Saxman Remembers Colleague Lacey Putney, Virginia Gentleman of the House

The loss on Saturday of former Virginia Delegate Lacey Putney brought back memories of this column that I wrote about him when he retired in 2013, a tribute from my former Delegate Chris Saxman who shared his respect for the man:

Delegate Lacey Putney has served in the Virginia House of Delegates longer than former Delegate  Chris Saxman has been alive. Yet the respect for the elder statesman is there in Chris’ column as all take in the unexpected yet not surprising news of Putney’s retirement from the House.

In “Lacey Putney — Virginia Gentleman,” the young gentleman shared some good memories about his time serving for almost a decade with the older gentleman from Bedford. Chris wrote:

Lacey is a model of the unbranded, gentlemanly conservatism that makes Virginia so exceptional. The essence of that conservatism, true conservatism, is grounded in two key elements – pragmatism and self-restraint. What works, works. What doesn’t, shouldn’t.

Lacey Putney was and is a model of Virginia gentlemanly conservatism because Lacey was and is, first and foremost, a gentleman.

As with anyone who has served for 52 years, time catches up and the reluctant decision is made to retire and spend those golden years with family and friends. Putney’s morals from an earlier generation were evident after his wife passed away and he remarried about seven years later, as recounted by Chris:

“I feel like a teenager!” Lacey exclaimed with a gleam in his eye and a smile as broad as the James River. Then he softly explained, “Of course, when Carmela came to visit me in Bedfuhd, she had to stay across the street. We didn’t want people getting the wrong idea.”

Chris added, “Of course not.”

Read Chris’ entire respectful tribute to a man who spent most of his life in the public service of Virginia’s citizens.

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Remembering Former Virginia Delegate Lacey Putney, Body to Lie in State in State Capitol Rotunda

Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Delegate Lacey Putney said goodbye to the Virginia House of Delegates as he prepared to retire after 52 years. (Photo by Delegate Christopher Peace)

Lacey Putney was the Virginia Gentleman everyone respected. When he retired in 2013, the accolades and remembrances of his years in the Virginia House poured in from all corners of the Commonwealth.

On Saturday Virginia lost the legislative icon who passed away at the age of 89. Friend and colleague, Virginia House Speaker William Howell, wrote a moving tribute:

With a heavy heart I am sad to share that Virginia has lost an icon. The Honorable Lacey E. Putney passed away Saturday at the age of 89. The Virginia House of Delegates mourns the loss of an esteemed leader who was here long before any of us arrived, and whose legacy will live on long after all of us are gone.

“Throughout his 52 years in the House, Lacey came to embody what this institution stands for: productive public service, individual integrity, sound stewardship and so much more.  He was dedicated to the legislature as a vital and necessary institution within state government, possessed an independent voice and always acquitted himself as a wise and effective legislator.  He showed compassion for all with a caring and soft heart, was a man of action and responded to all his constituents with unconditional resolve exemplifying all that a true “citizen legislator” can and should be.

“During his historic tenure, he tirelessly served the constituents of the 19th House District, which encompassed many communities within central Virginia including the counties of Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Franklin, and Rockbridge; and the cities of Bedford, Buena Vista, Covington, and Lexington.  It was often said that ‘he was the gentleman from Bedford but was a gentleman of Virginia,’ serving his district and the House of Delegates with distinction.  His capable leadership was consistently felt across our Commonwealth by so many for so long and with so much gratitude.

“Lacey served with 13 Governors, served as acting Speaker of the House of Delegates in 2003, and chaired the House Appropriations Committee and before that House Privileges and Election Committee.  Lacey left the House having held the honor of the longest serving member in the history and was one of the longest serving members in all of our nation’s 99 legislative bodies.

“The House has lost a mighty oak tree, but we will benefit from the roots that Lacey established deeply within our co-equal branch of government.  The Commonwealth will bear the fruit of his productive years of legislative service for many years to come.  We are all grateful for the tremendous accomplishments he has left throughout the Old Dominion, from championing the creation of the Virginia Retirement System for state and local employees and initiating the Tuition Assistance Grant program for the benefit of students to safeguarding Virginia’s finances and establishing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.

“Lacey was a dear friend to me and many others.  I will always remember his good-natured humor and unique ability to recall a story for any moment.  During this sad time, Cessie and I pray for his very special wife Carmella, who Lacey deeply cherished, and Lacey’s children, Susan and Lacey Edward, Jr.

“Delegate Putney will lie in state in the Rotunda of the State Capitol, where flags will fly at half-mast in his memory.  He will be the first House member to lie in state since Speaker A.L. Philpott in 1991.  This respectful honor is a fitting tribute to the life and legacy of truly historic Virginian.”

It is the end of an era in Virginia history.

 

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Hurricane Harvey: Texas Residents Face Devastating Flooding, Power Outages

Graphic from weather.com.

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas Friday night as a Category 4 storm, a monster that had gained power all day and caused numerous warnings and evacuations along the coast from Corpus Christi to Houston. The eye of the hurricane wet ashore at Rockport, Texas, a small beachfront city of 10,000.

As of Saturday morning, San Antonio and the capital city of Austin, where I have a vested interested because it’s where my sister and her family live, were not in the path of destruction but, as weather conditions tend to be, the unexpected can become the expected so all are on alert.

Also as of Saturday morning the hurricane had been downgraded to a Category 1. The Weather Channel has 24/7 coverage of the storm, and a first look Saturday of overnight damage caused by Harvey. Stay safe, Texas residents. #PrayForTexas

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Ed Gillespie’s New TV Ad Hits D.C. Media Market

Republican Ed Gillespie has come out with a new TV ad for his gubernatorial campaign, the first of the general election to air in the Washington, D.C. media market. Previous ads have been running in markets across Virginia.

This ad shows the son of an immigrant who worked his way through college as a Senate parking lot attendant and later became Counselor to President George W. Bush.  Now he is running for governor “to ensure the next generation can do better than the generation that came before them by putting forward policies that will allow all Virginians to fulfill themselves and pursue their dreams whatever that dream may be,” according to his campaign manager.

The ad appears  just as the latest numbers show Gillespie trailing Democrat Ralph Northam in the most recent Roanoke College Poll. The race, however, has not passed the traditional Labor Day start of campaign season.

TV ad transcript:

Ed Gillespie: “My grandfather worked in a corporate boardroom, but he never sat at a table like this. He polished it. He was a janitor. I inherited his work ethic from my parents, who ran a small grocery store. They never went to college, but insisted I do. I got a degree, started three small businesses, and advised a President of the United States. Where we start out in life shouldn’t determine where we end up. I’m running for governor so all Virginians can realize the American Dream.” 

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Charlottesville’s Street Artists Turn Talent To ‘Talking Wall,’ 4th Street

Emancipation Park at night, Charlottesville.

A street artist’s rendition of Heather Heyer, victim of a hate crime when a speeding car driven by a neo-Nazi plowed into the crowd during the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville’s 4th Street where Heather Heyer was killed on August 12.

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Trump’s Afghanistan Speech, House Majority Leader’s Response

It was a perfect example that governing is different than campaigning, or perhaps that saying one thing to get elected morphs into something else once in office (see Trump’s years of tweets calling for U.S. to leave Afghanistan).

In Monday night’s speech President Donald Trump reversed years of publicly and harshly criticizing previous presidents when he declared that they were wrong in their policy of Afghanistan, and his determination that America should withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Trump’s speech announced to the nation that more American soldiers were going to be sent onto the battlefield.

Following Trump’s speech Monday night regarding Afghanistan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) commented:

“There is no substitute for American leadership. I applaud the Trump Administration for refocusing our military efforts and supporting our brave warfighters by laying out a strategy that will help produce a more secure, stable, and sovereign Afghanistan. I am confident of the path ahead, and will work with my colleagues to ensure our troops have the resources they need to succeed in their mission. This framework for action is the right thing to do for Afghanistan, the United States, and the world.”

Fox News: Transcript of Trump’s announcement.

Background info: The Washington Post – Trump announces new strategy for Afghanistan that calls for a troop increase

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Sen. Susan Collins … Pragmatic, Rational Republican Leader

Senator Susan Collins of Maine is a pragmatic, rational, New England Republican who represents her constituents. To the right wing of the GOP she is a RINO and a moderate, titles that are not derogatory to everyone, but to the Maine residents she is exactly who they want standing up for them.

This Bangor interview from Monday’s MSNBC is a good look at where Sen. Collins stands. Take a listen with an open mind.

 

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Total Solar Eclipse on the Day My Grandparents Married in 1904

There’s a narrow gold wedding band I wear on my left hand along with my own. It is my grandmother’s wedding ring that was left to me when she passed away many years ago.

Inside is engraved my grandparents’ initials and the date of their wedding … August 21, 1904 … 113 years ago today.

John Francis Osborne was from Grayson County in southwestern Virginia. Mollie Beatrice Kennedy lived just across the state line, on the other side of the New River, in Allegheny County, N.C.

The two young lovers met at an all-night dance, a tradition during those days in the mountains where the young people would meet at someone’s house for a dance party. The social gatherings would last all night because folks lived such long distances from one another and it was difficult and dangerous to travel through the mountains after dark.
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How to Watch Today’s Solar Eclipse

Warnings have been heard for weeks to not look at the sun during today’s solar eclipse.

Here is a one-minute video for a safe tool to watch today’s rare event as darkness covers the earth in early afternoon. Happy viewing!

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UVa College Republicans Reject ‘Unite the Right’ Hate

In a proactive statement that was issued before the violence and deaths that were to occur during the weekend of August 12 and 13, University of Virginia’s College Republicans issued a statement on August 11, 2017, condemning the planned “Unite the Right” rally.

Their instinct was correct. They called out Nazism, white nationalists, and other hate groups who were planning to be in Charlottesville, unaware there would be a Friday night tiki torch march that would take marchers to the lawn around the University of Virginia’s Rotunda.

In the statement below, UVa College Republicans vowed to combat the vile beliefs, declaring that they would take an active role to show those at the rally that their hatred had no place on the grounds of the University of Virginia and surrounding community.

It took courage to be the first to call out what was about to happen to Charlottesville. They had no way of knowing the eyes of the world would be watching as the violence unfolded.

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Republican Mike Makee Will Face Democrat Jennifer Foy for Open HD-02 Seat

Mike Makee (pronounced Mackie) served his country as a U.S. Naval commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Now he is prepared to serve his Commonwealth in the General Assembly, stepping in to run for the open House of Delegates Second District seat left vacant by retiring Republican Delegate Mark Dudenhefer.

House District 2 covers parts of Prince William and Stafford counties. In November the District carried Hillary Clinton with 56 percent to Donald Trump’s 39 percent.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Makee, 47, of Stafford, retired in 2012 after 20 years of service, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and earning a Master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. Currently a government contractor specializing in ballistic missile defense, he serves in the community on the Stafford County Utilities Commission representing the Rock Hill District, and is treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.

House Speaker William Howell, while announcing that a new candidate had been named, noted that Makee “believes in the ideas and values that House Republicans have championed over the last 15 years – creating good jobs, responsibly balancing budgets and solving Virginia’s toughest challenges.”

Republicans had until August 18 to find someone to run after the previous candidate, Laquan Austion, withdrew when questions arose after it was discovered he had not completed the educational degrees listed on his resume.

“I want to use my leadership skills, experience in the Navy and understanding of our community to grow and strengthen our economy, work to solve our transportation problems, and fight for a better future for everyone in Northern Virginia,” Makee said of his decision. He added, “I look forward to campaigning to every voter in every corner of the district and earning the support of my neighbors and our community.”

Makee and his wife are the parents of six children, according to Potomac Local. This is his first run for public office.

Makee will face off against Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy, a VMI graduate who works as a public defender and adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College. She and her husband live in Woodbridge.

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John Adams for AG Endorsed by Va Police Benevolent Association

John and Lisa Adams. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell.

On Tuesday the Virginia Police Benevolent Association (PBA) endorsed John Adams, the Republican candidate for Attorney General.

In 2013 they endorsed current Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, who is running for reelection against Adams.

Saying “public safety will be my top priority as attorney general,” Adams accepted the endorsement of the organization composed of more than 4,700 law enforcement officers employed by federal, state, county, and municipal governments

Writing on Facebook, Adams noted:

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Two 82nd Airborne Paratroopers Killed In Iraq

Two American soldiers were killed Sunday in northern Iraq, according to the Department of Defense and the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve:

Two U.S. service members were killed and five others were injured conducting combat operations in northern Iraq today, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today. 

The two soldiers were identified as  Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks, 30, of Brooklyn, New York, and Spc. Allen Levi Stigler Jr., 22, of Arlington, Texas.

Both were with the 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

An artillery round meant to be fired at an Islamic State target in northern Iraq on Sunday exploded prematurely, defense officials said.

Stars and Stripes reported:

The soldiers and five others wounded in the blast were evacuated by helicopter from an undisclosed firebase in Iraq, where American troops are aiding Iraq forces in their continuing battle with ISIS after the militants were ousted from their Mosul stronghold last month, Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday. The two artillerymen died after they were evacuated. The other five injured soldiers were expected to survive their wounds, Manning told reporters at the Pentagon.

The artillery crew was targeting an ISIS mortar position when the mishap occurred, Manning said. The unit was firing an M777 howitzer, a towed 155 mm artillery piece, according to another defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Despite ISIS’ claims Sunday that it killed the soldiers with rocket fire, Manning said “there is no indication at all that ISIS had anything to do with” the soldiers’ deaths. He said the incident was under investigation.

Sgt. Brooks joined the Army in July 2012 and deployed to Afghanistan from June to November 2014. This was his first deployment to Iraq. He had been awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “C” Device, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Parachutist Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

Spc. Stigler joined the Army in November 2013. He was assigned to the Second Infantry Division in Camp Casey, Korea from May 2014 to June 2015 following his completion of combat training and advanced individual training. In July 2015, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.  This was his first combat deployment.

Several decorations had been awarded to Spc. Stigler while serving including the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Parachutist Badge, and the National Defense Service Medal among others.

Spc. Stigler and Sgt. Brooks were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Action Badge.

Stars and Stripes added:

With the deaths Sunday, nine Americans have been killed supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in 2017, including noncombat deaths. Nearly 50 Americans have been wounded in action since the anti-ISIS campaign began in August 2014, according to Pentagon data.

U.S. troops worked alongside Iraqi security forces to train and advise them throughout their brutal nine-month battle to retake Mosul, the final major city that the terrorist group held in Iraq. The city has been largely turned over to Iraqi Federal Police, described as “hold forces,” who are clearing it of any remaining ISIS fighters and explosives, Manning said.

At least three towns in Iraq are still controlled by ISIS: Tal Afar, about 40 miles west of Mosul, Hawija in northern Iraq and al-Qaim, along the Euphrates River at the Syrian border. U.S. troops are helping the Iraqi forces to prepare an offensive on Tal Afar in the near future, Manning said. The United States believes there about 2,000 ISIS militants there.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other top U.S. officials have pledged to continue providing the Iraqis with military assistance including airpower and advisers on the ground until ISIS is entirely defeated in the country.

It seems to be an afterthought in America when we lose American military members. We’ve been at war for a long time, and military families lose loved ones, yet it is difficult to know it from the lack of news when there are casualties.

Sunday as we mourned the loss of three lives during the violence in Charlottesville, these soldiers lost their lives in combat. Families and friends in New York and Texas are mourning. Saying “thank you” somehow seems to fall short.

Freedom is not free.

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Racist, Anti-Semitic Website Kicked to the Curb By Go Daddy

The alt-right, racist, anti-Semitic website Storm Front has been kicked to the curb by Go Daddy. Google has refused to accept them as they look for a host.

Out of curiosity, I went to the website to check out the hate behind Charlottesville’s white nationalist march over the weekend that left three dead and dozens injured. Across the top of the sit, under the name, it proclaimed, “Summer Of Hate Edition.” That pretty much said it all.

I should have stopped then but I dug deeper.

What I found were the “featured” stories on the main page:

  • “Richard Spender’s Press Conference On Charlottesville”
  • Trump Finally Gives Half-Assed Charlottesville Statement to Whining Jew Media
  • Trump Attacks Histrionic Black Bastard Who Resigned From Council Over Alleged Misstatement

As I scrolled down the page, these disgusting titles were listed under the title “Jewish Problem:”

  • Kikes Pressing Trump to Condemn Innocent Nazis Who were Attacked by Terrorist Cops and Leftist Terrorists
  • Starbucks Managers Interview Somalis with Latent Tuberculosis for Jobs as Part of Jewish Chairman’s Plan to Destroy America
  • London: Inbred Jewish Tapir Stabs Two People in Kike Neighborhood

I’m not around people who talk like that so it was a little shocking.

Perhaps the most disgusting front page article was this: “Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut.” For those unfamiliar with the name, this is the young woman killed Saturday when a speeding car plowed into a large crowd during the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

For those having difficult believing such hate is around us, here are the stories as proof. On top of that, they carry the David Duke radio show including the August 10 show that was titled, “The David Duke Show: A Call for Every True White Man to Stand Up in Charlottesville.”

I haven’t included any links. That’s intentional.

There’s more but that gives an idea of just one of the many hate-filled websites that were behind the march in Charlottesville … the mindset and the propaganda.

It’s disgusting. Pardon me while I go wash my hands.

Charlottesville Judge Sides With Alt-Right, Violence Breaks Out Friday Night

A federal judge sided with alt-right organizers and upheld their right to meet Saturday in Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park, where the Robert E. Lee statue is located that city council wants to remove.

Bearing Drift contributor Rick Sincere wrote Thursday about the last-minute lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute on behalf of Jason Kessler, alt-right organizer of the event, after the city of Charlottesville revoked the permit for Emancipation Park and moved it to McIntire Park about a mile away. McIntire Park is much larger than Emancipation Park and, with thousands of protesters expected, the city is understandably concerned.

Friday night by 10:00 reports were coming from observers in Charlottesville that hundreds of alt-right supporters were already marching with torches through the streets and surrounding the newly renovated Rotunda on the University of Virginia campus where a brawl broke out between white supremacists and those opposing them.

NBC-12 will have coverage. Be safe, Cville.

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