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Results tagged “Elections”

June 10, 2013

The Roanoke Times editorializes, "A federal judge last week said she was shocked an assistant state attorney general is aiding big coal in a court battle against property owners in Virginia's coalfields who are seeking to be paid for the gas the companies have taken. U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent found that Assistant Attorney General Sharon Pigeon, who advises the Virginia Gas and Oil Board, was assisting the defense. Sargent wrote: 'Shockingly, these emails show that the Board, or at least Pigeon, has been actively involved in assisting EQT and CNX with the defense of these cases, including offering advice on and providing information for use on the Motions before the court.'"

Progressive Point: The people of Virginia deserve a fulltime Attorney General that works for them--not his corporate campaign donors. But not only is Ken Cuccinelli backing his big coal donors, his office is working against Virginians to do it. Today, Cuccinelli is willing to represent corporate donors against the people of Virginia as Attorney General. Commonwealth voters should be shocked by what he is doing, and frightened of what he might want to do as Governor tomorrow.

In America, our government should be for and by the people, not the corporate special interests. The most profitable investment that corporations can make is buying our elections -- and our weak campaign finance laws allow them do it in secret and without accountability to anyone. Ken Cuccinelli knows this and so do his big coal friends who are funding his campaign. Virginia's leaders in Richmond were elected to represent the people, not corporate donors.

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  • A parent company, Consul Energy, of one of the coal corporations being helped by the Ken Cuccinelli's office, CNX, against the people of Virginia has given $100,000 to Attorney General Cuccinelli's campaign for governor. (WVTF, June 10, 2013)

  • "Virginia law requires all state elected officials to report employment that pays them or an immediate family member more than $10,000 annually. The governor's 2011 and 2012 financial disclosure forms listed his wife as a paid trustee for the foundation but did not list an income from the position." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 6, 2013)

  • Virginia elected officials can accept unlimited gifts as long as they disclose any gift worth more than $50. And officials do not have to report gifts given to their family members. (Washington Post)

  • Via the Virginian-Pilot, gifts that Ken Cuccinelli forgot to report in his financial disclosures include:
    • A $1,500 Thanksgiving dinner and Mountain Lake getaway in 2010 from Star Scientific Inc. chief executive Jonnie Williams
    • Another Smith Mountain Lake vacation worth $3,000 last summer
    • A $628 flight for Cucceinllieto New York City in 2009 to attend a Jewish cultural event
    • $7,751 in airfare expenses from Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources in 2010 to fly Cuccinelli and his parents to a mining ceremony

  • Via the Washington Post, gifts from Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. to Cuccinelli over the years have included:
    • A "box of food supplement," valued at about $6,700
    • Use of a lake house and a boat, valued at $3,000
    • Transportation to Kentucky, valued at about $3,200
    • $800 in temporary lodging at William's Richmond home

  • Cuccinelli for Governor has received a $50,000 contribution from a Koch brothers controlled corporation and $35,000 from Koch Industries directly. Koch Industries has also contributed $7.500 to Cuccinelli for Attorney General and Cuccinelli for Senate received $2,250. [Huffington Post, Cuccinelli for Governor VPAP, Cuccinelli for Attorney General VPAP, Cuccinelli for SenateVPAP]
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Ken Cuccinelli for sale?

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June 7, 2013

The Associated Press reports, "A federal judge has expressed shock that an assistant Virginia attorney general has been assisting two natural gas companies that are being sued by landowners who allege the companies bilked them out of natural gas royalties. In an opinion issued Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent said the relationship was revealed in emails provided to the court by the plaintiffs in the case against EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co.... CNX is a subsidiary of Consul Energy, which donated more than $85,000 to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's Republican candidacy for governor, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in politics."

Progressive Point: In America, voters deserve to know who's funding our elected leaders - leaders who are supposed to be working for us. Corporations cannot vote in our democracy, but they can buy politicians. Virginia's Attorney General is supposed to advocate for us, but Ken Cuccinelli's office is advising his big corporate donors. We've lost our way when corporations are people, money is free speech, and politicians are for sale to the highest bidder.

Is it any surprise that the corporate special interests that benefit most from a rigged system would go for the politician who'll keep it that way? That's not democracy. The American people won't catch a break until we have a government that does its job of advocating for us -- not actively aiding Wall Street, Big Oil, and corporate lobbyists. But Ken Cuccinelli has repeatedly proven he delivers for his top donors. Corporations and hedge fund managers don't spend millions of dollars on candidates unless they expect a return on their investment. Now they know Cuccinelli is guaranteed to pay off big time.

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  • "Virginia law requires all state elected officials to report employment that pays them or an immediate family member more than $10,000 annually. The governor's 2011 and 2012 financial disclosure forms listed his wife as a paid trustee for the foundation but did not list an income from the position." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 6, 2013)

  • Virginia elected officials can accept unlimited gifts as long as they disclose any gift worth more than $50. And officials do not have to report gifts given to their family members. (Washington Post)

  • Via the Virginian-Pilot, gifts that Ken Cuccinelli forgot to report in his financial disclosures include:
    • A $1,500 Thanksgiving dinner and Mountain Lake getaway in 2010 from Star Scientific Inc. chief executive Jonnie Williams
    • Another Smith Mountain Lake vacation worth $3,000 last summer
    • A $628 flight for Cucceinllieto New York City in 2009 to attend a Jewish cultural event
    • $7,751 in airfare expenses from Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources in 2010 to fly Cuccinelli and his parents to a mining ceremony

  • For nearly a year, Ken Cuccinelli failed to disclose his financial interest in Star Scientific, as required by law for any interest exceeding $10,000. In October 2010, Cuccinelli purchased a little more than $10,000 in company stock. At the end of the year the stock dipped below $10,000 and did not need to be disclosed. "But in September 2011, Cuccinelli acquired 3,600 additional shares in the company, lifting the total value to nearly $19,000 by the end of the year." (Washington Post, Mar. 30, 2013)

  • In July 2011, Star Scientific challenged a tax assessment on property they own in Mecklenberg, VA. If they lose the suit the "financially struggling company...has told investors that it would owe the state $1.7 million in back taxes, penalties and interest." Just two months after the suit was filed, Ken Cuccinelli made an additional stock purchase in the company valued at about $10,000. Cuccinelli's office responded to the suit within two weeks, but no further court action has occurred since. (Washington Post, Mar. 30, 2013)

  • Via the Washington Post, gifts from Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. to Cuccinelli over the years have included:
    • A "box of food supplement," valued at about $6,700
    • Use of a lake house and a boat, valued at $3,000
    • Transportation to Kentucky, valued at about $3,200
    • $800 in temporary lodging at William's Richmond home

  • Cuccinelli for Governor has received a $50,000 contribution from a Koch brothers controlled corporation and $35,000 from Koch Industries directly. Koch Industries has also contributed $7.500 to Cuccinelli for Attorney General and Cuccinelli for Senate received $2,250. [Huffington Post, Cuccinelli for Governor VPAP, Cuccinelli for Attorney General VPAP, Cuccinelli for SenateVPAP]
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June 3, 2013

The Washington Post reports, "E.W. Jackson, the Republicans' choice for lieutenant governor, said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II helped plant the seed for his candidacy for Virginia's second-highest office. Jackson said he met with Cuccinelli (R) in 2010, when the Chesapeake minister was running for the U.S. Senate. During a brief conversation at a hotel in Suffolk, Jackson said, Cuccinelli suggested that he consider a run for lieutenant governor."

Progressive Point: Politicians have no place interfering in decisions that should be between a woman, her doctor, and her faith. Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark Obenshain are united in their attacks on women's health, restricting access to health centers, attempting to criminalize some forms of birth control and mandating trans-vaginal ultrasounds. These attacks clearly trample on our rights, but Ken Cuccinelli likes that his running mates are supporting this same agenda.

Cuccinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain are focused on turning back the clock on women's rights. Instead of attacking our constitutionally protected rights, our leaders should be focusing on building the middle class and our economic recovery. But their extreme positions make one thing clear: they would continue to push for government interference in our private medical decisions. We need leadership that values and will stand up for women's rights, not attack them.

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  • E.W. Jackson stated, when ask about Ken Cuccinelli telling him in 2010 that he should run for Lieutenant Governor, "'He said essentially: I think you'd make a good candidate for lieutenant governor. Have you thought about it?' said Jackson, recalling that Cuccinelli had not yet decided to run for governor. 'I do remember him suggesting that if it worked out... he would be proud to have me as a running mate.'" (Washington Post, June 2, 2013)

  • "E.W. Jackson, the GOP lieutenant governor candidate in Virginia who's made headlines since his selection earlier this month, said in a radio interview Friday that he and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli see eye-to-eye on the issues. 'Look, we are in fundamental agreement,' Jackson said, when asked on the radio station WMAL whether he and Cuccinelli would 'run as a pair.' 'I've heard that this ticket is probably more homogeneous than almost any ticket in the history of Virginia, so there's no stark disagreement between us.'" (Politico, May 31, 2013)

  • Cuccinelli's career-long crusade to limit women's access to health services, including his meddling in this regulatory process, has earned him campaign checks and endorsements from an array of right-wing extremists.
    • Citing his long record in favor of limiting reproductive rights, the anti-women's health Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Cuccinelli's campaign for governor and pledged $1.5M to the effort. [Politico, 2/28/13]

    • The Family Research Council, a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group, endorsed Cuccinelli's campaign for governor. [Family Research Council, 3/29/13]

  • Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate E.W. Jackson compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan stating, "The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was." [Politico, 5/19/13]

  • A 2009 bill filed by GOP Attorney General candidate State Senator Mark Obenshain would subject women to criminal scrutiny for dealing with the private tragedy of a miscarriage without notifying the police. [ThinkProgress, 5/20/13]

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May 29, 2013

Buzzfeed reports that tonight, "billionaire conservative financier David Koch will headline a fundraiser... for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, according to an invitation for the event obtained by BuzzFeed. The reception will take place at the home of Joe Ricketts, TD Ameritrade Chairman and a heavy GOP spender in last year's presidential campaign, best known for considering ad campaign that would plan on the image of President Barack Obama as a 'metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.'"

Progressive Point: Virginians know how this works -- corporate sponsors who fund multi-million dollar political campaigns call the shots once their candidates are in office. Billionaire and divisive conservative check writer David Koch is out of touch with the needs of Virginia's working families. Given Ken Cuccinelli's history of forgetfulness when it comes to disclosing lavish gifts like those from Star Scientific and its CEO, Virginians have extra cause to worry.

The Koch brothers' priorities may match up with Cuccinelli's, but they don't resemble Virginia families. While we support universal background checks for gun sales and government action on climate change, the Koch brothers are working against us every step of the way. Ken Cuccinelli has a choice to make between the billionaire Koch brothers and Virginia families. But when his invite for tonight's event states "Please note that 'Ken Cuccinelli for Governor' is able to accept unlimited corporate, personal, and PAC contributions" it's not too hard to guess who he's choosing.

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  • Cuccinelli for Governor has already received a $50,000 contribution from a Koch controlled corporation and $35,000 from Koch Industries directly. Koch Industries has also contributed $7.500 to Cuccinelli for Attorney General and Cuccinelli for Senate received $2,250. [Huffington Post, Cuccinelli for Governor VPAP, Cuccinelli for Attorney General VPAP, Cuccinelli for Senate VPAP]

  • Between 2003 and 2010, the Koch brothers, their companies, and their employees made political contributions of $273,402 in Virginia. [Center for American Progress]

  • "Reports reveal that the Koch Brothers are running a corporate empire that secretly traded with Iran, falsified records of cancer-causing pollution, and gutted safety protections that left American children dead." Americans for Prosperity, the political front group for oil giant Koch Industries, spent $45 million in the 2010 election to help elect Republicans -- including 70% of that year's GOP freshman Members of Congress. Between 2006 and 2011 Koch Industries "spent more than $50 million lobbying Washington politicians." [Media Matters]

  • Bipartisan research conducted on behalf of Mayors Against Illegal Guns found broad support in Virginia for stronger violence prevention measures. 88% of Virginians support requiring gun owners to pass a background check. 91% of Virginia gun households support requiring gun owners to pass a background check. [Mayors Against Illegal Guns]

  • "Three out of four Virginians think global warming is real and most want government at all levels - federal, state and local - to take actions to fight it." [Virginian-Pilot]

  • "Charles and David Koch,of Wichita-based Koch Industries Inc., are each worth $34 billion, according to an estimate from Forbes. That puts them tied at No. 6 on the magazine's list of the world's billionaires." [Wichita Business Journal]

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May 20, 2013

NBC News reports, "Virginia Republicans this year are conducting an intriguing experiment in Virginia, a state Obama has twice carried in presidential contests, that's elected Democrats to U.S. Senate seats the last three times senate elections have been held: Can it win in 2013 with a ticket of candidates who are best known for being VERY conservative and VERY outspoken on social issues? Well, here is E.W. Jackson, a black minister who was nominated to be the GOP's Lt. Gov. nominee joining Ken Cuccinelli at the top of the ticket."

Progressive Point: Women and their families should make decisions about seeking health care and when to have children, not government politicians. But with Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark Obenshain, conservative Republicans are clearly focused on turning back the clock on women's rights. Their extreme positions make one thing clear: they don't value our reproductive health, freedom, or the constitutionally protected rights of Virginia women.

Virginia women need a leadership team in Richmond who will stand up for our rights, not attack them. The Cuccinelli/Jackson/Obenshain ticket would limit women's access to reproductive care, from birth control to abortion. Cuccinelli has made eliminating reproductive freedom the cornerstone of his political career. Jackson has compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan, and Obenshain wants to require women to report miscarriages to the police. Virginia's women have fought long and hard for their rights, far too hard to allow conservative politicians to control their bodies and intrude into women's private medical decisions.

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  • Cuccinelli has been forthright about the true intent of the Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers (TRAP restrictions) that he supports: "The ultimate goal, which is to make abortion disappear in America." [YouTube, 5/7/12]

  • Health Commissioner Karen Remley subsequently resigned her position over Cuccinelli's political meddling in the regulatory process.
    • In her resignation letter, Remley explained, "how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith I can no longer serve in my role." [Richmond Times Dispatch, 4/10/13]


  • Cuccinelli's career-long crusade to limit women's access to health services, including his meddling in this regulatory process, has earned him campaign checks and endorsements from an array of right-wing extremists.
    • Citing his long record in favor of limiting reproductive rights, the anti-women's health Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Cuccinelli's campaign for governor and pledged $1.5M to the effort. [Politico, 2/28/13]

    • The Family Research Council, a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group, endorsed Cuccinelli's campaign for governor. [Family Research Council, 3/29/13]


  • Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate E.W. Jackson compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan stating, "The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was." [Politico, 5/19/13]

  • A 2009 bill filed by GOP Attorney General candidate State Senator Mark Obenshain would subject women to criminal scrutiny for dealing with the private tragedy of a miscarriage without notifying the police. [ThinkProgress, 5/20/13]

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September 27, 2012

The Virginian-Pilot editorializes, "When the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that businesses and organizations are entitled to the same constitutional rights to political speech as people, campaign watchdogs worried that the ruling would eventually result in elected offices bought and sold by corporations and unions. It didn't take long. Through the weekend, outside spending - by corporations, unions, nonprofits, trade associations, super PACs - totaled $465 million in the current election cycle."

Progressive Point: Voters deserve to know who's funding our elected leaders and why. Citizens United lets big corporations spend unlimited amounts of money--in secret and without accountability--so politicians answer to them instead of voters. We've lost our way when corporations are people, money is free speech, and politicians are for sale to the highest bidder.

We've already seen the outcome: big corporations get massive taxpayer handouts, gut safety regulations, and take away the rights of workers--while sticking our families with the bill. Working Virginians won't get a fair shot until we have a government by and for all of us--not bought and paid for by Wall Street, Big Oil, and corporate lobbyists.

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Get the Facts:

  • Two-thirds of all voters and three-quarters of independents say that big donors and secret money undermine our democracy. (Democracy Corps, January 12, 2012)

  • Three-fourths of voters want common-sense limits on the money that people can contribute to political campaigns because there is too much money in politics. (Democracy Corps, May 9, 2012)

  • "In the 2010 Citizens United case, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 to give corporations the power to spend unlimited money buying our elections -- and loopholes in the current system allow them to do it in secret and without any accountability to the public."" (Message Matters, July 13, 2012)

  • "Over 30 billionaires have already donated tens of millions to Mitt Romney's super PAC, including Big Oil tycoons and hedge fund managers. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson said he'll spend $100 million to beat President Obama while the anti-Obama Koch brothers have pledged $395 million for the 2012 election cycle." (Message Matters, July 13, 2012)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2012
Contact: Anna Scholl
(434) 218-2113
anna@progressva.org

ProgressVA Applauds State Board of Elections' Rejection of Romney Request to Quash Voter Registration
Over 8,000 Virginians signed petition to the Board asking for preservation of voter access

Richmond, VA - ProgressVA today applauded the decision by the Virginia State Board of Elections to reject requests from the Romney for President campaign to quash voter registration and initiate a criminal investigation into lawful registration efforts by the nonpartisan Voter Participation Center. The Board reached its decision after receiving over 8,300 petitions from Virginians across the Commonwealth opposing the Romney campaign's efforts to limit voter participation. ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl released the following statement:

"We're thrilled the Board of Elections has seen through this partisan attempt by the Romney campaign to suppress voter participation in Virginia and rightly rejected their attempts to quash registration efforts. Our democracy is strongest when every citizen participates. With more than 2 million eligible Virginians unregistered, the work of organizations like the Voter Participation Center is essential to ensuring every eligible voter has the opportunity to make their voice heard at the ballot box."

Since Thursday morning, 8,394 Virginians took action to tell the Board to deny any request to reject valid voter registration applications and work instead to ensure every eligible voter can cast a ballot that counts.

Previously: Civic Engagement Organizations Oppose Romney Request To Reject Voter Registration Applications

More debates and more democracy

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June 14, 2012

The Washington Post reports, "The general election for U.S. Senate officially kicked off Wednesday morning with Democrat Tim Kaine announcing that he would agree to eight broadcast debates. The debates, which will be aired on TV and radio across the state, will be held in geographically diverse regions of the state and are sponsored by a cross-section of organizations."

Progressive Point: The right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be a Virginian and an American. Making an informed choice requires having access to all the facts, not just the ones corporate-funded Super PACs care to share.

Politicians may be able to rely on shadowy Super PACs to launch their negative attacks for them, but the candidates still have to face the voters. Multiple televised debates will allow voters to hear from the candidates themselves--not more partisan attack ads. Virginians deserve to hear candidates' answers first hand about how they'll work for our families. Virginia has never solved anything with less democracy or less inclusion, and we won't now.

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Get the Facts: According to the Washington Post, the proposed eight debates are:

  • Radio One 2012 Senatorial Forum: Richmond, late August (date and venue TBD). Broadcast on Radio One stations (TV broadcast TBD).

  • WJLA-TV, POLITICO & Virginia FREE: Arlington Campus, George Mason University. Sept. 14. Broadcast live on WJLA in D.C., and available to ABC affiliates throughout Virginia.

  • Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce & NBC4: Capital One Tysons Corner Complex, McLean. Sept. 20. Broadcast live on NBC 4 in DC, and rebroadcast on Sunday, September 23.

  • Randolph-Macon College, The Richmond Times Dispatch & the Virginia Chamber of Commerce: Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. October date TBD. Broadcast on media partners WWBT NBC-12 and WCVE Community Ideas Stations in Richmond.

  • WSLS-TV and Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech campus, Blacksburg. October date TBD. Broadcast live on WSLS-TV and made available to other television stations statewide.

  • Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce: Norfolk, Oct. 18 or 19 (TBD). Broadcast live on WVEC-TV (ABC affiliate) and to be rebroadcast at a later date TBD.

  • League of Women Voters of Virginia & AARP Virginia: WCVE Studios, Midlothian. Oct. 8. Broadcast on CBS-6 in Richmond and WCVE-TV (PBS).

  • Virginia State Conference NAACP: Fredericksburg, Oct. 26. Broadcast on WWBT NBC-12 in Richmond.

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Less Democracy Is Wrong for Virginia

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January 3, 2012

The Washington Times reports, "Virginia legislators are preparing to take on the thorny subject of voter identification laws during the upcoming General Assembly session amid national controversy that includes the Justice Department's rejection of a state law on the matter for the first time in almost 20 years... One bill from Sen. Stephen H. Martin would eliminate the state's voter registration card from the list of identification forms that voters can use at the polls. The bill also contains a measure mandating that voters who do not have proper identification cast provisional ballots."

Progressive Point: The new voting restrictions conservatives want to pass do one thing only--make it harder for regular Virginians to vote. The ability to choose our leaders is at the core of democracy. Conservatives and their corporate backers, like ALEC, are targeting Virginia's students, seniors, and minorities with these regulations to try to take away the constitutional right to vote.

Conservatives want to make voting harder for average Virginians because they are scared of facing voters honestly in the next election. Simply, right-wing lawmakers would rather take away people's right to vote than risk being voted against. But in Virginia, and across the country, less democracy is never the right answer, and its not the right answer now.

Get the Facts:

  • A similiar voter ID law in South Carolina was recently rejected by the Department of Justice because they found that it would have made it harder for minorities to vote. (Washington Times, January 3, 2012)

  • Conservatives in the Commonwealth have a history of trying to pass voter suppression legislation with the help of ALEC in Virginia but have previously been defeated in their attempts. (ProgressVA)

  • "There is a concerted effort around the country to make it more difficult, for particularly young people and minorities, to vote... Virginia Republicans were pushing this issue well before Barack Obama came onto the scene. It just so happens that this year, if they're successful, it will make it easier for them to defeat Barack Obama." (Delegate David L. Englin Washington Times, January 3, 2012)

Tweet it: Less democracy is wrong for Virginia http://bit.ly/Ay81rO via @ProgressVA

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Politicizing the AG's Office

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December 8, 2011

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is refusing to resign from office while he simultaneously runs for Governor. Their article states, "Having announced his intention to run for governor, Mr. Cuccinelli (R) is bucking more than 60 years of bipartisan Virginia history by refusing to do the right thing and resign. Instead, he is insisting on remaining the state's top lawyer 'until the last day of my term,' even as he holds fundraisers, attends events and campaigns for governor. Thus Mr. Cuccinelli will inevitably further politicize his office, adding a partisan cast to every significant move it makes."

Progressive Point: Virginia's Attorney General is entrusted with defending the laws and interests of Virginia. Attorney General Cuccinelli has used the office to promote a radical ideological agenda rather than serving the Virginia voters who trusted him with this responsibility. Now, his refusal to step down while running for Governor will further politicize an office which should be devoted to the interests of Virginians.

Attorneys General of both parties have resigned to run for Governor to ensure the office is occupied by a full-time AG devoted to pursuing justice, not the next election. Ken Cuccinelli refuses to resign--preferring instead to use the bully pulpit of the Attorney General's office consolidate his conservative credentials with the radical right. Cuccinelli abuses the trust of the voters by using his platform to campaign for election rather than justice.

Tweet it: Cuccinelli's refusal to resign while running will result in further ideological activism from the AG http://bit.ly/tzO9Sh via @ProgressVA

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November 30, 2011

Jeff Schapiro in the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that both former Republican Congressman Virgil Goode and former Republican State Senator John Chichester are joining with Democrats and urging power-sharing in the Virginia State Senate. He writes, "Virgil Goode Jr., the guy who forced an evenly split Virginia Senate into power-sharing in 1996, argues that it should do the same in 2012 -- that giving both parties a say makes for 'greater harmony and a better attitude.'... John Chichester, a Republican for whom power-sharing was a steppingstone to the Finance Committee chairmanship, the most influential position in the Senate, all but says his party is guilty of a flip-flop by now claiming the lieutenant governor's tie-breaking vote gives the GOP a lock on power."

Progressive Point: Republicans and Democrats agree that power-sharing in State Senate is in the best interest of the Commonwealth and Virginia families. The only opposition to this balanced approach and bipartisan solution is from out-of-touch conservatives who won't even listen to reason from their own party. Imposition of an unelected Republican majority in the State Senate ignores the voice and vote of Virginians in a bald power grab to institute one party rule. This overreach is not in the best interest of Virginians, who voted for legislators who can work together, not for partisan politics.  

Get the Facts:
In the mid-90s, when the shoe was on the other foot, Virginia Republicans argued for the exact opposite for what they are saying today. Here are a couple of their quotes:

  • "There are 20 of them -- there are 20 of us... We are going to be equal partners." Sen. John Chichester, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011
  • "We've got parity we're entitled to 50 percent of the committee chairmanships and 75 of the 150 committee assignments." Sen. Joe Benedetti (R-Richmond), The Washington Times, December 13, 1995
  • "[the power-sharing pact] is consistent with what [voters] decided on during the election which was a 20-20 split" Gov. George Allen, The Washington Times, January 13, 1996
  • "I thought in 1996 that the power-sharing arrangement, which was good for four years, made for greater harmony in doing the business of the Senate... I think such would be true today if a sharing agreement could be worked out." Rep. Virgil Goode, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011

Tweet it: Democrats and Republicans Agree on Power-Sharing http://bit.ly/tjsuES via @ProgressVA

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right turn.pngConservative lawmakers did not waste any time in getting partisan legislative proposals started for the next session that starts in January. Some controversial proposals are already public, just two weeks since the election, and they include:

  • "Personhood" Anti-Abortion Legislation - Similar to legislation recently rejected in Mississippi, Del. Bob Marshall has already filed a "Personhood" bill for the upcoming session. (Washington Post, Virginia's Legislative Information System)

  • Ending Criminal Background Checks for Gun Purchases - The Virginian-Pilot reports, "Gun-rights advocates have lobbied Gov. Bob McDonnell to scrap the program... Efforts to cancel the state's 22-year-old background check system... could be debated in the upcoming General Assembly session." This will likely be just one of many pro-gun proposals from conservatives.

  • Undoing Compromise Redistricting - Conservatives led by Republican Leader Tommy Norment would redo this year's Virginia State Senate and House redistricting to be more favorable to Republicans. (Virginia Gazette) Conservatives are also trying to stall Congressional redistricting until January, in order to pass a map that will protect their 8 - 3 Republican Congressional majority and eliminate the creation of a second minority seat. (Washington Post)

  • Conservative Immigration Policy - New legislation, and legislation copied from other states, will have significant anti-immigrant impacts on Virginia law enforcement, businesses, social and medical services, education, and housing. (Change Servant)

  • Anti-Union Legislation - Del. Marshall has filed a bill to prohibit state revenue for the Dulles metro project if there is a project labor agreement. (VA Legislative Information System) Senate candidate George Allen also recently voiced opposition to Project Labor Agreements. (Progressive Point)

  • Removing a Ban on Uranium Mining - Conservative lawmakers will likely help the uranium industry remove Virginia's 30-year ban on uranium mining in the Commonwealth. (Keep the Ban)

  • Exempting VA Coal Companies from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and All Federal Regulations - Last year, conservatives passed legislation in the House of Delegates that would exempt any products mined, manufactured, or produced in any other way and sold in Virginia from all federal regulations. That means coal companies would be exempt from the Clean Water Act and utilities would be exempt from the Clean Air Act if they were burning coal mined in Virginia. (Virginia Chapter Sierra Club) This will very likely be put forward again in January.

  • Major Budget Cuts and Layoffs - Gov. McDonnell will soon submit a budget that will likely include layoffs and cuts of up to 6% for Virginia agencies, as well as many changes disingenuously labeled "reforms" from McDonnell's commission that excluded Democratic members. (Richmond Times Dispatch Oct. 28, 2011; Richmond Times Dispatch Nov. 20, 2011)

Also likely to return is a proposal to change pension plans from defined-benefit to defined-contribution--a conservative plan to hand over teachers and firefighters' retirement accounts to Wall Street for them to gamble away. (Virginian-Pilot) We can expect many other conservative legislative proposals, such as school vouchers, anti-transparency measures, and a right-to-work constitutional amendment.

Following Republican gains in Virginia's State Senate and House, conservative lawmakers believe they will be able to force through ideological and controversial bills that had previously been stopped by the State Senate. These proposals are not in the best interest of Virginians and we cannot allow them to become law because we weren't paying attention.

ProgressVA will continue to keep this list updated as new conservative legislative proposals surface.

Twenty is not more than twenty

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November 18, 2011

On November 8th, Virginia voters chose to elect equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans to the State Senate. Now, Republican Senators are circumventing the voters' decision and Virginia's Constitution to declare a majority in order to push through their extreme agenda. Senator Tommy Norment, who has been selected to lead the Republican Senate Caucus, demonstrated his poor grasp of math yesterday when he declared "the people of Virginia voted to have Republicans lead the Senate of Virginia."

Progressive Point: Respect for the rule of law and the decisions made by voters are fundamental to our democracy. Republicans in the State Senate have chosen to disregard the Virginia Constitution, the verdict delivered by voters on November 8th, and apparently the basic rules of math. Ask any first grader whether 20 is greater than 20 and they will tell you no. This blatant power grab is an insult to Virginians. Republicans in the State Senate must respect the laws of our Commonwealth and establish power-sharing in the Senate. Running roughshod over the will of Virginia voters to push through their extreme agenda threatens our future and subverts our democratic traditions.

Get the Facts:

20 is not greater than 20. (Source: 1st grade math, Wolfram Alpha)

The Virginia Constitution states that "members elected" may vote on the rules and organization of the Senate. The Leiutenant Governor is not a member of the State Senate. (Source: Constitution of Virginia, Senator John Edwards)

Tweet it: Twenty is not more than twenty http://bit.ly/tRm0Te via @ProgressVA

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November 10, 2011

Tuesday's election resulted in the Democratic Party holding 20 seats in the State Senate, the Republican Party holding 19, and one race that is too close to call but will likely go to the Republicans. This will result in a 20 to 20 tie in the Senate, with Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling in the position to cast tie breaking votes.

Progressive Point: On Tuesday, you voted. On Wednesday, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell decided it didn't matter. In a blatant power grab, the far right of Virginia, under McDonnell and Bolling's leadership, is attempting to seize control of the State Senate despite voters choosing to split power evenly between the parties.

McDonnell, Bolling and the radical right are trying to grab control while they only have 19 seats in the State Senate, with their own possible 20th State Senator refusing to declare victory. These brazenly partisan attempts, the first day after the election, signal a scary future for our Commonwealth if the Tea Party is allowed to take total control. Virginia needs leaders who will work together to secure a better future for our families, not supercede election results to push their own agenda.

Get the Facts:

"Virginia Republicans, who appear to have eked out a partisan 20-20 split in the 40-seat Senate in Tuesday's election, said Wednesday they will not share power with Democrats, who have held a two-seat majority the past four years... That's contingent, however, on Republican newcomer Bryce Reeves' narrow lead over 7-term Democratic Sen. R. Edward Houck surviving Wednesday's vote canvass in six localities that are part of the 17th Senate District, then a possible recount." (Washington Post)

"Republicans declared victory in the race between challenger Bryce Reeves and longtime Sen. Edd Houck, D-Spotsylvania, despite a mere 86 votes separating the two candidates and more ballots left to count -- not to mention the likelihood of a recount. But don't include Reeves among those already assuming victory. Campaign manager Chris Leavitt said they're going to wait before they anoint themselves the winner." (Washington Examiner)

"In one of their first moves since Tuesday's election, Republicans said Wednesday they would wait until January when they are in power in both the House and Senate to redraw the state's 11 congressional districts... The decision virtually ensures the state would keep its 8-3 split of Republican vs. Democratic congressmen... The Democratic-led Senate passed a competing map which would create a new district in which black voters are a sizeable minority, in addition to another district in which they hold a majority. The House plan, like Virginia's current map, includes one minority-minority district." (Washington Post)

Tweet it: On Tuesday, you voted. On Wednesday, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell decided it didn't matter. http://bit.ly/sQz3zs via @ProgressVA

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November 8, 2011

Progressive voter turnout yesterday was better than the Tea Party expected and resulted in a likely 20 to 20 seat split between Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate. If this scenario is confirmed by the State Board of Elections, control of the State Senate will be divided, but conservative Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will be able to cast tie breaking votes.

Progressive Point: Despite spending much more money, Governor Bob McDonnell and the Tea Party were not able to buy an unstoppable majority in the Virginia State Senate. Virginians across the Commonwealth did not want to hand him and his party a blank check when it comes to our social and fiscal future. Despite how hard the Tea Party tried to take over our government, many more progressives showed up at the polls to say no and reject their radical agenda. While it will often be an uphill battle for average Virginians, today we are beginning a new fight for our shared future and values. Today the future of the State Senate is foggy, one thing is clear: McDonnell's money couldn't buy support for his terrible policies.

Tweet it: McDonnell's money couldn't buy support for his terrible policies http://bit.ly/rAdC7L via @ProgressVA

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November 7, 2011

Today is Election Day across Virginia and your vote matters more than ever. No less than the control of our State Senate and the future of our Commonwealth are at stake.

Progressive Point: With the control of the Virginia State Senate and the future of our families on the line, every vote today is extremely important.  Please forward this message to all of your family members and friends who live in Virginia to remind them how important today's election is. Tell them what issue is personally important to you and why it matters that they get out and vote. Tell them you care about women's rights, that you want our legislature to stand up to discrimination of every kind, or that you want responsible approaches to Virginia's environmental and transportation future for our families.

On Election Day, polls are open from 6 AM to 7 PM. Look up your polling place and driving directions on the Virginia State Board of Election's website.

Tweet it: Today is Election Day. Did your family vote?http://bit.ly/rtFCYg via @ProgressVA

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November 7, 2011

If radical conservatives take over Virginia's State Senate tomorrow, at the top of their agenda will be further restricting the rights of women and effectively banning abortion. Even without control of the Senate, they were able to push through new regulations that will close many of Virginia's women's health centers. We can also expect to see items like Mississippi's "personhood" amendment, which would grant legal rights to all fertilized eggs. Virginia's Bob Marshall has already proposed similar legislation, which overwhelming passed the House of Delegates and was only stopped by the State Senate. Without leadership in the State Senate that values women and families, there will be no block to the Tea Party's dangerous and intrusive agenda.

Progressive Point: The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult one best left to a woman, her family and her faith--not radical bureaucrats in Richmond. Governor McDonnell and Tea Party politicians want smaller government except when it comes to telling a woman what decisions she should make with her body. They want less family planning services and comprehensive sexual education programs, but more government when it comes to invasive regulations on choices that should only be between a woman, her family and her faith.  McDonnell and his Tea Party allies go too far in their efforts to involve themselves in personal decisions and end access to women's health centers across Virginia. No government should have the right to control a woman's body or a family's private decisions. We need our representatives to focus on jobs and fixing our economy, not making a personal decision a political issue.

Get the Facts:

"The Virginia Senate has been a cemetery for the General Assembly's most conservative legislation for more than a decade. But if Republicans gain three or more Senate seats in next month's decisive legislative elections, conservatives would consolidate their hold on Virginia government and turn state policy hard to the right... The House's most prolific author of anti-abortion bills, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, said he would celebrate a conservative Senate takeover. Among the bills he might bring back is one that would effectively end abortion by granting legal rights of personhood to fetuses... Other bills that were dead on arrival before the current Senate could make victorious encores in a Senate run from the right. They would: -- Make it a crime for a woman to cause her own miscarriage or to coerce a young woman into having an abortion. -- Require doctors to offer to anesthetize a fetus before performing an abortion." (Virginia Pilot)

Tweet it: What's at stake in tomorrow's election: Women and Families http://bit.ly/tONhML via @ProgressVA

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November 7, 2011

If radical conservatives take over Virginia's State Senate tomorrow, at the top of their agenda will be further restricting the rights of women and effectively banning abortion. Even without control of the Senate, they were able to push through new regulations that will close many of Virginia's women's health centers. We can also expect to see items like Mississippi's "personhood" amendment, which would grant legal rights to all fertilized eggs. Virginia's Bob Marshall has already proposed similar legislation, which overwhelming passed the House of Delegates and was only stopped by the State Senate. Without leadership in the State Senate that values women and families, there will be no block to the Tea Party's dangerous and intrusive agenda.

Progressive Point: The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult one best left to a woman, her family and her faith--not radical bureaucrats in Richmond. Governor McDonnell McDonnell and Tea Party politicians want smaller government except when it comes to telling a woman what decisions she should make with her body. They want less family planning services and comprehensive sexual education programs in Virginia, but they want more government when it comes to invasive regulations on choices that should only be between a woman, her family and her faith.  McDonnell and his Tea Party allies go too far in their efforts to involve themselves in personal decisions and end access to women's health centers across Virginia. No government should have the right to control a woman's body or over our families' private decisions. We need our representatives to focus on jobs and fixing our economy, not making a personal decision a political issue.

Get the Facts:

"The Virginia Senate has been a cemetery for the General Assembly's most conservative legislation for more than a decade. But if Republicans gain three or more Senate seats in next month's decisive legislative elections, conservatives would consolidate their hold on Virginia government and turn state policy hard to the right... The House's most prolific author of anti-abortion bills, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, said he would celebrate a conservative Senate takeover. Among the bills he might bring back is one that would effectively end abortion by granting legal rights of personhood to fetuses... Other bills that were dead on arrival before the current Senate could make victorious encores in a Senate run from the right. They would: -- Make it a crime for a woman to cause her own miscarriage or to coerce a young woman into having an abortion. -- Require doctors to offer to anesthetize a fetus before performing an abortion." (Virginia Pilot)

Tweet it: What's at stake on Nov. 8: Women and Families http://bit.ly/uhy6gN via @ProgressVA

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November 4, 2011

Conservatives in Virginia's legislature have launched an all-out attack on our environment. Their polluting agenda includes exempting Virginia utilities from the Clean Air Act, promoting reckless offshore drilling, and repealing Virginia's ban on uranium mining. The State Senate is our last line of defense for clean air, clean water, and renewable energy.

Progressive Point: Radical conservatives in the state legislature are pushing for legislation that would devastate Virginia's clean water, clean air and natural environment. The State Senate has always been there to stop them. If Bob McDonnell's Tea Party allies take over the Senate on Tuesday, their extreme agenda will threaten the places that make Virginia so special. Instead of creating green jobs and investing in the clean energy economy, these radical conservatives will focus on removing the ban on uranium mining, pushing for offshore oil drilling and fracking, and continuing the practice of mountaintop removal. On Tuesday, vote for leaders who will protect Virginia families' right to clean water and clean air, and focus on bringing green jobs to the Commonwealth.

Get the Facts:

"Bob McDonnell doesn't get it at all. Actually, he does 'get it' if we're talking about 'getting' huge wads of cash from the dirty energy industry, hanging out with the Koch boys and 'getting' his pro-dirty-energy lines straight from them." (Blue Virginia)

"Virginia spends less than 1% of general fund revenues on environmental programs. While permitting and enforcement costs continue to rise, environmental departments are compelled to slash budgets. A uranium industry would generate pollution in Virginia for untold generations, with inadequate oversight by regulatory authorities." (Keep The Ban)

Tweet it: Like clean air and clean water? On Tuesday, vote against McDonnell's polluter ticket http://bit.ly/uhy6gN via @ProgressVA

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November 3, 2011

Bob McDonnell has failed over and over again to fulfill a key campaign promise: fix Virginia's transportation problems. He failed to support high speed rail, he now wants to build toll booths on 95, and reintroduce an ABC privatization proposal that his own party has already rejected.

Progressive Point: Virginia families know: its taking longer and longer to make it home from work, to get to the grocery store, or to that meeting across town. Bob McDonnell promised to find dedicated revenue for transportation, but thanks to his budget cuts our commutes, bridges, and roads keep getting worse--hurting both our economy and day-to-day quality of life. Today, the State Senate is the only bullwark against McDonnell's transportation mismanagement.  Every year we have less money to build new roads and public transit; soon we will only have funds to fix the ones we already have.  Without responsible leadership in the State Senate and your vote on Tuesday, Virginia's transportation crisis will continue to worsen for our families and our local businesses.  If Bob McDonnell and his Tea Party agenda are allowed to take the wheel in Richmond, we will all be stuck be sitting in traffic for years to come.

Get The Facts:

"Many GOP candidates acknowledge privately that any serious attempt to improve the transportation network requires new funding... Unfortunately most of what they say doesn't make much sense...  Virginia last raised its gas tax, the major funding source for transportation, in 1986. Inflation and fuel-efficient cars have depleted that stream of revenue." (Washington Post)

*"Virginia could get far more bang for its precious transportation buck by focusing on local street connections, and most of all repairing crumbling roads and bridges. Instead, the McDonnell administration seems bent on repeating the mistakes of the 1950s: building unsustainable transportation networks at the periphery while letting a more central economic engine sputter." (Greater Greater Washington)

"Virginia drivers may be asked to pay tolls along Interstate 95, but the revenue from the tolls would contribute little to needed road maintenance and construction throughout the state." (Virginia Statehouse News)

 

Tweet it: If McDonnell and the Tea Party take the wheel on Nov 8, we'll be stuck sitting in traffic for years http://bit.ly/w4SrvJ via @ProgressVA

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