Saturday, March 31, 2007

VAYD Convention Hosted by JMU College Democrats

Friday and Saturday have seen politicians, party officials, engaging speakers, media teams, and Young Democrats from all across Virginia participating in the Virginia Young Democrat State Convention right here in Harrisonburg! James Madison University College Democrats have done a wonderful job of putting on a tremendous event!

We'll be asking those who attended to tell us how they thought things went, and how they believe things will go from here.

We're very proud of our own JMU College Democrats! Go Dukes!

Let's Have a Conversation on Immigration

Several people have emailed asking for an open thread discussion on immigration. The meeting Friday night written about here by Finnegan provides a great starting point.

So, what are your thoughts on the issue? Anyone posting something as fact is expected to back their claim with a reference or link. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sam Nickels on Minuteman forum Friday in Harrisonburg

Dear Friends:

I want to extend an invitation to you all.

Friday night, March 30, 7pm at the Ramada Inn (out South Main) the Minutemen have invited me and Rick Castaneda from the Hispanic ServicesCouncil to speak at their organizational meeting.

In the news it's presented as a Minuteman meeting, while to us it has been presented asan open forum discussion on immigration issues.

Despite their rigidcontrol of the meeting (requiring foto ID's to get in and signing your name), we have decided it is important that we participate. We havebeen guaranteed equal time. There will be a Q&A time after speakerseach present for 10 minutes.

I'd like as many advocates for immigrants to be there as possible. Please spread the word.

The Minutemen are an anti-immigrant(especially undocumented immigrant) group that is trying to passdraconian laws in Virginia (such as punishing employers and landlordswho employ or rent to undocumented persons, or agencies that serveeveryone regardless of their legal status).

They "guard" the border inArizona and elsewhere, and are coming in from ourside our area to tryto gain a stronger foothold in Valley to get people to lobby locallegislators. Virtually all of their laws failed to pass in the statelegislature this year, but some by only thin margins, and they areworking hard at grassroots organizing. We need to do what we can to prevent them gaining a foothold in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Countyarea.

Hope you can attend!

Sam Nickels
Cultural Diversity Coordinator
NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center

Candidates for Rockingham, Harrisonburg, and the Sixth Congressional District...

We now have two individuals seeking the Democratic nomination for office.

Esther Nizer of Elkton has filed the necessary forms to become candidate for the position of Rockingham County Commissioner of Revenue!

As noted here in previous threads and in the news media,
Dianne Fulk of Linville has filed to become candidate for the position of Clerk of Court for Harrisonburg/Rockingham County.

Thanks to both women for your willingness to pursue public office.
We must do everything we can to help them to a victory in November!

There are now three potential candidates for the Democratic nomination for candidacy in the Sixth Congressional District, the seat now held by Representative Goodlatte.
These individuals will be invited to RCDC meetings in coming weeks to introduce themselves, state their positions, and speak with our group.

And Maxine Roles of Page County is seeking the Democratic Nomination to be our candidate in the race for Virginia's 26th District Senate seat now held by Senator Obenshain.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some fun to share...

Someone has put quite a bit of work into this, and to good effect. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Busy Week, Busy Months Ahead!

The week just passed has been quite full and exciting for area Democrats!
Both the county and the city held meetings.

We now have candidates for Clerk of Court, County Commissioner of Revenue, Virginia Senate, Board of Supervisors, and even someone considering a run for Congress.

Time to begin work to support these folks who are willing to put themselves out there in the very public contest to earn the public trust and serve the public interest.

Thank you to the candidates for choosing to run.

We will be there for you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Continued thread on Clerk of Court Candidates


What candidate do we have who has the qualifications to do the job of running the Clerk's office?
Let's see, who are the announced candidates so far?...

In alphabetical order:
  • T. Scott Biller, general manager of Lindsey Funeral Home. Independent.
  • Cynthia Fitzwater, Assistant to the City Treasurer. Independent.
  • Dianne Fulk, Deputy Clerk, Seeking the Democratic nomination.
  • Mike Harvey, president of a real estate and settlement insurance company. Independent.
  • Brenda Huffman, Deputy Clerk. Independent.
  • Chaz Evans-Haywood, former regional representative for former U.S. Senator George Allen. Seeking the Republican nomination.
  • Sarah Jones, real estate agent. Independent.
  • Benny Neal, self employed businessman. Independent.
  • Myron Rhodes, dairy farmer and local activist. Independent.

There are still at least four more individuals who have let people know that they are considering a run. We know who they are, but until they decide to announce formally it wouldn't be fair to name names.
Let's discuss the known candidates for a bit.

What are their qualifications or lack thereof?

Who do you like? Who would you like to see?

And very importantly, what are the qualifications necessary to do the job?

And just as important, does it matter if they can do the job or not, or is it just simply a question of who can get elected?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Is it Moral to Keep Loading Debt on our Children?

In recent years Virginia has borrowed money to be able to build more than would be possible through traditional pay-as-you go funding.

Paying the interest on these borrowed funds consumes an increasing share of $$ available for construction:
In 1989, debt service required 1% of construction funds
In 2005, debt service required 14% of construction funds
In 2010, debt service will require 20% of construction funds

This is without the added debt payment of $200,000,000 (two hundred million dollars) per year that the Republican plan intends to add in order to fund two and one half billion dollars of DEBT....

How can these politicians look us in the eye?

Transportation Funding Sources – State Revenues

Here are the ways Virginia currently raises revenue to fund transportation and how the monies are allocated. (2005 figures)

Two Primary Transportation Funds

Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund (HMOF)
*Pays for maintenance of existing highway infrastructure and operating and personnel costs

Transportation Trust Fund (TTF)
*Pays for construction of new transportation infrastructure
*Created in 1986

State Motor Fuels Taxes (17.50 cents per gallon) FY 2005 Est.
- HMOF 14.85 cents $733.7 mil.
- TTF 2.50 cents $126.8 mil.
- DMV 0.15 cents
Every 1 cent of Fuel Tax generates $51 million in revenue

Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax (3 percent)
- HMOF 2 percent $385.8 mil.
- TTF 1 percent $207.7 mil.
Every 1 percent generates $208 million in revenue

Motor Vehicle License Fee ($29.50)
- HMOF $16.00 $125.4 mil.
- TTF $ 3.00 $ 21.3 mil.
- DMV $ 4.00
- State Police/General Fund/EMS $ 5.50
- Jamestown 2007 $ 1.00

State General Sales and Use Tax (5 percent)
- TTF 0.5 percent $417.5 mil.

Young Democrats Convention at JMU

Jessica Killeen,
President of the JMU College Democrats,

is pleased to report that James Madison University College Democrats have been selected to host the Virginia Young Democrats Convention from March 30 to April 1 and asks for help in publicizing the event.

The theme of this year’s convention is “Why Are You a Democrat?”
The convention’s “Why Are We Democrats?” panel will include Virginia professors, legislators and other public figures.
A corresponding panel will be called “Why Are They Republicans?” The panels are intended to help participants develop debating skills and learn to engage Independents and others in discussion.

Way to go JMU Dems! We're proud of you!

If you'd like to help them out with time or a contribution, let us know at

Our youth, are our future...