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Virginia Politics Blog: February 21, 2010 - February 27, 2010

Did Cuccinelli ask William and Mary to overturn sexual orientation policy?

In a letter urging Northrop Grumman not to choose Virginia for the site of its new corporate headquarters, a Maryland state senator claims that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is trying to get universities to overturn policies barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The assertion was neither confirmed nor denied Friday by Cuccinelli's office or the College of William and Mary, the institution to which the senator, in an interview, said he was referring. In a letter to the CEO of the company, Maryland state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery) cited Cuccinelli's purported advice to colleges as one sign the state has been "turning back the clock" on gay rights since the inauguration of Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in January. He said Maryland would be a better fit for the company, which has a national reputation for being friendly to gay employees. "Virginia's new Attorney General...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 27, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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House, Senate name teams to negotiate state budget

With just two weeks left of the legislative session, most of the attention turns to the handful of powerful lawmakers who negotiate a version of the two-year state budget that can be agreed upon by their colleagues in the House and Senate.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 26, 2010; 5:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , State Senate  
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Marshall, under fire for abortion comments, receives tribute in autism newsletter

A nonprofit's newsletter praising Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall's work on behalf of people with disabilities hit mailboxes Friday just days after he was savaged by critics for his remarks on abortion, God and people with disabilities.

By Fredrick Kunkle  |  February 26, 2010; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  !General Assembly , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly , General Assembly 2010  
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Boucher vs. Griffith: Marquee race, or over before it begins?

To hear the Republicans tell it, Morgan Griffith's newly announced challenge to U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher of southwest Virginia's 9th District is shaping up to be a marquee race likely to lead to the fall of a 28-year incumbent. To hear Democrats tell it, the race is over before it begins. Earlier this week, Griffith, majority leader in the state House of Delegates, formed a federal committee to explore the possibility of a run. He announced the support of top Republicans from southwest Virginia. And the state GOP launched a media campaign and web page, www.RetireRick.com. Boucher is trying to deprive Griffith of oxygen before his campaign takes its first breath. The day after Griffith's announcement, Boucher announced a crucial endorsement from the National Rifle Association. And today, Boucher announced the formation of a new group, Virginia Business Leaders for Boucher, including a number of supporters of Republican Robert F....

By Amy Gardner  |  February 26, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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Updated: McDonnell, Warner, Webb try to get out vote in Fairfax House election

In the final days before Tuesday's special election, some of Virginia's most prominent politicians are trying to help the candidates in the House of Delegates race in Fairfax County. Last night, former gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe hosted a fundraiser for Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn at his McLean home with special guest U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. (Does anyone really think McAuliffe isn't running again?) Tomorrow, it's Sen. Jim Webb's turn. He hosts a get-out-the-vote rally for Filler-Corn at her headquarters while Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli do the same for GOP candidate Kerry Bolognese at the Fairfax Republican Committee headquarters. On Sunday, Warner will hold a get-out-the-vote rally outside the Starbucks on Huntsman Boulevard in Springfield. Filler-Corn, the director of government relations for Albers and Co., an Arlington-based lobbying firm, served as an adviser to Warner and forrmer governor Tim Kaine. Bolognese, a higher-education lobbyist, narrowly lost the seat...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 26, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Griffith undecided about whether to fundraise for congressional run during legislative session

Morgan Griffith, majority leader of the House of Delegates, has not started raising money in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher and has not decided whether he will do so during the remainder of the legislative session. "It's a close call,'' Griffith (R-Salem) said. He said he is seeking advice, but has not made a decision even though he believes it to be legal. The session is scheduled to end March 13. Virginia law bars members of the General Assembly from fundraising during the regularly scheduled legislative session, but that law does not appear to apply to federal office....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 26, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Rick Boucher , Robert Hurt , State Senate , Tom Perriello  
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Virginia House passes budget with no Democratic support

The House passed its version of the budget along party lines, 61-38, on Thursday. For the first time in years, Democrats voted en masse against it instead of their normal practice of debating and opposing individual amendments. The chamber's top two Democratic leaders -- Dels. Ward Armstrong and Ken Plum -- said they consider the budget so flawed that they had no choice but to take the drastic step of encouraging their caucus to vote against the entire budget. Armstrong, the House minority leader, said he would rather "resign my seat than vote for this budget." He was greeted with a standing ovation from Democrats. Democrats complained that the House budget slashed funding for education, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and health and human resources. Hundreds of state employees would face layoffs, and those who kept their jobs would see their pay frozen for the next two years. "It...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 25, 2010; 4:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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Strong majority backs Virginia Senate budget

The Virginia Senate adopted a budget this afternoon on a 30 to 10 vote, making deep cuts to education, health care and public safety necessary to close a $4 billion two-year shortfall. But the chamber agreed to raise more than $300 million in fees and accept a proposal from Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to underfund pension plans for state and local employee by $508 million in the next two years. The two moves free up revenues that allow the senate to cut less, particularly from education, than their colleagues in the House. The senate made only one substantive change in their budget as it came out of the Finance Committee on Sunday....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 25, 2010; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Gingrich interviews McDonnell about 2009 governor's race, Virginia budget

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich interviewed fellow Republican Bob McDonnell as the first in a series of talks with notable leaders as part of his organization's effort to train candidates to run effective campaigns. Virginia's new governor spoke about outreach to groups that usually support Democrats, new media and dealing reporters. ("Never let them see you sweat. Keep smiling.") McDonnell also spoke about dealing with a $4 billion budget shortfall. (I'm trying to relate to people on the same level they're at in their personal lives or their business lives. And that means that government must live within its means.") Gingrich's American Solutions also will interview Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Ed Gillespie, McDonnell's campaign chairman, and Phil Cox, McDonnell's campaign manager. Listen to the full interview below or read the transcript after the jump....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 25, 2010; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senate postpones vote on McDonnell charter school proposal

The Senate Education and Health Committee delayed a vote today on Gov. Bob McDonnell's education package, including his proposal to expand the number of charter schools in Virginia. Chairman Ed Houck made the decision after his fellow Democrats were split on whether to support one of the Republican governor's signature issues this session, which left some concerned the bill would not pass. The vote likely will occur next Thursday. Many people spoke in favor of the bill, including former governor Doug Wilder's Secretary of Education Jim Dyke and a member of the Georgia legislature. Others, including Virginia NAACP executive director King Salim Khalfani opposed the bill. McDonnell's office has been working behind the scenes to negotiate a compromise with groups that represent teachers, school boards and superintendents -- all vocal in their opposition to the bill -- to return some power to the local boards and ease concerns about the...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 25, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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On House floor, Marshall defends himself on abortion comments

Del. Robert G. Marshall fought back Wednesday against the controversy over his earlier remarks that some construed as saying that a woman who has an abortion will run the risk of birth defects in later pregnancies as a punishment from God. As people with disabilities and their advocates continued to criticize his remarks or call for his resignation, Marshall (R-Prince William) addressed fellow lawmakers in the General Assembly to clarify what he had meant at a press conference Thursday calling for the end of all state funding for Planned Parenthood. Taking the floor of the House, Marshall denied saying that disabled children are a punishment from God at a press conference last week, or even suggesting that. In his defense he cited the fragile condition of one of his own adopted children and his longstanding support for mandating insurance coverage for a special therapy needed by autistic children. And he...

By Anne Bartlett  |  February 24, 2010; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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Senate Finance Chairman Colgan says he is unlikely to run for reelection

The Senate's longest serving member and chairman of its most powerful committee said today that he is unlikely to run for reelection in 2011. Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than two years ago and that at age 83, he thinks it may be time to retire. "I'll probably not run," he said. "I'm not Strom Thurmond." But Colgan noted he has twice before decided not to run again for his seat, only to be convinced first by Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and then by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to seek reelection again. This time again, he said, he's made no final decision. "I'll leave the door open just a tiny little bit," he said. With Democrats holding only a two-seat majority in the senate, Colgan's decision could have a dramatic impact on the balance of power in the chamber....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 24, 2010; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Legislative black caucus opposes McDonnell's education package

For the second time this week, the legislative black caucus has come out against an education proposal pushed by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). This time, the group opposes his plan to create virtual schools in which students can learn outside traditional classrooms and laboratory schools that would benefit from partnerships with Virginia colleges and universities. "We simply cannot support an education reform package that does not adequately address the drastic budget cuts our schools are experiencing," Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth). "While we are debating numerous, painful and debilitating cuts to schools in our communities that will impact a generation of students, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus will not support any legislation that offers opportunities to a few and leaves the vast majority our children behind." The caucus wrote in a statement today that it questions the purpose of McDonnell's education proposals when a multi-billion state budget shortfall will result in...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 24, 2010; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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McDonnell claims '19 point' win over Deeds -- contrary to vote count

No one disputes that Republican Bob McDonnell beat Democrat Creigh Deeds in the governor's race -- by a lot. 17.36 percent to be exact. But soon after he won, McDonnell began announcing that he had won not by 17 points --but by 18 points. Now, it seems he has started telling people he won by 19 points. Check out the video of McDonnell speaking last Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. For the record, McDonnell received 58.61 percent, Deeds 41.25 percent....

By Anita Kumar  |  February 24, 2010; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Virginia Republicans take aim at Boucher

The game is on in Virginia's 9th Congressional District. On Tuesday, Republican Morgan Griffith, the majority leader of the state House of Delegates, made his campaign official with the formation of a federal committee. And later this morning, the Republican Party of Virginia will unveil a new campaign targeting the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher. Check out RetireRick.com later today to see more. The site is not live yet, but will be shortly, state GOP spokesman Garren Shipley said. The page will go after Boucher for his vote in support of cap-and-trade, but that's not all. State GOP chairman Pat Mullins issued this statement about the campaign: "Democrat Rick Boucher left Abingdon for Washington, D.C., 27 years ago. He's been gone so long that he's forgotten what Southwest Virginia is all about. He's become more accustomed to working with those in Washington than working for those in the 9th...

By Amy Gardner  |  February 24, 2010; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Election 2010 , Rick Boucher  
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Criticizing Marshall, delegate cites disabled son

The onslaught of criticism aimed at Del. Robert G. Marshall for his remarks on abortion, God and people with disabilities continued for a second day, including a speech from the House of Delegates floor by a new lawmaker whose son is severely disabled. Speaking on the occasion of her son Nicholas' 30th birthday, Del. Robin A. Abbott, (D-Newport News), told of her wrenching discovery that her newborn son had suffered brain damage at birth. He was blind, and doctors gave his parents little hope that he would walk, talk or recognize his own mother. Abbott told of spending five years teaching her son the simple game of pattycake, of his struggles to learn to feed himself, constantly making sure that he was never left unattended, and trying to balance his care with the needs of her other three children. And she talked of her family's need to seek public aid...

By Fredrick Kunkle  |  February 23, 2010; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  !General Assembly , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates  
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McDonnell urges Virginia delegation to help secure stimulus money

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) met with the state's congressional delegation today at the U.S. Capitol and urged the group to help him secure stimulus funds to help build a Rolls Royce manufacturing plant in Prince George County, near Petersburg, several present in the meeting said. If that makes McDonnell sound like just another Republican who criticizes stimulus spending with one side of his mouth and happily seeks it out with the other, it's slightly more nuanced than that. Yes, McDonnell has repeatedly criticized last year's stimulus bill for being, in his view, long on spending on programs that have little to do with economic recovery and short on investments in infrastructure and jobs. But McDonnell has also been consistent that he thinks Virginia should accept stimulus money, because the state's taxpayers are helping to provide it. Other than that, the meeting with 12 of the state's 13 congressional...

By Amy Gardner  |  February 23, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Gerald E. Connolly , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell plays basketball for charity, but will it mess up his hair?

As game time approaches, the questions are mounting: Will the 5'10'' Virginia governor play forward or guard? Will his wife, former Washington Redskins cheerleader Maureen McDonnell, be there to cheer him on? Will the game mess up his perfectly coiffed hair? Gov. Bob McDonnell, along with a smattering of legislators, lobbyists and staffers, will play in a charity basketball game tonight at Virginia Commonwealth University. We hear the governor -- who was quite the football player back in his high school days -- has been practicing. But McDonnell's team doesn't yet have any T-shirts or nicknames like former Governor Tim Kaine did. Remember the Kainiacs?...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 23, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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McDonnell will endorse McCain for re-election

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will endorse Arizona Sen. John McCain in his primary battle with former congressman J.D. Hayworth, advisers to the governor say. McCain asked McDonnell to support him and the governor said yes. The 2008 presidential nominee, who is being portrayed by some critics as too moderate, undoubtedly hopes McDonnell can help him in conservative circles. "Senator John McCain is a leader of character, courage and principle, and I am proud to support him," McDonnell said in a statement provided to the McCain campaign. "Over the last year, the American people have taken a firm stand for smaller government and new pro-growth policies to create the jobs we so desperately need. These are the principles that Senator McCain fights for every day, and we need him now more than ever in the United States Senate." McCain campaigned for McDonnell last year, helping him raise money at a series...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 23, 2010; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , John McCain , Robert F. McDonnell  
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House microchip bill dies with a whimper in Senate

Two of the House of Delegates' most high profile bills of the year, both sponsored by Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg) died in a Senate subcommittee this morning. A subcommittee of the Senate's Commerce and Labor committee killed one bill that would have made it illegal for employers or insurance companies to require that people be implanted with microchips. The subcommittee also killed a bill that was designed to send a message to the federal government by declaring all commerce that takes place exclusively in Virginia could not be regulated by the federal government. "They didn't do too well--they caught a fever," cracked Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), explaining neither bill received any votes. Cole had explained said that privacy issues were the chief concern behind his attempt to criminalize the involuntary implantation of microchips. But he also said he shared concerns that the devices could someday be used...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 23, 2010; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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McDonnell calls Marshall's comments on abortion "offensive"

Gov. Bob McDonnell described Del. Bob Marshall's recent comments in which he suggested women who have abortions later risk having children with birth defects as a punishment from God as "wrong" and "offensive." "I've known Delegate Marshall for nearly 20 years and I'm sure he regrets saying that,'' McDonnell said. "I think those are wrong and offensive comments. We should do everything we can for young children that are developmentally disabled and provide the best safety net that we can through state government." McDonnell was asked about the comments of his longtime former colleague on his first appearance on the monthly "Ask the Governor" program on WTOP radio. "Delegate Marshall, who has been a champion for the pro-life cause, I think made some very poor and offensive and wrong comments and he has now since apologized for them and it doesn't help the cause on the larger issue of the...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 23, 2010; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell holds first meeting with Virginia congressional delegation

Newly elected Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell will meet with Virginia's congressional delegation for the first time today on Capitol Hill. McDonnell decided to go to Washington for his first meeting with the 13-member delegation -- consisting of Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner (both Democrats) and eleven House members (six Democrats and five Republicans) -- but plans to invite the members to Richmond this summer. The 90-minute meeting that will take place in House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's office will be focused on issues such as education, energy and the Chesapeake Bay, as well as promoting federal and state cooperation, the governor's aides say. (Photo courtesy Riki Parikh, Warner's office)...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 23, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Eric Cantor , Frank R. Wolf , Gerald E. Connolly , Glenn Nye , James P. Moran Jr. , James Webb , Mark Warner , Rick Boucher , Robert F. McDonnell , Tom Perriello  
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UPDATED: Legislative black caucus opposes McDonnell's charter schools proposal

In a stinging statement that referred back to the days of racial segregation, the legislative black caucus came out tonight against Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to expand the number of charter schools in Virginia. The decison is somewhat surprising given that charter schools are strongly supported by President Obama and one of the caucus's own members, Del. Rosalyn R. Dance (D-Petersburg), is listed as a chief co-patron of one of the bills and appeared with McDonnell at his news conference. "Members expressed extreme concern and objection to the most radical change in public education since Massive Resistance,'' the statement said. The state constitution gives local school boards the authority over charter schools. But McDonnell wants charter schools applicants to submit applications to the state Board of Education for review and pre-certification recommendations before going to the school boards. If they are rejected by local boards, he would allow applicants to...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 22, 2010; 7:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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UPDATED: Senate reverses course, passes McDonnell's proposal on oil royalties

If you don't at first succeed ... On a 21 to 19 vote, the Senate passed a House bill Monday that is also backed by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). The bill declares that 70 percent of any future royalty money the state receives from drilling for oil off the coast would be devoted to transportation improvements. This bill is similar in concept to a Senate bill that the chamber had essentially killed on a party line vote Feb. 10 by shuffling it back to committee, where it was not going to be considered again this year. The idea was a key part of McDonnell's transportation program during the campaign and he was fairly irked when Senate Democrats killed the bill a few weeks back. But on Monday, several Democrats who voted against the measure the first time voted for it on the second go-around. Leading Democratic Sen. Charles J. Colgan...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 22, 2010; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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McDonnell, other governors visit Obama at White House

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the rest of the nation's governors attended a meeting at the White House this morning with President Obama and Vice President Biden. Obama and Biden gave brief remarks -- mostly defending the federal stimulus package and touting education reform -- before answering questions from the governors. "Independent economists credit the Recovery Act with growing the economy and for two million jobs that otherwise wouldn't exist,'' Obama told them. "Now, I understand that some of you still claim it's not working or wasn't worth it, but I also know that you've used it to close your budget gaps or break ground on new projects. I've seen the photos and I've read the press releases. So it must be doing something right." Obama hosted the governors and their spouses -- including McDonnell and Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell -- last night at a black tie dinner at...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 22, 2010; 1:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Senate rejects most of McDonnell job package in budget

Legislative and budgetary measures designed to create jobs are Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's top priorities for the current legislative session. So it may be no great surprise the Democratic-led Senate Finance Committee declined to include most of his package in the budget it passed Sunday. Doubling the Governor's Opportunity Fund, used to lure corporate relocations? Nope. The Senate included the $12.1 million for the fund that Gov. Tim Kaine (D) had recommended but did not double it as McDonnell wanted. They took the action even though Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) also proposed doubling the fund during the fall campaign. Money for opening new trade offices in China, India and the U.K? A big increase in state funding for tourism promotion? New dollars for Virginia's Business One Stop program? The House of Delegates included each in their budget Sunday; the Senate did not....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  February 22, 2010; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Majority Leader Griffith: Most likely, I'm in race against Boucher

.Morgan Griffith, the Republican majority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates, is gearing up for a run for Congress against 28-year incumbent Rick Boucher in southwest Virginia's "Fightin' Ninth" District

By Amy Gardner  |  February 22, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Amy Gardner , Election 2010 , Rick Boucher  
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Demonstrators urge lawmakers to 'save our schools'

A crowd of more than 100 demonstrators gathered Sunday on the street outside the General Assembly Building in Richmond, chanting "Save Our Schools!"

By Anne Bartlett  |  February 22, 2010; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  !General Assembly , 2010 legislative session , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly , General Assembly 2010  
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Bolling hires more staff, moves into governor's offices

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has hired two additional staffers to help him with his role as chief jobs creation officer -- a new Cabinet level position. In the last few days, Bolling has moved into a new office in the Patrick Henry Building, which houses the governor's executive offices, where he will work on the fourth floor alongside Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng and Senior Economic Adviser Bob Sledd. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is picking up the tab ($120,000 plus benefits) for Bolling's Chief of Staff Randy Marcus and a new secretary, who both started working out of the job creation office last week. Bolling will be responsible for helping lure businesses to the state, coordinating with all state agencies that deal with economic development and shepherding economic-related bills through the General Assembly. He will lead a new Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Task Force and an internal...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 22, 2010; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Virginia legislators offer competing proposals to close $4 billion shortfall

Lawmakers in the House and Senate offered competing two-year spending plans today, setting the stage for a series of partisan clashes during the final three weeks of the legislative session as they try to offset a $4 billion shortfall. The budgets approved by both chamber's committees include deep cuts to core services including education, health services and public safety. Both agreed to save more than than half a billion dollars over the next two years by reducing payments to the state's pension plans for state and local employees and to oppose a freeze in the adjustment to the school-funding formula that would have cost cash-strapped schools in Northern Virginia nearly $140 million. The Senate Finance Committee agreed to raise fees to avoid cutting so much from public education, cutting $487 million less in education funding over the over two years than the House Appropriations Committee. House members sided against raising...

By Anita Kumar  |  February 21, 2010; 7:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2010 legislative session , Anita Kumar , Fredrick Kunkle , General Assembly , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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Democrat in special election for Fairfax House seat nabs endorsement from ex-rival

A Democratic lobbyist running for a Virginia House seat in Fairfax County picked up a big endorsement this week -- from her old political rival. Former Republican delegate James H. Dillard II, who served as Virginia's 41st District House delegate from 1972 to 2005, endorsed Eileen Filler-Corn, a Democratic lobbyist who served as an adviser to two former Virginia Democratic governors. Dillard defeated Filler-Corn in 1999 in a hotly contested race for the 41st House District, which is in Fairfax County and includes the areas of Burke, Fairfax Station and Springfield. The 41st House seat opened up again when Sen. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), who succeeded Dillard in 2005, defeated Republican Stephen M. "Steve" Hunt by 324 votes in a Senate special election in mid-January. He resigned his House seat a day later. Filler-Corn faces Kerry D. Bolognese, a higher-education lobbyist who unsuccessfully tried to take the seat from Marsden...

By Derek Kravitz  |  February 21, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Election 2010 , House of Delegates  
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