By Daniel P. Cortez
Jessica Hatchley of Fredricksburg proudly became a citizen last week during 4th of July ceremonies at Mt. Vernon. And as one the nation’s newest voters she can’t wait to vote for the next president during the Virginia primary scheduled for next March.
That was the contentious issue recently in Staunton, where the tea party wing of Virginia’s Republican Party attempted to force a convention and discriminate against their family. That’s what it would have been.
Originally from Kaiserslautern, Germany, she met her Marine husband Robert, now stationed at Quantico, online. They married and have a 13-month-old son, Robert Hatchley III. They consider themselves independent voters.
As nonparty members they would have been excluded from voting for their candidate for president at a republican convention. Not because he is in the military, but because only party members would be allowed to vote. As a fellow independent voter who may lean conservative, I call that intense discrimination promoting exclusion.
Fortunately, a primary was recently chosen by 42-39 vote in Staunton by republican members of the state central committee. Eric Herr, chairman of the First Congressional District Committee, and Steve Albertson, chairman of Stafford’s Republican Committee, both spoke in support of a convention.