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Posted at 7:01 AM ET, 02/25/2011

Virginia lawmakers create Progressive Caucus

By Fredrick Kunkle

Is the center-right state of Virginia ready for the Progressive Caucus?

A group of young Democratic lawmakers thinks the commonwealth is overdue for it. The newly formed political caucus, several of whom represent Northern Virginia, will hold a press conference Friday morning to announce its formation.

About 20 members from the House of Delegates and the Senate have signed on to an agenda that includes "economic justice" to rebalance Virginia's priorities toward rich and poor, said Del. David L. Englin, a Democrat from Alexandria who is one of the Progressive Caucus' founding co-chairs.



"Society ought to be judged not by how it treats the people at the top -- it should be judged by how it treats the people at the bottom," Englin said. "So we want to make sure the most vulnerable among us are taken care of."

Besides focusing more attention on funding Medicaid than corporate tax breaks, the liberal new caucus intends to pursue a broad array of civil rights for gays, former convicts seeking to vote again, and women who elect to have an abortion, he said.

The other founding co-chairs include Dels. Adam P. Ebbin of Alexandria and Patrick A. Hope of Arlington and Sen. A. Donald McEachin of Richmond.

The group will be making its debut with the governor's mansion and the House are in Republican hands, and a day after the Democratic-led Senate was outfoxed by the GOP on a bill long sought by conservatives to regulate abortion clinics.

The full text of the group's press release is here:

Legislators Announce Formation of Progressive Caucus

Richmond - This morning, a group of legislators gathered to announce the formation of a Progressive Caucus in the Virginia General Assembly. At the announcement, Delegate Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) said, "Progressive values are Virginia values. Families across the Commonwealth want their legislature to focus on issues that matter to them." Delegate Hope continued, "The Progressive Caucus serves to fight for the interests of the average citizen and to educate the public on Progressive issues. "

His colleague, Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) added, "While Virginia can be slow to change, we have to keep pace with the times when it comes to issues like stem cell research, global warming and society's attitudes towards gays and lesbians. As progressives, it is important that we stand together as we work to move Virginia forward."

Delegate David Englin (D-Alexandria) stated, "It's time for progressive legislators to organize and work together to advance the progressive values that we share, so we can keep our Commonwealth moving toward that day when every person - including the poor, the elderly, the week, the dispossessed - has a fair shake and an equal shot at the American dream."

Senator McEachin (D-Henrico) concluded the press conference. "We standing here today believe that Virginians are fair and open-minded and want a Commonwealth that reflects those values. We will work together to improve the environment, support a strong, vibrant, quality, twenty-first century, public education system for all our children, devise and implement a long-term transportation program including a critical component of mass transit and of updated infrastructure, create good-paying jobs and provide all Virginians equal opportunity, justice and fairness."

Members of the General Assembly continue to join the Progressive Caucus which will be working throughout the year to support and create legislation that support their goals and values.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 25, 2011; 7:01 AM ET
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle, General Assembly 2011  
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Comments

McEachin established his own law firm, but as far as I can tell, Hope, Ebbin and Englin have no business experience and have mostly worked for government entities. I wonder why they think they're qualified, or even credible, when it comes to "rebalanc[ing] Virginia's priorities toward rich and poor." You should have to risk more of your own money on a commercial venture before you decide to take it from someone else.

Posted by: morattico | February 25, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"the liberal new caucus intends to pursue a broad array of civil rights for gays, former convicts seeking to vote again, and women who elect to have an abortion"

Wow, what a group to focus on. I'm sure most American's are focused on these groups too ! What a another disgusting display by elected officials who have NO CLUE of their constitutional purpose.
This moron, Senator McEachin (D-Henrico) stated in his conclusion "... create good-paying jobs" He actually believes that the Govt creates jobs!! It may create tax sucking parasitic jobs but it doesn't PRODUCE anything. The money that pays for those Govt jobs is FIRST CONFISCATED from someone who EARNED it!!

How do people like this get elected?

Posted by: NO-bama | February 25, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I am so proud of my fellow Alexandrian David Englin! (not to short-shrift Ebbin or the others, I'm just not familiar with them).

Posted by: hitpoints | February 25, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"About 20 members ... have signed on to an agenda that includes "economic justice" to rebalance Virginia's priorities toward rich and poor, said Del. David L. Englin, a Democrat from Alexandria who is one of the Progressive Caucus' founding co-chairs."

My friends, "Progressive" = LIBERAL. Make no mistake about it. What Englin and his ilk are referring to with their "economic justice" blather is REDISTRIBUTION OF HARD EARNED WEALTH, plain and simple.

"Society ought to be judged not by how it treats the people at the top -- it should be judged by how it treats the people at the bottom," Englin said. "So we want to make sure the most vulnerable among us are taken care of."

David, I've got a better idea. How about we judge our society by not just how we treat those at the bottom, as you suggest, but how we treat those at the bottom AND the top? Since you say you want fairness and justice, wouldn't that be the most fair and just way to handle things, by looking out for the entire spectrum and not just one end of it?

I am pained to admit that this northern Virginia goofball is my representative. But if he wants to waste his time creating caucuses and running around spouting communist ideals, so be it. It's just that much less time he'll have to damage our state.

Thank God for lots of southern Virginia conservatives!

Posted by: flintston | February 25, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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