VaNews

Monday June 26, 2017


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General Assembly


SENATE HEALTH-CARE BILL PANNED BY REPUBLICANS IN MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA

By FENIT NIRAPPIL AND JOSH HICKS, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Democratic and Republican officials in the Washington region are panning the draft Senate legislation to overhaul the U.S. health-care system. A spokeswoman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who is up for reelection next year, said the Senate proposal does not work for Maryland and that Congress should start over. Virginia GOP lawmakers object to provisions they say would penalize states such as Virginia that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

State Elections


NORTHAM OFFERS THREE DEBATES; GILLESPIE CALLS IT 'INSULTING' TO VIRGINIA'S VOTERS

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The debate over debates in Virginia’s gubernatorial race flared anew Friday evening, as Democrat Ralph Northam responded to Republican Ed Gillespie’s push for 10 debates by proposing three, plus seven joint appearances. Gillespie termed that offer “insulting” to Virginia’s voters.



NORTHAM STILL FEELING THE HEAT FROM ANTI-PIPELINE ACTIVISTS

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

In the Democratic primary for governor earlier this month, Tom Perriello won every locality in the proposed path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and a number of those situated along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Those votes weren’t enough. Perriello, who actively opposed both pipelines, lost to his Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam by nearly 12 points. Now, as Northam — who has not come out either in favor or against the natural gas pipelines — attempts to pick up Perriello’s supporters, some pipeline foes are resisting



PRO-RENEWABLES BUSINESS GROUP PRODS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES ON VIRGINIA ENERGY REGULATIONS

By ROBERT ZULLO , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A national association of businesses focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage and other technologies is pushing Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to embrace what it calls “a transformational change” in how energy is consumed and generated in the state. “Evolving consumer preferences, dynamic new technologies and aging infrastructure are causing the energy system as we have known it to modernize,” says a memo by Advanced Energy Economy, delivered Friday to the campaigns of GOP nominee Ed Gillespie and Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, the Democratic nominee. “And with this change comes opportunity.”



OBAMA RETURNING TO CAMPAIGN TRAIL TO STUMP FOR NORTHAM

By FENIT NIRAPPIL, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Former president Barack Obama is making his first campaign foray of 2017, agreeing to stump for Democrat Ralph Northam in his bid to be Virginia’s next governor. David Turner, a spokesman for Northam, said the former president agreed this week to hit the campaign trail for Northam, but would not say when or where. An aide to Obama confirmed that the former president agreed to campaign for Northam during a congratulatory call, although no events have been planned.



PICTURE OF STATE DELEGATE WITH HANOVER SUPERINTENDENT, TWO SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS RAISES QUESTIONS

By MICHAEL O'CONNOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A picture of Hanover County school officials posing with a state delegate running for re-election in November has raised some questions in the county that the state delegate says are overblown. The picture at the top of an email newsletter recently sent out by Del. Hyland F. “Buddy” Fowler Jr., R-Hanover, shows Fowler posing in his office with Superintendent Michael B. Gill and School Board members Susan P. Dibble and Robert L. Hundley Jr. The subject line of the email reads, “Campaign re-election News!”



ALBEMARLE MECHANIC RUNNING FOR VA HOUSE OF DELEGATES SEAT

By MARGARET CARMEL, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Albemarle-based mechanic and Democrat Tracey Carver announced his campaign to challenge the 59th District House of Delegates incumbent with a campaign focused on expanding access to healthcare and education, support for farmers and opposition to the construction of natural gas pipelines in the state. Carver, 50 will be challenging incumbent Matt Farris, R-Rustburg to represent the sprawling district, which covers all of Appomattox, Buckingham, a large section of Campbell and parts of Nelson and Albemarle counties. Farris has held the seat since 2012.



ANALYSIS: VIRGINIA DISTRICTS DRAWN TO HELP GOP

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Energized Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump means Virginians will have a lot more choices when they pick members to the state House of Delegates this year. But many Democratic candidates will be facing a stacked deck as Virginia is one of several states where favorably drawn districts have given Republicans a measurable advantage in past elections, an Associated Press analysis shows.

Federal Elections


DIVIDED VIRGINIA GOP COMMITTEE CHOOSES PRIMARY TO DECIDE KAINE CHALLENGER FOR 2018 U.S. SENATE RACE

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia Republicans will choose their 2018 U.S. Senate candidate in a state-run primary after the party’s central committee voted Saturday for a nomination method more open to centrist voters instead of a rowdier convention driven by conservative activists. The Republican Party of Virginia committee was split on the issue, with 45 members voting for a primary and 35 opting for a convention.



COREY STEWART’S WIN IN PRINCE WILLIAM COULD LEAD TO BATTLE WITH KAINE

By ALEX KOMA, Sun Gazette

Corey Stewart may not be on the ballot as the Republican nominee for Virginia governor this fall, but his unexpected near-upset of Ed Gillespie in the GOP primary could very well shape his political future in Prince William County and across the state. Every public poll of the race suggested that the chairman of Prince William’s Board of County Supervisors was headed for a double-digit beatdown on June 13, and Stewart’s full-throated defense of Confederate symbols earned him condemnations from within his own party, including four of his fellow county supervisors.



WHY A PROGRAMMER FROM MARYLAND WANTS NORTHERN VIRGINIA TO ‘DUMP COMSTOCK’

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

For several hours one morning last week, a truck sporting 6-foot-tall electronic signs admonishing Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) to “Do your job Hold a Town Hall” cruised around her Northern Virginia district while some drivers honked their approval. “Hey, there it is!” shouted a protester waiting for the truck on the grassy strip between a busy road and a shopping centerthat is home to Comstock’s district office in Sterling. The mobile billboard is the latest stunt dreamed up by Sean Schofield

State Government


DOMINION ENERGY SUBSTATION, LINE IN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY GET SCC APPROVAL

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The State Corporation Commission has issued its final approval for a much-contested Dominion Energy substation and 230-kilovolt transmission line that will run from Gainesville to Haymarket. The order, which came Friday, allows Dominion to build the line, primarily to service an Amazon data center, along the so-called Carver Road Route.

Congress


POSSIBLE CUTS IN MEDICAID COULD RIPPLE TO AREA SCHOOL-BASED SERVICES

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Medicaid funds provided for Virginia school districts for school-based services could be on the chopping block under both President Trump's budget plan and the Republican health care plan. The two proposals would cut Medicaid spending by $1.3 trillion over the next decade, putting the school-based funding in jeopardy. In Virginia alone, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine's office said Virginia school districts received $33 million in the most recent reported school years for Medicaid school-based services.



SEN. KAINE EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERNS OVER REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE BILL

WRIC

Ahead of a Congressional budget office score that is coming next week, Senator Tim Kaine on Friday expressed deep concerns over the Republican health care bill. It slashes hundreds of millions from Medicaid while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Sen. Kaine said he wants to hear from community members about their concerns.



KAINE: SCHOOLS STAND TO LOSE THOUSANDS IN MEDICAID FUNDING IF BILL APPROVED

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Local schools stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding under GOP efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system, according to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “Sixty percent of Medicaid recipients in Virginia are kids,” Kaine said in a telephone call Friday. The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, unveiled Thursday after being developed in a series of closed meetings, will “destabilize families,” he said.



PARENTS, STAKEHOLDERS TELL KAINE THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT POTENTIAL VIRGINIA MEDICAID CUTS

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., met with stakeholders in Richmond on Friday for a roundtable discussion on the potential effect of Medicaid cuts in Senate Republicans’ health care proposal. Kaine met with about 25 interested parties, including representatives of ARC of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, AARP Virginia, Voices for Virginia’s Children, the Virginia Association of Nurses, Planned Parenthood and the NAACP. “The heart of this bill is dramatic cuts to Medicaid,” Kaine said



KOCH URGENCY: CONSERVATIVE NETWORK FEARS CLOSING WINDOW

Associated Press

The urgency was easy to find inside the private receptions and closed-door briefings at the Koch brothers' donor retreat ..in Colorado Springs, where the billionaire conservatives and their chief lieutenants warned this weekend of a rapidly shrinking window to push their agenda through Congress....In between meetings, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Virginia, predicted dire consequences in next year's midterm elections should his party fail to deliver on its repeated promises. "If we don't get health care, none of us are coming back," he said in a brief interview.

Economy/Business


COAL NUMBERS CONTINUE TO DROP, BUT ADVOCATES HOLD OUT HOPE FOR VIRGINIA

By REECE RISTAU, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

Flipping through the newspaper one day last fall at his home in Rose Hill, Virginia, Jimmy Pittman happened to see an ad for a grant to help retrain displaced coal industry workers. About a month later, Pittman learned he’d be out of a job in 30 days. “At my age of 52, there was some worry,” Pittman said of getting laid off.



SEISMIC TESTS AS A STEPPINGSTONE TO VIRGINIA OFFSHORE DRILLING RAISES EXCITEMENT AND CONCERN

By DAVE MAYFIELD , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A rig won’t drill off the Virginia coast without a new round of seismic surveys for potential oil and gas deposits. That’s one of the few things about which there’s wide agreement among people who cry “Drill, baby, drill!” and those who counter “Never!” It helps explain why there’s excitement in the oil industry and worry among environmentalists and many coastal tourism leaders about the Trump administration restarting a process this month that could lead to seismic tests off Virginia and other Atlantic states.



DOMINION ENERGY WANTS TO BUILD PUMPED HYDRO STORAGE FACILITY IN COALFIELDS

By ROBERT SORRELL, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

Following the passage of bills in the Virginia General Assembly this year, Dominion Energy is searching for sites in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia where it can build a pumped hydroelectric storage facility. In December 2016, Virginia Sen. Bill Chafin, R-Lebanon, and Dels. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, and Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon, traveled to rural Bath County, about two hours from Roanoke, to visit Dominion’s pumped hydroelectric storage facility. It began operating in 1985.



DEMOGRAPHICS ARE CHANGING WHAT CROPS, ANIMALS FARMERS PRODUCE

By CATHY KUEHNER, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Changing demographics and evolving food tastes are changing what farmers grow and how they market their crops. An increasing farm-to-table foodie culture, health concerns and the global movement of people are prompting farmers to adapt and innovate. Farmers are producing more specialty crops for gourmet tastes, restricted diets, ethnic markets and crops that meet religious dietary laws. They are also learning how to produce more crops and extend growing seasons on smaller parcels of land.



SUNSET STILL PLANS TO PRESS FORWARD ON OPTINET DEAL

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

Sunset Digital Communications intends to complete its acquisition of BVU’s OptiNet division despite concerns about a recent decision by one of the partner agencies, its attorney told the BVU Authority board Friday. Attorney Jeff Mitchell, who offered a dour forecast of the deal’s future Wednesday following the Virginia Coalfield Coalition’s vote, was more upbeat during a presentation to the BVU board.

Transportation


DISTRICT RESIDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF METRO HAVE FALLEN DRAMATICALLY; MANY SUPPORT A SALES TAX TO TURN IT AROUND

By FAIZ SIDDIQUI AND SCOTT CLEMENT , Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Washingtonians have soured on Metro, with chronic delays and shutdowns changing how more than 2 in 5 of them get around town, but they are not giving up on the beleaguered subway. A slight majority supports a regionwide sales tax to boost funding for the transit system, with big majorities opposing service cuts and fare increases to raise the money it needs, according to a new Washington Post poll.



IS WASHINGTON’S METRO IMPROVING? AFTER $150 MILLION, MAYBE

By NICHOLAS FANDOS, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The installation of thousands of new electrical insulators has helped reduced track fires and smoke. Tens of thousands of new railroad ties are making for a smoother ride. Deep-cleaning crews have visited many of the grimiest concrete subterranean stations — in some cases, for the first time in years. For a region whose beleaguered Metro transit system more often inspires groans than confidence, something strange seems to be happening this summer: Things might — just might — finally be getting better.



METRO’S PRELUDE TO FARE HIKES WAS FITTINGLY HORRIBLE

By FREDRICK KUNKLE, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Metro’s windup for an imminent fare hike was nothing short of diabolical. On the last day of the weekly commute, the Red Line had to shut down some segments Friday after arcing insulators were reported at the Medical Center station in Bethesda and at Dupont Circle at the height of the morning rush hour.



RAIL ADVOCATES: TRUMP BUDGET WOULD CUT CVILLE AMTRAK SERVICE BY TWO THIRDS

By CHRIS SUAREZ , Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Across the country and in Charlottesville on Friday, people protested proposed funding cuts for Amtrak, the partially government-funded passenger rail system that serves most of the United States and parts of Canada. Anyone who isn’t resisting the White House’s proposed budget runs the risk of being a “casualty,” said former Charlottesville city councilor and passenger rail advocate Meredith Richards, who addressed a crowd at Charlottesville Union Station.



LAYNE: NEWPORT NEWS AIRPORT STILL ISN'T TAKING AUDIT SERIOUSLY

By REEMA AMIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne says Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport officials must understand they are still cut off from state funds and need to meet with him in an open session to discuss guidelines for restarting that cash flow. On Thursday, the Peninsula Airport Commission adopted an $8.1 million budget that includes a capital improvements plan calling for $817,100 in state funds to help with projects. E. Renee Ford, the airport's director of finance and administration, said the commission plans to comply with all new rules and regulations that come with using that money.

Virginia Other


STATE OFFICIAL ADVISES DOMINION: INTEGRITY OF PERMITTING PROCESS FOR ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE IS 'NON-NEGOTIABLE'

By DUNCAN ADAMS, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Attempts by Dominion Energy to sway regulators in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline permitting process prompted a top official under Gov. Terry McAuliffe to notify the utility that state agencies would not heed those efforts. An April 19 letter from Molly Ward, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, advised Dominion that state agencies involved in permitting for the proposed 600-mile line “will not base their decisions on requests or suggestions from an applicant.”



FERC'S FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE ELICITS CONTROVERSY

By DUNCAN ADAMS, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The federal agency that decides the fate of interstate natural gas pipeline projects declared Friday that the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline “would result in limited adverse environmental impacts, with the exception of impacts on forest” — a conclusion project opponents said offers additional evidence of the agency’s bias toward approving pipelines.



MOUNTAIN VALLEY REVIEW FINDS LIMITED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

A 303-mile pipeline that would carry fracked natural gas across West Virginia and Virginia would have "significant" impacts on forests but other adverse effects would be limited, federal regulators said Friday. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's final environmental impact statement is largely favorable for developers of the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is strenuously opposed by environmental groups and many landowners along its path.



MONUMENT IN CAPITOL SQUARE WILL RECOGNIZE LEGACY OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN VIRGINIA

By FRANK GREEN , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

There were prayers, dancing and remarks Saturday at the groundbreaking of the Indian Tribute monument, entitled “Mantle,” under shade trees on Capitol Square. Representatives of more than half a dozen tribes from Virginia and elsewhere and scores of spectators attended. The monument will recognize the legacy and significance of Native Americans in Virginia.



KAINE: STONEY'S PANEL ON CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS SHOULD ALSO THINK OF RENAMING PUBLIC BUILDINGS

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s new panel that will study ways to add context to Confederate statues also should consider renaming additional public buildings to more fully tell the city’s story, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine said Friday. “What I would encourage a commission like this to do is not just even look at existing statues — but we have places for other statues,” said Kaine, a former Richmond mayor who was in town Friday on an unrelated event

Local


LOUDOUN SUPERVISORS PUT METRO AREA PLAN ON HOLD

By SYDNEY KASHIWAGI, Loudoun Times

The county’s major land-use plan around the future Silver Line stops is being put on hold, possibly for another year. Amid an accusation of supervisors “carrying the water” for developers and concern about a lack of public input on the county’s highly anticipated Silver Line Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPAM), the Board of Supervisors agreed Thursday to send the land use plan to the county’s ongoing Envision Loudoun process for more work.

Online News


VIRGINIA POPULATION PROJECTIONS

By QIAN CAI, UVA Today

New population projections from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service show that Virginia is expected to become the 10th-largest state by 2040.


Today's Sponsor:

Washington Gas

Washington Gas thanks VaNews for its superb coverage of the state government scene.

Editorials


POLITICS, PARTISANSHIP AND REDISTRICTING

News & Advance Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The increasing polarization in American politics has been on the minds of a great many people in recent days. One commentator, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, said the partisan divide reminds him of the split between Shiite and Sunni Muslims that’s tearing the Middle East apart. While the causes of this polarization are many, one of the more important is hyper-partisanship in the legislative redistricting process, at both the state and federal levels of government.



DISTRICTS SHOULD REFLECT REALITY, NOT POLITICIANS' WILL

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

FOR ALL THE genius they poured into the architecture of the federal system, the framers of the U.S. Constitution devoted scant attention to the central issue of how to draw the districts that determine representation in the U.S. House. Article I, Section 2 of the governing document spells out the basic generalities, though they were superseded by the 14th Amendment, which includes language about the reapportionment process. The overarching theory, supplemented by case law, is that districts should be drawn with equal population “as nearly as is practicable.”



ON MONUMENT AVENUE, RICHMOND WILL START RECOGNIZING ITS REAL HISTORY

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Every April, tens of thousands of Richmonders flock to the city’s Monument Avenue for an Easter parade. As they celebrate the renewal that comes with springtime, they march by miles of statues that represent just the opposite: Confederate leaders, reminders of a past that is impossible to erase, standing tall along the tree-lined street. Mayor Levar Stoney announced Thursday that those statues are not going anywhere. But they may get some company.



JAIL SHEDS LIGHT ON MITCHELL DEATH

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

OFFICIALS AT THE Hampton Roads Regional Jail long maintained they conducted a thorough review of how Jamycheal Mitchell was cared for while he was incarcerated there. This internal affairs investigation became the stuff of legend because jail leaders repeatedly refused requests to release it. On Wednesday, following more than a year of stonewalling, officials finally provided copies of the supporting documents to The Pilot. That they generally support the jail’s claims speaks to the folly of officials’ silence on this matter — and indicates that new leadership is working to restore public confidence in the facility.



SHOULD WE JUST LET APPALACHIA GO?

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Here’s an uncomfortable question: Instead of trying to build a new economy in Appalachia, should we simply depopulate the place? Mind you, that’s not a position we’re advocating. It does, however, make for a sobering thought experiment — one that has some important policy implications. Here’s who got us thinking about this: A friendly fellow named Lyman Stone who issues some dire warnings. By day, he’s a cotton economist in Washington, concerned with the ups and downs of the global cotton trade. \



APPALACHIA NEEDS A BABY BOOM -- OR IMMIGRATION. OR BOTH.

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

What would it take to reverse the depopulation of Appalachia, which has been a slow-moving crisis in our midst? Well, a new economy would certainly help. But that alone would not stem the population decline in rural Virginia, most especially in the coal counties where population losses have been the steepest. That’s because they face both an economic and a demographic crisis. The two are related — as the coal economy collapses, people are moving out in search of jobs elsewhere. More specifically, young people are moving out.



EARLY QUESTION: WILL VIRGINIA VOTERS BACK A ‘PROGRESSIVE’ NORTHAM?

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

Here we are just a few days into summer and, as predicted, the heat in the race to be Virginia’s next governor is already being turned up to sweltering levels. After the primary election earlier this month, the two major-party candidates are now starting to raise both funds and their profiles in order to sustain their campaigns in what will be an all-out slugfest over the next five-plus months.



TO GOVERNOR'S LEFT?

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

Call him what you will — liberal, progressive, whatever — Gov. McAuliffe is by no means the most extreme member of his far-left administration. Not by a long shot (no pun intended). Vying for that dubious honor, for the moment, are Attorney General Mark Herring and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, now the Democratic nominee for governor.



PROTECTING FREE SPEECH IS ESSENTIAL

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Free speech on campus — or lack thereof — was taken up by a Senate group last week. The topic needs discussion and resolution. Unfortunately, the panel’s own discussion failed to live up to the hope that it might help produce a resolution, with senators often splitting along political divides — rather like the students, faculty and administrators at campuses they were scrutinizing. The Senate hearing comes after a recent rash of speaker cancellations at American campuses.



NEW LAWS TARGET DANGEROUS DRIVERS

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

TWO NEW state laws that go into effect on July 1 aim to make Virginia highways safer. One piece of legislation stipulates that eyesight testing by the Department of Motor Vehicles will be more rigorous, requiring drivers to have a broader field of vision than in the past. The other law protects health care professionals from breach of doctor/patient confidentiality lawsuit protection when they report patients whose medical conditions could make them a liability when they get behind the wheel. In doing so, the legislation encourages doctors and other health professionals to take such action.



THE SPIRIT OF CIVILITY DIDN'T LAST LONG

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

That didn’t last long. After a deranged gunman shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the nation underwent one of its momentary lapses into concern for civility. Disagreeing with opposing viewpoints is fine, the consensus held, but demonizing people isn’t. So when Senate Republicans released their health care proposal, critics offered a carefully modulated analysis of the policy specifics, right? Ha! Of course they didn’t.

Columnists


SCHAPIRO: NO MATTER WHAT NATIONAL DEMOCRATS SAY, VIRGINIA'S IS A STATE ELECTION

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

You just knew it would happen. After losing four straight snap congressional elections — in each, attempting to harness bipartisan rage over an unpopular president — anxious national Democrats instantly looked on the Virginia gubernatorial contest as their last, best chance at relevance in the first, worst months of the Donald Trump era. The outside world ought to butt out.

Op-Ed


DUVAL: OUR PORTS AND RAIL MAKE INTERNATIONAL TRADE A GOOD BUSINESS FOR VIRGINIA

By BARRY DUVAL, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

After months of anticipation, the biggest ship to ever call on the East Coast arrived at The Port of Virginia in early May. The COSCO Development saw about 1,500 container moves on its first trip and that number should increase to 4,000 on subsequent visits as the service continues. Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined port and other local officials at the Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth to welcome the Development.

Barry DuVal is president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce



HERNANDEZ: EXPAND HEALTH CARE OPTIONS IN STATES

By J.C. HERNANDEZ, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

As insurance markets collapse, premiums soar, and Congress inches forward on reform, states are seizing the initiative by lowering regulatory barriers standing in the way of quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans. Recently, Virginia enacted legislation that allows patients to form “direct primary care” agreements with their doctors, which do away with traditional fee-for-service billing and instead charge patients a flat monthly fee, generally between $25 and $85.

J.C. Hernandez is the Virginia state director of Americans for Prosperity.

From vpap.org


VISUALIZATION: LARGEST NUMBER OF CONTESTED VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATE SEATS SINCE 2009

The Virginia Public Access Project

Two-thirds of the seats in the 100-member House of Delegates will be contested this November, according to VPAP unofficial candidate list. Of the 66 Republican-controlled seats, 56 are contested. Of the 34 Democrat-controlled seats, 11 are contested. VPAP's latest data visualization shows how that compares with the past six election cycles.