Kenny Golden on Scott Rigell, the GI Bill, “FreedomFest”


    I recently had the opportunity to interview Kenny Golden, independent candidate for Congress in the 2nd congressional district of Virginia (currently represented by Democrat Glenn Nye). The interview is fairly long, so I’m breaking it up. You can read Part 2 here. Enjoy.

    Blue Virginia Question

    In at least two instances now, Scott Rigell has been asked, on camera, for his opinion of Senator Webb’s GI Bill. In both cases, Rigell has refused to answer.  Why do you think Rigell won’t respond to a simple question regarding whether or not he supports the GI Bill for our veterans?

    Kenny Golden Answer

    I have no idea why Scott would choose not to answer a very straightforward and reasonable question. It certainly makes him appear reluctant to address an issue that is very important to those of us who have served on active duty. Moreover, it makes him appear weak on the issues and reluctant to engage in unscripted conversation. The public deserves to know how a candidate stands on a particular issue.

    The Post 9/11 GI Bill was an important step in helping our promises to our veterans. Actually, my daughter and I both benefited from its contents.  She is leaving active duty after 13 years and heading for Veterinarian School at NC State. (I hate the Wolf Pack, I lost a cartilage down there) She will earn her degree completely through the new bill.  We can’t underestimate it’s positive effect on the All Volunteer Force either, but there are still many things we must do especially locally here in the 2nd at both Portsmouth Naval Hospital and the VA Hospital in Hampton.

    Blue Virginia Question

    Recently, there was a “Freedom Fest” rally in Norfolk with Sarah Palin, Oliver North, George Allen, Bill DeSteph and other figures from the far right of the Republican Party.  Scott Rigell chose not to attend, you apparently were not invited, and a couple of conservative bloggers were evicted.  What is your opinion of “Freedom Fest,” of Sarah Palin, and of the hard-right social conservative wing of the Republican Party?  Also, would you have spoken at this rally if you had been given the chance?

    Kenny Golden Answer

    Based upon what I heard in the beginning, I actually thought “Freedom Fest” was going to be more of a Tea Party event. I know there had been some excitement expressed by various people associated with that movement. I viewed it as an event at which those concerned with the fiscal situation of our country could gather, not so much as a social conservative gathering. However, as things progressed it became apparent that it was to be a Republican “Love Fest” expressly for Scott Rigell.  I was and remain extremely disappointed with Steve Batten, as he twice promised to recognize me in the audience. In fact, he saw me at the rally and confirmed that, but failed to show the courage to make that a reality.  Rigell’s sponsorship, along with that of Gary Byler probably prevented him from doing so.  I was hurt by his failure to recognize me, particularly in light of several very personal conversations Steve and I shared.

    That said, yes, I would have taken the opportunity to speak had I been asked. As an Independent, I need to reach out to all people. George Allen and I go way back to our days as football players at UVA, when we were roommates. We may not agree totally on all issues, but I still consider him a good and valued friend. I certainly would not have had a problem being on the same stage with him.


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