Former Democratic Delegate Steve Shannon has launced a new political action committee, Virginians for a Better Way, as Shannon puts his toe back into politics. Shannon got walloped by Ken Cuccinelli in the race for attorney general in November. (Cuccinelli is fond of noting that he won the election with more votes than anyone else who has ever run for the office.) Shannon had resigned his Fairfax delegate's seat to run for the office, and he's been largely out of the public eye since. But he's been spotted at various Democratic events, including the party's big Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and at last weekend's state central committee meeting. In an interview, Shannon described the committee, which the Virginia Public Access Project reports was registered Friday, as an attempt to form a counterbalance to the Tea Party, to encourage Democratic politics at the grassroots level. "We're going to focus on areas where the...
Curious about who made the long drive to the posh Homestead Resort on Friday to spend the day golfing, hiking and swimming with Gov. Bob McDonnell? So were we. Here are just a few of the bold-faced names who attended McDonnell's invitation-only retreat: Jim Beamer and Jim Eck of Dominion Virginia Power, one of the most influential companies in the state; Bobbie Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council; lobbyists Steve Horton and Mike Thomas of the giant law firm McGuire Woods; and Ed Gillespie, a longtime Republican strategist who was chairman of McDonnell's campaign. "You would have to be from another planet not to know this is the way it works,'' Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said. "Every day, all summer along, all across the country, there are events like this. It's not a big deal." In Virginia, Democratic and Republican legislators also drive to the...
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Friday afternoon that "it might be helpful" if Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) would publicly lobby on behalf of additional federal funding for Virginia's Medicaid program. Warner's comment came as a bill that includes the additional Medicaid money--$417 million for Virginia--remains hung up in the U.S. Senate. In a vote Thursday night, the broadbased bill that includes a number of costly items in addition to the Medicaid funding failed to muster enough votes to advance. All of chamber's Republicans voted against it because of the increased federal spending. "It might be helpful," Warner said of McDonnell lobbying for the aid. "It does remind me...During the session, I was down in Richmond and there were two or three Republican legislators I was having a beer with. And their comment was, 'Well, Governor, we're keep kicking you in the rear end for spending. But keep those checks...
The NRCC pounced Friday on a report in the Washington Post noting that Rep. Glenn Nye had a fundraiser thrown for him by a lobbyist for BP -- after the oil spill.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, who insists that he be able to appoint two members to the Metro's board of directors, is getting some support from from an unusual place.
| June 18, 2010; 11:01 AM ET |
Categories: Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, House of Delegates, James P. Moran Jr., Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate
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The debate over debates has already begun between Robert Hurt and Tom Perriello in the 5th district.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II announced this evening that he will set aside $55,500 in campaign funds into a restricted account, pending the outcome of an investigation into the United States Navy Veterans Association. The sum is equal to donations made to Cuccinelli during his fall campaign by Bobby Thompson, a director of the group. The group is under investigation by Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which regulates state charities. It is also under investigation in three other states, probes that began after a six-month project by the St. Petersburg Times in Florida revealed irregularities with the charity's operations. The newspaper, for instance, was able to locate only one of 85 directors and officers of the group of effort. The Roanoke Times has also reported that a Virginia charity that the group had claimed it supported monetarily never received any donations from it....
Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart is calling on Virginia legislators to follow in Arizona's footsteps and pass a law that would crackdown on illegal immigration throughout the Commonwealth.
A leading Northern Virginia Democrat Thursday asked Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to lobby on behalf of an imperiled proposal to provide the states additional Medicaid aid. "It would be really helpful for the governor to be definitive on the subject," state Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) told McDonnell's Secretary of Finance Ric Brown at a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday morning. "Right now, it's just one contradiction after another." The additional funding from Washington had been considered such a foregone conclusion in state capitals that many states assumed they would receive the funds when writing next year's budget. Virginia did not follow that path, but did plan to use the additional aid to reverse several tough health care cuts. Some of those cuts involved adjusting eligibility requirements for some Medicaid programs, adjustments that were subsequently made illegal by the federal health care bill. As a result, Virginia faces the...
Gov. Bob McDonnell is hosting a invitation only retreat for senior staff and top supporters at the Homestead resort in the Allegheny Mountains Thursday and Friday.
Updated, 5:30 p.m. Democrats continue to hammer McDonnell on his decision to withhold $50 million for Metro unless the state gets two members on the agency's board of directors. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said the state was "legally bound" to pay the $50 million and described McDonnell's actions as "budgetary blackmail." He said if ridership fees are calculated than Virginia is only paying a third, not a half of Virginia's portion of Metro's budget. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) called McDonnell's actions a "raw power grab by Richmond bureaucrats." He said the state does not actually pay money directly to Metro, like Maryland does, but sends money collected in Northern Virginia from the gas tax. "This is a hostile act to Northern Virginia taxpayers. It's a reckless act,'' he said. "This is the same old story. Richmond insists on getting something for nothing." But many of those same Democrats, including...
| June 17, 2010; 1:00 PM ET |
Categories: Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, House of Delegates, James P. Moran Jr., Robert F. McDonnell
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Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) is wading into the controversial fight over Democrats' pending campaign finance reform measure, defending the National Rifle Association for its role in the debate from critics on both sides of the ideological divide.
Tired of clicking your remote and finding nothing you want to watch? Cable subscribers in the Washington area have a new viewing option -- the Jim Moran and Donna Edwards channels.
Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Thursday that Craig Burns will replace Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen whose death Tuesday shocked many on Capitol Square. Burns will serve as acting tax commissioner while McDonnell (R) conducts a search for a permanent replacement. Burns, deputy secretary of finance, has worked for the state for 22 years in the Virginia Retirement System, House Appropriations Committee, Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and Department of Medical Assistance Services. Bowen, 56, who worked for the state for more than three decades, died unexpectedly. Last week, she had been elected president of the Federation of Tax Administrators, which helps all 50 states with training and research, and keeps a close eye on federal legislation affecting state tax revenues....
Days after Gov. Bob McDonnell said he doesn't plan to urge Congress to extend enhanced Medicaid spending, some Virginians are asking him to reconsider.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II spoke directly to supporters and others this evening about his lawsuit against the federal health care law, bypassing media filters to directly address more than 2,000 registered participants in an online webcast about the suit. Though Cuccinelli is one of 21 state attorneys general who are suing over the law, he has been working to establish himself as the go-to spokesman to explain the legal intricacies of the issue and provide robust intellectual support for the notion that these suits will decide something critical about the nation's future as a constitutional democracy. Cuccinelli spent a good part the hourlong session walking participants through the suit's nuts and bolts, explaining how the legal process will unfold and the arguments that have so far been made by his office and their federal antagonists. But his main goal, he said, was to explain how his suit defends...
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has told a judge that his request for documents related to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann should be granted because neither academic freedom nor the First Amendment "immunizes" a person from a fraud investigation. The university has petitioned a judge to set aside Cuccinelli's "civil investigative demand," essentially a subpoena, in which he sought seeking emails sent to and from Mann before he left the university in 2005, as well as information about five public grants Mann received while at the school. Cuccinelli made a lengthy response to the university's petition in an Albemarle Circuit Court on Tuesday. In his answer, a top staff attorney for Cuccinelli rejects several arguments that had been made by the university's lawyers--hired specially to handle the case, which has received national attention....
Gov. Bob McDonnell has hired Cindi Jones, the acting Medicaid director, to fill a new position as director of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative -- helping Virginia expand its Medicaid eligibility, plan for new health care exchanges that the law mandates in 2014 and make the state's system more affordable.
Property developer Jim McKelvey made clear Wednesday that he still has no plans to endorse state Sen. Robert Hurt, eight days after McKelvey finished second to Hurt in the 5th congressional district Republican primary.
| June 16, 2010; 1:40 PM ET |
Categories: 2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Jim McKelvey, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello
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The president of Virginia's Board of Education said Wednesday that she opposes replacing Virginia's Standards of Learning curriculum with a new national curriculum guide--providing key support to Gov. Bob McDonnell's position on the issue. At McDonnell's (R) direction, Virginia dropped out of the Race to the Top competition, a federal program that let states compete for massive federal education grants. He said the potential federal money was not worth ditching the state's 15-year-old SOLs. The competition encourages states to adopt common national standards. And now Virginia Board of Education President Eleanor Saslaw has released a statement indicating that she agrees. Saslaw, who was first appointed to the board by former Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner, wrote that she will ask the Board of Education to endorse her position at a meeting next week....
The Commonwealth Institute has has released a study showing Virginians received $3 billion in direct aid due to provisions of the federal stimulus act. The report indicates that residents received the most aid in areas of the state hardest hit by the economic recession. According to the analysis, Virginians received $1.9 billion through the Make Work Pay tax credit, a tax reimbursement for low and middle-income earners. Virginians also received $208 million through a provision of the act that has boosted benefits for those who qualify for food stamps. Another $589 million flowed directly to unemployed residents, though provisions that boosted unemployment benefits by $25 each week and extended the number of weeks the unemployed can receive benefits. "This report shows the act has helped almost every household in Virginia," said Institute executive director Michael Cassidy. He said providing direct aid to the unemployed, those receiving food stamps and lower-income...
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling got a nice birthday gift from his supporters Tuesday. At his first fundraiser since forming his campaign committee to run for governor in 2013, supporters donated $275,000-$300,000. Bolling hosted his an annual "Burgers with Bill" fundraiser to celebrate his 53rd birthday. This year, the proceeds from the event went to his gubernatorial campaign. More than 300 supporters, including Republican Dels. Jimmie Massie and John O'Bannon, local elected officials, business and party leaders and lobbyists attended. "We are very pleased with the success of the event,'' said Randy Marcus, Bolling's chief of staff. "To raise nearly $300K at this point in time reflects the strong support and friendship that Lieutenant Governor Bolling has developed among Virginia's business leaders and party leaders over the years, and it bodes well for our future fundraising efforts." Bolling (R) formed Friends of Bill Bolling on March 26, soon after the 60-day...
Jennifer Buske covers Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the Virginia Railway Express for The Washington Post. A native of Michigan, Jennifer got her start in journalism at her hometown paper, the Midland Daily News. Jennifer attended Syracuse University and pursued a newspaper degree at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Before arriving at The Post in 2008, Jennifer worked at The Post-Standard in Syracuse and The Stafford County Sun. Past articles | E-mail Jennifer....
Republicans easily won two special elections for the Virginia House of Delegates today, as voters in Chesterfield elected local optometrist Roxanne Robinson and voters in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County elected former local chamber president Tony Wilt. Both districts had been considered safe for the Republicans. Robinson and Wilt replace Republicans Matt Lohr and Sam Nixon, who vacated their seats to take jobs in Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration. Still, Democrats had attempted to contest the Harrisonburg seat throwing party money and organization behind Mayor Kai Degner. Degner did win Harrisonburg, but only by 50 votes. Meanwhile, Wilt swamped Degner in the district's 15 Rockingham precincts. With all precincts reporting, Wilt defeated Degner with 66 percent of the vote. In Chesterfield, with all precincts reporting, Robinson has beaten planning commission chairman William Brown with 72 percent of the vote....
The Virginia General Assembly may need to reopen the state's two-year budget to reverse cuts to Medicaid eligibility that appear to violate provisions of the new federal health care law. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Monday that he no longer plans to lobby Congress to approve an extension of enhanced Medicaid match rates. The state had been hoping Congress would extend the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (or FMAP) by six months, which had been extended through the stimulus bill but will lapse on Dec. 31. Extending the enhanced rates by six months would result in more than $400 million in additional federal dollars for Virginia. The additional Medicaid dollars are tucked into a jobs bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate. But the bill's passage is in doubt and McDonnell said Monday he no longer believes the federal government can afford the additional spending. That was a reversal in...
Virginia Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen, who worked for the state for more than three decades, died unexpectedly Tuesday morning. Bowen, 56, who worked her way up through the ranks, started in the agency handling sales tax phone calls and correspondence in 1978. She served briefly as deputy secretary of finance before then Governor Tim Kaine appointed her tax commissioner in 2005, leading one of the largest revenue departments in the nation. Just last week, Bowen was elected president of the Federation of Tax Administrators, which helps all 50 states with training, research and keeps a close eye on federal legislation affecting state tax revenues. She also earned an award from the Telework Exchange organization for being the "driver" behind the Tax Department's telework program. "Throughout her time in state government, Janie was always looking to find new and better ways of serving the citizens of Virginia,'' Gov. Bob McDonnell said...
Rep. Gerald Connolly's campaign is using some creative editing to make it sound as though Keith Fimian is in favor of repealing the 17th amendment to the Constitution.
Voters go to the polls today in two special elections for the Virginia House of Delegates. Both seats are considered reliably Republican, vacated when incumbents Del. Matt Lohr (R-Harrisonburg) and Del. Sam Nixon (R-Chesterfield) resigned from the House to take jobs in the administration of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). Powerful new maps from the Virginia Public Access Project that track voting history down to a precinct level illustrate just how strongly Republican the voting trend has been in each of these districts. For instance, in November, McDonnell won District 26--Lohr's old seat which encompasses Harrisonburg and surrounding areas--with 71 percent of the vote. Only a single precinct backed Deeds. Likewise, the district backed Republicans John McCain for president in 2008 and Jerry Kilgore for governor in 2005, years that were otherwise fairly good for Democrats in some parts of Virginia. The numbers look a bit more mixed in District 27...
Rosalind S. Helderman
| June 15, 2010; 10:26 AM ET |
Categories: Election 2010, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) told reporters Monday afternoon that he will no longer urge Congress to extend enhanced Medicaid spending, saying he has concerns that it could contribute to a ballooning federal deficit.
| June 14, 2010; 5:59 PM ET |
Categories: Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate
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Actor Tim Reid stopped in Richmond Monday to promote film production as Gov. Bob McDonnell ceremoniously signed two bills offering tax credits to Virginia moviemakers.
Clean Energy Works, a coalition of liberal and environmentalist groups, has launched an ad thanking James Webb and Mark Warner for their votes last week against a bill that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration is predicting Virginia will conclude this fiscal year with a budget surplus, an encouraging sign that the state's economy may be turning around. McDonnell announced Monday that state tax collections dipped just .2 percent in May compared to May 2009. The statistic was encouraging, because state budget-writers had predicted revenues would decline 2.3 percent in May. Still, revenues had been rising--showing .4 percent growth in April and 3 percent in March. But according to McDonnell's office, the state remains on pace to end the year with a surplus, which wasn't the case last year. The state will need to take in $1.37 billion in June to ensure it ends the year with a surplus, a not unreasonable expectation given that Virginia collected $1.5 billion in June 2009, when the economy was softer. This month's revenue report contains a few other bits of encouraging news. For instance,...
The General Assembly's investigative arm voted behind closed doors Monday morning to promote Deputy Director Glen Tittermary to director of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.
Virginians looking to honor country music singer, television actor and sausage magnate Jimmy Dean, who died Sunday at 81, could renew a push to adopt a Dean-penned song as Virginia's official state anthem. Virginia is one of the few states that has no official tune. It's been without one since 1997, when the General Assembly retired "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," because its lyrics were deemed racist. The state has repeatedly tried to choose a replacement, notably by appointing a 12-member committee that sifted through 400 suggestions and whittled them down to eight finalists. One of those finalists was the appropriately titled "Virginia." It was a ditty played for legislative committees by its composer, song-writer and Varina resident Jimmy Dean. But the state-song legislative process broke down years ago, as lawmakers splintered. (There was even a lawsuit, from a man who claimed the committee was biased in favor of...