The nearly 1,300 pro-family Virginians who gathered at the Greater Richmond Convention Center last night at The Family Foundation of Virginia’s Annual Gala were treated to a fantastic evening of inspiration, motivation and topped off by a wonderful keynote address by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The host of the Fox News Channel hit Huckabee was in great form with an inspirational speech filled with philosophy, morality, Biblical principles, humor (lava soap, anyone?) and capped with a moving exposition as to what happens when people ignore the tragedies around them (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog).  Just a week before election day, it was abundantly clear that pro-family citizens are excited about the future and are mobilized to act. The energy in the convention center was palpable. From the beginning of the program with an inspirational rendition of our National Anthem by eight-year-old Alana Springsteen to the final special music by April Lee, no one could leave room last night not feeling excited about the future of Virginia and the future of The Family Foundation.

Governor Huckabee combined humor with personal stories and an emotional challenge to the crowd, encouraging them to fight for our freedom, regardless of the cost. Touching on his time as a pastor and then as a politician, he made it abundantly clear that there is no time when Christians should abandon politics and government. Instead, we must continue to fight for our values to ensure a prosperous future.

As Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb told the audience:

We look forward to election day this year with cautious optimism. One might even say we look forward to the future with hope for change. Yet, while we may anticipate electoral victory, we realize that it is just one small part of the cultural renewal that we seek, and there is so much more to be done. The Family Foundation has had one of the busiest years in our history, but the results on Election Day are not the completion of our work – just a new beginning. 

The Family Foundation Gala has become the largest pro-family gathering of its kind in Virginia and Governor Huckabee’s message was perfect for the evening. Joining the him in the program were our emcee, and new Chaplain to The Family Foundation's Pastors For Family Values, Bishop Earl Jackson; Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who introduced Governor Huckabee; and Pastor Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, who gave the invocation and voiced strong support for the Family Foundation's work.

Also last evening, Delegate Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News) was honored with The Family Foundation’s Legislator of the Year Award for his leadership on payday lending reform (see The Shad Plank). Delegate Oder showed principled leadership and an ability to work with a diverse coalition of organizations and legislators to get results on a tough issue. The compromise bill he was able to craft has significantly reduced the number of payday lending stores in Virginia and helped protect families from predatory lenders.