In a contest for the worst, most extreme, wackiest, tea baggiest of the teabaggers in Richmond, it would be a tough competition. Obviously, “Sideshow Bob” and Dick Black would be high on the list for their rabid homophobia, misogyny, and total insanity. But not far behind those wackos would have to be Del. David Ramadan, who as you can see if you click on that link, has been eviscerated by the Too Conservative crew for being a “shameless self promoter” and “egomaniac extraordinaire,” for employing “disgusting, disturbing tactics,” and for being “unfit for public office.” And those are his better qualities, as far as I can determine!
Seriously, on the issues, his record is atrocious, with votes for voter suppression (via imposing a completely unnecessary, discriminatory photo ID requirement), to require women to receive an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, to repeal Virginia’s one-handgun-per-month limit, to define life as beginning at conception, to oppose Tracy Thorne-Begland for a judgeship (because Thorne-Begland is gay), etc, etc. In sum, the guy is a rabid, right-wing extremist, pretty much without exception.
If all that weren’t bad enough, check out where Ramadan gets his money. In particular, note that his #1 donor, other than the Republican Party of Virginia, is a guy named Howard Gary Heavin, who gave Ramadan $75,000. Who is Heavin? First of all, he’s from Gatesville, Texas, not from Virginia, let alone from Ramadan’s district. Second, he’s the co-founder (along with his wife) of Curves, a “chain of women-only fitness center franchises,” which claims “a passion for and commitment to women’s health.” Despite this supposed commitment to women’s health, as ThinkProgress points out, the Heavins have exerted great efforts over a long period of time “in support of policies that undermine women’s equality in the workplace and restrict women’s access to health care services.”
Gary Heavin pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars for controversial “pregnancy crisis centers” that try to talk women out of abortions and have been accused to providing false information. They also made large donations to abstinence-only education programs — programs which often misinform and make teens more likely to engage in risky behavior and become pregnant. Curves also pulled its funding for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation over its objection to the charity’s funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening services. In a 2004 editorial, Mr. Heavin attacked Planned Parenthood’s sex education literature, writing “I have a 10-year-old daughter. I would absolutely not allow her to be exposed to this material. I don’t want her being taught masturbation and told that homosexuality is normal.”
That anti-choice and anti-LGBT stance was further demonstrated when Curves partnered with the American Family Association — a group that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.” They joined for a 2009 healthy recipe contest and sold a Curves fitness CD on the AFA’s website. Gary Heavin has also been an outspoken enthusiast for televangelist Pat Robertson, who has blamed natural disasters on same-sex marriage equality and blamed 9/11 on abortion, the separation of church and state, and civil liberties groups.
What makes it particularly infuriating is that Ramadan represents a district that went for Barack Obama and Tim Kaine by 57%-43% margins, and that (according to NLS) “will be on the top of everyone’s watch list in 2013.” Also note that Ramadan squeaked by in 2011 by just 54 votes over Mike Kondratick, despite outspending Kondratick by something like a 3:1 maring. Clearly, Ramadan not only needs to be booted out of office, but he’s in a district that by all rights should boot him out of office, as long as Obama/Kaine voters turn out this November. Fortunately, we’ve got a strong candidate (John Bell) running against Ramadan, so there’s no excuse this time. This race is going to be at the top of the priority list this fall, and we all need to do whatever we can to help propel John Bell to victory. Thanks, and in advance: good riddance to David Ramadan!