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Opinion

  • The General Assembly completed its business and adjourned its regular session for 2010 just before 6:00 p.m. on March 14.  The final days were dominated by completion of the largest single piece of legislation, the state’s 2010-2012 Biennial Budget.  That budget will set Virginia apart from a lot of other states, as it was balanced without raising taxes.

  • House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong nailed it perfectly some weeks ago when he attempted to sum up the end result of the governor’s budget proposal: “Opening the rest areas and closing the schools.”

        Robert Francis McDonnell has made it clear on more than one occasion that one thing he won’t do is raise taxes.

  •     And he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:17 NASB)

        An article that appeared on page A4 of the Wall Street Journal on March 9 struck me as an example of bipartisanship at its worst — a Republican and a “Democrat” working together on a horrible piece of legislation.

  •     You’ve probably found e-mails like this in your in-box. Somebody from Nigeria wants you to help him with a financial transaction involving huge amounts of money. Or, you get one informing you that you have won some international lottery that you never entered.

  • Perfect storm

        For Governor Bob McDonnell, it’s a “perfect storm.”  Virginia’s budget tanks.  He’s elected by a landslide, having made no secret about his conservative legislation and leanings.  Like all conservatives, McDonnell believes less is better relating to government and he hates taxes for government services.  Solution?  Axe public school funding:  Not a dime of tax-payers’ hard-earned money spent, never mind the consequences.

  • Starting next week, households across America will start receiving forms for the 2010 Census. Every 10 years, as defined in the Constitution, the Census takes a snapshot of our population, determining how many people reside within the nation's borders, who they are, and where they live. The results help determine your representation in government, as well as how federal funds are spent in your community on things like roads, parks, housing, schools, and public safety.

  • Late last year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the first steps toward a national energy tax by writing anti-growth regulations that make carbon dioxide – something that is necessary to sustain life on earth – a regulated pollutant under the Clean Air Act.  This backdoor attempt to institute a national energy tax will stifle economic growth and kill jobs, especially in the manufacturing, transportation, energy, and agricultural sectors.  Now more than ever, with the national unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent and 15 million Americans looking for

  • We are one week away from our final newsletter which will mark the end of the 2010 General Assembly session.  With the final week of the General Assembly session approaching, senators and delegates are moving quickly toward completing final work on legislation.

  •     Over the years I’ve learned not to expect much in the way of progressive legislation from the Virginia General Assembly. It just doesn’t happen.

        Most of the Republican legislators are hard-core conservatives, given to all of the peculiar obsessions that implies. Far too many of the Democrats are so busy promoting their “Virginia Democrat” stance that they talk and vote just like the Republicans.

  • The public had a chance to sound off on the proposed school budget for 2010-2011 last Thursday night. Unfortunately not everyone who wanted to speak got that opportunity.

  • The effect of closing schools

        As a parent whose children attend Body Camp Elementary School and as a resident of Bedford County, I feel the need to make the residents of Bedford County aware of the effects of closing small schools in rural areas. I am originally from Logan County, W.Va., and I have seen first-hand the devastation that this can leave behind. If you think that because your children do not attend Body Camp or Thaxton Elementary, which are slated to for closure, that this will not affect you – think again!

  • I spent last week’s President’s Day district work period traveling around Southern and Central Virginia, talking to business leaders, workers, educators, and others about what it’s going to take to rebuild the economy of our region. From Ruckersville to South Boston to Lawrenceville to Gretna, citizens were full of ideas about what we can do to create more jobs and provide Virginians with some economic relief.

  • This past week, we scored a major victory for common sense, for competition, for consumers, and for bipartisanship in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed my bill H.R. 4626, the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, on an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 406-19. I’m proud that my name is on the first truly bipartisan health care reform bill to pass the U.S. House.

  • This week President Barack Obama sat down with a bipartisan group of House and Senate Members to discuss health care reform.  While only time will tell I hope that this signals a true turning point in the health care discussion.  The American people have repeatedly called on Washington to scrap these massive health care bills in favor of a more modest approach.  I have held town hall meetings, telephone town hall meetings, and I’ve received thousands of letters, phone calls and e-mails from folks all across the Sixth Congressional District and the message is simple: Was

  •     A lot happened in Richmond this week – and almost all of it had to do with Virginia’s budget.  Delegates approved their version of the budget and Senators voted on theirs.  Now, both sides meet to reach an agreement.  The House’s negotiating team is led by Lacey Putney, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and my neighboring colleague.  Clearly, his presence benefits our region.

  •     As a former student at Body Camp Elementary School in what seems like a lifetime ago, I have to say that I was moved to see parents of students there, and at Thaxton Elementary, stand up publicly for their schools and implore the superintendent not to allow them to be closed.

        But I also had to think - even before I saw an editorial in the Roanoke Times - that, well…there’s an old saying in politics: You get what you vote for.

  •     This should be a good year to be running as a Republican.

  •     Picture the following:

        You are summoned to the reading of the will of your recently deceased grandfather.

        You have mixed feelings about it.  Sure, you’re sad to see the old fella go.  He was always very kind to you.

        There is, however, that lingering resentment about his reneging on a promise of footing the bill for your college education.

  • Last Saturday the Roanoke Times took Bedford County voters to task, stating in an editorial that they only had themselves to blame for the current budget crisis that Bedford County Public Schools is now in. The local daily’s reasoning: Bedford County voters opted for Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell in last year’s election.

        The flawed — that’s the kindest word we could think of — thought process went something like this:

  • Having a say

        As a student of Body Camp I think I should have a say. 

        Now, I do.  I’m frustrated that they are closing Body Camp.  My mother doesn’t know at all where to put my autistic brother, because Body Camp provides such an education for every child in the school. 

        But where will Body Camp’s teachers go?  Especially our principal, where will he go?