A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - October 30, 2014
Today's Sponsor: The University of Virginia Press
Whose new book by Stephen Nash shows how climate change will transform Virginia's cities, shorelines, and forests. University of Virginia Press
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
The General Assembly will have to find another way of saving $50 million after abandoning a plan to delay a transfer of money from the general fund budget to the state’s transportation trust fund. House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, said he will drop a plan to delay the transfer for a year to help fill a $2.4 billion revenue shortfall in the two-year state budget and instead rely on $50 million in additional spending cuts to fill the hole.
You know that last little amendment the General Assembly planned on the state budget, which this newspaper referred to as "non-controversial and technical in nature" as recently as today? You may never mind about that. Mind instead, about this: State leaders plan to dig another $50 million out of Virginia's budgetary couch cushions to avoid a potential crisis of confidence on transportation bonds.
Sen. Mark Obenshain introduced the legislation that became Virginia's Voter ID law, and he thinks the law is bipartisan and discourages fraud. "When we adopted this, we looked at other states,'' said Obenshain, who said states both blue and red have passed voter identification laws. The state senator from Harrisonburg said the Virginia law has been crafted "to eliminate as many barriers as possible to voters.
The only statewide constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot is intended to show support for the families of service members. The amendment, if approved, would eliminate real estate taxes on the homes of spouses of any member of the military killed in action.
“Open-minded and Open for Business” is more than a campaign slogan for Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat. The phrase seems to resonate with voters aged 18 to 35, according to a poll conducted by Christopher Newport University, and with Sarvis, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Warner in Tuesday’s election. Republican Ed Gillespie also is vying for the seat.
Local Republicans packed the party's campaign headquarters Wednesday to hear pep talks from the candidates running for the U.S. Senate and for Congress in the 10th District. The mid-term election campaigns have entered their final five days, and Del. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, admitted to the crowd that the strain could be heard in the hoarseness of her voice.
Two Republicans running in Tuesday’s election stopped by Winchester Wednesday morning to mobilize the faithful. Ed Gillespie, who is running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, and Barbara Comstock, who hopes to replace U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, led a get-out-the-vote rally at Comstock’s Winchester campaign office, 17 W. Boscawen St.
As Virginia’s 10th Congressional District election approaches, Democrat John W. Foust has tried to make a controversy of Barbara J. Comstock’s financial ties to a nonprofit group that advocates against unions in the workplace. “Have you seen the news about Barbara Comstock?” a Foust TV ad asks, highlighting articles in The Washington Post and Politico about how the Virginia state delegate did not disclose that she worked as a lobbyist for the Workforce Fairness Institute while she championed three state laws matching the group’s national agenda of restricting the role of unions in the workplace.
Education and health care are among the issues Democratic 10th U.S. Congressional District candidate John Foust would focus on if elected. The McLean resident is running for the seat longtime Republican Congressman Frank Wolf is vacating. His chief opponent is Republican candidate Barbara Comstock, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Eleven months ago, 33-year U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) announced he would not seek re-election for an 18th term, and within 24 hours people started lining up for the job. In all, more than a dozen people announced election runs for Wolf’s seat. But through a primary campaign and some political elbowing, the field narrowed to the five who will appear on Tuesday’s ballot: Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th), Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), Libertarian William Redpath, independent Brad Eickholt and Green Party candidate Dianne Blais.
Arlington Young Democrats have been doing their part working with Young Democrats from across the commonwealth to help John Foust win election to Congress. Foust and Republican Barbara Comstock are vying for the 10th District seat held since 1981 by Republican Frank Wolf.
U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Stafford, campaigned in front of a business audience Wednesday and said he is concerned about growth in federal regulations and the effect it has had on costs for businesses. Wittman is serving his third term in Virginia's 1st Congressional district and seeking re-election on Nov. 4 against two challengers, Democrat Norm Mosher and Independent Green Gail Parker.
Three of the four candidates for the 5th Congressional District visited Charlottesville on Wednesday night to promote and defend their party and personal political platforms. Democratic candidate Lawrence Gaughan, Libertarian Paul F. Jones and Independent Green Party candidate Kenneth Hildebrandt attended a forum organized by the Charlottesville Area League of Women Voters.
Although all filled state seats in the 9th District are held by Republicans, GOP candidates at a rally on Wednesday stressed the need to encourage voter turnout in Tuesday’s midterm election. In particular, speakers at the event at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center emphasized the need to change leadership in the U.S. Senate, which is currently Democratic.
In a different year, Republican Bob Goodlatte might be vulnerable to losing some votes in his bid for a 12th term in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District for stalling the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill, which passed the Senate with 21 Republican votes, seeks to level the playing field for sales tax between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores.