A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - August 19, 2014
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
Gay and lesbian couples fighting to overturn Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage have counted Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring as one of their strongest allies in the effort. But Herring and the plaintiffs diverged Monday on whether the U.S. Supreme Court should allow same-sex marriage to go forward in Virginia until the high court weighs in on the issue in the next year or so.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) told the Supreme Court on Monday that it should put on hold a lower court’s order that same-sex couples in the state be allowed to marry, beginning this week. Herring said that he agrees with the panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that struck Virginia’s ban as unconstitutional, but that it is better for the Supreme Court to delay the marriages and immediately accept the case for review.
Like everyone else, Fairfax court officials spent last week in wait-and-wonder mode, anticipating word on whether the U.S. Supreme Court would halt same-sex marriages before they even begin in Virginia. “We of course are waiting for the parties to exhaust their federal remedies,” Gerarda Culipher, chief deputy clerk of the Fairfax County Circuit Court, told the Sun Gazette Aug. 15.
A grand jury has indicted a former high school teacher on charges of assaulting the wife of House Minority Leader David J. Toscano.
A longtime aide to former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell drew a stark contrast between her boss and her boss’s wife at the couple’s trial Monday, describing the onetime Republican rising star as “Mr. Honest” and the former first lady as a manager so “diva-ish” that her staff once threatened to quit en masse. The testimony from former secretary of the commonwealth Janet Vestal Kelly came on the first day of the McDonnells’ defense. It could help both Robert and Maureen McDonnell as they fight corruption charges.
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell struggled to rein in his wife's erratic behavior, causing turmoil throughout the executive staff and nearly prompting a mass resignation among workers in the governor's mansion, a defense witness testified Monday. Other former McDonnell administration officials said the ex-governor never pressed them to help the onetime CEO of a nutritional supplements company who wanted state tobacco commission funding for universities to conduct research on his chief product, the anti-inflammatory Anatabloc.
Maureen McDonnell was “very difficult, very demanding, very diva-ish,” former Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly testified Monday. Kelly was the second witness called as the defense opened its case on behalf of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, charged with accepting $165,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for boosting Anatabloc, his dietary supplement.
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s secretaries of education and finance testified Monday that their former boss never asked them to do anything to benefit Jonnie R. Williams Sr. or Williams’ company, Star Scientific.
One of former Gov. Bob McDonnell's cabinet secretaries said Monday that she imposed one condition before accepting the job: She didn't want to be the primary point of contact with his wife, Maureen. Janet Kelly, who served as secretary of the commonwealth during Bob McDonnell's term, said she became aware of Maureen McDonnell's "challenging behavior" during the 2009 campaign.
A longtime aide to former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia on Monday portrayed the governor’s wife, Maureen, as an unstable, angry woman who flirted with the businessman who lavished the couple with gifts allegedly in exchange for promoting his business. Defense lawyers began their rebuttal of public corruption charges against the McDonnells, leaning heavily on Virginia’s former secretary of the commonwealth, Janet Vestal Kelly, to detail Ms. McDonnell’s relationship with her husband, her staff and Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of the dietary supplement maker Star Scientific.
A string of high-ranking officials from Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration took the stand in his corruption trial Monday to say he never asked them for anything untoward, and never anything for Star Scientific. No grants, though the governor controlled at least two state funds, with millions of dollars available a year.
Despite the rain expected throughout the region today, voter registrars in the 38th District in Virginia seem confident that turnout will be good for today’s special election. Today, voters will choose the next member of the Virginia Senate from Southwest Virginia. Republican Ben Chafin, 54, of Hansonville, Democrat Mike Hymes, 65, of Tazewell, and independent Rick Mullins, 52, of Clintwood, are competing to fill the seat vacated in June by longtime Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Lebanon.
Virginia voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide four special elections, including three races for open seats in the General Assembly and a town council election in central Virginia where new voter identification requirements will be in place for the first time. The election for the 48th District in the House of Delegates pits Richard “Rip” Sullivan (D) against David M. Foster (R) for the remainder of a term vacated by former delegate Robert Brink (D).
Voters head to the polls today in Southwest Virginia to pick the successor to Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, with control of the legislative chamber up for grabs. The special election for Puckett’s 38th District seat pits Del. A. Benton Chafin Jr., R-Russell, against Democrat Mike Hymes, a Tazewell County supervisor. Independent Rick Mullins also is running.
Senator Mark Warner told a group of veterans in Gloucester Monday that both the health care system and culture of the Veterans Administration needed to change, but it wouldn't be an easy fix. "We have a messed-up system," he said. "I'm not sure… that money alone is going to fix this problem at all."