Just One Vote, That's All It Took, Was Just One VoteFeb 26, 2008
You remember that song . . . well, okay, I don't remember it completely either. I think it was a commercial jingle popular for a long time for a diet soda: "Just one look . . . that's all it took, was just one look . . . ." (Feel free to post here and tell me what it was.) Thus the headline. I thought it was kind of catchy. Speaking of catchy (see how this all comes together?) Senator Chuck Colgan (D-29,Manassas) must have caught a cold or the flu for an instant late last week. You see, he campaigned for re-election saying he was for abstinence education. Yet when an amendment to the Senate budget to reinstate funding for abstinence education programs came to the Senate floor, it failed by failed by one vote.
Just one vote. That's all it took.
Why did it fail by just one vote? Because the President Pro Tempore left the Senate floor! We don't know why exactly, and it probably wasn't because of a cold. With all the hot air coming from that chamber, it may have been heat exhaustion. But it was probably very difficult for him to buck his fellow Northern Virginia liberal leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35 Springfield) and Democrat Caucus Chair Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31, Arlington). What we do know is the vote lost 20-19, with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling ready to break the tie in favor of restoring abstinence education funding. Funny how it is you can chair the Finance Committee all those monotonous hours, participate in floor debates, and all of a sudden . . . poof! You're nowhere to be found!
(By the way, does he really think anyone doesn't know what he was really doing? We pay and elect these people to make the tough decsions.)
Here's the background: The effort to include the money in the budget became necessary after Governor Tim Kaine removed funding for abstinence programs late last year. Planned Parenthood had lobbied for months to get this money removed from the budget as part of its national effort to eliminate abstinence education.
On Thursday, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Centreville) offered amendments on the floor of the Senate that would have put nearly $300,000 in funding back in the state budget for abstinence programs. After Senator Cuccinelli offered facts from several published studies, including one specific to Virginia abstinence programs, that proved the effectiveness of abstinence education, Senator George Barker (D-39, Alexandria) stood up and, completely ignoring Senator Cuccinelli's facts, said there is no evidence abstinence education works!
That's when Senator Colgan took his bathroom break. But during his recent re-election campaign Senator Colgan publicly claimed support for abstinence education. His opponent, Bob FitzSimmonds, is an abstinence educator in Prince William County. However, when the time came to fulfill his campaign promise, Senator Colgan pulled an Elvis and left the house . . . errr, building, err, make that the Senate. (Was it Elvis who sang "Just One Look"? Nevermind.)
It was an unfortunate decision for Senator Colgan to take a walk and abdicate his responsibility and let down his constituents. Especially for a man with such a long career, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate of Virginia. Especially when all it took was just one vote. Just one vote . . . to do what was right.