National College, 1813 East Main Street in Salem, beginning at 9:00 a.m. When registering, type "family" in the promotion code box on the right side of the page and click "submit code" prior to filling out any other information. This will entitle you to The Family Foundation discount cost of only $10! Click here to register.

Fairfax: American Majority

Thursday, August 25, Centreville Baptist Church, 15100 Lee Highway, Centreville, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. (This is a change in time and date.) Advance registration is only $25, and includes meal and all training materials. Click here to register.

Newport News: Leadership Institute

Saturday, August 27, at the Academy of Dance, 12877 Jefferson Avenue, beginning at 9:00 a.m. When registering, type "family" in the promotion code box on the right side of the page and click "submit code" prior to filling out any other information. This will entitle you to The Family Foundation discount cost of only $10! Click here to register.

Winning DOES Matter: Starting Tomorrow, Help Change The Future Of Virginia!

Yesterday, we wrote about some of the plans already in place by The Family Foundation Action, as well as some that will happen a bit later during the campaign season, to ensure that pro-life, pro-family legislators are elected during this November's General Assembly elections — particularly in the Virginia Senate. As they say, if you want to change Virginia, change the Virginia Senate. This year presents a superior opportunity to elect a conservative majority (on the full spectrum of issues) to the entire General Assembly. The Winning Matters 2011 voter education and mobilization campaign is more than handing out voter guides and report cards (or sharing them online), as important as that is. To realize the momentous goal we envision requires a team and that means the involvement of as many grassroots activists and concerned citizens as possible. Toward that end, we have joined with two of the nation's best grassroots training organizations — The Leadership Institute and American Majority — to teach several grassroots workshops in the next several weeks. Participants will learn a full range of important campaign functions, the same tactics campaign professionals use: everything from get-out-the-vote secrets, social media tools, coalition building and more.

You know, your basic community organizing. So, please plan on joining us at a workshop near you. You will find it very informative, eye opening and of inestimable value in affecting this November's 2011 General Assembly elections — and by extension, the direction of the commonwealth.

Fredericksburg: American Majority

This Saturday, July 16, at Faith Baptist Church, 4105 Plank Road, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Advance registration, only $25, includes lunch and all training materials. Click here to register.

Martinsville/Collinsville: Leadership Institute

Saturday, August 6, at Collinsville Victory Fellowship Church, 3790 Virginia Avenue, beginning at 9:00 am. When registering, enter "family" in the promotion code box on the right side of the page and click "submit code" prior to filling out any other information. This will entitle you to The Family Foundation discount cost of only $10! Click here to register.

Salem/Roanoke: Leadership Institute

Saturday, August 13, at National College, 1813 East Main Street in Salem, beginning at 9:00 a.m. When registering, type "family" in the promotion code box on the right side of the page and click "submit code" prior to filling out any other information. This will entitle you to The Family Foundation discount cost of only $10! Click here to register.

Fairfax: American Majority

Saturday, August 20, at Centreville Baptist Church, 15100 Lee Highway, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Advance registration, only $25, includes lunch and all training materials. Click here to register.

Newport News: Leadership Institute

Saturday, August 27, at the Academy of Dance, 12877 Jefferson Avenue, beginning at 9:00 a.m. When registering, type "family" in the promotion code box on the right side of the page and click "submit code" prior to filling out any other information. This will entitle you to The Family Foundation discount cost of only $10! Click here to register.

TFF Action Report Cards Go To Second Printing, Winning Matters Already Up And Running!

At the May press conference where we released The Family Foundation Action's 2011 General Assembly Report Card, it was suggested by one reporter that the document was no longer relevant (see video). It only took one month, but we proved him completely wrong, showing that conservative grassroots activists in Virginian are engaged in an unprecedented manner for the off-off-off year General Assembly elections in November — where control of the Virginia Senate is at stake. The Family Foundation Action printed, then distributed 60,000 Report Cards throughout the commonwealth, but only four weeks later ordered a second printing of 60,000 more. A waiting list for copies proved The Report Card clearly is in very high demand. By the time this year's elections are over, we may exceed our largest ever Report Card printing and distribution: The current record is 100,000 copies in 2009, a statewide election that drew national media attention. Several candidates for statewide office then had voting records reflected in the Report Card (these numbers do not reflect how many Report Cards were/are viewed or downloaded from TFF Action's web site). So, a great big thank you to everyone who has purchased Report Cards and distributed them to your church or civic groups.

The Family Foundation Action also recently placed its first two 2011 Winning Matters field staff — one in the Hampton Roads and one in Martinsville — as part one in its election year voter education and mobilization plan. The field staff will connect with churches and other groups to organize voter registration drives, distribute voter education materials (including the Report Card and voter guides), and get out the vote efforts. TFFAction's plan is to place many more field staff throughout Virginia to ensure that pro-family, pro-life voters are educated and mobilized for November's crucial elections. In addition, The Family Foundation and Family Foundation Action have several grassroots and pastor training classes scheduled for July, August and September in Fredericksburg, Roanoke, Fairfax, Hampton Roads, Danville and Martinsville.

In 2009, pro-family Virginians turned out in record numbers, in part, due to the Winning Matters campaign. TFF Action's plan this year is to expand on those efforts, as there still are vast numbers of Christian conservatives unregistered to vote (and your engagement to get them registered will be crucial). Those members of the General Assembly who think that so-called values issues don't matter are in for a rude awakening. Pro-family Virginians are looking forward to sending a very clear message this November, particularly in Virginia Senate races.

Copies of the Report Card are available by contacting The Family Foundation Action at 804-343-0010 or at the TFF Action web site. Don't worry about supplies. TFFAction will print more and they can be downloaded, e-mailed and posted to social media sites as well.

Just last week, Planned Parenthood announced it had placed one new field staff in the Roanoke area. No doubt that this $1 billion organization will do all it can to defeat pro-life candidates this November. We must ensure that pro-life, pro-family Virginians are educated and mobilized to elect candidates who believe in protecting human life. We cannot let Planned Parenthood and their cohorts at NARAL-Pro Choice Virginia reverse the victories we have enjoyed!

If you would like to contribute financially to our efforts please click here to our secure donation page.

If You Think Winning Matters, Save A Date For Grassroots Training!

The Family Foundation, in conjunction with the Leadership Institute and American Majority, has scheduled three grassroots training workshops this summer in preparation for this year’s important General Assembly elections. By partnering with these nationally known allies, we guarantee the highest quality professional instructors. Attendees will learn a great deal about grassroots activism and how to identify and turnout like-minded citizens to get involved in the political process. All 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for election, including the Virginia Senate, the body that has thwarted pro-family legislation for years. The Family Foundation and The Family Foundation Action plan extensive voter registration, education and mobilization projects this fall, and these grassroots training workshops are an important aspect of our strategy. If you think Winning Matters — and it does to ensure pro-family policies are passed and bad ones defeated in Richmond — please consider attending one of the training sessions this summer. It will be well worth your time.

We will provide more details soon, but in the meantime pick a training session to attend and mark the date on your calendar today. For more information, contact Roger Pogge at 804-343-010 or e-mail him roger@familyfoundation.org.

Grassroots Training Workshop Schedule

Saturday, July 16 with American Majority at Faith Baptist Church in Fredericksburg

Saturday, August 6 with Leadership Institute in Chatham (location TBD)

Saturday, August 20 with American Majority at Centreville Baptist Church in Fairfax County

Family Foundation Action Report Cards Due Out Soon: See How Your Legislators Voted, Order For Free To Distribute

It won't be long before school is out and students will receive their final grades. Our sister organization, The Family Foundation Action, is preparing to issue its own grade report — its 2010-2011 Virginia General Assembly Report Card. This bi-annual compilation grades all senators and delegates in the General Assembly on their pro-family voting record over a full two-year General Assembly cycle, and is released to coincide with the next General Assembly election, which is this November. It provides voters every legislator's voting record on issues relating to life, marriage, religious liberty, parental authority and constitutional government based on a wide range of key bills and Family Foundation priority legislation. The Report Card has become a favorite of individuals and churches across Virginia and is one of the commonwealth's most anticipated political documents and will be available by mid-May. They will be available to order free of charge for distribution at churches, schools or community groups. To be among the first in the state to receive the Report Card, click here to go to our order page, complete the form and they will be sent to you directly from the printer. Please consider placing your order before May 15 to ensure you receive your Report Cards in a timely manner. This also helps The Family Foundation Action by allowing it to prepare for Winning Matters 2011 (more on that in a future post) rather than the fulfillment and shipping of hundreds of orders.

This is another critical election year in Virginia, as all 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for election. It will be the first time in four years (when it elected a new majority) that the Virginia Senate has faced the voters, giving Virginians the opportunity to determine whether or not they like the direction the state Senate has taken since 2007.

Our Founding Fathers knew that an educated electorate was essential to good government. This has never been truer than it is today. Be sure to order enough Report Cards to have some extra for your friends, family and work associates.

Update: Distribution Information For 11th Congressional District Voter Guides

Here's more information about the voter guide for the November 2 11th Congressional District election. They are non-partisan guides that give the candidates' positions on issues important to people of faith such as their positions on life and marriage. This race is between incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly and Republican challenger Keith Fimian. These guides are jointly produced by The Prince William & Manassas Family Forum, The Fairfax Family Forum and The Family Foundation Action and are legal for distribution in churches and other houses of worship. You can order a quantity of voter guides for yourself, your friends and family, and your church by contacting one of the following people:

» Denny Daugherty: dennydaugherty@erols.com (Prince William/Manassas)

» Bob Allen: 703-361-2278 (Prince William/Manassas)

» Terry Wear: tjwear@yahoo.com (Fairfax)

» The Fairfax Family Forum: fairfaxfamilyforum@gmail.com (Fairfax)

You can view (and print) the voter guide by clicking here.

Even if you don't live in the district, you can share it on your social media networks and via e-mail with people you know who live in Fairfax and Prince William Counties and Manassas.

The voter guides also will be available at the Northern Virginia IS Pro Life Rally tomorrow from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Government Center Ellipse in Fairfax (more information is at the Fairfax Family Forum and at the organizer's site, Pro-Life Unity). There are only two Sundays left between now and the election, so we hope voters in Northern Virginia will take advantage of these guides and distribute them as widely as possible.

TFF Action Voter Guide Available For 11th Congressional District Candidates

The Family Foundation Action, our sister organization, yesterday released a voter guide on the positions of the candidates running for the House of Representatives in the 11th Congressional district: incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly and Republican challenger Keith Fimian. The guide was compiled in conjunction with two of our Northern Virginia affiliates, the Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance and Fairfax Family Forum.

The 11th Congressional District voter guide is available for download by clicking here.

It can be printed and distributed to interested groups or individuals, forwarded to e-mail lists, or you share it on social media sites. If you want bulk copies, contact Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or at roger@familyfoundation.org.

Speaking of guides, Congressman Connolly scored a whopping zero on the FRC Action Scorecard for the last two years in the House of Representatives and only 9 percent on ecomonic issues from The Club For Growth.

Winning Matters In High Gear In Phase One

Our Winning Matters campaign — the voter identification, registration, education and mobilization projectof both The Family Foundation and The Family Foundation Action — is in full gear. It has been, actually, for some time, and a great deal already has been accomplished. We have nearly a dozen full- and part-time staff hard at work across Virginia. With the help of pastors and other committed Christians, they are  identifying, informing and mobilizing pro-family, values voters to cast values-driven votes on Election Day.  

The first phase of Winning Matters is identifying eligible voters in Virginia according to their values and making sure they are registered to vote. Sadly, statistics tell us that nearly half of self-proclaimed evangelicals are not even registered. Thus, they ignore a critical responsibility and minimize the effectiveness of pro-family citizens in the political process.

While it may sound over-used and outdated, one of the best methods for identifying and registering like-minded individuals is through churches. Every day our field staff meets with pastors from some of the more than 5,000 churches we have identified across the Commonwealth, and encourages them to conduct voter registration drives prior to the October 5th registration deadline.

Many pastors still do not practice this basic civic process in their churches. Some pastors still do not understand that it is not a political activity — in fact in Virginia, voters cannot even register by political party.

Therefore, Winning Matters encourages all churches to host a voter registration drive either on Sunday, September 13, 20 or 27.

Beyond churches, the process of voter identification has become an incredibly precise science in recent years, especially with the Internet. Anytime you visit a Web site to shop, read political news or participate in other special interests, you leave a fingerprint. These consumer behaviors can be predictive of one’s potential vote. This type of "micro targeting" was extremely effective in the California marriage amendment campaign. Our Winning Matters campaign is capitalizing on all of these established practices to do our part to find conservatives who might not be registered to vote.

In a less high-tech way of demonstrating this, believe it or not, we have individuals who support us or who have signed an issue petition who are not registered to vote. As part of Winning Matters, we will cross check our entire list with registration rolls and will send a letter and a voter registration form to any who need them.

After all the identification and registration is completed, Winning Matters will move into phase two — education. We will provide an update on that portion of the campaign after the October 5 voter registration deadline. In the meantime, if your pastor is not familiar with Winning Matters, or you know of other people who maybe instrumental in activating your church into this civic action, or even know individuals who are not registered to vote, forward them this link so they can learn more about Winning Matters.