Category Archives: Virginia Politics

On this day in 1775 … ‘Give me liberty, or give me death’

[It has been 242 years since Virginia’s own Patrick Henry issued his “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond. Remembering that important part of Virginia and American history, I was reminded of 2007 and a special recognition presented from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. Originally published March 11, 2007.]

In 1775, unrest in America was growing (see background history here). When Delegate Patrick Henry stood up to speak, his words rang out in St. John’s Church but it was the closing lines that most remembered, then and today.

“Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

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McAuliffe Vetoes Glenn Davis Bill That Would Have Protected Taxpayers

On Monday Delegate Glenn Davis, the pro-jobs Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, denounced Governor McAuliffe’s third consecutive veto of Davis’ bill to protect taxpayers from skyrocketing local taxes and keeping Virginia a right-to-work state.

“The Governor vetoed taxpayers once again by vetoing HB1753, which stops local governments from demanding union-level expenses from contractors. That drives up the costs of local projects and local taxpayers pay the price,” said Davis, who labor unions have always seen as a threat. In fact, labor unions have given over twice what the House Democratic Caucus has given to his liberal opponents since 2013 to try to defeat Davis, who has consistently prevailed.

“When government demands private companies pay union wages, you’re on your way to being a union state,” added Davis. “No wonder Virginia’s falling behind among the best states for business. We need to lower the cost of doing business and stop government from imposing greater costs.”

Virginia’s current Lt. Governor, Ralph Northam, also voted against this bill in the Senate in an effort to prevent its passage.

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Del. Jimmie Massie Will Not Seek Re-election in HOD-72

Facebook has certainly become the crossroads of political announcements recently, and Saturday was no exception. Republican Delegate Jimmie Massie (72 HOD)announced his decision not to run for reelection:

Representing my 72nd District constituents in the Virginia House of Delegates, for the past decade, has been the greatest honor of my professional life! I have always been immensely humbled by the trust and confidence my constituents have bestowed upon me to represent them in the oldest continually meeting legislature in the United States. Interacting with, helping, representing my constituents and all the persons I have met over the past 10 years from all walks of life has been the best part of the job.

After a tremendous amount of prayer, numerous consultations and deep thought I have decided not to seek re-election this year. This was a very tough decision!

I want to thank my constituents for their trust in me, my family for their sacrificial support of me, all the great Virginians I have met on the political and public policy trails, all the volunteers who have helped me, my wonderful colleagues in the House of Delegates (Republicans, Democrats and Independents) and the hardworking staff at the General Assembly. May God bless you all!

The news had barely begun making the rounds when a candidate announced his intention to seek the seat, again by Facebook. Attorney Edward Whitlock III, who serves as chairman of the Henrico County Republican Committee, wrote:

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Del. Farrell Won’t Seek Re-Election for HOD-56, Candidates Lining Up

In a surprise move, Republican Delegate Peter Farrell (HOD-56) announced last week he would not seek re-election to the House of Delegates district he has represented since 2011 when he won the GOP nomination against another candidate, Dave Brat, who quickly got over it and moved on to seek another GOP office.

Farrell, whose dad is powerful CEO Tom Farrell of Dominion Resources, was a rising star within the party but made the decision to step aside because of family and work considerations, writing on his Facebook page:

Many folks know that I have been deliberating whether to run again. After lots of prayer and consideration I will not be seeking re-election. Being a member of the House of Delegates has been the greatest honor of my professional life. Thank you to all who I have met along the way as the best part of the job is getting to meet a lot of great people from all walks of life. It was a tough decision, but with a young family and a growing business I cannot give the job as Delegate the time and energy that it deserves. Thank you to everyone who has given me the opportunity to be your representative and thank you to all the wonderful staff at the General Assembly who are some of the best public servants around!

Democrats have already fielded a candidate for the seat, Lizzie Drucker-Basch.
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McAuliffe Vetoes ‘Tebow Bill’ for Third Time

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Really, Governor? Vetoed again?

On Monday Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe again vetoed — for the third year in a row — Delegate Rob Bell’s “Tebow Bill” that would allow homeschooled students accessibility to public high school sports.

The governor has, it would appear, capitulated once again to the high school sports league and teachers’ union even though homeschool parents pay every tax dollar as parents with public school students.

Florida has had its own version of the Tebow Bill for over 20 years … 29 states in all allow access to their sports programs for homeschooled students.

This was the twelfth year Bell carried the bill to the General Assembly, and in 2015, 2016, and 2017, it passed both the House and the Senate only to be shot down by McAuliffe.

So Rob Bell can fold up shop for another year, and Virginia homeschoolers can only hope he is willing to carry the bill yet a thirteenth time. There’s an election before next year, and McAuliffe will no longer be sitting in the governor’s office.
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For Bob McDonnell, Life Is Sweeter After Walking Through Fire

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Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th) and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. February 11, 2017.

bob-mcdonnell-16We gathered for a joyous party at Dan and Trixie Averill’s house with friend to all, Bob McDonnell. Everyone there had some part in his political life over the years. It was the first opportunity we all had been together at the same time since the governor, who never stopped maintaining his innocence, was vindicated when he was cleared of his legal case with the federal government.

trixie-averill-1I’ve got to admit, he had more faith and trust in the justice system than I did but he was, indeed, vindicated. On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court made a rare unanimous decision to vacate Governor McDonnell’s conviction. On September 8, 2016, the U.S. Government announced it was asking the court to dismiss the case.

trixie-averill-3It was a long ordeal and extremely wearing on the entire McDonnell family, and left them $10 million in debt for legal expenses. It is unbelievable that the federal government can come in and cause American citizens to incur that kind of debt, especially for charges that are proven to be false. Bob has walked through fire, but a weight has been lifted from his shoulders and his spirits and pep in his step have returned. He is returning to the Bob McDonnell we all knew throughout the years.

trixie-averill-4So it was a night to rejoice with friends, and relax, and say thank you. He and Trixie have worked together for 30 years as he worked his way from Delegate in the House to Attorney General to Governor, and he led us the entire way. She never lost faith in him. He was our leader to rally around, and many feel that may have something to do with the federal government going after him.

trixie-averill-7We drank Dan’s Hurricanes — a throwback to the New Orleans background for he and Trixie — and enjoyed his chili and other goodies. Congressman Goodlatte had just returned to Roanoke so he and Maryellen joined us as well as Delegate Chris Head. It was a night to celebrate in Roanoke.

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Many thanks to Dan and Trixie for the hospitality, and to Bob for all his service to the citizens of Virginia and the nation from his years in the military and as a public servant. When he swept into office in 2009 with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli — an all-Republican ticket that won — Virginia Republicans were riding high. It was the last time.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Glenn Davis Takes Lt. Governor Race to Shenandoah Valley

glenn-davis-11On Wednesday night, the sheer number of vehicles parked outside the meet-and-greet location was the first clue for Delegate Glenn Davis, who is vying for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, that a huge crowd was inside.

Smiling as he walked in the front door to a packed venue, Davis found himself wading through a standing-room only crowd of nearly a hundred Valley residents (see video). Reaching out to shake hands, he listened to comments and hugged supporters who eagerly leaned in for a few words. “Thank you,” he said repeatedly, clearly grateful and maybe a little surprised at the overwhelming turnout on a cold winter night in February in this quiet corner of western Virginia.

They had turned out to meet the 42-year-old candidate who had dashed out of Richmond as soon as the day’s General Assembly session ended and boarded “Mello Yellow,” his traveling RV, arriving a few minutes later than anticipated because of a busy session that lasted longer than expected. His smile broadened as an excitement radiated from the crowd that filled the entire downstairs of Anne and Scott Seaton’s home. The living room was full. The sitting room was full. The kitchen, dining, and family rooms were crammed with a sea of faces.

Davis, a self-made businessman who thrives on the techie side of commerce, and who served in his youth as then-Delegate Bob McDonnell’s legislative aide, made his way to the window-lined alcove behind the dining table filled with appetizers. From the framed niche with children’s pictures taped to the panes, he spoke to the hushed room about his background growing up in an Italian family where he learned his strict work ethic, and his reasons for running (see video). It was not, he said, for the title, the glory, or the power. It was for what he felt he could contribute and give back to Virginia.

His remarks were vintage Glenn Davis — part businessman, part technology junkie, part entrepreneur … animated and friendly yet direct, with his thoughts pouring out in a rush of words as he described growing the economy and creating jobs, issues that encourage him to continually think outside the box. He is a problem solver, and you get the sense he actually enjoys the challenge of searching for answers to demanding issues.

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Concerns Addressed as Optimistism Grows for Passage of ‘Tebow Bill’

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Last week when I wrote about Delegate Rob Bell’s HB 1578 aka the Tebow Bill  passing the Virginia House of Delegates, some commenters had questions about allowing homeschooled student access to the public school sports programs even though homeschooling has been a legal educational choice for almost 40 years.

In that original post (see Rob Bell’s ‘Tebow Bill’ Passes the House, Now Moves to Senate), it was noted that 29 states already have a Tebow Bill in place. In fact, Florida’s legislation that allowed a youthful Tim Tebow to excel with his local high school team was passed in 1996, long before he was involved, so they have 20 years of experience working with the homeschool community. Because of Tebow’s participation, that school system can lay claim to a Heisman Trophy winner.
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Rob Bell’s Tebow Bill Passes the House, Now Moves to Senate

Carrying the Tebow Bill is old hat now for Delegate Rob Bell. After all, this marks the twelfth year that he has worked for passage of the homeschool bill that would open doors for homeschoolers to participate in sports and extracurricular activities at their local high schools.

On Tuesday, Bell’s HB 1578 aka the Tebow Bill passed the House of Delegates on a vote of 60-38. It now moves to the Senate.

Those who voted and how:

YEAS–Adams, Anderson, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Byron, Campbell, Cline, Cole, Collins, Cox, Davis, Dudenhefer, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Fowler, Freitas, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Hodges, Holcomb, Hugo, Jones, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lingamfelter, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Massie, Miller, Minchew, Miyares, Morefield, Morris, O’Bannon, O’Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Pogge, Poindexter, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Stolle, Villanueva, Ware, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Mr. Speaker–60.

NAYS–Aird, Albo, Bagby, Bell, John J., Bloxom, Boysko, Bulova, Carr, Filler-Corn, Hayes, Helsel, Heretick, Herring, Hester, Hope, Ingram, James, Keam, Kory, Krizek, Levine, Lindsey, Lopez, McQuinn, Mullin, Murphy, Plum, Price, Rasoul, Sickles, Simon, Sullivan, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Ward, Watts, Yost–38.

ABSTENTIONS–0.

NOT VOTING–Austin–1.

On Wednesday Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie wrote on Facebook, “Good work by the House of Delegates passing the Tebow Bill. Now we just need a Governor who will sign it.”

Indeed. The Tebow Bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly in 2015 and 2016 only to have it vetoed by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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Ed Gillespie for Governor Kickoff in Blacksburg — Photos

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As Ed Gillespie continued his kickoff tour across the Commonwealth, he stopped at PK’s Grill in downtown Blacksburg Sunday afternoon to catch up with a packed room of young voters. Here are some photos of the event taken by the young GOP chairman in Radford.

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Angela Kelly-Wiecek Elected Chairman of Hanover County Supervisors

Angela Wiecek-KellyCongratulations to Hanover County Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek (Chickahominy District, former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling’s former supervisor seat), on her election as chairman of the board of supervisors.

Angela was elected in November 2011. She chairs the Board’s Legislative Committee and serves on the Joint Education and Safety/Security Committees and the Town-County Liaison Committee.

Ms. Kelly-Wiecek is the current Chair of the Capital Area Workforce Investment Agency Policy Board. She represents Hanover County as member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Richmond Partnership where she is the current Vice Chair. She also represents Hanover on the Sports Backers Board of Directors, Richmond Region Transportation Planning Organization, and is a current member and former Chair of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission.

A 2006 graduate of Hanover County’s Citizens Planning Academy, Ms. Kelly-Wiecek served on Hanover’s PDR Commission (2008) and High Speed Internet Committee (2010-2011). In 2010, Gov. McDonnell appointed her to the Board of Directors of GenEdge Alliance (formerly the A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership) where she served as the Marketing Sub-Committee Chair.

Ms. Kelly-Wiecek and her husband Paul are the parents of a Hanover County Public School student. Together they all enjoy sports, history, the beach, traveling and reading. They are also active members of St. Bridget Church.

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Bob McDonnell In Familiar Territory at State Capitol

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Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell.

A familiar smiling face was seen in Richmond Wednesday for the opening day of the 2017 General Assembly. Former Governor Bob McDonnell, who now lives in Virginia Beach and teaches at Regent University, attended the morning Prayer Breakfast and was later seen in the hallways of the capitol building. As friends greeted him, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s political reporter Graham Moomaw caught up with him:

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell, cleared of corruption charges over the gift scandal that sunk his political career, was spotted enthusiastically making the rounds at the Capitol after attending the pre-session reception of House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and a prayer breakfast.

In a brief interview, McDonnell said he was back to thank former colleagues for “what they did for me during this ordeal.” Asked for his thoughts on the coming session, McDonnell said it’s “a privilege and a blessing to be a Virginian” and both sides want to keep it that way.

“I honestly can say I haven’t followed it that closely,” McDonnell said. “Money is always an issue up here. Money reflects priorities and values.”

The Governor also took time to talk with NBC-4 out of Washington (video). His visit to the Capitol Grounds, the first since his legal case was resolved and he was vindicated by the Supreme Court, brought back many positive memories, he said.

Looking and sounding like the Bob McDonnell so many know and respect, Mr. Jefferson’s capitol is very familiar to him after spending 22 years in public office. Taking the opportunity to reacquaint with friends who welcomed him with open arms, he noted that God had been remarkably good to him, he had learned some tough lessons along the way, and that his visit was a way to reconnect with old friends and thank them for their kindness during those tough times.

It was obvious throughout the McDonnells’ ordeal that he never lost the support of a huge group of friends and colleagues in Virginia and beyond  who knew his character and stood by him the entire time. For him to acknowledge that to those friend and colleagues is just another reason why so may like Bob McDonnell.

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Republican Response to State of the Commonwealth Address

Delegate Ronald A. Villanueva (R-Virginia Beach), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, and Senator Siobhan S. Dunnavant (R-Henrico) tonight delivered the Republican perspective on the State of Commonwealth.

Senator Dunnavant: “Good evening, and thank you for joining us following the annual State of the Commonwealth Address.  I’m Senator Siobhan Dunnavant from Henrico County.”

Delegate Villanueva: “And I’m Delegate Ron Villanueva from Virginia Beach, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

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Governor McAuliffe Delivers 2017 State of the Commonwealth Address

State of the Commonwealth Address
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Speaker Howell, Leader Norment, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Virginia General Assembly, thank you for inviting me to speak to you this evening. And to the people of Virginia who are with us tonight or watching from home, thank you for the honor of serving you as this Commonwealth’s 72nd Governor.

We are joined here this evening by Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring.

These two Virginia leaders have been great partners as we work to build a stronger, more open, and more prosperous Virginia.

And of course, our First Lady is with us this evening.

Dorothy – your work expanding access to healthy nutrition, promoting national service and making our Commonwealth more welcoming to military families has made our state a better place to live. Thank you for your leadership and for your partnership over these past 28 years.

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