Tag Archives: Virginia House of Delegates

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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Del. Dave Albo Will Not Seek Re-election to HOD-42

Brian Schoeneman (left) and Delegate Dave Albo.

Republican Delegate Dave Albo (HOD-42) announced to his colleagues Wednesday that, after 24 years serving the citizens of his district, he will not seek re-election to the Virginia General Assembly.

That was not the news expected out of the Veto Session taking place in Richmond. His announcement was also posted on his website along with  a highlight of his accomplishments. It’s a list that is worth a look.

As news of Albo’s retirement spread, political reporter Graham Moomaw with the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted the blue-leaning district created the potential for a Democratic pickup, and added:

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Howell announces House of Delegates 2016 standing committee assignments

Richmond capitolBy Lynn R. Mitchell

On the opening day of the 2016 Virginia General Assembly, House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) released the names of delegates assigned to the standing committees. According to a press release from the Speaker, “Pursuant to House Rule 15, all committee members are appointed by the Speaker, who also designates the chairman and vice chairman of each committee. A full list of all assignments to the House standing committees can be found here.”

Cole (Chairman), Ingram, Jones, Albo, O’Bannon, Miller (Vice Chairman), Landes, Hugo, Ransone, O’Quinn, Minchew, Rush, Fowler, Adams, Miyares, Sickles, Rasoul, Lindsey, Murphy, Torian, Price, Boysko.

Albo (Chairman), Kilgore, Bell (of Albemarle) (Vice Chairman), Cline, Gilbert, Miller, Loupassi, Habeeb, Minchew, Morris, Leftwich, Adams, Campbell, Collins, Miyares, Watts, Toscano, Herring, McClellan, Hope, Mason, Krizek.

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Landes town halls set for this week

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Delegate Steve Landes (R-25th House) will hold three townhall meetings before the 2016 General Assembly session begins in Richmond next week. Landes, who represents parts of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties, is in his tenth term in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Town Hall Schedule

Delegates Landes & Tony Wilt Joint Town Hall
Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at 6:30p.m.
Bridgewater Town Council Chambers
201 Green Street, Bridgewater

Delegates Landes & Cline Joint Town Hall
Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 6:30p.m.
Blue Ridge Community College
Plecker Center, Room P 126A
One College Lane, Weyers Cave

Delegate Landes Town Hall
Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 11:00a.m.
Lodge at Old Trail, Main Dining Room
330 Claremont Lane, Crozet

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Favorite 2015 yard sign

Donald Smith election, mtns 012By Lynn R. Mitchell

The “LYNN” jumped out at me every time I saw one of these signs along the roadways in the 25th House District. My son and others took note because of the last name. If anyone sees one of these in the landfill, I want one! For the record, Democrat Angela Lynn ran against Republican Steve Landes.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Del. David Ramadan will not run for re-election

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Delegate David Ramadan (R-87th House), has decided not to seek re-election in November. The announcement was made today from the House floor in Richmond during the reconvene session to consider overrides to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s vetoed bills. Ramadan won a squeaker in 2013 by less than 200 votes and was expected to face a tough battle from Democrats who will now have an advantage to pick up that seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

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Bill Howell responds to Va State Bar’s boycott of Israel

Scales of justiceBy Lynn R. Mitchell

News of the Virginia State Bar’s cancellation of a trip to Israel for its Midyear Legal Seminar quickly spread through social media on Saturday, a decision that appeared to come as a surprise to many within that very group who had received the news through an email.

On Sunday Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell sent a letter to Kevin Martingayle, president of the Virginia State Bar (see text of letter here):

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Bill Howell campaign team races on, hits 10,000 doors in 28th House District

Bill Howell 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

He may be Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates but when Delegate Bill Howell (R-Stafford) heard he had opposition from his former mentee Susan Stimpson, he hit the ground running with a team that has worked social media, knocked doors, and have painted the 28th House District red with Howell yard signs. The challenge, and challenger, were taken seriously.

By mid-March, the Howell team has already knocked on more than 10,000 doors as dozen of volunteers and staff have fanned out in the district, along with the Speaker, to reach out to constituents. Howell expressed gratitude:

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Bill Howell races out of the campaign gate

Bill HowellBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Virginia’s House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell has never been one to shy away from a challenge so when he heard he had tea party opposition for the upcoming Republican primary, he hit the ground running. After the General Assembly was finished, of course.

His opponent, Susan Stimpson, was a knife in his back, someone he had mentored over the years and someone who would have been on track to take on the mantle when Howell retired. But a funny thing happened along the way when Stimpson decided to buck her old friend, side with the opposition, and run against him. It is not uncommon in politics but always a sad commentary on the betrayer (see Stimpson violated the first rule of politics).

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Barbara Comstock goes one-on-one with Greta Van Sustern

Barbara Comstock 5 Greta

Greta Van Sustern and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (photo from Fox News).

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The only woman in the Virginia congressional delegation, Republican Barbara Comstock is representing the 10th Congressional District after a distinguished career that included the Virginia House of Delegates and previous work on the Hill (see Greta & Rep. Barbara Comstock — I never expected to be here!):

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Bill Janis to run for retiring Walter Stosch’s state senate seat

Bill Janis

Former Del. Bill Janis

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Former Delegate Bill Janis (R-Glen Allen) has announced that he will seek the 12th District Senate Seat that will be vacated by the retiring Walter Stosch, according to a tweet from Jim Nolan with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Janis, 52, represented the 56th House District from 2002-2012 that included Goochland, Louisa, and party of Henrico and overlapped parts of Stosch’s senate district.

He is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and the University of Virginia Law School. Janis was a member of the U.S. Navy from 1984-1995 as a Lieutenant Commander and served during the Persian Gulf War. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.

Bill Janis and his wife Rose have two children.

Update: Here is the announcement from Bill Janis:

For the past six years we have witnessed President Barack Obama attempt to fundamentally transform America. Through litigation, regulations, legislation and Executive Orders, he has systematically attacked and undermined the constitutional principles and institutions which have traditionally united us and made America great:

The principle that the Federal Government must preserve individual liberty by observing Constitutional limitations;

The belief that all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society;

The commitment to fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints at all levels of government;

The belief that peace is best preserved through a strong national defense;

Our American free enterprise system, the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice the world has ever known;

And the common consensus that faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers, is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation.

Over the past year, we have seen Governor Terry McAuliffe attempt to fundamentally transform Virginia in the same way, and remake the Commonwealth in his own progressive image and likeness. He has made the priority of his first year in office an aggressive effort to expand Obamacare in Virginia through Medicaid. He has called for expansive new gun control laws that will limit the rights of law-abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms. He has systematically pushed for higher taxes to fuel increased government spending without regard to the sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars which has traditionally been the hallmark of Virginia’s public finances.

In fact, during last year’s General Assembly session, the Governor nearly succeeded in forcingObamacare expansion in Virginia.  Only the hard work of the Republican majority in the House and the retirement of a single Democrat Senator, allowed the Republicans to regain the majority control of the Senate, defeat Obamacare expansion, and pass a balanced two-year budget.

As the General Assembly convenes today in Richmond, Governor McAuliffe stands ready to renew his push to fundamentally transform our state.  He will renew his push to expand Obamacare in Virginia through Medicaid.  He will put the power of his office behind new efforts to further limit our Second Amendment rights. He will promote the inexorable growth of government spending, which fuels the annual push for higher taxes and fees.

This sessionthe citizens of Virginia are safe from his efforts because the Senate Republicans still hold the majority necessary to say “no” to this fundamental transformation of our Commonwealth. 

This November however, every member of the Virginia Senate will stand for election by the people. With the retirement of Senator Walter Stosch, the voters of the 12th Senate District will have the solemn duty to elect a new Senator to represent them for the next four years.

The next Senator from the 12th District must be ready to stand with the Senate Republicans as they oppose the fundamental transformation of our beloved state. The next Senator from the 12th District must be ready to say “no” to Obamacare expansion in Virginia, “no” to further encroachments on our fundamental rights, “no” to the inexorable growth of government.

The next Senator must be ready, willing and able to fight on behalf of the people of Hanover and Henrico for “a wise and frugal government” which will preserve our liberty, defend our rights, and “will not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

Because we need a Senator who will say yes to economic growth, better jobs, and higher take home pay for Virginians; and

Because we need a Senator who will say yes to less government spending and yes to less government regulation and red tapeand

Because we need Senator who will put the people first and will stand firm against the special interests and reckless government expansion 

For all of these reasons, I am announcing today that I am a candidate for the Republican nomination to be the next Senator from the 12th Senate District of Virginia.

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Speaker Howell reacts to McDonnell verdict, stands by his friend

Bob McDonnellBy Lynn R. Mitchell

One of the character witnesses at Tuesday’s sentencing trial for former Governor Bob McDonnell was Virginia House of Representatives Speaker Bill Howell who stood up for his friend and fellow Republican. Washington Post reporter Matthew Zapotosky, who was in the courthouse in Richmond, noted the Speaker’s defense of McDonnell:

Speaker of the Virginia House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) has told Judge James Spencer that the trial and conviction of former governor Bob McDonnell has already served as a significant deterrent to other state lawmakers who might be tempted to break the law.

He said both caucuses of both chambers of the legislature have had “people” (FBI agents, presumably) brief them on the trial’s lessons. As a result, he said, legislators were especially concerned to “dot all their i’s and cross all their t’s.”

He noted that the legislature has already enhanced state ethics laws as a result of McDonnell’s actions and is likely to  stiffen those laws when the annual legislative session opens next week.
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Barbara Comstock to be sworn in Tuesday … only woman in Virginia Congressional delegation

Barbara Comstock 3By Lynn R. Mitchell

New 10th District Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) will be sworn in Tuesday for the 114th Congress and is holding an Open House reception for those attending.

This former member of the Virginia House of Delegates will represent not only her district but the Commonwealth and, in a delegation that is made up of all men, it is nice to see a woman take her place among the Virginia representatives. I couldn’t vote for her but certainly was in support of her (see First time I met the gracious, hard-working Barbara Comstock).

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Joe Morrissey resigns, special election set for January

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Earlier this week on Facebook, I linked to a story (see Morrissey enters plea, sentenced to 12 months with 6 months suspended) about Delegate Joe Morrissey (D) with the following comment:

The hypocrisy is stunning. Bob McDonnell is facing 10-12 years for … what exactly? Joe Morrissey, 57, took an Alford plea to contributing to the delinquency of a 17-year-old minor (who is now pregnant) and gets 1 year with 6 months suspended and work release from jail to go to his day job in the General Assembly. I don’t even know what to say….

Today comes news that Morrissey has finally resigned after pressure from Democrats and Republicans as well as Governor Terry McAuliffe (D).

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Did judge in McDonnell trial have conflict of interest?

Bob McDonnell 10

Governor Bob McDonnell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Many have commented that Judge James Spencer, the Federal judge who presided over Bob and Maureen McDonnell’s trial, ruled almost exclusively against the Governor before, during, and after the trial.

Now we learn that in 1997, McDonnell voted against the judge’s wife when she was nominated to the Virginia Supreme Court (see Should McDonnell have asked for a different judge? by Will Houp at WAVY TV-10).

Would that be a huge conflict of interest?

WAVY TV asked the question, “Should McDonnell have asked for a different judge?”

Good question. Reporter Will Houp investigated the matter:

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