Lt. Governor Bolling, welcome to The Family Foundation's Virtual Lobby Day and thank you for keynoting it with this live blog interview. I should say, "Welcome back," as you've been a great friend to the Family Foundation and our blog, participating in interviews in the past. We hope all is well with you and your family. I hope you are ready for some questions — we've got a bunch of them. I'll start us off: What is going to be the biggest single policy initiative for you and Governor Bob McDonnell in your first year?
This Thursday is the official lobby day for Planned Parenthood. If history repeats itself, this leading provider of abortion will bring hundreds of people to the capitol to ask our law makers to turn a blind eye to the abortion industry. They will say the following:
» Abortion is a birth control option that should be exercised as one sees fit.
» Drugs, such as emergency contraception, that have the potential to take a human life from conception, should be made more readily available — even to teenage girls.
» Legislation to encourage women to have the opportunity to see an ultrasound prior to making their decision regarding abortion, parenting or adoption is a form of coercion.
The Family Foundation counters these untruths with truth. We do this through a number of ways, especially by engaging grassroots citizen activists — for example, through our Lobby Day at the Capitol and our new Virtual Lobby Day. Now, we also are engaging pastors, encouraging them to counter untruth with prayer and presence. Thus, we are countering Planned Parenthood's lobby day not only with our virtual lobby day (click here to learn how to participate), but with a Pastors Lobby Day. These dozens of pastors will make a big impact and be a significant contrast to the pro-abortion types patrolling the General Assembly Building's halls on February 5.
Here's some of the pastors' agenda Thursday:
Nicknamed the "Committee of Death," they will attend the Senate Education and Health Committee, which reviews all bills relating to pregnancy and abortion. Nearly every time a pro-life bill has been brought to this committee in the last decade has been defeated, refusing to recognize the sanctity of human life.
Pastors also will get an update from the patrons of positive life restoring measures introduced this session of the Virginia General Assembly.
In addition, Bill Haywood, of Abingdon Church of Christ, also will speak. He has taken it upon himself to organize pastors in his region to defeat the Freedom of Choice Act, a federal measure that will undo nearly all laws in Virginia that protect children who seek abortions and women who might be taken advantage of in a difficult situation.
One of the six state police chaplains who resigned when he was ordered by the Kaine administration to not pray "in Jesus name" also will speak. Pastors and lay people have rallied behind these brave chaplains and we want everyone to continue to be engaged on this issue as we challenge the administration's decision through corrective legislation. To cap off the day, the pastors will meet with legislators in the afternoon.
If you are a pastor who is interested, or if you think your pastor is interested, it is not too late to register. Call Suzanne at (804) 343-0010 or e-mail John Smith at email@example.com.
As you know by visiting our blog, The Family Foundation has taken seriously our pledge to not only use the "New Media" to communicate our traditional values message, but to lead the way in it (click here to read what we've done with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter). As an example, we now take our own video and place it on YouTube and on our blog. More exciting is the power of the Internet to involve grassroots activists directly and increase our effectiveness at influencing policy, especially during the incredibly fast pace of the General Assembly — where legislators read their constituents' concerns over specific bills on their laptops at their desks on the House and Senate floor!
With that in mind, we are going full force with our annual Virtual Lobby Day on February 5. If you have ever been to Richmond for our "in-person lobby day" you know face-to-face contact with your legislator is important. But you can leverage that by staying in touch with him or her throughout session. So on February 5 we are modeling our Virtual Lobby Day as we would a conventional one.
First, instead of meeting with your delegate and senator on a given topic, we will provide a topic for you to e-mail them about. Hint: February 5 is Planned Parenthood's lobby day here, so that gives you an idea of what our topic will be. Imagine the power of several thousand e-mails arriving in legislators' e-mail boxes as Planned Parenthood activists meet with them! Although in-person meetings such as our lobby day and Pastors Day (also on February 5) always will be important, new technology creates a whopping impact as well; one that can't be ignored.
Also, instead of hearing speakers, you will be able to follow two interviews on our blog with two very interesting lawmakers, one from each party. Names forthcoming. Additionally, you can watch or listen to both the House and Senate proceedings from the Internet every day. (See link on the blogroll.)
But we are especially excited to have Attorney General Bob McDonnell participate for the second straight year in a live blog interview. All you have to do is leave a question on this thread or our original thread (click here and see who's already asked what). He will then answer the questions posted on that thread live at 2:00 on February 5. You can read his answers as he posts them or read them later at your convenience.
While we thank everyone who attended our Lobby Day in January, we look forward to your just-as-important participation in Virtual Lobby Day on February 5! Look for our e-mail alerts with more specifics and check back here as well throughout this important week at the General Assembly.
We also encourage you to forward this link to friends and family who you think are interested in issues affecting traditional family values and encourage them to sign up for alerts at the link at the upper left corner.