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The Puckett resignation: Smelling a huge giant stinky rat

June 27th, 2014 19 comments

Richmond Times Dispatch:

 

A series of emails from the interim director of the Virginia Tobacco Commission outline plans hatched by Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, to offer Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, a senior job with the commission once he resigned from the Virginia Senate.

The emails, obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, document the overtures made by Kilgore through the commission in the week leading up to Puckett’s June 9 resignation, which effectively transferred power from Senate Democrats to Senate Republicans — giving the GOP a majority in the evenly divided chamber prior to a crucial vote on the state budget and Medicaid expansion.

“If you’re in tomorrow Terry would like us to call Puckett to discuss what kind of role he might like with w/ Commission,” Interim Executive Director Tim Pfohl wrote to commission staffer Ned Stephenson on Thursday, May 29.

 

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Smackdown in the Old Dominion

June 21st, 2014 16 comments

Image: Virginia Legislature

Washingtonpost.com:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed portions of the state budget Friday and vowed to defy the legislature by expanding Medicaid without its approval, setting up a legal showdown with Republicans even as he averted a government shutdown.

McAuliffe’s actions — cheered as bold leadership from the left, denounced as brazen overreach on the right — represent a bid to reassert his power as chief executive following the GOP’s recent takeover of the state Senate. They plunged a Capitol that puts a premium on gentility more deeply than ever into harsh, Washington-style enmity.
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Virginia: no medicaid expansion

June 13th, 2014 37 comments

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Senate Republicans on Thursday night used their new majority to pass a two-year budget that eliminates any opportunity for Gov. Terry McAuliffe or a year-old legislative commission to expand Medicaid or a private insurance alternative.

They were backed by House Republicans who said they would not approve the budget — even though Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans had removed an insurance marketplace — unless it included language to prevent any expansion without the approval of the full General Assembly.

The Senate passed the budget on a 21-18 vote. Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. of Accomack County was the only Democrat who backed the spending plan.

Just before midnight the House of Delegates voted 69-31 to adopt the budget, as lawmakers sought to end a three-month stalemate and address a $1.55 billion revenue shortfall.

The blame for this partisan stupidity cannot even be placed on the Virginia GOP.  The blame clearly should be laid at the feet of Virginia’s own Benedict Arnold, Senator Phillip Puckett.  Puckett chose his own personal career advancement and that of his daughter over 400,000 Virginians.

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Booing and hissing at the 7th district Republican Convention

June 11th, 2014 18 comments

What is wrong with these people?  Do people really act that rudely in the 7th District?  I am appalled.

Common decency requires us to either listen politely or leave.  Maybe I am naïve but I came from an era where this booing and hissing is simply unacceptable.

Having said that, this response should have been a warning to Eric Cantor.  The rowdy rude crowd certainly made their feelings known.

In a state where Republicans send in a weak candidate like E. W. Jackson to be Lt. governor, I guess anything is possible.  It sounds to me like the far right GOP want to make more of a statement than they really want to win.

I hope the tea party understands that most of us are repelled by the rude behavior they display at public gatherings.  I suppose we will be treated to a summer of dangling tea bags, three-cornered hats, fife and drum parades, pocket Constitutions and impolite, threatening town hall meetings.

Let the side shows begin.

Categories: US Politics, Va Politics Tags:

A Brat boots Cantor out

June 10th, 2014 67 comments

Second in command in the House of Representative, Eric Cantor, lost his primary election to an unknown, David Brat.  The defeat was totally unexpected.  Voter turn out is the blame according to most pundits.  Additionally, Cantor was targeted because of his support of  Dream Act legislation.

No cheering here.  I couldn’t stand Eric Cantor but a tea party candidate is worse.   In addition, I am a strong supporter of the Dream Act.  I don’t like bricks that single out students and keep them from reaching their educational goals if they are good students.

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VRS returns to pre-recession levels

March 17th, 2014 4 comments

Dailypress.com:

As state and local government employees — including some 110,000 in Hampton Roads — dug deeper to contribute to their pension plans last year, surging financial markets finally bumped the totals in the Virginia Retirement System’s pension trust funds above where they stood before the Great Recession.

But those sums still aren’t enough to make VRS executives, or the financial experts who advise them, comfortable that it has the resources it needs to pay pensions and retirement benefits far into the future.

VRS’ main fund, a $55 billion pool of stocks, bonds and real estate investments, can cover about 65.6 percent of what insurance statisticians say it is going to have to pay by the time the last of its 324,000 participants and 164,000 retirees pass away, its latest annual report disclosed. Ideally, pension fund advisers like to see 100 percent funding, but they say 80 percent can suffice.

Was the amount the state owes the VRS calculated into these figures?  Part of the problem with VRS is that the General Assembly refused to fund it to recommended levels.  Now who pays the piper?  The participants.

Despite the dooming and glooming, the VRS remains a good pension.  It used to be considered one of the best in the nation.  Too bad the politicians ruined it, then tipped in it like it was their own  ATM.  Time to pay the piper, General Assembly.

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Gov. McAuliffe: Virginia charm and better booze

February 6th, 2014 21 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe has added a potent weapon to his bipartisan charm offensive: better booze.

Desperately in need of Republican friends to get his agenda through a divided General Assembly, McAuliffe (D) has restocked the executive mansion bar and thrown open the doors for nightly receptions. In at least one case, he sniffed out just which craft beer a GOP bigwig likes and made sure to have it on hand.

To the discount hooch and Bud Light normally on tap at the mansion, the governor has added top-shelf liquor and microbrews at his own expense — a move made possible by his enormous personal wealth and made necessary by heightened scrutiny to mansion spending amid his predecessor’s gifts scandal. While appealing to the legislature’s more discriminating tipplers, McAuliffe has not forgotten the teetotalers: For them, he serves up daily breakfasts, picking up the private catering tab personally.

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State Republicans attempt legislation to control Attorney General Herring

January 18th, 2014 49 comments

mark herring

Washingtonpost.com:

The Republicans who dominate the Virginia House of Delegates are gearing up for legal battle with state Attorney General Mark R. Herring, the first Democrat to hold the post in twenty years.

Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) has put forward a bill that would give General Assembly members legal standing to represent the commonwealth when the governor and attorney general choose not to defend a law.

If the bill succeeds, it could set up a situation like the one in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republicans hired a private attorney to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment directly on the legislation, but spokeswoman Ellen Qualls noted that “the constitution of Virginia provides for a duly elected attorney general to do this very job.”

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Yes, every vote does count, especially in Virginia

January 9th, 2014 2 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

But senators were also bracing for a potential power struggle. The chamber has been evenly split since 2012 but under GOP control because the lieutenant governor, who presides over the chamber and decides most tie votes, was a Republican. On Saturday, that tiebreaking authority shifts from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) to Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph S. Northam (D).

Northam’s new office, however, gives Republicans a chance to take his seat, and with it outright control of the chamber. After a special election Tuesday, Del. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) led Wayne Coleman (R), the owner of a Norfolk shipping company, by the slimmest of margins: 10 votes out of more than 20,000 cast, according to the State Board of Elections.

That narrow margin — 0.04 percent — entitles Coleman to a recount if the numbers hold. Local election boards began canvassing Wednesday to make sure their results were correct, a process that will continue into Thursday. The elections board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Friday to certify the results, after which the loser could request a recount.

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Too close to count in Virginia so let’s change the rules

November 12th, 2013 25 comments

Rachel Maddow traces the discovery of the missing ballots in Fairfax County, starting with Ben Tribbett’s declaration that it appeared that around 3,000 ballots were missing from District 8.   Ben Tribbett is the blogmeister of NotLarrySabato blog as well as a local democratic.

The real crime here is the way those provisional ballots have to be counted.  I have never heard of anyone having to go in person to defend their ballot.  Several facts remain clear.  Cuccinelli should have resigned as Attorney General.  There is simply too much room for conflict of interest, especially with some of his prior …well..no nice way to say this, conflict of interest.  He chose not to follow tradition and do the right thing.

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I voted for the marine and math teacher, Atif Qarni

November 5th, 2013 35 comments

marine

marine2

Atif is also a dad, a husband, a soccer coach and a progressive thinker.  He was endorsed by the Washington Post:

“District 13: After more than two decades in the House, Republican Robert G. Marshall has a well-earned reputation as a culture warrior more interested in right-wing doctrine than in his constituents. His contempt for homosexuals is surpassed only by his disregard for women who have abortions; he suggested that God exacts vengeance on women who abort their fetuses by assuring that their next pregnancy will produce a disabled child. His constituents in Prince William County would be much better served by Democrat Atif M. Qarni, a personable public school teacher and former Marine whose plain sense and temperate politics distinguish him from the incumbent.”

When Bob Marshall first ran for office, he favored term limits, or so he said.  I guess he got power hungry.

At any rate, its time to give Atif Qarni a chance.  He has put forth good ideas.  Its time to implement them.  It’s time to send a pro education delegate to Richmond.

Those who can, teach.

Those who can’t, pass laws about teaching.

Atif can!  His reputation as an outstanding math teacher is known throughout Prince William County.  Let’s send Atif Qarni to Richmond to show them how it’s done!   He is even a math teacher so he can show them how it all adds up.

 

 

Candidate haunted by “Cuccinelli Compass”

October 31st, 2013 12 comments

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
―     Maya Angelou

Washingtonpost.:

Throughout Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has cast Cuccinelli as a tea party extremist, incapable of forging the centrist consensus necessary to manage the commonwealth. The portrait has stuck, according to recent polls; McAuliffe appears to be ahead in the race — and Cuccinelli’s conservatism is a leading reason.

For years, he articulated that conservatism in the Cuccinelli Compass, honing a combative political persona and providing opponents with material that has now driven up his negative poll ratings and lifted McAuliffe. At the same time, Cuccinelli has accused Democrats of turning him into a caricature, seeking to scare off voters by distorting and lying about his record as a state senator and Virginia’s attorney general.

The Cuccinelli Compass is where Cuccinelli presented himself as an unbridled firebrand, venting about the “left-leaning media,” “gun-grabbing liberals” and “liberals wigging out” over, say, his proposal to allow employers to fire workers for speaking inadequate English.

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Opposition to Tea Party reaches new high in Virginia

October 30th, 2013 16 comments

tea-party-tea-party-political-poster-1283712026

Washingtonpost.com:

Opposition to the tea party movement has reached a high in Virginia, a Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll shows, kicking a key leg of support out from under Ken Cuccinelli II as he tries to win the governor’s race on a strongly conservative platform.

Cuccinelli (R), the state attorney general, trails businessman Terry McAuliffe (D) by 12 percentage points among likely voters, the survey shows. And Cuccinelli’s decline comes as Virginians are increasingly turned off by the movement that has backed him strongly and with which he shares many views.

The tea party is opposed by 53 percent of registered voters in the commonwealth, up a slim three points from last year and up 10 points from a May 2011 Washington Post poll. Just 36 percent support the movement, down from 45 percent two years ago. Among those with the most intense feelings, voters who strongly oppose the tea party now outnumber those who strongly support it by more than 3 to 1.

Independents have soured most dramatically on the tea party: Fifty-five percent oppose the movement, up from 37 percent in May 2011. It’s also opposed by 80 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans.

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McAuliffe leads in polls by 12 points

October 28th, 2013 8 comments

terry

Washingtonpost.com:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has opened a double-digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli II in the race for Virginia governor, in a new poll capturing increasing dissatisfaction among voters with Cuccinelli’s party and his conservative views.

According to a new Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 51 percent to 39 percent among likely voters in the Nov. 5 election. McAuliffe led by eight percentage points in a poll taken last month. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has capitalized on voter unrest with the two major-party candidates, is at 8 percent, according to the new poll.

The margin between the two major-party candidates is driven by a huge gender gap. Among men, the two candidates are running even, with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent. But among women, Cuccinelli trails by 24 points — 58 percent to 34 percent.

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AP reporter Bob Lewis suspended for error regarding McAuliffe

October 20th, 2013 8 comments

politico.com

Bob Lewis, the Associated Press political reporter who last week published an erroneous report about Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, has been temporarily suspended, POLITICO has learned.

Lewis, a highly respected veteran on the Richmond political scene, will no longer cover the race between McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, and may be suspended through the election. His last story on the race was published Oct. 14.

Lewis did not respond to a request for comment regarding the suspension. The Associated Press declined to comment on personnel matters.

On Oct. 9, Lewis published an exclusive report for the AP alleging that McAuliffe had lied to a federal official investigating a death benefits scam, seemingly upending one of this year’s most contentious political races. The Associated Press retracted the story one hour and thirty-eight minutes later, on the grounds that the initials referenced in the indictment did not identify McAuliffe. Lewis immediately took responsibility.

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