Home 2015 elections April Moore Takes on Mark Obenshain: Text of the Announcement Speech

April Moore Takes on Mark Obenshain: Text of the Announcement Speech

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Today marked the official start of my campaign to unseat Mark Obenshain in the Virginia senate.  At a press conference in Harrisonburg this morning, I told TV, radio, and newspaper reporters, and a roomful of supporters the following:  

Not at all long ago, I’d have been astonished to think I’d be here announcing my candidacy for public office. But here I am.

The story behind this surprising development begins last year, when I became a grandmother for the first time. And then again for the second time.

I was already concerned about what the scientists have been telling us about climate change-that it is real and that it is urgent that we act now to address it.

But now I’ve got these two adorable little ones in my life, and it feels especially urgent. Because the scientists tell us that — if we don’t act responsibly — the consequences for them, and for all our children and grandchildren, could be terrible.

I can’t bear the thought of these innocents suffering because we were too blind, or too busy, or too corrupt to care.

I decided to look more closely at how our state of Virginia is dealing with this challenge. I was appalled by what I found. And what I found goes a lot deeper than our state’s failure to respond to the challenge of climate change. That failure is part of a larger picture: too many of our elected representatives are sacrificing the people to serve big powerful interests.

Did you know that the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity ranks Virginia 47th among the 50 states when it comes to government integrity! And in its corruption risk report card, issued to each state, Virginia earned a grade of F!

And our present state senator, Mark Obenshain, is right at the heart of that problem. And that’s why I’m running to replace him in the Virginia state Senate.

On many issues that impact average Virginians, too many of our legislators are doing the bidding of Dominion Power, not serving us, the people.

Dominion Power is, by far, the largest corporate donor to our legislators. Do you think that has anything to do with what just happened in the General Assembly:  In this just-concluded session Mark Obenshain and others passed a bill —  that had been drafted by Dominion itself — to exempt Dominion Power from rate regulation for the next five years.  

Now, Dominion and the smooth-talking politicians who helped it say that this is to protect Dominion’s customers from rate hikes. But as an editorial in the Virginia Pilot said just this past Sunday, that claim just doesn’t pass the “smell test.” And the investment world on Wall Street knows who is served by this bill: they say it will beef up Dominion’s bottom line.

And guess at whose expense-millions of Virginians, including more than 37,000 households right here in our District, the citizens that Mr. Obenshain is supposed to be serving!

Now, let’s remember, Dominion Power is no ordinary company. It’s a monopoly that sells us a necessity. That’s the kind of company that everybody has known for generations needs to be regulated to protect the public from the company’s abusing their monopoly power out of unrestrained greed.

But this new legislation shows that justice has been turned on its head. Instead of having our representatives supervising this monopoly to protect the public interest, Dominion is able to tell our supposed representatives what it wants and it gets it.

Mr. Obenshain has shown us who it is that he’s representing – and it’s not the citizens whom this bill will hit in their pocketbooks. (Oh, and if the version of the bill that Mark Obenshain pushed had become law, things would be even worse.)

Government of the people but by and for the Big Money.

Is it any wonder, then, that Dominion also gets our legislators also to block responsible action to respond to the gathering problem of climate change?

Despite the fact that a majority of both Republicans and Democrats now believe that our government has a moral duty to confront the challenge of climate change, Mr. Obenshain voted against a measure that would have given the mighty fossil fuel companies, like Dominion, incentives to stop spewing out the gases that are destabilizing our climate.

Yes, Dominion Power seems to have achieved an extraordinary amount of dominion over the Old Dominion.  Including over  the Senate seat here in the 26th district.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way!

This isn’t a liberal issue or a conservative issue. It’s an issue of basic American values: Should our representatives represent US, the people, or the powerful special interests?

47th out of 50 states in government integrity! That is not acceptable to me. And I doubt it’s acceptable to the citizens of this District.

This District deserves to be represented by someone who is part of the solution to this problem, not someone who is committed to perpetuating the problem, as Mr. Obenshain has proved himself to be just in this last session.

With former Gov. McDonnell sentenced to prison, the problem of corruption was in the spotlight, giving Virginia an important opportunity to enact real reform to this corrupt system. A panel proposed some real reforms.

Instead, Mr. Obenshain and his allies passed a bill that was more of a gesture than a solution. They prefer to keep our corrupt status quo intact than to help give the people back the power over their own government.

Well, I think Virginians deserve better.  We need a legislature

• that puts the people before big money,

• that functions honestly and openly, free of corruption,

• and that enacts real solutions to the climate crisis.  

It is how we deal with these three issues that will do most to determine what kind of Virginia, what kind of America, and what kind of planet our grandchildren will inherit from us. On these three issues, I believe that the liberals and conservatives of our District can unite.

And Mark Obenshain is on the wrong side on all three of these issues.

That’s why I’m running for the state senate seat from this District.

If I’m elected,

• I will serve the people, not sacrifice them to serve big money.

• I will work for real ethics reform, so powerful interests can’t buy the people’s government.

• And I will work to ensure that we act responsibly, so that the heritage we pass onto our grandchildren includes a healthy, livable climate.

[PAUSE]

I understand that Mark Obenshain is a personable politician. But being personable is no substitute for being trustworthy. I believe that if the people of this district see the ways he has betrayed their trust, they will decide, as I have, that they deserve better.

So I offer myself to the people of this district, not just despite, but because, unlike Mark Obenshain, I don’t have political ambitions, and I am not plugged into big money.  

I am running as the candidate who will look out for the people, for our democracy, and for the kind of healthy future we all want our grandchildren to have.

**************************

My campaign website can be seen here. The site is still under construction. But it already has a functioning donate option that everyone is welcome to try out! 🙂

  • BatCave

    is to the north of the proposed pipelines but it will be interesting to see if Moore can gain any traction with voters over over the pipeline.