Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
on November 4th if you didn't?
Farming communities across the nation are struggling to remain profitable. In the 15th District farming isn’t simply another industry, it is a way of life that roots back hundreds of years to the foundation of America. John is committed to supporting the agricultural community.
He believes that we can implement energy-efficient technologies to reduce the cost of operating farm infrastructures.
Improvements in Virginia’s rail system, as well as development of more fuel-efficient transportation, will also help farms remain profitable. John also believes it is vital to support small farms and to encourage consumers to purchase locally grown products. John will work to provide families with tax credits for farm-related properties and income. He will also work to reduce sales and income taxes for locally sold agricultural products.
Visit John's Website
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sgt. Dale Griffin, KIA Afghanistan: champion VMI wrestler, answered the call to service after the events of September 11, 2001, gave his full measure. A grateful nation's President witnesses his return home to the United States of America.
Did George Bush ever face this command responsibility?
survey (below) to all the candidates for House of Delegates in the 15th,
20th, 25th and 26th Districts-- those relevant to the local area.
Responses from three of the four Democratic candidates were prompt and
often detailed. However, even after the third attempt to contact our
current Delegates by phone, email or through their websites, there were
zero replies. As friends of the environment, we thought you'd like to
know the results as we approach Election Day, Nov. 3--Please vote! And
if you think this information is worthwhile, please forward it to other
Thanks, Anne Nielsen, CAAV Steering committee.
* Question #1. *Do you favor a mandatory alternative or renewable energy
portfolio for Virginia? *According to a September report from the Pew
Center, Virginia is conspicuously missing among the states that have
adopted such standards. We at CAAV think such standards not only help to
reduce climate changing emissions, but strengthen investment in more
local energy sources.
*_District 15: _*(Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, part of Rockingham)
*Delegate Todd Gilbert*. No reply, no useful info on website.
*John Lesinski* No reply; from website "reduce pollution and prevent
unnecessary destruction of scenic landscape" and includes extensive
business plan that mentions "needs to invest in energy-saving
technologies and renewable energies". http://www.johnfordelegate.com
*_District 20_* (Augusta, Highland, part of Rockingham)
*Richard P. "Dickie" Bell* No response. No relevant info on website;
disparages EU practice in "Green Jobs", supports offshore drilling.
*Erik P. Curren responds:* "I absolutely support a mandatory renewable
portfolio for the state of Virginia. This would be perhaps the best way
to offer strong incentives for energy producers to quickly ramp up
solar, wind, non-food biomass, small-scale hydro and other clean,
renewable energy technologies that can move Virginia toward energy
independence and away from foreign oil. Government played a major role
in encouraging the development of affordable, powerful computers which
helped lead to the Internet boom of the 1990s. Now, government, both
federal and state, has a major role to play in helping entrepreneurs
benefit from the coming clean energy boom that will create trillions of
dollars in value, and millions of jobs in the US in the coming decades.
If Virginia does not get on board now, we risk missing out to other
states on the huge business opportunities in the clean energy economy."
*_District 25 _*(Albemarle, part of Augusta, part of Rockingham)
*R. Steven "Steve" Landes*. No response Serves on appropriations
committee, and worked on HB 2351 (funding, natural resources, BMP, Dept.
of Conservation). http://www.stevelandes.com
*Greg J. Marrow responds: *"Yes, I absolutely think that as a state and
a nation, we need to work toward clean energy resources. This year we
have a great opportunity to work towards a clean energy society.
Virginia ranks among the worst states to invest in these opportunities,
as a delegate I will work towards alternative energy and give tax
incentives to companies willing to invest in clean energy. You can read
more about my Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant (website)."
*_District 26 _*(part of Rockingham)
*Matthew J. "Matt" Lohr* No response. From website, "We must continue to
support our coal and nuclear industries while simultaneously investing
in green jobs & renewable energy resources. A huge piece of energy
independence puzzle will be the exploration of oil and natural gas off
of Virginia's coast." http://www.delegatelohr.com
*A. Gene Hart, Jr. responds: *"Yes, I do support a mandatory renewable
energy standards portfolio, (aiming for) 25% renewable energy sources by
2025. The Commonwealth possesses great potential in wind power, solar
energy, biomass and organic-waste-to energy (especially poultry-waste to
energy). However, this great potential will not be realized unless we
require our power companies to move away from near-total reliance on
last century's energy technologies. Given the incentive, the industry
can be efficient and creative, and will amaze us by what they can do."
Question #2. *What is your interest in policies designed to improve the
energy efficiency of buildings? *Their emissions account for nearly 40%
of the CO2 emissions nationally, according to Global Green in
California, a state which has dramatically improved building and
*_District 15: _*
*Delegate Todd Gilbert*. No response. No info on website.
*John Lesinski* No response, no mention on
*Richard P. "Dickie" Bell* No response, no info on website,
*Erik P. Curren responds: *"Making buildings energy efficient is one of
the top strategies in the jobs plan I released a couple weeks ago. Good
jobs for the Valley. I believe that building codes for all construction
should be improved to maximize energy efficiency in new construction,
perhaps using as a model LEED or Energy Star for buildings standards.
And I would support requiring new construction of public buildings
(schools, government offices, etc.) should conform to a reasonable level
of LEED standard.* *http://www.erikcurren.com
*_District 25 _*
*R. Steven "Steve" Landes*. No response http://www.stevelandes.com
*Greg J. Marrow responds:* "One of the easiest ways to improve our
energy independence is by using less energy. I have spoken (about) and
released a plan which includes extending a tax holiday to purchasing
products which will lower our energy consumption, including energy
efficient windows, insulation and much more."*
*_District 26 _*
*Matthew J. "Matt" Lohr* No response http://www.delegatelohr.com
*A. Gene Hart, Jr responds: *"The quickest and cheapest gains in energy
are in energy efficiency and conservation. (There has been) too little
long-term thinking and planning on this subject. The Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards are an independent
certification process addressing the construction and renovation of
buildings that are less costly to operate, conserve energy and water,
are safer and healthier for occupants, and produce less waste.
Constructing homes and buildings to LEED standards save money, energy
and natural resources. Tax credits should be available for homeowners
purchasing new homes constructed to LEED standards and for homeowners
who renovate existing homes to LEED standards. I also support the
requirement that all new and renovated state- and local government-owned
facilities meet LEED standards. http://www.genehartfordelegate.com
Question #3. *What is your interest in the "buy local" movement? *Many,
including environmentalists and organic farmers, think that rather than
continuing to subsidize large agribusiness interests, we should be
subsidizing local producers, especially organic producers and those in
and near urban areas, as a way to increase the health of the human diet
and decreasing "food miles"--the emissions resulting from long-distance
transport of much of our food. The local Shenandoah Valley Produce
Auction in Dayton is one outstandingly successful example of efforts to
establish connections among local farm producers and major local
distributors and consumers.
*_District 15: _*
*Delegate Todd Gilbert*. No response. Find him at
*John Lesinski* No response. From website business plan, extensive
support for sustainable agriculture and improved access to locally grown
*Richard P. "Dickie" Bell* No response. http://www.bellfordelegate.com
*Erik P. Curren responds: *"Our resurgent farmers' markets are a big
success story for our Valley communities and can be an example of how we
can revive vibrant economies with significant local trade. I am a big
supporter of buying local, not only for food, but for a variety of
products and services. For food, I support Food Choice, which would give
consumers a true choice between mass-produced, commercially processed
food and food grown and produced locally. To make progress toward Food
Choice, a variety of regulations need to be adjusted to create a level
playing field for smaller producers and to remove barriers to those
producers willing to supply local markets. Beyond food, I support
promoting local renewable energy, local small scale manufacturing, and
of course local commutes--coordinating transportation and land-use
policy so that people can live closer to where they work, shop and play.
Again, please see my jobs plan for more information."*
*_District 25 _*
*R. Steven "Steve" Landes*. No response http://www.stevelandes.com
healthy endeavor for all of us in the Shenandoah Valley. I support and
will (look) forward to providing incentives to maintain this movement.
The Valley is rich with agricultural land, resources and farmer's
markets. We have a great opportunity to support our local farmers,
economy and community, while reducing our carbon footprint and the costs
and health concerns associated with industrialized food importation."
*_District 26 _*
*Matthew J. "Matt" Lohr* No response. From website, supports legislation
protecting family farms and chaired study of statewide Transfer of
Development program that passed General Assembly this year; also
championed bill to ease small scale biofuels production on farms.
*A. Gene Hart, Jr. responds: *"The "buy local" movement is certainly
very exciting and I support the concept wholeheartedly. Governments at
all levels should encourage local producers and local consumers to
expand local exchanges and farmers' markets. I would like to see if we
can encourage local governmental institutional players (such as school
cafeterias and jails) to become active participants in local
exchanges/markets as a way to foster their continuing development. I
would support emerging business models like that of the Friendly City
Food Coop. " http://www.genehartfordelegate.com
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Marrow our choice for 25th
"Marrow comes to the job with vast experience, with more than a decade of service in the U.S. Navy and as a physician. He has seen firsthand the issues facing Virginians. His common sense approach to politics transcends the mucky and inefficient habit of partisan decision-making (he helped with the Ronald Reagan presidential campaigns), and he understands that representatives must look for ways to serve their constituents, not simply react to problems as they appear."
Meanwhile the News Virginian recognizes that Steve Landes is in trouble and feeling the heat from the Marrow campaign.
Landes battles to wire in 25th
"Democrat Greg Marrow, a successful Harrisonburg optometrist and onetime Ronald Reagan Republican, has emerged from the shadows to challenge Landes and offer a harsh critique of the Republican as a delegate who lacks energy and someone who has failed to deliver jobs for his House district."
The financial challenges facing America are the most substantial since the Great Depression. While the unemployment rate in Virginia is lower than the national average, the 15th District has been hit exceptionally hard. Unemployment in Shenandoah County is nearly 10% and Page County reached nearly 20% earlier this year. Families are struggling to stay in their homes and put food on the table. We need strong leadership in the state legislature to bring jobs back into the 15th District and ensure that businesses can grow and prosper.
Visit John's Website
Monday, October 26, 2009
Virginia legislator Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) not only stole campaign material from his opponent on Friday, he also had the hubris to brag about the achievement on his Facebook fan page.
"My opponent is dropping a negative mail piece in the mail in the morning...No need to worry about how we got a picture of it in advance" reads Gilbert's fan page above a photograph of his opponent's mailer. The picture was posted before the mailer was delivered to a single home.
While the idea of a candidate bragging on his Facebook page about his unethical escapades is a little funny at first (ok, it's hilarious), there may be more serious implications. Specifically, Virginia Democrats are worried that critical microtargeting data may have been compromised, both for Gilbert's opponent, John Lesinski and for other Democratic candidates in Virginia.
The mailers were at a mail house for about 24 hours while being addressed. Then, just a few short hours before Gilbert posted the mailer on Facebook, they were delivered to the post office. According a source within the Lesinski campaign, based on the timeline and circumstances, there were only two possibilities for how Gilbert got the mailer. The most likely scenario is that an employee of the mail house gave a copy to Gilbert or one of his associates. Another scenario is that a postal employee snatched the mailer from the sorting center just after it arrived. Neither scenario (mail theft or political espionage) is good for Gilbert.
Read the story at Huffington Post
Saturday, October 24, 2009
We have an opportunity to elect someone with a proven history of working for the interests of the Shenandoah Valley. My choice for Governor, Creigh Deeds.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Gene Hart, 26th District House of Delegates
"With unemployment around 8%, the towns and communities in our district desperately need jobs. I will work tirelessly with the new Governor to bring to our area some of the $625 million dollars allocated by the Federal Government for green job training, and the $20 billion dollars dedicated to high-paying green jobs. Virginia and District 25 have great employment potential and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be at the forefront of green technology and jobs."
Greg Marrow, 25th District House of Delegates
"We are facing difficult times. In order to get folks back to work and improve the economy, we need a concrete plan. I have created the 15th District Business Plan in order to present my ideas on how to limit wasteful government spending, improve the economy, and create jobs. This is intended to be a "living document" that will change and grow with your input. So, please take a look and let me know what you think.
Click HERE to see the plan.
The economy will not improve until we all come together to share our ideas and find a unified way to move forward."
John Lesinski, 15th House of Delegates
"This time, we can’t afford to let the clean energy boom pass us by. With our strong agriculture, colleges and universities, and available workforce, we can ride the coming wave and create hundreds of high-paying green jobs. But the time to get started is now. And the good news is, we can tap unprecedented federal funding to make it happen, from sources including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides, which more than $30 billion for energy initiatives.
Download my plan: Good Jobs for the Valley"
Erik Curren, 20th District House of Delegates
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Maybe we can pay Steve Landes to stay home from the General Assembly... it would only cost us $17,640 per year. He'd be happier doing even less work than usual, and it wouldn't require any of that darn hard "leadership" work. I'll bet Greg Marrow would donate all his House of Delegates salary to that end. Let's give it a shot!
HELP ELECT GREG MARROW on NOVEMBER 3rd!
Thursday, October 22nd, 6:00 PM - WAYNESBORO – PUBLIC FORUM
Shenandoah Valley Democratic Coalition for Professional Women
~ Concerned Women of the Valley: Let Our Voices be Heard ~
Candidate Forum sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Democratic Coalition for Professional Women
Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates, and representatives from the Deeds, Wagner and Shannon campaigns; will respond to questions on issues of interest to women voters, from a panel of women professionals. Questions from the audience will also be addressed.
Some of the issues to be addressed as time allows:
<> Affordable & Comprehensive Health Care for All Virginians
<> Sustaining Progress in Equality for All Virginians
<> Economic Opportunity for a Diverse Workforce
<> Continuous Improvement of Public Education
<> Environmental Protection & Sustainable Development
<> Public Safety
When: Thursday, October 22, 2009
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Where: Kate Collins Middle School
Waynesboro, VA 22980
Dr. Lori Wilson 757.635.0497
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
To date Steve Landes, who has, on at least two occasions, opposed job creation in the district, has" mentioned" job creation but refuses to offer any plans or ideas.
Since 1996, when Steve Landes was first elected, unemployment in the district has doubled and manufacturing jobs in Waynesboro alone, has seen a net loss of 51%!
If elected, Marrow’s main emphasis of service in the House of Delegates will be to reverse this trend and increase the quality of life of our residents through job creation.
Landes has frequently claimed that he is a "businessman." Yet he never explains his "businessman" history. When one looks at his resume, you see that for most of his adult life he has just been an aide to other politicians, where is the business experience?. The only business project that he has been associated with is the non-profit NewBiz venture. While the executive director of this project, he oversaw the spending of almost a million dollars of taxpayer money. The result? He was forced to resign and the project went under, all at taxpayer expense.
Dr. Greg Marrow has a history of proven leadership and business success from education, to the military to his optometric practice, and has been recognized for such leadership.
Landes has twice voted to reduce funding for small business incubator programs. Ironic since he claims to be a supporter of small business.
As a small business owner, and one who realizes that 95% of all businesses in America are "small businesses," Marrow promises support for such an important program to Virginian entrepreneurship.
In the interest of developing a strong economy and creating jobs for Virginians, Marrow will support funding such an important program.
Landes voted to cut significant funds from the VA economic Development Partnership dedicated to market distressed areas of the Commonwealth.
“Considering the fact that our district has had unemployment rates well above the national average, I consider my district a "distressed area." I would not have voted against the economic interests of the very people that I'm supposed to represent.” Dr. Greg Marrow
Landes recently voted against a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Program (HB1600 2/12/09).
“Considering the unemployment rates in our district, and the billions of dollars already invested and dedicated to this job sector, I would have voted for this bill. This bill would have encouraged job creating clean energy manufacturers to move to Virginia.” Dr. Greg Marrow
Monday, October 19, 2009
The insurance companies seem to think so, says the National Women's Law Center, an advocacy group for women's legal rights that is on a mission to end unfair insurance company practices toward women. And it believes it's making some headway.
Over the weekend, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new state law that bans gender rating, which is the practice of charging women higher insurance rates than men for the same services.
• Of the more than 3,500 plans studied, 60 percent did not cover maternity care.
• Women are regularly denied coverage for "pre-existing conditions," which can include pregnancy or a previous C-section.
• In eight states and the District of Columbia, insurers are allowed to use a woman's status as a survivor of domestic violence to deny her health insurance.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Last summer, Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, killed a 270-pound black bear with his car near the little Appalachian town of Millboro, where the two of us grew up in the 1970s. The bear had lumbered out of the woods and Deeds couldn't brake fast enough. The bear died instantly. The candidate's car didn't fare much better. The news went out over the police scanner, and within a few hours most everyone in rural Bath County knew all about it. It wasn't long before Deeds started receiving urgent calls from locals. They weren't worried about him. They wanted to know what he was going to do with the bear. "People kept coming up to me for days," Deeds recalled recently when I traveled around the state with him. " 'Can I have your bear, Creigh, can I have your bear?' " They wanted to use it to train bluetick hounds for hunting, or to make a rug, or to eat.
For more than 20 years, Deeds has served the people of Bath County locally and in the Virginia Legislature. They like him in part because he is one of them, and because he's nothing like the picture that pops into your head when you think of a politician. Deeds is the opposite of slick and rehearsed. His accent is country South, not Southern genteel. His campaign speeches ramble. He sometimes tells stories that are funny and endearing, but that don't seem to have a point. "People said a fella from Bath County can't be the nominee," he told a crowd in Danville last month. "Now they're saying a fella from Bath County can't be governor." The punch line of the story: "But I know you gotta do right by people … I grew up on a dirt farm. We ate hogs and deer."
In many respects, Deeds is a Democratic political consultant's dream candidate for a Southern state like Virginia. He's more conservative than many Republicans. He fishes and hunts, and knows the parts of a hog without consulting Cook's Illustrated. In previous races for governor, political handlers made big money trying to make candidates look like authentic Southerners. Mark Warner, the popular former Democratic governor and now U.S. senator, was a Harvard Law grad from Indianapolis who'd made millions incell phones. But on the campaign trail, he talked about guns and NASCAR to appeal to voters like the ones Deeds grew up with.
Deeds doesn't need to fake it. Voters like my parents and their neighbors know he's the real thing. People tell stories about the year he knocked on nearly every door in the county when he was running for his first elected office. They remember how he was nearly killed at 12 years old, when he was struck by a runaway truck that rolled down the steep hill in front of the school during the homecoming football game. Deeds lay in a coma for 16 days, then suddenly woke up.
Everyone knows his mom, Emmie, a letter carrier, who still delivers the mail to my parents. My mom, who has a beauty shop in her house, used to cut Deeds's hair. My dad has served with him for years in the Millboro Presbyterian Church. (Deeds was three years ahead of me in school. We played basketball and rode the same schoolbus, but we weren't close friends.) The people back home supported Deeds, 51, as he worked his way from local commonwealth's attorney to state delegate to state senator. Now that he's running for governor, the people of Bath County still like him.
Read the article:
A LEGACY of sound policies, coupled with the proximity of the federal government, has partially protected Virginia from the harsh retrenchments that the recession has forced on many states.
Yet the commonwealth faces a daunting crisis in the form of a drastic shortfall in transportation funding, measured in the tens of billions of dollars, that threatens future prosperity.
If the current campaign for governor has clarified anything, it is that state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee, has the good sense and political courage to maintain the forward-looking policies of the past while addressing the looming challenge of fixing the state's dangerously inadequate roads.
The Republican candidate, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, offers something different: a blizzard of bogus, unworkable, chimerical proposals, repackaged as new ideas, that crumble on contact with reality. They would do little if anything to build a better transportation system.
Mr. McDonnell, by contrast, proposes to pay for road improvements mainly by cannibalizing essential state services such as education, health and public safety -- a political non-starter. And rather than leveling with Virginians about the cost of his approach, as Mr. Deeds has done, Mr. McDonnell lacks the political spine to say what programs he would attempt to gut, or even reshape, in order to deal with transportation needs.
Read the entire endorsement:
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
We call them tea-baggers, astro-turfers, right wing-nuts, whack-jobs, etc. As with most derisive, dismissive labels applied to our fellow human beings, we reduce our humanity by reducing theirs.
A new study by Democracy Corps gives us some experiential focus group data to better measure and understand our opposition. A good summary article was posted today on the Huffington Post. To beat our opposition it's best to seek to understand their motivation, and not regard them too lightly.
From Sun Tzu - Art of War:
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
Key Lessons Learned:
1. 20% of voters live on a extreme right island of the political spectrum, they are 66% of all self-id'd GOPers
"The report concludes that the extreme GOP voters are not simply at the far end of a standard political continuum that runs left-center-right, but rather they stand fully apart.
The basic belief is that Obama -- a former community organizer who seemingly came from nowhere -- must have been propelled by some secret forces. This is no small segment of the population and represents almost one-in-five voters and nearly two-of-three self identified Republicans."
2. Swing voter and independents want Obama to succeed
"The researchers also spoke with swing-voters and independents and found a crucial difference: The independents wanted Obama to succeed, while the GOP base wanted him to fail. That's a logical extension of their belief: If they really do think Obama has a secret agenda to destroy the nation, it's patently patriotic to want him to fail. One author referred to it as an "ethical imperative" given what they think the agenda is.
"While these voters are disdainful of a Republican Party they view to have failed in its mission, they overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country's founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail," reads the report."
cross-posted from Blue Ridge Data
Now, to the non-Democrats who may be watching today -– I want everybody to know we believe in a strong and loyal opposition. I believe in a two-party system where ideas are tested and assumptions are challenged — because that’s how we can move this country forward. But what I reject is when some folks decide to sit on the sidelines and root for failure on health care or on energy or on our economy. What I reject is when some folks say we should go back to the past policies when it was those very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. (Applause.)
Another way of putting it is when, you know, I’m busy and Nancy's busy with our mop cleaning up somebody else’s mess –- we don’t want somebody sitting back saying, you’re not holding the mop the right way. Why don’t you grab a mop, why don’t you help clean up. You’re not mopping fast enough. That’s a socialist mop. Grab a mop –- let’s get to work.
Virginia Sen. Mark Obenshain is a man obsessed. The Harrisonburg Republican wages a crusade against the state Department of Transportation, certain that VDOT fritters away taxpayers' money. He has a Web site (vdotwaste.com), a Facebook page and more.
What he lacks is substance.
Take, for example, his most recent supposedly damning revelation. He looked at the numbers and discovered that VDOT sells off some of its equipment before its useful life has expired. If the department kept using its serviceable machinery, it would need to buy less new equipment. Instead it wastes money, he says.
Obenshain hopes Virginians will get fired up about this. If people think VDOT is to blame for crumbling bridges, congested highways, closed rest areas and uncut grass in medians, he and his colleagues in the House of Delegates might evade blame. They, after all, are the ones who annually block measures to address the state's transportation crisis.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
why should we trust him now?
"According to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the company failed to deliver. It missed deadlines, inadequately planned how it would implement services and provided widely panned customer service.
Yet if Virginia wants to bail on the contract, it could cost taxpayers up to $400 million.
It's a dismayingly large cancellation fee but hardly surprising. Now that fresh eyes have looked at the contract, it is clear how much it favors the company.
Among its shortcomings, the contract spells out 74 milestones the company is supposed to meet. Only 14 carry penalties for missing them. The company could come in years late on the others and still be paid."
why should we trust him now?
From the story:
"That (VITA) contract was signed in November 2005. McDonnell took over as attorney general in January 2006. While serving in that office, McDonnell was responsible for vetting the 151-page contract, 51 changes to it, while providing legal advice to VITA."
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Polling indicates that Virginians are about to be taken for a ride. Again. I keep waiting for Creigh Deeds to make it clear -there is no free lunch, the Legislature raises the revenues necessary to make ends meet. The legislature represents the will of the people and if Virginians want roads, schools, and public safety then they will demand that their legislature find a way to pay for it.
When Bob McDonnell promises to fund transportation, grow Universities, give teacher raises, etc. without raising taxes he wants you to ignore how he plans to pay for it. Bob will borrow the money to run Virginia from Wall Street bond traders. He will use the bonding authority already given the governor by a cowardly "no tax" legislature. And they will give even more! Guys like Delegates Matt Lohr, Todd Gilbert, and Steve Landes who don't have the courage to make the tough votes and provide sensible tax legislation to pay for Virginia's financial obligations.
So instead Bob McDonnell will borrow the money and Virginians will be obligated to pay with interest to distant loan sharks. There will be no vote, it will just happen, like an "act of god". Sound familiar? It should, this is exactly what Jim Gilmore did to Virginia when he was governor. He borrowed Virginia into a $6 billion dollar Wall Street bond debt, risking Virginia's bond rating as he struggled and failed to eliminate the "Car Tax". Ask a Supervisor, County Manager, or City Councilman how that worked out. It took a mutiny by his own Republican Party and the election of Mark Warner to stop the binge. And localities continue to beg Richmond for revenue.
Creigh Deeds knows that the governor doesn't raise or lower taxes, the legislature does. And after all those years in the legislature and the Attorney General's office Bob McDonnell knows it too. Virginia didn't become the nation's best managed state by borrowing money to fund public services. If the legislature does it's job and decides that tax legislation is preferable to borrowing money to pay for highways, then a prudent Governor should sign it. Creigh Deeds has said he would do so. Bob McDonnell wants to put it on the State credit card. He is betting that you aren't paying attention.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Luray, VA - John Lesinski, a candidate for the 15th District House of Delegates, is calling for a suspension of legislator pay until Virginia's economy recovers. This salary suspension is part of the 15th District Business Plan, which Lesinski released on his website this morning. Both the pay suspension and the 15th District Business Plan will be discussed today at a 4pm press conference, located at Lesinski's Campaign Headquarters (5 South Broad Street, in Luray).
The call to suspend legislator pay is part of Lesinski's 15th District Business Plan , which is a comprehensive plan to create jobs and grow the economy in the 15th District and throughout Virginia. This 21-page document is available on Lesinski's campaign website http://www.johnfordelegate.com/. Lesinski's plan incorporates the following elements:
* Stop Wasteful Government Spending
* Provide Tax Relief for Businesses
* Grow Our Tourism Economy
* Support Local Agriculture
* Improve Our Transportation Infrastructure
* Expand Job Training and Education Programs
"My opponent claims that creating jobs and growing the economy are not key issues for the 15th District," said Lesinski. "I strongly disagree, and this plan demonstrates that I am taking these issues very seriously."
Virginia's leading business coalition, Virginia Free , ranked Todd Gilbert as the 7th worst legislator out of 100 members of the House of Delegates for his voting record on Virginia business interests. Gilbert has publicly stated that he plans to do nothing to spur job growth in the District. The 15th District has the highest unemployment rate in the Shenandoah Valley and among the highest in the Commonwealth.
Lesinski is confident that his economic plan will better support businesses and residents in the 15th District and beyond. The 15th District Business Plan is intended to be a "living document" that can grow and change with input from business leaders and concerned citizens. Lesinski will be hosting a series of Economic Forums across the 15th District to discuss and gather feedback for this plan.
Gilbert has frequently referred to Lesinski's economic plans as "gimmicks." However, these criticisms are not in line with his own party's leadership, which has recently endorsed many of the concepts Lesinski has put forward. Republican Congressman Eric Cantor recently expressed support for the use of targeted tax credits to spur job creation, which is a central premise for many of Lesinski's economic proposals. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has also suggested the use of tax credits and has also emphasized that Virginia's government should play a direct role in creating jobs.
"In times of economic hardship, our representatives in Richmond should be the first to sacrifice on behalf of their constituents," said Lesinski.
Virginia taxpayers spend approximately $2.5 million each year to pay members of the General Assembly. One of Lesinski's top priorities in the General Assembly will be to enact legislation to suspend legislator pay until Virginia's economic crisis is over. Lesinski proposes that legislator salaries remain suspended until the Commonwealth's unemployment rate falls below 5% and a budget is passed that does not rely on broad-scale layoffs and tax increases. This plan will save taxpayer money, and it will force legislators to work together to develop compromise solutions on highly politicized budgetary issues.
Lesinski hopes that his opponent will also agree to defer his legislative salary until the economy recovers. Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Gilbert voted to layoff 60 educators in Shenandoah County and 7,000 employees statewide. However, he has not suggested cutting his own salary as a legislator or as a government lawyer. Lesinski believes that the legislative salary suspension is a first step toward reducing wasteful government spending.
According to Lesinski, "it's simply unfair for politicians to consider cutting jobs or raising taxes while collecting a government paycheck."
John Lesinski is an experienced business leader and currently operates a small business in the Shenandoah Valley. Prior to opening his own business, Lesinski spent 16 years working for a national real estate brokerage firm and was promoted to Executive Vice President. Lesinski is a Rotary Club member and has served on the boards of several prominent industry groups, such as the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Federal City Council.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The debate, on WSVA-550AM, did have Marrow, the Democratic nominee, pressing Landes, the seven-term Republican incumbent, on his self-identification as a small businessman. Referring to Landes’ tenure at the NewBiz Virginia small-business incubator, which came to an end in 2006 with Landes’ resignation as the nonprofit was running out of operating funds, Marrow said Landes “doesn’t have a lot of experience with business. The one business he’s been associated with actually went under.”
Read the story
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Stuttering Awareness Groups Condemn McDonnell Campaign For Mocking A Disability
The National Stuttering Association has a question for Sheila Johnson, who ridiculed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds' stuttering:
Do you also make fun of people in wheelchairs, or do you believe that stuttering is the only disability it's okay to ridicule?
Jane Fraser, President of the Stuttering Foundation of America:
"It's never acceptable to mock stuttering any more than it would be to laugh at someone in a wheelchair. We work continually-- including a public service ad that ran in the NY Times Magazine yesterday to educate people about this tough disorder.
"Too many people still equate stuttering with being dumb. To imply that anyone is not capable of excelling to great heights or aspiring to our nation's highest offices is irresponsible and hurtful. Many bright people stutter: James Earl Jones, John Stossel, Joe Biden and Winston Churchill to name a few.
"We clearly have a long way to go!"
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Click picture to visit Jeff's Campaign Website,
and while you're there, please click on the contribute button...
From the Rockbridge Advocate
Our representative in the House of Delegates, Ben Cline, has avoided any scandal during his years in Richmond. That's a good thing. But sadly for the voters, he has also gotten quite good at avoiding questions.
There will be few, if any more chances to see Ben and his opponent, Jeff Price, together between now and November. Price would love to have more debates and forums. Cline is apparently planning to hide behind "scheduling problems" during the time when voters are beginning to seriously think about who deserves their vote.
Cline appears to be running on his record.
He put out a flyer showing himself at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Horse Center. The ceremony celebrated some construction there that was funded with a federal earmark. Cline had little to do with obtaining that earmark, and was never known in Richmond as someone who did much of anything for the Horse Center.
The flyer also claims that Cline "established community college branches in Amherst and Buena Vista..." But the bill cited in the flyer is not one that Cline introduced. And once the bill was passed, it was the hard work of Buena Vista City Council and the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College board that brought the new campus to Buena Vista. They, and not Cline, deserve the credit.
It's not unusual for politicians to claim credit for everything good that happens in their districts during their tenure. But Ben really has remarkably little to show for his years in Richmond - other than picking up some tips on being a career politician.
And one tip that he's refined is to avoid saying anything that might possibly offend a voter, and dodge any question that can't be answered by saying something about government waste, apple pie, etc. etc.
Jeff Price hasn't learned that trick. Then again, Jeff doesn't want to make a career out of politics. His roots in this district go back a long, long, way - about as long as Virginia's tradition of citizen legislators: people who will take time away from their real jobs to spend a couple of months in Richmond every year.
Ben, who left Congressman Goodlatte's office to run for the General Assembly a few years ago, has gotten himself a real job on the government payroll as an assistant prosecutor in Harrisonburg, which is not in his district.
Jeff runs a family-owned mortar business in Amherst, which is in the district. He knows what it is to work with his hands, and to meet a payroll, and to wade through red tape, and to struggle to make ends meet to keep food on his employee's plates.
Unlike Ben, who likes to talk about "family values", Jeff knows first hand what it's like to raise a family in these hard times.
Jeff has exactly the sort of experiences we could use in the General Assembly. And they are not the sort of experiences one can obtain by being a professional politician.
Jeff is a straight-shooter. And he can give a straight answer to a straightforward question.
Listening to his answers and Ben's at a pair of events last month provided one over-arching contrast: Jeff answered the actual questions. Ben gave a soft-shoe song and dance with an anecdote here and a platitude there.
For instance, at a forum in Rockbridge Baths, Jeff and Ben were asked what they would do to help promote agriculture.
Ben said he's been endorsed by the Farm Bureau. And that was about it.
Jeff, who grew up on a farm, said he'd promote more apprenticeship programs to help young people learn about farming and trades.
Asked about a transportation plan, Cline talked about "hardworking families getting squeezed," and bashed VDOT for allocating funds to renovate their quarters while closing rest areas. That's all well and good, but the money he was talking about isn't a drop in the bucket when it comes to Virginia's transportation needs.
Price, on the other hand, doesn't claim to have the answers, but he says that the legislature and the governor need to have a serious conversation about how to raise money for transportation without gutting state funding for education and mental health programs - something Republicans have been kicking around. And Price has the courage to admit that the only way to raise that money, in the long run, may be to raise the gas tax a couple of cents.
Asked about improving the economy at a Chamber of Commerce forum, Ben gave some vague answer with a few nice platitudes - "Virginia is going to lead the nation out of the economic downturn."
Jeff, who knows about small business, noted that most of the new jobs in this country have always been created by small businesses, and that one thing the state could do is to give a limited tax credit for each new job those businesses create. And he's right.
Ben has made much of the closing of the juvenile correction center in Natural Bridge. But after bashing and clashing with the governor time and time again, he's hardly in any position to work with the administration to reopen the facility. (What he's done instead is to provide a fine reason to vote for Creigh Deeds in the governor's race, since Deeds actually lives in and cares about this neck of the woods.) Ben has run against the government. It's gotten him elected. But it hasn't done much for this district or the state.
Jeff Price doesn't have an ideological agenda or any great political ambitions. He knows how to listen and work hard. He's got some courage and a whole lot of common sense. And that's just what we need in Richmond.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
We have been riding a wave of momentum after last week's debate. Washington D.C is even taking a look at our campaign. Read a report from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
We have recently discovered that Del. Landes is declining to take part in another televised debate. We had an agreed upon a debate with Staunton News Leader and WHSV 3, but after our last debate September 24th, Landes has now declined. We can not allow Steve Landes to run away from the issues.
As we head into the last 30 days of the campaign I need your help in the newspapers, phone lines, and doors. With the recent USA Today article explaining how states are bidding for a place in the emerging clean-energy economy, it is vital that we have a representative that will fight for these jobs. Virginia can not afford to lose this opportunity.
I will fight everyday for you and our community, but I ask you now to fight for me. Write a letter to the editor, come to our headquarters to make phone calls, and knock on some doors beside me.
With our last month of the campaign, now is the time we need to send out mailings and information. Please contribute $25, $50, or $100 to the campaign. With your contribution we can reach voters across the district. You can secure your contribution online by donating through ACT BLUE.
Your contribution will go directly to a mailing and signs. I need your help in these days to get our message out.
Thank you all for your support.
Greg J. Marrow
Your Candidate in the 25th District
Mt. Jackson, VA - Despite serving our country honorably, many members of the Virginia National Guard and Military Reserves are struggling to find work. Businesses are often hesitant to employ someone who could be called to active duty for months at a time. State and Federal regulations prohibit this form of employment discrimination, but it is still common practice. In fact, a 2007 Workforce Management poll found that 51% of employers would not employ a member of the National Guard or Military Reserve.
John Lesinski, a candidate for Virginia's 15th District House of Delegates, has created a plan to encourage small businesses to hire service members and prevent military employment discrimination. Details of this plan will be presented today at 4:00pm at the future Veterans' Park, in Mt. Jackon (located at the north end of Union Church Cemetery, on the corner of Main Street and King Street).
"I will fight to make sure every veteran and member of our armed forces has a job if they want one," said Lesinski.
Lesinski, a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps, is proposing two key activities to ensure jobs for members of the National Guard and Military Reserves:
* Provide a tax credit to small businesses of up to $1,000 for each Guard or Reserve member they employ with permanent, full-time work.
* Establish a designated hotline within the Virginia Attorney General's Office to respond to military service members and veterans who are victims of employment discrimination.
By focusing on tax incentives, Lesinski intends to mitigate some of the risk for small businesses who hire service members. The proposed tax credit would apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees and would amount to 2% of the employee's salary, up to $1,000. Not only would this tax credit help secure jobs for service members, it would also help prevent service members from losing their jobs if called to active duty. Moreover, small businesses that employ service members would receive much-needed tax relief.
According to Lesinski, "This plan helps small businesses that do the right thing and support our troops."
Some legal assistance is provided to service members through the U.S. Department of Defense. However, Lesinski believes that the Virginia Attorney General should also respond to claims of discrimination against military service members, either directly or through an appropriate state agency. The establishment of an employment discrimination hotline is a low-cost initiative to facilitate efficient communication between victims and the Attorney General's Office. In addition to protecting service members on a case-by-case basis, the hotline would also help identify and take action against unscrupulous employers who repeatedly discriminate.
"If we are serious about supporting our troops, we need to move forward with this plan," said Lesinski.
The National Guard and Military Reserves constitute about 48% of America's military forces. Lesinski's plan will improve military retention and recruitment while fulfilling Virginia's moral and patriotic obligation to our troops. Lesinski also strongly supports the six legislative priorities of the Joint Leadership Council of Veteran Service Organizations, which includes tax relief for disabled veterans and fully funding the Wounded Warriors Program.
John Lesinski spent 26 years in the Marine Corps and Marine Reserves. During his term of service, he commanded intelligence billets and was called to active duty to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lesinski retired from military service in 2006, with the rank of Colonel. In addition to his direct military experience, Lesinski has been active in the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which provides college tuition to children of Marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also working to organize informational sessions in the Shenandoah Valley regarding the Wounded Warriors Program, which provides medical aid to disabled veterans.