Tag Archives: George Allen

Mamie Vest passes away, worked with Virginia GOP and Govs. Holton, Dalton, Allen

CookbooksBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It was with sadness that I learned Friday afternoon that Mamie Vest had passed away (see her obituary below). With her passing, a big part of Virginia’s Republican institutional knowledge is gone (see Roanoke advertiser, Republican activist Mamie Vest dies at 77 in the Roanoke Times). She was from a more tolerant era of our party’s history when Virginia was still under Democratic control but Republicans were finally successful in electing Governors Linwood Holton and John Dalton in the 1970s. Her mark was felt by her service to the party, as noted in her obituary:

She was appointed by Governor Linwood Holton to the Consumer Credit Study Commission; by Governor John Dalton to the Advisory Committee on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion; and by Governor George Allen to the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She served as Chairman of the Roanoke City Arts Commission and was an active member of the Roanoke City Sigh Ordinance Committee. She also served as the Roanoke Valley Coordinator for the Virginia Bicentennial Commission.

During the 1970’s ’80s and 90s , she created and directed advertising for over 80 local, state and federal Republican political campaigns. She received the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award in Roanoke for contributions to the industry and community, the first woman to receive the honor in Virginia.

I got to know Mamie through Molly Koon through Facebook. We had similar political philosophies and she would often give a “thumbs-up” on my Facebook posts including something I posted earlier this week, so hearing of her death was a shock.

It reminded of a post I wrote last year about my “Dining with the Daltons” cookbook and discovering a recipe in there from Mrs. Vest (see “Dining with the Daltons” and “Virginia Hospitality” still favorites at my house). I wrote about my personally-autographed copy of Mrs. Dalton’s cookbook and added:

There’s even a recipe from Mamie Vest for “Mamie’s Walnut Pumpkin Pie” with the added note from Mrs. Dalton, “Mamie Vest has won prizes with her recipes. She has worked on most of John’s campaigns.” I didn’t know Mrs. Vest in those days when I was fresh out of high school and working in Richmond but these days she and I are Facebook friends which proves it certainly is a small world.
I posted a link to the blog post on Facebook which prompted a response from Mrs. Vest. With her permission, I amended my original post and added the historical background info she had provided. This is what she wrote:

“Thanks, Lynn. I worked with Eddy to design and produce two Dining with the Daltons cookbooks; the first (black cover) while Dalton was governor and the second (red cover) after he left office. The second one included many photos of events at the Mansion and recipes from those who enjoyed the first cookbook. Collector items now!

“Those cookbooks were major projects. The idea was born when I produced a small cookbook with Eddy’s recipes for a campaign handout. Best I remember, I had 100,000 printed. At several events, we used recipes (such as the wonderful shrimp dip) at receptions. Eddy was a wonderful cook back then — had to be with four children!”

Mrs. Vest’s photos of her farmhouse and beautiful flowers in Floyd, her little piece of paradise, graced her Facebook page throughout the years with the rolling hills and mountains of southwestern Virginia showcased for all to see.

So today it is with sadness that I remember Mrs. Vest and yet feel a sense of gratitude for all she did throughout the years to help a floundering and struggling young Virginia GOP gain a foothold in the early years, and make history with GOP governors named Holton and Dalton. Rest in peace, and thank you.

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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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Virginia Hispanic leaders confront RNC’s Priebus

Daniel Cortez E

By Daniel P. Cortez

With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wisely met with three dozen of Virginia’s leading Hispanic activists and business entrepreneurs in Northern Virginia Wednesday.

Those attending made up a who’s who of the Latino community gathering at the El Paso restaurant in Alexandria.  My Texas roots appreciated the location and the RNC private invitation.  Finally, it appears the GOP recognizes that the majority of Hispanic voters or any other nationality are like me, not registered party members.

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Happy Birthday, Kurt Michael, from all of us at LynnRMitchell.com

Happy Birthday 1Everyone at LynnRMitchell.com wishes the happiest of birthdays to our managing editor

Dr. Kurt Michael!

He has met many people along the way so here’s a little walk down Memory Lane. We’ve had an exciting year that will continue and only get bigger as we grow. Wishing this long-time friend many more birthdays!

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” –Galatians 6:9

??????????Kurt and Ed Gillespie

18aLieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Kurt at the Capitol.

??????????Governor Mitt Romney and Kurt

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Guevara wins Sully primary, moves on to November

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel P. Cortez

John Guevara, the 15-year army veteran, IT professional, Home Owner Association president, former Boy Scout leader, and longtime Sully resident pulled out a squeaker of a primary election victory Saturday in Northern Virginia.

Guevara was supported by Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck who clearly is trying to revitalize Republicans, knows victories of substance will continue to elude them without a better connection to the minority community.  Now they have another one in Guevara, a legitimate proud American veteran businessman who happens to be of Hispanic descent.

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Lexy and Justin tying the knot

Justin, Lexie 1

By Lynn R. Mitchell

In September Justin popped the question, and Lexy said yes. In a month they will marry, these two friends who will become man and wife. To be included in their nuptials is an honor.

When they became engaged in September, I wrote about the happy news (see Justin popped the question, Lexy said yes):

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Moss Neck Manor hosts Supervisor Jeff Sili’s re-election Hunt Breakfast

Susan Sili 6By Susan Sili
Guest Post

The estate where General Thomas Jonathan Jackson spent the winter of 1862 after the Battle of Fredericksburg was the venue for Sili for Superivsor‘s first fundraiser of the year on Saturday, April 11, 2015. On the menu were Eggs Chassuer, Sausages, Roast Beef, Virginia Ham, artisan breads and cheeses and crumpets, fresh fruits, and Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce. Guests at the pre-reception enjoyed the fruit tower and Mimosa and Bloody Marys before the hunt.

Thank you to all the many, many people who came out to support Jeff and make the day such a success especially my caterer Kathy Heidenescher of KJo’s to Go. Also a tremendous thank you to my period band, The Virginia Serenaders.

Susan Sili 3Many thanks to the Commonwealth Hunt Club from King George for the wonderful narrative demonstration of the tradition of Virginia Foxhunting, Hunt Master and the staff, and the precious and handsome hounds.

Susan Sili 12We were truly honored to have our friend and Virginia statesman with us today, the Honorable George Allen, who came to Caroline to support Jeff. He noted, “A smart friend and gentleman of integrity who leads in bringing accountability and not higher taxes in Caroline County: Supervisor Jeff Sili hosted a wonderful brunch at the historic Moss Neck Manor. It was a perfectly beautiful morning in Virginia country helping Jeff and his wife Susan in their re-election campaign to continue to improve opportunities for all the people of Caroline County.”

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Jeff Sili and friends at his Caroline County Hunt Breakfast

Jeff Sili 1 by Cortez

Congressman Rob Wittman, Caroline Supervisor Jeff Sili, Governor George Allen, Daniel Cortez

By Daniel Cortez

What a spectacular event this morning at the fundraiser for one of Virginia’s finest elected supervisors, my good friend Jeff Sili of Caroline County, at Moss Neck Manor. A who’s who of distinguished political officials and our leading citizens were all there to support Sili. Headlining the event put together by the remarkable Susan Sili was Virginia’s finest former Republican Governor and Senator George Allen, and the veterans’ best friend, Congressman Rob Wittman. Congratulations to the Silis for a first class event. The hunt demonstration and breakfast was superb.

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Positive and questionable political actions

By Daniel P. Cortez

With the last hard snow behind us … fingers crossed … incumbents and their ambitious political opponents pound the pavement seeking support.  Locally nervous nellies use blog or Facebook posts to sway voters and genuine media who scan the web for the pulse of our community.

Elitist political establishment types using large cash reserves from dubious supporters for direct mail propaganda befuddle marginally informed citizens during this off-year election.  In Stafford County, House Speaker Delegate Bill Howell clearly worried about challenger former Supervisor Susan Stimpson has been flooding mailboxes with expensive reelection mailers.  Amusing is his repeated, questionable General Assembly claim of, “A balanced budget that does not raise taxes.”

Stafford officials may look at this statement and chortle as they recently voted to approve 16 additional firefighters through a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Supervisor Bob Thomas indicated his concern over the actions future fiscal impact citing a “million dollar cliff” being examined. Firefighting officials state the desire for the temporary positions to be full time after the two year grant period expires.

Fiscally the majority of the Commonwealth’s blue collar workers would be hard-pressed to say their taxes have gone down, period, as they struggle to make ends meet. Funny how legislators won’t discuss user fees which are a “tax” that keeps going up.  Our well-heeled politicians don’t have that problem as a general rule.

And little help came from Howell and the General Assembly directly with both sides bragging of “better days are here” as the majority of independent voters shake our heads.  And as the region’s senior delegate and Speaker, he remains at war with Governor Terry McAuliffe, opposing federal aid providing help to Virginia’s large medically uninsured minority and immigrant community.

Hypocritical how Howell remains vociferous against accepting federal aid for our mostly minority and indigent community, but remains silent over a federal grant taken from Virginia’s share of taxable income for firefighters. Increased Stafford taxation is clearly just around the bend, thanks to Howell’s lack of support in an effort to pad an election year flyer.

Stimpson also boasts of sessions without raising taxes and her service to our community, but in fairness where is the verifiable Christian charity shown by both candidates to our oppressed?

Is it wrong to want specificity regarding Howell’s Dominion Leadership Trust fund and his fiscal compassion? Since 2002, 14 million dollars has been donated by taxpayers and businesses to the fund, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.  How much has gone directly to help the indigent or the badly needed minority voter in the region by Howell in scholarships, grants, or actions?  Still waiting for his campaign to provide such compassionate information. Not hard to understand why the Howell campaign is not forthcoming. Or will the expected response be, “This money is exclusively for candidates.”  How compassionate of Howell.

So much for the negative.  For those who relish civil war sites and want to attend a function for a genuine servant of the people, there’s a very positive event for Supervisor Jeff Sili of Caroline County on April 11. Sili, the very popular veteran supervisor, is kicking off his reelection campaign at Moss Neck Manor beginning at 9 a.m.

Historians will acknowledge Moss Neck with towering trees, a rolling landscape, and Greek revival antebellum charm as the estate where General Thomas J. Jackson spent the winter of 1862 after the Battle of Fredericksburg.  During this event the Commonwealth Hunt from King George will bring horses and hounds for an early morning demonstration of the traditions of Virginia hunting and individual property rights.  Ever popular former Virginia Governor George Allen and Congressman Rob Wittman headline the event in support of Sili. Personally, I’m looking forward to the “Hunt Breakfast.”

Sili, one the regions most requested key note speakers for Veterans and Memorial Day programs, is widely embraced by the minority community.  His involvements from Wounded Warrior fishing, to contributing time and money with DIVAS (Diverse Individuals Valuing Self and Another) and Caroline’s Promise, which are youth mentoring programs, remain noteworthy.  His town hall meetings are standing room only with a racial diversity seldom seen by his Republican colleagues.

When it comes to outreach, Sili and wife Susan set an example for all area politicians by faithfully supporting multicultural events and attending church regularly with the African American community at Mt. Zion Church in lower Caroline.  He’s the rare politician who, during the recent hard snow, mounted his tractor and plowed too many neighbors driveways to count.  Noted beekeepers, they recently donated hundreds of dollars of home grown honey from Sili’s well-cultivated hives to support the Ruritans.

The independent voter clearly can see the value of supporting in-touch working class local politicians over contentious elitists who largely ignore the grass roots minority community or veterans, and have never gotten their hands dirty.

Yes, the politically worthy and the questionable. For those who choose to vote.

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Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer/broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at dpcortez1969@yahoo.com

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Compassionate words and deeds define new conservative leadership

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel P. Cortez

The indefatigable Susan Allen, former First Lady of Virginia, co-hosted an open-to-the-public function this past weekend in Northern Virginia to benefit “Our Military Kids.”  It was a huge success to raise money benefiting our wounded soldiers and, specifically, the children of veterans whose parents face the financial difficulty of being deployed.

I was proud to be a co-sponsor, being a Vietnam veteran and having a military kid myself.  Recently-elected Congresswoman Barbara Comstock was also present to provide her support.

Another gallant cause by the extended Allen family.  And it was a family event as by her side was husband George, the enormously popular former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator.  And it didn’t hurt to have support of his brother Bruce, president of our beloved Washington Redskins.

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Political and media hypocrisy laced with hope

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel P. Cortez

After several bedridden weeks battling the flu and then watching the President’s State of the Union Address, I’ve realized Stafford voters need inoculation from Democratic political hypocrites and elitists’ moral turpitude. Fortunately, actions by former Governor George Allen and wife Susan provide hope for Virginia Republicans  struggling for unity.

Raising conservative angst was President Obama’s depiction of a booming jobs market in our record deficit economy and free community college at taxpayer expense. While socialistically invigorating to Democratic partisans, they remain troublesome to Republicans and Independents.

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Virginia Republicans look to the future

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Linwood Cobb and Eric Cantor

By Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s the Top 5 state offices: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, two U.S. senate seats. Add to that president.

Virginia Republicans saw all those offices turn over to Democrats the past few years including the back-to-back loss for president that marked the first time Virginia carried a Democrat for president since the 1960s.

Frustrated at the string of losses and looking at the 2016 presidential election looming right around the corner, more than 100 Republican activists gathered Saturday in Richmond from as far away as southwestern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Southern Virginia, and the Richmond area. Representing every congressional district and looking to the future during the day-long event, they met in a casual atmosphere to hear positive messages from respected leaders and to network with fellow activists.  The message was one of how to grow the party and work together, how to reach diverse communities, and how to move forward to once again win statewide and presidential elections.

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34th House District: Republican Parisot sprints to finish line for Tuesday’s Special Election

Daniel Cortez 4By Lynn R. Mitchell

After winning the Republican fire house primary in November for the 34th House District, the seat previously held by Barbara Comstock before she won the 10th Congressional District seat, Republican Craig Parisot will face off on Tuesday in the Special Election against Democrat Kathleen Murphy.

Parisot, an Air Force veteran, is supported by former Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen and former Congressman Tom Davis. He was described by House Speaker Bill Howell as “an energetic community leader, entrepreneur and third-generation veteran.” He has also been endorsed by NOVABizPAC, the Chinese American Republicans of Virginia (CARVA), Korean American Republican Party of Virginia (KARPVA), and the bi-partisan Virginia Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Fairfax County Chapter.

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Time for holiday cheer or jeer?

Daniel Cortez 2By Daniel P. Cortez

It will be difficult depending on which political blowhard one chooses to listen to, as to how exuberant independent voters should be in the New Year.

Like many, I remain jaded when Democrats and Republicans firmly suggest they exclusively remain “the light and the way.” Especially if they suggest divine providence ordered their political involvement … and some have.

But I acknowledge some exceptional folks on both sides of the aisle. Presidents John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and father and son Bush are at the top of my chart. Plus former Senator George Allen and Senator Diane Feinstein remain two of the more civil and dedicated politicians I’ve had the honor to work with closely.

Sadly, their ability to reach across the aisle is not shared by their contemporaries. And the collective political failure of both parties has allowed the once dominant U.S. military to be decimated by an administration bent on unilateral appeasement through sequestration.
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Birthday wishes for Mike Thomas, Virginia’s Republican pillar

Mike Thomas 10

Mike Thomas

By Lynn R. Mitchell

LynnRMitchell.com sends happy birthday wishes today to one of our guest writers and good friend Mike Thomas … husband to Stacey, father to Sarah and Alec, grandfather, and children’s church leader.

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Mike is greeted by Susan Allen.

Born and raised in Virginia, Mike began his political career with the College Republicans while earning a political science degree at the University of Richmond. It would lead him to the highest reaches of Virginia politics, serving in the administration of former Governor and Senator George Allen, who remains a close friend. He held positions as Chief of Staff and State Director during Allen’s time in the U.S. Senate, and served the Commonwealth of Virginia over the years as both the Secretary of Administration to the Commonwealth, and as Director of the Virginia Department of Information Technology.

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