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Virginia Politics Blog: February 27, 2011 - March 5, 2011

Sen. Mark Warner talking up federal workers

Ed O'Keefe reports on the Federal Eye blog that, continuing a tradition launched by a former colleague, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is devoting some of his Senate floor speeches to highlight the work of rank-and-file federal workers. During his two-year stint in the Senate, former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) made more than 100 floor speeches about different federal employees every week the Senate was in session. Kaufman, Vice President Biden's former Senate chief of staff, left the Senate late last year and Warner vowed to continue the tradition.Virginia's junior senator spoke Thursday about Robert Benzon, a senior investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board who lives in Fredericksburg, Va. (Watch the video above or click here to see it.)See the entire post on the Federal Eye....

By Washington Post Editors  | March 4, 2011; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Mark Warner  
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In feisty radio interview, Saslaw fights back on car title lending, abortion regulation

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) faced down an unexpected caller on WAMU's Politics Hour -- Del. Glenn Oder (R-Newport News), calling to castigate Saslaw for sponsoring a bill to reverse a six-month-old ban on Virginia car title lenders giving cash to out-of-state drivers.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 4, 2011; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  General Assembly, Rosalind Helderman, Timothy M. Kaine, Tom Perriello  
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Cuccinelli to auction lunch for Alexandria charity

Just what the residents of deep blue Alexandria always wanted: lunch with conservative Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R).

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 4, 2011; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Connolly won't enter Senate race, hopes Kaine will run

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D) definitively took himself out of the running for the seat being vacated next year by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), reiterating his hope that ex-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine would be the Democratic nominee for the seat.

By Ben Pershing  | March 4, 2011; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Election 2012, Gerald E. Connolly, Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Senate  
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Prince William files lawsuit against DHS seeking information about Martinelly-Montano case

Prince William County filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday -a final push to get the agency to release information on an investigation into Carlos A. Martinelly-Montano an illegal immigrant charged with killing a nun and injuring two others in a drunken-driving accident

By Jennifer Buske  | March 3, 2011; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Herndon Republican takes on Fairfax County Chairman Bulova

A Herndon businessman who had been pursuing a run for Virginia's state Senate announced Thursday that he now plans to seek the post held by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon S. Bulova (D) this fall.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | March 3, 2011; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Fairfax County, Fredrick Kunkle  
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New poll shows George Allen in strong position for GOP Senate primary

While Democrats keep waiting to see whether former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will jump into the race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), a new poll shows former Sen. George Allen in a strong position in the Republican primary.

By Ben Pershing  | March 3, 2011; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Bob Marshall, Corey Stewart, Election 2012, George F. Allen, Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Senate  
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Mike Signer to focus on PAC, not Senate run

Former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Mike Signer says he does not plan to run for the state Senate seat that will be vacated with the retirement of Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington). He had previously said he also has no plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Jim Webb (D).The Arlington lawyer and former counsel to then-governor Mark Warner (D) says he plans to instead spend time nurturing the New Dominion Project, a political action committee and Web site he launched two weeks ago."Democratic activists have recently asked me to consider open seats in the Commonwealth," Signer said in a statement. "While these requests have been flattering, recent developments in Richmond have only crystallized for me the need to focus on this crucial work in the coming months."In an interview, Signer describes New Dominion Project as a "combination of journalism and advocacy," whose goal...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 3, 2011; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  !Elections  
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McDonnell's trip to the Sunshine State

Following Sunday's adjournment of the legislative session, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has headed to South Florida for a little R&R. McDonnell, vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will also spend a little time mingling with supporters of both his 2009 campaign and the RGA. On Friday, he will attend a lunch hosted by McLean attorney and McDonnell donor Kevin Fay at the famed Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and then a dinner in Palm Beach hosted by prominent developer Eddie Garcia, according to Phil Cox, McDonnell top political adviser. Garcia, who has homes in Virginia Beach and Palm Beach, gave $25,000 to McDonnell's political action committee, Opportunity Virginia, according to the Virginia Public Access Porject, a non-partisan tracker of money in politics. On Saturday night, McDonnell will host a thank-you reception for RGA donors in the area, Cox said....

By Anita Kumar  | March 3, 2011; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kaine will likely announce Senate decision as soon as next week

Tim Kaine, former governor and current chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will most likely announce whether he is running for U.S. Senate as soon as next week, according to sources close to Kaine. Kaine is on vacation with his family until Monday, in part to consider the decision, they say. The sources say he will announce soon after returning. He has consulted with President Obama and been encouraged to run by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both of Virginia's senators and countless state officials. On Feb. 19 at Virginia Democrats' Jefferson Jackson Dinner, he was greeted by enthusiastic crowds of activists in his hometown and by those wanting him to run. Several other Democrats have been mentioned as possible contenders. Defeated representative Tom Perriello is the most prominent name. Other possible candidates include Rep. Gerry Connolly, former representative Rick Boucher, state Sen. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (Fairfax), state Sen....

By Anita Kumar  | March 2, 2011; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Cuccinelli applauds Supreme Court decision in military funeral case

Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) says an 8 to 1 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday ruling that the first amendment protects speech by a fringe church that targets military funerals "vindicated" his decision to stay out of the case.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 2, 2011; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. school cafeterias can learn how to buy local food

Two lawmakers from opposite parties and opposite ends of Virginia have teamed up to encourage school cafeterias to serve more food from local farms. Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Emmet W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) both introduced bills -- HB1549 and SB1090 -- in the recently concluded Virginia General Assembly to remove barriers that might prevent school purchasing officers from buying from local food producers....

By Fredrick Kunkle  | March 2, 2011; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011  
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Airport board split over new chief executive candidate

The governing board of the Washington area's two main airports and the project to extend Metrorail to Dulles International remained divided Wednesday, taking no action to name a new chief executive.

By Ann E. Marimow  | March 2, 2011; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Transportation  
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Resident petitions to move Leesburg elections to November

A petition to move Leesburg's town elections from May to November was signed by more than 2,500 voters and delivered to the Clerk of the Circuit Court on Monday, according to Leesburg Town Council member Kenneth "Ken" Reid and resident Barbara Bayles-Roberts, who is leading the petition effort. The petition was signed by more than 10 percent of registered Leesburg voters -- about 2,500 -- the minimum required for a voter referendum on the proposal in November. The question of whether to move town elections was first raised in fall 2009, when the county electoral board sent a memo to Leesburg and other Virginia municipalities stating that costs could be cut by moving the election date. The electoral board estimated in August that by cutting the costs of hiring polling staff and creating separate ballots, Leesburg could save about $17,000 every two years if it made the switch, according to...

By Caitlin Gibson  | March 1, 2011; 4:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Caitlin Gibson, Loudoun County  
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Averill to lead Americans for Prosperity's Virginia office

Americans for Prosperity, a group that supports a free market, low taxes and transparency in government, has hired longtime Republican activist Trixie Averill as its new state director.

By Anita Kumar  | March 1, 2011; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Pr. William supervisors adopt tax rate to advertise

Prince William County residents may see a small tax hike next year as county officials look for money to fund transportation and other capital projects. On Tuesday, supervisors unanimously voted to advertise a tax rate of $1.213 per $100 of assessed value. If approved in April, residential tax bills will go up, on average, 3 percent, county officials said. Taxpayers will also pay an additional 7.5-cent fire levy, or about $197 to help fund a proposed fire station.

By Jennifer Buske  | March 1, 2011; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Corey Stewart will vie to keep Pr. William chairman's seat

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A . Stewart will seek reelection, he said Tuesday.

By Jennifer Buske  | March 1, 2011; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Corey Stewart, Prince William  
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McDonnell vows to gain a seat on Metro Board despite legislature's inaction

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he will continue to work to get a seat on the Metro Board of Directors after the General Assembly's failure to include language to that effect in the state budget that was passed unanimously Sunday night. House negotiators had tried to put a provision in the budget that would give Virginia's governor the power to appoint a board member, but their Senate counterparts balked. "I have been extremely clear with the leaders in Northern Virginia that it is absolutely wrong for Virginia to pay $50 million a year and have no seat at the table,'' McDonnell told reporters. "The federal government has two seats. Maryland has got a seat. D.C.'s got a seat. Virginia has got none ... I'm going to continue to pursue that. One way or another, we are going to have a Virginia seat on that board and I'm fully committed to...

By Anita Kumar  | March 1, 2011; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Republicans call Kaine 'Cheerleader-in-Chief'

Timothy M. Kaine still hasn't decided to run next year for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) but that hasn't stopped Republicans from going on the attack.

By Ben Pershing  | March 1, 2011; 2:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Election 2012, Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Senate  
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Budget deal drops requirement that Cuccinelli track staff time

Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) will face no legislative requirement that he keep track of his staff's time.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 1, 2011; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Budget, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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McDonnell talks to Obama at the White House

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell missed a National Governors Association dinner at the White House with President Obama Sunday night because the General Assembly adjourned its annual legislative session a day late. Instead, McDonnell (R) left for Washington immediately after adjournment Sunday night in time to join other governors for a meeting with Obama at the White House Monday morning and then lunch with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). McDonnell said he expected to spend the day talking about immigration, offshore drilling, health care and budgets. "I think there are honestly some difference of opinion between Republican and Democratic governors on maybe the health care approach and so forth, but there is universal concern about unfunded federal mandates on state government,'' McDonnell told reporters before he left for Washington. "Unfunded federal mandates that undermine flexibility for governors to make individual choices for their states."...

By Anita Kumar  | February 28, 2011; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Pr. William Board Chairman Corey Stewart to announce reelection bid

Prince William County Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R- At Large) plans to announce his bid for reelection Tuesday.

By Jennifer Buske  | February 28, 2011; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Corey Stewart, Jennifer Buske, Prince William  
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Virginia lawmakers reflect on legislative session

"This year will be remembered as a bag of mixed results. Certainly, the abortion issue came to the fore and was handled in a poor manner. . .It will leave a bad taste in the mouths of many as far as this session is concerned. My caucus will grow wiser from having seen this done."--Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) "I think you got a got a transportation plan, a higher ed bill, and no tax increase, I think that's a great year, a great accomplishment."--Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax)

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 28, 2011; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Fredrick Kunkle, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Legislators act on thousands of bills during session

Virginia lawmakers considered 2,692 bills during their 47-day session, which ended one day late Sunday. They passed 1,599 of them and killed hundreds of others. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has 30 days from adjournment to consider most bills, though some had to be considered in just a week of being sent to him if more than seven days remained of the session. He has already signed 15 bills. Legislators will return to Richmond April 6 to act on the governor's amendments and vetoes. Check out our round-up of how major legislation fared here....

By Anita Kumar  | February 28, 2011; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Virginia General Assembly adjourns final time

Virginia's General Assembly voted to adjourn its annual legislative session sine die Sunday evening after wrapping up business on the state's budget and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's transportation plan. In one of its final pieces of business, the House and Senate approved a list of adjustments to the state's two-year $78 billion budget. For the first time in memory, the vote of both chambers was unanimous. "We went through the budget and made painful choices between the "got‐to‐do's" and the "nice‐to‐do's," Del. Lacey E. Putney (I-Bedford), who chairs the House appropriations committee, told lawmakers. Budget negotiators from both parties and both chambers hammered out the final details after pushing early into Sunday morning. McDonnell spoke to budget conferees several times during negotiations, and called them late Saturday when he heard some were threatening to leave town without a budget. He told them he would immediately call them back into a...

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 27, 2011; 7:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell  
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Early morning budget deal struck in Virginia General Assembly

Leading members of the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate reached a deal on revisions to the state's two year budget around 1:30 a.m. Sunday as weary delegates and senators broke deadlocks in health and human resources and public safety spending.

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar  | February 27, 2011; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Budget, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates  
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