Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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Audio: VA GOP State Senator Rips Majority Leader Tommy Norment’s “Cave,”...

See below for audio and a partial transcript of an interesting back-and-forth this morning between Trumpster radio host John Fredericks, State Sen. Bill Stanley...

Our Ballot is Not a BuzzFeed Quiz! The Case of State...

by Cindy I have seen this Roanoke Times editorial ("We call out the 14 senators who voted against modernizing schools") shared repeatedly today by many of...

Sens. Ebbin, Stanley Introduce Legislation to Expand Domestic Violence Statute to...

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who does this should have the "book" thrown out them...they are absolute evil in so many ways. Lock...

Updates From VA-05 GOP Freak Show, aka 19 Hard-Right Party Insiders...

John Fredericks is broadcasting from the VA-05 nomination meeting today; click here for the live stream, assuming it happens. Also, see below for updates as...

The Clown Car Has Arrived- Analyzing the Republican Contenders In VA-05

In just two days, thirty-seven conservative activists will select the Republican nominee for Virginia's 5th Congressional District, following the (not-so) surprising news of Representative...

Stanley Faces Real Competition in 2015

Republican State Sen. Bill Stanley (20th) isn't going to get a free ride in next year's General Assembly elections. Democrat Kim Adkins, the mayor of Martinsville, has announced her candidacy.  When I spoke to Adkins recently, she talked of the need to build a strong grassroots campaign in order to beat Stanley and the importance of starting her campaign early, noting that the district is quite large and diverse.

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.  

A Virginia Front Opens in the War on Public Education

The fellas who brought you war without end and the collapse of the financial sector have turned their attention to another low hanging fruit in our common yard: education. You'll recognize some of the names. You'd best understand the financial gains that drive their proposals for "innovation."

They're focusing on another public function from which they can leech vitality and life and a lot of public dollars. Make no mistake, these "reformists" see a fattened cash cow. And Virginia's agents for change, state Senator Bill Stanley (R-20th) and Delegate Tag Greason (R-32nd), have spent exactly zero days as school district employees. Their common experience surrounds real or imagined sex offenses. Quite the dynamic duo; pimping for privatization and the rape of the commons.

The template for this offensive is thoroughly dissected by Bruce Baker in his Dismantling Public Accountability & Transparency in the Name of Accountability & Transparency? In part:

  • Expansion of charter schools, coupled with multiple charter authorizers (including private entities) and minimized charter regulation
  • Adoption of tuition tax credit programs providing individuals and corporations the option to forgo paying a portion of taxes by contributing that amount to ... privately governed/managed schools.
  • Parent trigger policies that permit a simple majority of parents ... to mandate that the local board of education displace the entire staff of the school ... turning over governance and management of school's operations (and physical/capital assets?) to a private management company ...

The bills patroned by Stanley (SB 1207) and Greason (HB 1999) facilitate the means to the death penalty envisioned by the third strategy, providing the cover to shutter public schools. It is a "grading system" for school performance. It is right out of the playbook of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and a group Jeb Bush set up called Chiefs for Change working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders. ...working with public officials in states: Stanley and Greason are evidently dancing to the tune of interests outside Virginia. Neither of them invented this on his own.

King McDonnell attempts to subvert the democratic process in Pittsylvania County…again

Uranium mining in Southside Virginia abruptly became headline news again when it was discovered that Virginia Sen. Bill Stanley had been recorded telling Pittsylvania County Supervisor, Jerry A. Hagerman, that Gov. Bob McDonnell had requested the former to lobby the Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors to table a resolution on uranium mining at its September 4th meeting.

Consequently, the proposed resolution on uranium mining was taken off of the board's Sept. 4 meeting agenda. Coincidence?

In effect, what Bob McDonnell and his crony surrogates attempted to do was bypass the democratic process in Pittsylvania County and for now, they appear to have succeeded.

It's the latest move in Gov. McDonnell's bag of get-around-the-voter tricks that began with his move to form the "Uranium Working Group" to "be certain that uranium mining can be conducted safely and responsibly."  But if McDonnell's goal, or that of the Republicans in the General Assembly, was to determine if uranium mining could be conducted "safely and responsibly," one would have assumed that the National Academy of Sciences uranium mining study group would have been allowed to make recommendations on whether or not to lift the ban, given their findings and their expertise.  No such allowance was made, however.

Political Musical Chairs

In my part of the Commonwealth, the musical chairs following redistricting are creating quite a bit of business for moving vans. My right-wing Republican senator, Ralph Smith, is packing his bags and moving to the district now represented by fellow right-wing Republican Bill Stanley, the 19th. Stanley, meanwhile, has reportedly decided to move his residence to the 20th senatorial district, where Democrat Roscoe Reynolds is the incumbent. Sadly for me, redistricting put both Smith and Jerry Falwell acolyte Steve Newman into my redrawn district, one that has become even more Republican. So, I get rid of one right-winger only to likely get another right-winger, one who believes he is doing "God's work."

Both Stanley and Smith may have some difficulty in winning election from the districts they have chosen for their new abodes. The new 20th district, which resembles some sort of "sleeping dragon" stretching from Galax in the west to South Boston and also taking in Martinsville and Danville, has become 7.1% more Democratic, according to VPAP. While that district does include more than 30% of Stanley's old district, he will be hard-pressed to overcome the incumbent protection engineered into the new district lines.

Smith might have an easier time in Stanley's old district, which VPAP calculates will be 2% more Republican than it already is. However, he is not well-known at all in that area, since his only other political forays have been one term as mayor of Roanoke City and his term in the state senate from an area north of Roanoke. The new 19th meanders from southwest of Lynchburg all the way to Wythville. The Republican gains comes from precincts in Salem, home to that champion of dirty coal and mountaintop removal, Rep. Morgan Griffith.

Another interesting political story playing out in my area involves that old House of Delegates fossil from Bedford, Lacey Putney, bless his heart. He may have been cozy with the Republicans for years, but they did him no favors in their redistricting plan. His new district, which lost reliably Republican parts of Bedford County, now includes Clifton Forge and Covington and stretches to the West Virginia border. According to VPAP, the district may still lean slightly Republican, but it gained 11.7% in Democratic strength.

So, population gains in northern Virginia are making strange new neighbors and odd political bedfellows out here in the hinterland.