Tag Archives: Bob Goodlatte

For Bob McDonnell, Life Is Sweeter After Walking Through Fire


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.



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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U.S. House Reverses Earlier Ethics Vote


Tuesday saw the Republican U.S. House walk back the changes to the Ethics Office that had been approved the day before. Perhaps it was because of the behind-closed-doors secrecy, or maybe the timing at the opening of the 115th U.S. Congress. Maybe it was the words ethics office, or the swift and extremely negative headlines. Or maybe it was a negative tweet from the incoming president.  Whatever it was, the proposed rules change was scrapped.

On Monday Politico was among the first to expose the move to change to ethics oversight, writing, “Despite a warning from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Republicans adopted a proposal by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to put the Office of Congressional Ethics under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee.”

Late Monday as news leaked out, the headlines blared. The Washington Post blasted, House Republicans vote to rein in independent ethics office. The New York Times blasted, With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office. Politico’s headline shouted, House Republicans Gut Their Own Oversight. It was all over the TV news and social media.
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Bob Stuart: ‘Little interest in 6th district GOP primary, officials say’

In the 6th Congressional District, there isn’t much interest in next Tuesday’s Republican primary, according to political reporter Bob Stuart. That is in agreement with the general public that I’ve encountered including my neighbor who saw precinct yard signs on my front porch and wondered what was going on. When I informed her there is a primary next week, she was unaware that the polls would be open for voting.

In the News-Virginian, Stuart wrote:

Next Tuesday’s 6th District Primary pits the 12-term incumbent Goodlatte against private pilot and Air Force veteran Harry Griego. Griego’s campaign has been a low-key one — so low key, in fact, that it hasn’t included stops in the area or even billboard or yard signs.

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Wendell Walker out, Ralph Smith in as candidate for 6th District chair

Wendell Walker 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

After years of attempting to hold a fractured 6th Congressional District GOP committee together for common purpose, District Chairman Wendell Walker has announced he will not run for re-election.

Former State Senator Ralph Smith, whose term recently ended (see Ralph Smith announces retirement from state senate, annoints Suetterlein), has been asked by Congressman Goodlatte, among others, to run against Rockbridge businessman Scott Sayre, whose entry into the 6th District chairman’s race came at perhaps one of the most fractured and raucous meetings the district committee has known.

The handwriting was on the wall after Vance Wilkins and Sayre, through their surrogates, hijacked the 6th District meeting at the December Republican Advance in Hot Springs in what was described as a nasty hours-long confrontation (see Shaun Kenney’s live-blog commentary, Virginia 6th District GOP meeting). At that point, despite Walker’s best efforts and the presence of RPV General Counsel, he had lost the tug-of-war between the tea party faction seeking to unseat Goodlatte, and the establishment conservatives.

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Centrist House members flex muscle, pass Export-Import Bank reauthoriation

Export-Import Bank logoBy Lynn R. Mitchell

On Tuesday evening, centrist members of the U.S. House flexed some muscle and overwhelmingly cast a bipartisan vote of 313-118 to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (see WSJ’s House votes to reauthorize U.S. Import-Export Bank). Its charter had lapsed on July 15, 2015, after tea party members had targeted it, calling it “corporate cronyism.”

Immediately after the vote, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th CD) posted on Facebook:

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Goodlatte for Speaker?

Bob Goodlatte, Robert Hurt 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

As the U.S. House of Representatives looks for its next Speaker, some have suggested Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) of Roanoke who currently heads the judiciary committee.

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling noted on his Facebook page:

Well, this is an interesting development. I am now officially promoting Bob Goodlatte of Virginia to become the next Speaker of the House. Paul Ryan would also be a good choice, although he has previously said he does not want the job. We’ve got to find someone who can bring the various factions of the GOP conference together, and that won’t be easy.

Rockbridge-Lexington Republican Committee Chairman Roger Jarrell took to Facebook to suggest:

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6th District supporters rally around Congressman Goodlatte at outdoor Augusta County event

By Lynn R. Mitchell

6Hearing the issues now being tackled by Congress reminded of a gathering of supporters from Augusta, Rockingham, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Harrisonburg held for Congressman Bob Goodlatte earlier this month in Weyers Cave. While there, the congressman was able to address the crowd of about 60 donors and supporters and expand on the wide array of discussions and issues that are occurring in Congress. With the animosity that is prevalent these days in politics, it was good to hear the update.

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Congressmen Hurt, Goodlatte statements on Iran nuclear deal

Bob Goodlatte, Robert Hurt 2

Bob Goodlatte, Robert Hurt. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell (September 2010).

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Two of Virginia’s congressmen from the central and western areas of the Commonwealth reacted to Tuesday’s news of a deal made with Iran by the Obama administration.

From Congressman Robert Hurt (R-5th Congressional District):

“I am very concerned by the announcement that we have made a deal with Iran given their nuclear ambitions and history of hostility toward the U.S. and our allies. I remain skeptical that Iran will act in good faith and adhere to any of the terms of a deal. Iran has been unwilling to make necessary compromises to meaningfully limit their nuclear program, and there is little reason to believe this will change now. Making a deal just for the sake of doing so is not worth putting the safety and security of our allies and our country at risk.
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Del. Dickie Bell draws challenger in 20th House District

Will Hammer 2

Will Hammer

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Staunton resident Will Hammer has announced that he will challenge Republican Delegate Dickie Bell in the 20th House of Delegates District as the Libertarian candidate. A 2005 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School and 2009 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College with a BA in Economics, Hammer ran in 2014 against incumbent Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte in the 6th District.

In a press release, Hammer noted, “The race may have changed [from 2014], but my principles have not. I will be looking to get people to talk about the role of government, personal and economic freedom, and the grave failure of the two party system.”

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Congressman Goodlatte, please vote for Speaker John Boehner

John Boehner 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

On Sunday afternoon, there was yet another email that urged everyone to contact our congressman, Bob Goodlatte, to instruct him to not vote for Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday.  I totally support Speaker Boehner and have relayed that to Congressman Goodlatte. Did the anti-Boehner forces not read the post by Brian Schoeneman at Bearing Drift that they are being duped (see No, there’s no race for Speaker of the House)?

Here’s the email that came from Roanoke City Republican Committee chairman John Brill:
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Virginia delegation’s votes on $1.1 trillion bill

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The Virginia Congressional delegation’s votes on the $1.1 trillion spending bill:

In Favor (Yes): U.S. Reps. Scott Rigell (R-2nd), Randy Forbes (R-4th), Bob Goodlatte (R-6th), Frank Wolf (R-10th), Jim Moran (D-8th), Gerry Connolly (D-11th) and U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D).

Opposed (No): U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (R-1st), Bobby Scott (D-3rd), Robert Hurt (R-5th), Dave Brat (R-7th), and Morgan Griffith (R-9th).

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Korean War vet survived behind enemy lines


Tom LaBerge, Veterans Day, 11-11-2014

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Saturday’s Veterans Day parade in downtown Staunton, Va, saw many families lining the streets to wave American flags and cheer as floats passed by filled with local veterans. The community honored past and present military members including many who vividly remember the details of war.

One of those local veterans is a quiet, unassuming gentleman, slightly stooped with graying hair. Until last year, few people knew that he had suffered life-threatening injuries during the Korean War.

Now in his 70s, Tom LaBarge (pronounced La-BARGE) does not like to bring attention to himself. That was very evident as he reluctantly gave in to my persistent prodding to talk about his military service after a surprise presentation in 2009 of war-time medals that had been long overdue. Four of his seven grown children had flown from Minnesota to Virginia for the event, and I had been invited by his wife Millicent to join them.

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Rumor has it coup to take place tonight at Augusta County GOP meeting

ExplosionBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The boiling, dysfunctional tempest that is the Augusta County Republican Committee for the past six years under the leadership of former chairman Bill Shirley and now Dan Moxley will probably explode tonight at their monthly meeting.

After last week’s tricks by Shirley and Moxley to try and manipulate the nominating process for county supervisor, illegally disqualifying one candidate to leave only their candidate — a move that was ruled out of order by RPV — they were successful in doing something that has been missing for six years: they united the elected officials to finally publicly express outrage at the illegal goings-on (that have been occurring since Shirley took office six years ago) and do something. Their candidate won.

For example, Delegate Steve Landes, who was for Carolyn Bragg, wrote on my Facebook:

Steve Landes facebook comments

“This is America, not the Soviet Union,” Landes concluded in his remarks.

Now rumor has it there is a planned coup for tonight’s Augusta County Republican Committee meeting to overturn the chairmanship of Moxley and place their own candidate in office. Will they be successful? Watch for fireworks in the western skies of Virginia when the meeting gets underway at 7:00 p.m. at the Government Center in Verona.

This could have been avoided in March if they had fielded a candidate against Moxley, the hand-chosen successor by Bill Shirley. Moxley moved from Bath County, where he was vice chair and then chairman, to Augusta County to run against Emmett Hanger. Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s office staff called around in March trying to find a candidate including one to me at the eleventh hour — four days before the deadline — and although I made a suggestion to them, they didn’t follow through. Trixie Averill, who knows this area extremely well from her many years of field work in the 6th District, was never asked for suggestions.

And so Dan Moxley walked into the office unopposed. He, the man who was guest speaker at a GOP meeting three years ago and talked about seceding from the union. I looked at a friend sitting next to me and asked, “Is this a GOP meeting, or a tea party meeting?”

That was the man who became chairman of Augusta County.

So tonight the reputed coup is flaunting the name of Jim Hinton, a local. Though not a member of the committee, he has served on the Augusta County electoral board with Ruth Talmage, both of whom would be in Senator Hanger’s corner.

Get your popcorn ready because this should be good.

UPDATE: Augusta County GOP follow-up to rumor of coup attempt

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Curious controversy around reporting of Goodlatte meeting with tea party leadership

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Last week I reported on a meeting that took place on June 17 between the Staunton Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots (SVTPP) and Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th). The controversy arose around a post titled, “Goodlatte requests meeting with Shenandoah Valley tea party leadership 7 days after Eric Cantor’s loss.”

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UPDATE: Goodlatte requests holds meeting with Shenandoah Valley tea party leadership 7 days after Eric Cantor’s loss

???????????????????????????????By Lynn R. Mitchell

UPDATE: Congressman Goodlatte’s office responded to this post: “Congressman Goodlatte requested this meeting with SVTPP in May, well before the June 10th primary, as part of his continued outreach to groups throughout the Sixth District. The headline of your post is quite misleading, making it look like the meeting was requested in response to Eric Cantor’s loss, which is not the case.”

The Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots (SVTPP) reported in their June 29 newsletter that they were asked by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) to meet to air their concerns, an hour-long event that took place on June 17, just seven days after Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his reelection race. The tea party newsletter noted:

Congressman Goodlatte had requested the meeting in order to hear from the Leadership matters the Organization considered important, as well as thoughts and recommendations.

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