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Opinion

  • This Fourth of July we look to the blessings of liberty and are reminded of how precious they are. 

     

    Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, a group of men, made up of merchants, lawyers, farmers, educators, soldiers, physicians and pastors, risked charges of treason, because they possessed a vision.

    They recognized that liberty is a birthright, not something granted by a king.  They had the courage of their convictions to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so that a new nation might be born. 

  • For a national political party that needs to regroup, the news just doesn’t get any better. Not when two possible 2012 presidential candidates have sidelined their careers with sex scandals.

        Nevada Sen. John Ensign had just admitted and apologized for an affair he had when the bizarre news about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford broke.

  •     For nearly a week South Carolina was without a governor.

        Governor Mark Sanford disappeared on June 18. He had turned off his cell phone and was not in communication with either his political allies or his family. By June 22, the state legislature was about to declare a state of emergency in order to transfer the governor’s powers to another state official.  The only thing that stopped them was that Sanford’s aides stated that they knew where he was.

  • Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello is giving area residents a chance to sound off on  healthcare reform.

        This week Perriello unveiled “Your Health, Your Voice,” an online forum on the issue. As the debate on healthcare heats up, Perriello said he created the forum to provide his constituents with an opportunity for input and for dialogue with friends, neighbors and healthcare professionals from around the 5th District.

  • Republican

    Party Creed

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    Last week, the Congress took up several key votes relating to national security.

    I joined with others in the House of Representatives to condemn the regime in Iran for its repressive crackdown on non-violent, pro-democracy demonstrators. As brave citizens risked their lives in the streets of Tehran, the U.S. Congress acted swiftly to let the world and those brave individuals know that we stand with those who stand for freedom.

  • It is a rare occasion when the House of Representatives must vote on articles of impeachment against a federal judge.  Indeed, the last time this occurred was 20 years ago.  However, when evidence emerges that an individual is abusing his judicial office for his own advantage, the integrity of the judicial system becomes compromised, and the House of Representatives has the duty to investigate the matter and take the appropriate actions to end the abuse and restore confidence in the judicial system.

  •     Almost exactly three years ago I wrote a column about my then 9-year-old son, Ryan. After this most recent Father’s Day, I thought an update on him and his progress might be in order.

        I called him “my little Democrat” at the time, and recounted some of our political adventures together, including meeting Mark Warner and delegate-to-be Ben Cline.

  •     Iran’s recent presidential “election” poses a major foreign policy challenge for President Barack Obama.   

        In the first place, these aren’t free elections. Only candidates approved by a council of Shia clerics are on the ballot. In the second place, an Iranian president doesn’t wield the degree of power over Iranian government policy that our president does over American government policy. A Shia cleric named Ayatollah Ali Khamenei actually runs the show.

  • ot too long ago the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles told us they would rather not have us visit their offices. In fact, they offered us $5 off our vehicle registration fee as an incentive to keep us from coming by and paying in person.

        Now the word comes down that if we do drop by a DMV, we shouldn’t come in with a smile. What’s this world coming to? Don’t our driver’s license pictures already look bad enough?

  • Just days ago House Republicans introduced an “all of the above” solution to cleaning up the environment, lowering energy costs, and creating more American jobs. The American Energy Act, which I strongly support, will increase production of American-made energy in an environmentally-sound manner and promote new, clean and renewable sources of energy such as nuclear, clean-coal-technology, wind and solar energy.

  •     Bath County State Senator Creigh Deeds won an overwhelming victory last week in the statewide Democratic primary. He will now face Republican Bob McDonnell in the fall for the contest to succeed Tim Kaine as Virginia’s governor.

        Deeds was thought to be the underdog to the heavily financed campaign of former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe. But much of McAuliffe’s appeal fell apart under scrutiny, especially his claim to have created so many jobs, a notion pretty much put to rest by a critical Washington Post article.

  •     I had an unpleasant encounter with some Virginia wildlife a couple of weeks ago.

        It was fortunate that I was going around one of the very sharp curves on Rt. 43, on my way up to the Peaks, when the kamikaze deer got me. I was not going fast and, as there wasn’t anybody close behind me, I was able to hit the brakes, minimizing the damage to my car. The impact still was enough to knock out the grill, buckle the hood and crack the bumper.

  • This week legislation was introduced in Congress to make sure the National D-Day Memorial continues to fulfill its mission:  Reminding all who enter it of the heavy price that this nation’s communities have paid, and still pay, for freedom.

        Congressman Tom Perriello and U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb have begun the process to bring the Memorial in Bedford under the supervision of the U.S. National Park Service. The legislation, which calls for a study on the proposal, has been written in consultation with the Memorial.

  • Honoring those who participated

        Like numerous other D-Day Memorial Volunteers, I was on hand for the 65th Anniversary Commemoration on Saturday, June 6, 2009.  It was a great experience seeing the number of D-Day Veterans in attendance, especially Bob Slaughter and long time family friend Hubert Hobbs, from Roanoke.

  • From every corner of the 5th District, I hear about how folks are struggling with the lack of broadband internet access. Two weeks ago, I hosted a roundtable discussion on rural broadband, this time in Altavista after the last one in Rocky Mount. At the roundtable, the need for better broadband access was made abundantly evident, and I will use the stories and strategies offered by citizens to be a more effective advocate for rural broadband back in Washington. Here are some of the stories I heard:

  • Across a vast ocean, 11 boys from Bedford, Virginia are buried overlooking the windswept beaches of Normandy.  Bedford lost 19 during the D-Day liberation…the greatest proportional loss suffered by a single town on that day.  In words inscribed on the wall of a chapel that lies amidst the rows of crosses we are given the following charge: “Think not only upon their passing.  Remember the glory of their spirit.”

  •     Last week, President Barack Obama was in Cairo, Egypt to give a speech that his administration billed as an appeal to a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world. It did not disappoint.

  •     I got to spend the end of last week in the company of heroes.

        On Thursday and Friday, I attended the Overlord Echoes conference, hosted by Liberty University and the National D-Day Memorial Foundation. Along with the historians, several World War II veterans spoke. There were soldiers, including a silver star recipient, a P-51 pilot and an airborne soldier who arrived in Normandy on D-Day via a glider.

  • Anyone familiar with the political mindset at Lynchburg’s Liberty University should not be surprised that the little college has banned its Democratic party student chapter. The real shock is that it ever allowed one in the first place.

        The very existence of the humble and courageous chapter, a handful of proud Democrats in a lion’s den of right-wing religious fanatics, is due to the high popularity of President Barack Obama among young people.