Elaine in Roanoke
Dye is well-funded and is certain to welcome Caldwell's entry into the race if he does go through with his plans to run. As Carter Turner, chair of the Roanoke County Democratic Committee said recently in the Roanoke Times, "I think John's got his hands full even if Don doesn't run. Dye's got literally some of the best people in the industry doing stuff for her. I think she's formidable."
All I can figure is that Caldwell, who has been commonwealth's attorney for more than 30 years as a Democratic office holder, was hoping that John Edwards would retire this year. When Edwards didn't, Caldwell decided to morph into an independent. He's bidding to become the spoiler in a three-way race, someone who is willing to turn his back on the party that supported him all those years.
Caldwell's justification to the Roanoke Times was that he wanted to "get away from the dogma of both parties and get back to serving the reasonable people on both sides." He didn't elaborate on exactly what Democratic "dogma" has driven him to become an independent after decades of being quite happy to run on that same dogma as a Democrat in a city that is a Democratic stronghold. Since about 40% of the district is the city of Roanoke, Caldwell could simply think he can somehow corral 33% plus 1 and win. The probable outcome of his independent candidacy, however, is that he might peel off just enough votes from Edwards to throw the election to Dye.
Forbes and Lankford used a bizarre, ridiculous reason for their support of bigotry, tying it to a business decision by Chipotle restaurants to refuse to buy and serve pork from suppliers using cruel factory farming of pigs. Because Chipotle could decide from whom to buy its food, Forbes argues that all businesses should have the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians because they say their "religion" requires it. Or, put another way, if one can "discriminate" against pork for humane reasons, then bigots should be able to discriminate against other people on the basis of who they love. Huh??
Without even going into the obvious unconstitutionality of such discrimination, my first question for the legally-challenged representative from the 4th District is this: Just how will businesses know a person is gay? In Nazi Germany it was easy because gays and lesbians were required to wear pink triangles. Is that the next step in a Forbes plan to let people justify their hatred through claims of a religious exemption?
It's past time for voters in the 4th District to find someone else to represent them, someone who won't be a national embarrassment. Randy Forbes does nothing for the citizens of his district, while doing far too much to show the world just how ridiculous he can be.
"Every single Virginian benefits from a better environment and more energy independence," Rasoul told the Roanoke Free Press. "We must look at the big picture and do what's right for the environment and for future generations. Continuing to invest primarily in fossil fuels is both untenable and harmful to the planet, so we've got to start shifting our focus to clean and renewable forms of energy."
The bill was supported by the League of Conservation Voters and the Virginia Sierra Club and gives municipalities the option to lower the machinery and tools tax rate for businesses such as solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.
Voting against lowering business tax rates to attract companies of the future were: Senate: Black, Chafin, Garrett, Martin, McWaters, Obenshain, Reeves, Smith, Stanley, Stuart. House: Adams, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Berg, Cline, Gilbert, Landes, Morris, Peace, Poindexter, Webert. And I thought all GOPers never missed a chance to lower a business tax!
Sam Rasoul is a new breed of representative in Richmond, and I hope he is joined by more like him after November. He stays in touch with his constituents, he is always approachable, and he looks to the future, not the past.
Why was this bill so lousy for the average American? For starters, it would have let banks keep collaterized loan obligations (CLOs) for two more years, in essence gutting the Volker rule that made it illegal for banks to gamble their depositors' money on risky securities trades. CLOs are similar to those pooled mortgages that proved worthless and helped destroy our economy. It's estimated that about 95 percent of those CLOs are held by banks with at least $50 billion in assets. (Can anyone say, "Too big to fail"?)
Lest we think this is the first try at undoing the regulation of giant banks following the crash of 2008-2009, most Americans don't realize that the omnibus budget bill passed in the last days of the previous Congress (when Democrats still controlled the Senate) allowed subsidized derivatives, the very things that formed the heart of the credit collapse in 2008. That trick allows big banks to keep borrowing from the Fed to finance such derivatives. This latest attempt was simply trying to put more nails in the coffin of financial reform and regulation.
GOPers even had a provision in their poison-to-the-consumer bill that would have enabled large corporation to stop releasing their annual reports in computer-friendly formats, thus making it more difficult for prospective investors to make informed judgments about whether to invest in them or not. Now to my main question: Why did Gerry Connolly (D-11) and Don Beyer (D-8) vote with the Republicans?
Item by item, Casey shows how all the stuff that Bob and Maureen McDonnell got as the "quid" part of their quid pro quo would be perfectly legal under the empty law the General Assembly had the gall to pass in the last session. For example:
The $6,500 Rolex watch? While the new law forbids tangible gifts worth more than $250, the limitation applies only to lobbyists or businesspeople doing business with the state. Jonnie Williams was neither at the time. He just wanted McDonnell to use the influence Bob and Maureen were happy to peddle to promote his dubious product, a health supplement made from tobacco. There's another loophole in the law for unlimited gifts from "personal friends," so all Bob McDonnell would have had to do was to say that Williams was his buddy. (By the way, that was part of the defense at the trial. The catch there was the testimony of Williams that the whole relationship was strictly "business as usual.")
Adkins said, "I want to have time to introduce myself to people and to build relationships. That takes lots of time and effort." She also noted that she has had success in raising campaign funds so far, outraising Stanley in the last quarter. Adkins has also been endorsed by former Sen. Roscoe Reynolds.
Former president of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and owner of a public relations and marketing company, Adkins was elected to the Martinsville City Council in 2010 and was named mayor by the council. She was re-elected mayor in 2013. She is a supporter of Medicaid expansion, since almost 16,000 people in the 20th District would qualify for medical insurance if the legislature passed Marketplace Virginia. "The state should be a partner in this, not the problem," Adkins said. "Our current senator, Bill Stanley, has been a part of the problem, and I want to change that."
Stanley authored the amendment to the state budget that denied Gov. Terry McAuliffe a chance to expand Medicaid without a vote of the General Assembly. That amendment passed the State Senate by 20-19, following the sudden, very questionable resignation of Democrat Phil Puckett, an act that threw control of the chamber to the GOP.
Adkins is married to Jeff Adkins, the basketball coach at Martinsville High School, and is the mother of two children.
Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) was a member of Congress in 2006 when both houses, which were under Republican control, passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). Under that bill, the Postal Service is the only agency of the government that is required to pre-pay future health benefits to retirees and all future pension costs for the next 75 years, and they have to do that in 10 years! That bill totals $103.7 billion. That means they're not just paying for present employees who will retire in the future, but they are also being required to pay for possible future employees before they actually hire them. Plus, none of this money can be used for benefits for employees who are now retired. Oh, no. That additional money also has to be paid by the Postal Service now.
Not only is no government agency or entity required to meet such draconian requirements. No private company is, either. So, the questions I have are these: Who thought up this idea that is guaranteed to bankrupt the Postal Service? Why and how was this law passed? The answers are pretty bad.
I distinctly remember when a much younger and less conflicted Marshall Pattie, just returned to Virginia after finishing his education, appeared before the 6th Congressional Democratic Committee to express his interest in running against Bob Goodlatte for Congress. Then, he seemed to have no problem with running as a Democrat. As I recall, he quickly lost interest when it was pointed out to him that, as an untenured instructor at JMU, his superiors would not look too kindly on his taking off from his teaching duties the amount of time required for a congressional run.
Pattie's "conversion" from activist Democratic leader in Augusta to independent county board member to full-fledged GOPer ready to challenge an incumbent first elected in 1996 must have heads spinning, to say nothing of the difficulty of explaining his "road to Damascus right-wing redemption" to the Republican voters of Augusta County and beyond. (However, Pattie certainly was massaging Republicans at the Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta County party to "celebrate" the victory of Mitt Romney over President Obama...snark. The photo above shows Pattie glad-handing former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling before the GOP tears began flowing as Romney and Allen went down in defeat.) (Note: It has been pointed out to me that the photo that accompanies this post was taken by Lynn Mitchell at the 2012 SWAC breakfast, where Bill Bolling was guest speaker, not at the time of the 2012 election.)
As far as I am concerned, I wish Emmett Hanger the very best of luck in his primary, not because I like Hanger or his political views, but because I have nothing but contempt for people like Marshall Pattie who have only one political stance: a desire for power befitting their overweening ego.
Many of us have been wondering just what the DPVA will look like and how it will be functioning as we approach the November 2014 elections for the House of Representatives and the re-election of Sen. Mark Warner, given the resignations of the Executive Director, the Political Director, and the Chair. As you know, Charniele Herring is resigning to run for the 8th District seat being vacated by Jim Moran. That leaves a vacancy that needs to be filled as soon as possible, so that the DPVA can hire staff, especially a new Executive Director.
I have heard that Del. Herring will continue to see that the Chair's duties are fulfilled, pending the election of a new Chair at the March Central Committee meeting. I also have heard that the selection of a new ED will be done by the incoming Chair with Steering Committee approval, which makes much more sense than Del. Herring selecting the ED.
Perhaps the best news I have gotten, if it is accurate, is that the election of the Chair is open at present, not a "done deal" as has been the practice so often in the past. So, if that is true, who would you like to see as the next Chair of the DPVA? One name occurred to me - Aneesh Chopra. Any other ideas?
To me, the infusion of Howell money and desperate campaigning by Rep. Bob Goodlatte on behalf of Johnson are attempts to get bragging rights by picking up the last delegate seat in SW Virginia held by a Democrat. I don't think they actually sense a victory in the making, but with special election turnout, the investment seems worth it to them. Today is the moment of truth for Roanoke Democrats to see if they can get their voters to the polls on the coldest day so far this winter. If they do, Sam Rasoul is the next representative in the 11th District. If not, then a candidate who refused to debate or to state her positions on any issues - or to actually campaign for the office - will end up as just one more vote in the pocket of Bill Howell.
I'll head to a Rasoul victory party tonight and will report here any results I can get.