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Virginia Politics Blog: September 5, 2010 - September 11, 2010

Pr. William chairman to talk immigration on MTV Networks

Prince William County Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart has returned from a quick trip to New York City, where he participated in a panel discussion that MTV Networks plans to incorporate in an upcoming showing of a documentary that captures the county's illegal-immigration fight, he said. MTV is scheduled to air "9500 Liberty" on Sept. 26, Stewart said. Produced by Eric Byler and Annabel Park, the documentary captures the illegal-immigration clash that consumed county officials and residents a few years ago. The documentary shows the emotions surrounding the immigration policy and the aftermath of the legislation, which officials adopted in 2007 and modified in 2008 to remove language that some feared would lead to racial profiling....

By Jennifer Buske  | September 10, 2010; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Corey Stewart, Immigration, Jennifer Buske, Prince William  
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Updated: McDonnell's ABC plan receives support of one retail group

Score another one for Bob McDonnell. Virginia's governor officially received the backing of the Virginia Retail Merchants Association for his plan to privatize the state's liquor system hours after he got the same from Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. The news wasn't exactly surprising. The group has supported privatization for years, but it was still welcome news for McDonnell, whose proposal has received a somewhat cool reception this week. "VRMA believes that the retail sale of all products is best served by the private sector, which will allow the government to focus on other core services,'' the group said in a statement. "It is clear that the government sale of alcohol is a decades-old policy that needs to change...We also support the dedication of up-front revenue to transportation. While this initiative is only one piece of a long-term solution to transportation funding, we should not turn our backs on $500 million...

By Anita Kumar  | September 10, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Warner to hire Hallock for state director post

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) will announce that he has tapped well-known Richmond lobbyist David Hallock for a key vacancy on his staff. Hallock will serve as Warner's state director as the junior senator tries to elevate the job and connect with constituents back home. Hallock, a vice president with Kemper Consulting, served as Warner's deputy director of policy and deputy counselor when he was governor. He also has served as an adviser to Democratic lawmakers, including former Gov. Tim Kaine and last year's gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Creigh Deeds. (You may remember that Hallock has played his share of Republican politicians -- Jerry Kilgore, Jim Gilmore and Bob McDonnell -- as he helped Democrats prepare for debates over the last few years.) The state director oversees offices in Fairfax, Richmond, Abingdon, Norfolk and Roanoke and works with local and state government officials....

By Anita Kumar  | September 10, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner  
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Fairfax Chamber backs McDonnell's ABC privatization plan

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor system.

By Anita Kumar  | September 10, 2010; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Federal education stimulus funds sought

Gov. Bob McDonnell sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan asking for $249 million in stimulus money from a $26 billion bill that President Obama signed last month. McDonnell had been urged by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) not to apply for any funds from the bill and to "stand firm against this maneuver of the Obama Administration to increase states' dependency on the federal government." The bill, signed Aug. 11, provides governors with an additional six months of federal assistance: $10 billion for education and about $16 billion for Medicaid....

By Anita Kumar  | September 9, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell begins lobbying legislators on ABC privatization proposal

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said that he will start trying to persuade legislators that his proposal to privatize the state's liquor system is the "right business model" for Virginia and a "good proposition for our citizens." McDonnell told reporters at a news conference late Wednesday that he does not know how many votes he has for the proposal in the divided General Assembly, but that his plan, unveiled hours earlier, addresses most lawmakers' concerns. "There are some legislators that will oppose it because they aren't really concerned about transportation,'' he said. "There are some legislators that will oppose it because they don't want to see my administration succeed -- some of the Democratic party. ... But I think legislators are smart and they're fair-minded. They don't believe everything they read in the paper, they don't believe everything they may have heard in chatter." McDonnell wants to auction off 1,000 licenses...

By Anita Kumar  | September 9, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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McDonnell, congressmen to fight defense cuts in Virginia

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and members of Virginia's congressional delegation vowed Thursday to fight Defense Secretary Robert Gates's decision to shutter the Joint Forces Command, a military installation in Hampton Roads, and to slash the Pentagon's military contracting budget by 10 percent a year for the next three years. "The decision by Secretary Gates...is one that is very shortsightened and is one that has not gone about anywhere near the documentation that would be needed in order to make a colossal change of this kind,'' McDonnell said. "I think the concern most of us have is that this was done in a very hasty way with no demonstrable savings to the United States or to the Department of Defense." At the first meeting of McDonnell's statewide military commission, members focused on Gates's Aug. 9 decision which McDonnell said could cost Virginia thousands of jobs and have a devastating impact on...

By Anita Kumar  | September 9, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Barack Obama, Bill Bolling, Frank R. Wolf, Gerald E. Connolly, Glenn Nye, Robert F. McDonnell, Thomas M. Davis III  
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McDonnell headlines fundraisers for Corbett of Pennsylvania

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will headline a pair of fundraisers Thursday and Friday for fellow Republican Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania attorney general who is running for governor. He will attend a Thursday afternoon event at the St. Clair Club Country Club in Upper St. Clair, Pa. The next morning, he will attend a Republican Governors Association event at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, where proceeds will be given to Corbett's campaign. The RGA event is expected to bring in $430,000, according to Phil Cox, McDonnell's senior political adviser, but figures were not yet available for the other fundraiser. Corbett held a fundraiser in Philadelphia for McDonnell when he was running for governor last year. This year, McDonnell has been assigned to Corbett through the RGA's mentoring program. McDonnell held his first fundraiser for Corbett this summer at the home of Fred Malek, a major Republican donor who served as a...

By Anita Kumar  | September 9, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell unveils proposal to privatize state liquor system

Gov. Bob McDonnell's staff unveiled a proposal to nearly triple the number of establishments that sell hard liquor in the state -- to 1,000 -- though the majority of new licenses would go to establishments where Virginians can already buy beer and wine, such as grocery and convenience stores. McDonnell's staff, now briefing members of his government reform commission, argue their plan raises money for state roads, almost fully replaces revenue Virginia now receives from its ABC stores, expands the shelf space devoted to distilled spirits in the state while avoiding a proliferation of new liquor stores and does not raise taxes. That last point will be key for a Republican who ran for governor on a platform of improving roads without new taxes. McDonnell will have to persuade legislators new fees on parts of the industry involved with his complex proposal do not represent tax increases. That persuasion campaign...

By Anita Kumar  | September 8, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Wilder: McDonnell liquor plan faces tough fight

Former Gov. Doug Wilder (D), a strong proponent of privatizing state-run liquor stores, is predicting a tough -- though not insurmountable -- road for Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to end Virginia's spirits monopoly. "He's in a difficult situation," Wilder said. "Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done tomorrow? No." Wilder, who chaired a government reform commission that recommended ABC privatization and periodically discusses the idea with McDonnell, said he senses organized opposition to the concept and but little organized support. "I have not identified nor seen the supporters -- the people who would be called upon to pass this thing," Wilder said. "But there's organization for the opposition. It's pretty apparent, and you don't have to go far for it."...

By Rosalind Helderman  | September 8, 2010; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Twitter war turns personal in Perriello-Hurt contest

The bitter fight between Rep. Tom Perriello (D) and state Sen. Robert Hurt (R) in Virginia's 5th congressional district took a personal turn on Twitter Tuesday, when Perriello's campaign called Hurt's spokeswoman a "carpetbagger" and a national GOP operative responded by Tweeting the home addresses of several Perriello staffers.

By Ben Pershing  | September 8, 2010; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Initial vote on McDonnell's ABC privatization proposal delayed

Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize the state's liquor system had been expected to face its first vote Wednesday afternoon, but the vote was postponed late Tuesday. A committee of McDonnell's government reform commission will meet at 1 p.m. to receive the proposal, but chairman Del. G. Glenn Oder (R-Newport News) delayed the vote because members did not receive details about the plan far enough in advance of the meeting. Oder did not return a call seeking comment. "It's a very sensible thing,'' said Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington), a member of the committee who had said last week it would be "virtually impossible" to vote for the proposal if she did not receive details before the meeting. Richmond lawyer Howard Estes, who also serves on the committee, said he would have been surprised if the panel had been forced to vote on the proposal. He said the committee typically...

By Anita Kumar  | September 8, 2010; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2010, House of Delegates, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate, Transportation  
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Va. alters ID policy after nun's death in accident

Virginia will no longer allow federal employment authorization cards to be used to obtain driver's licenses or identification cards after a fatal crash involving Benedictine nuns and a drunk Bolivian national facing deportation stoked concerns over the document's reliability in determining someone's immigration status.

By Anita Kumar  | September 7, 2010; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Immigration, Prince William, Transportation  
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Other states did not make money on ABC privatization

As we reported over the weekend, Virginia probably should not expect expect either a financial windfall or a level of income that matches what state-run liquor stores currently add to Richmond's bottom line, according to a Washington Post analysis of other states that have privatized at least part of their alcohol sales. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he expects to make $500 million upfront while retaining nearly $250 million in taxes and profits to the state each year by doing what no control state has done -- privatizing the wholesale, distribution and retail. He will announce his proposal Wednesday. Iowa and West Virginia, the only two states that have fully privatized their retail stores in the last two decades, each made less than $20 million upfront when they privatized. Officials there say the change helped them become more efficient and saved overhead costs, but never produced the anticipated windfall. In...

By Anita Kumar  | September 7, 2010; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell  
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With new poll, Democrats make case that Perriello race is still competitive

Democrats released a new poll Tuesday that showed Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) in a dead heat with state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), as the incumbent and his party seek to combat the perception that his reelection might be slipping out of reach.

By Ben Pershing  | September 7, 2010; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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ABC revenues grew by 4.4 percent in 2010

Profits and tax revenues at state-run liquor stores grew by 4.4 percent in fiscal year 2010 over fiscal year 2009, and total $258.6 million, according to a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has promised his plan for privatizing state-run liquor stores, scheduled to be unveiled Wednesday, will fully replace the annual revenue Virginia now receives from the sale of hard liquor. But just how much does Virginia get from its ABC stores? As discussions have unfolded on the topic over the summer, the most cited numbers have been from fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30, 2009 and have been the most current numbers available. In 2009, Virginia received $109.6 million in excise taxes on liquor, $26.2 million in sales taxes and $111.8 million in profits from ABC stores, for a total of $247.6 million. But fiscal year 2010 ended June 30...

By Rosalind Helderman  | September 7, 2010; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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