The Chance to Advance a
Loudoun VA Energy for a Real Recovery
Volume 3, Number 1, February 2012
Volume 3, Number 1, February 2012
P u b l i s h er J.R. Hoeft firstname.lastname@example.org a d vert i s i n g Melissa Kenney email@example.com c o ntr i b u t o r s t o t h i s i s s u e Josh Eboch Audery Jackson Chris Braunlich Paul Driessen E.M. Barner Scott Lee g u e s t c o ntr i b u t o r Rob Bell p h o t o g rap h y Office of Delegate Rob Bell
A Note from the Publisher
The Chance to Advance a Conservative Agengda
Tea Party 3.0
by Josh Eboch
Bearing Drift Legislative Agenda
by The Editors
by Rob Bell
by Audery Jackson + One Size Doesnâ€™t fit all: The case for more educational choices Chris Braunlich Real US and VA Energy for a Real Economic Recovery
Tapping our abundant energy deposits would help create jobs and restore prosperity
by Paul Driessen Local Look: Loudoun
They Said It
Virginian in the Spotlight
by E.M. Barner
Note from the Publisher
When we last published in 2011, we had no idea that Virginia Republicans would take control of the state Senate and have the opportunity to pass serious budget, economic and job-creating legislation. Conservatives have a singular opportunity to enact policies which they have promised for years to the people of Virginia. The question is, will they? For Bob McDonnell, this year will make or break his legacy as Governor. The General Assembly will attempt to implement a series of government reforms that he has championed in addition to debating the one, and only, biennial budget crafted solely by his administration. The outcome of those debates could help solidify his presence on the national stage as someone who has been able to balance the state books, create jobs, improve education, reform government, and expand the economy. In doing so, McDonnell, who is already on the “short list” of potential vice presidential candidates, could be leaving if this session is highly successful. However, if he is met with a state Senate like the one that faced Gov. Jim Gilmore in 2000, then McDonnell’s star could fall dramatically. I expect the former more than the latter. As McDonnell has brought government reform to the forefront, we thought it was high time that you knew what we here at “Virginia’s Conservative Voice” are truly willing fight for, too. That’s why we’ve taken the extraordinary step of developing our own legislative agenda. This is not merely a listing of bills that we’d like to see passed, as we did last year. This is a comprehensive policy approach ranging from fiscal matters to transportation, energy, education and much more. In this issue, we are also privileged to have Del. Rob Bell, a candidate for the Republican nomination for attorney general in 2013, provide his perspective on the upcoming session and the issues he’d like to see the General Assembly take action on this year. And, this particular issue is also chock-full of great information, from energy to education to politics to personhood. We’ve worked hard to bring you the latest perspectives from Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and more. We are continuing to make Bearing Drift Magazine the best political magazine in Virginia. We have recently partnered with Lythos Studios of Richmond to design this exceptional-looking issue, and we are looking forward to a successful partnership. And, I would be remiss for not thanking you for your support of our magazine and our efforts. Because of you and your generous donations in 2011, Bearing Drift will continue giving you the coverage that you have grown to love and expect. We look forward to a promising 2012 and are very glad to have you right here with us. For conservatism,
J.R. Hoeft, Publisher
The Chance to Advance a Conservative Agenda
I have been a Delegate for 10 years. During that time, the Republicans have held the House, but we’ve never also controlled the Senate and Governor’s mansion. This means that for the last decade, a successful bill had to
win support from a Democratic Senate, a Democratic Governor, or both. Not surprisingly, many wonderful conservative ideas have been defeated on the Senate floor, bottled up in committee, or vetoed.
by Rob Bell
As I write this, no one knows exactly how the Senate will be organized and how the committees will be structured. I’m sure we will keep passing good ideas out of the House. However, after 10 years, we need to stop talking and start doing – we have to actually pass these measures through the Senate and into law. Why is this so important? Just look at what happened in Washington. For most of George W. Bush’s presidency, Republicans controlled the House and Senate. But like many conservatives, I believe that if you look at the record on spending and other issues, you have to conclude that Washington Republicans squandered the opportunity to show that conservative ideas work. The result was political banishment in the 2006 and 2008 elections. In Virginia, voters have given Republicans the majorities we need to enact conservative ideas. It is critical that we do so. Enacting a conservative agenda will show independents that our ideas really do work. In addition, the State Senate has swung from Republican to Democrat and then to parity in only four years. If we are successful in enacting a productive, common sense conservative agenda, we may be able to transform a shifting legislative majority into a long-term mandate for governing. So, what can we hope to see from the 2012 General Assembly session? A good indicator is to look at recent bills that passed the House but were either defeated in the Senate or vetoed by the Governor. Given the increased margin
in the House, it is very likely that these same measures – perhaps amended in some way – will again pass the House and be up for consideration in the Senate.
BUDGET In 2012, the Assembly will take up the state’s two-year budget, which in the past has been a flashpoint for fights over taxes, spending levels, and fees. Traditionally, the House has had to fight for a budget built on conservative revenue projections and no new or increased taxes. The House has also included “language” amendments to eliminate any specific funding for Planned Parenthood, only to see these stripped out by the Senate. We hope to be joined in these efforts by the Senate this year.
ECONOMY AND JOBS Virginia’s “Right to Work” law protects Virginians who don’t want to join a union just to get a job. It is also a crucial part of Virginia’s #1 national business rating, which helps attract employers. Last year the House passed a resolution to put the Right to Work into the State Constitution. Unfortunately, this was rejected by the Senate. Similarly, the House passed a bill to require secret balloting for union votes and procedures. This too was defeated.
al to allow state employees the option of moving from the current “defined benefit” system to an individually managed and portable “defined contribution” plan (like an IRA). This proposal was opposed by the Virginia Education Association and other groups and was rejected by the Senate.
PROTECTING PROPERTY RIGHTS After the Supreme Court’s infamous 2005 ruling in Kelo v. New London, I joined Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and other legislators in the fight to protect property owners from abusive eminent domain. Our first success, in 2007, placed protections in state law. That year and ever since, we have tried to put protections into the State Constitution. These Resolutions consistently passed the House, but were defeated in the Senate. Last year, for the first time, a Resolution passed the House and Senate. To become part of the
Constitution, it must pass both houses again, and then must be endorsed by Virginia’s voters in a referendum. The opponents – mostly local governments – are rallying against the measure, and some have take the extraordinary step of spending tax dollars to hire lobbyists to fight it. (Yes, they are spending taxpayer’s money so that they can more easily condemn property belonging to taxpayers. Yes, this is as outrageous as it sounds.) We are all hopeful we can get this amendment passed and sent to the voters for their approval.
PUBLIC SAFETY Virginia currently applies the “triggerman rule” to death penalty cases, meaning that absent very special circumstances, the only person who can receive the death penalty is the person who pulls the trigger. This rule ignores anyone who organizes, causes, or incites murder, who is often the one
Number of bills proposed in the General Assembly by year: 4,000 3,500
PENSION REFORM In December 2010, a legislative audit showed that the state retirement pension fund was underfunded by $17.6 billion. Recognizing that this is unsustainable, the House endorsed a propos-
1,500 1,000 500
S ource : R ichmond S unlight . com
most deserving of the death penalty. A repeal of the rule has passed the House year after year, only to be defeated in the Senate or by Governor’s veto. This year may be different. The House has also passed measures to deal with illegal immigrants who commit crimes, including a requirement that immigration status be checked after all arrests. This was defeated by the Senate.
FAMILY VALUES The House passed measures to expand “informed consent” to include the use of ultrasound technology and also to require doctors to provide information on the possible impact of an abortion on subsequent pregnancies. Another measure would state life begins at conception and would enable parents to file a “wrongful death” civil claim when their unborn child was killed by the negligence of another. The House also passed a measure that would have eliminated any legal requirement for HPV vaccination of female children. All of these were defeated in the Senate.
SECOND AMENDMENT The “Castle Doctrine” prohibits a homeowner from being sued for defending his home from an intruder. There is a very active debate among Second Amendment proponents about whether the current legal interpretation would be improved by a new law. The House has passed a Castle Doctrine bill in the past and will likely work on this again. Similarly, the House passed a measure to end the “one gun per month” policy. Both of these bills were rejected by the Senate.
FEDERALISM The House has passed several measures to attempt to address unconstitutional overreach by the Federal Government. The first bill would provide that no federal rules or laws would apply to goods that are both produced and used entirely within Virginia. The second would do the same, but only for firearms. Lastly, the House passed a resolution calling on Congress to convene a Constitutional Convention that would propose an amendment allowing states to collectively vote to repeal specific federal laws like President Obama’s health care bill. All of these were rejected by the Senate.
SCHOOL CHOICE Last year the House passed an innovative proposal to give corporations tax credits if they would create scholarships for needy students. The students could use these scholarships to offset the costs of attending private schools. This passed the House but not the Senate.
immigrants not be given government benefits and to prohibit “sanctuary cities,” which are localities that refused to enforce state and federal immigration laws. Other measures would require employers to enroll in e-verify, to ensure that all employees were citizens or otherwise legally employable. All of these were defeated in the Senate. All in all, these measures constitute quite an agenda. If this slate of bills passes, it will make Virginia safer, government less intrusive, and the business climate even stronger. It will also show that Republicans can successfully govern the Commonwealth. All of these measures will be reviewed again in the House and then will come before the evenly-split Senate. Only then can we see if the Virginia legislature has a new conservative majority. Those of us in the House who have been voting for these measures can only hope we do. Rob Bell has served for the last 10 years as the Delegate from Albemarle County, in the seat once held by Thomas Jefferson. Bell is currently seeking election as Virginia’s next Attorney General.
VOTING RULES The House passed a measure to require that if a voter could not present a photo ID, he would only be able to cast a “provisional ballot,” which would not be included in the vote totals until it was specifically approved by the local board.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION The House passed several measures, including those to ensure that illegal
Photo Courtesy: Fariello, Jen.
Tea Party 3.0
by Josh Eboch
as lingering high unemployment and last summer’s debt downgrade, on so-called “extremism” in Congress fueled by Republican allegiance to the tea party. At the same time, and apparently without irony, pundits on the left and the right dismiss the tea party as irrelevant and fleeting, much as they have since its inception.
“…the tea party’s future will be determined by how closely its members study the lessons of their recent past.” Growing Pains
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the tea party has reached a crossroads. Gone are the heady days of 2009, when hundreds of thousands of activists, many of them political neophytes, made history with the 9/12 March on Washington to vent their frustration over government spending and bailouts. Gone also is the sense of inevitability that built steadily throughout 2010, until a groundswell of anti-establishment anger propelled tea party-aligned candidates to upset victories in local, state and federal elections all across the country. Now the changeable mood of voters has shifted yet again, with positive opinions of Republicans in general and the tea party in particular declining steadily over the course of 2011. The question no longer seems to be whether the tea party will have a substantial impact on American politics, but whether that impact can be sustained and what shape it will take in the future. President Obama, for one, is betting that as the movement’s novelty wears off it will provide a convenient political foil for his floundering presidency. At every opportunity his administration has sought to blame its own failures, such
More than anything else, these swings in public opinion and contradictions in media perception reflect the movement’s own struggle to define itself. As the 2012 election season begins in earnest, the tea party still identifies most comfortably with the ideological purity of its populist roots, but is also seeking to expand its electoral influence and institutionalize its minimalist philosophy of government. However, in large part, the tea party’s future will be determined by how closely its members study the lessons of their recent past. In Indiana, for example, tea party activists suffered an embarrassing loss in the 2010 Senate primary due to their inability to compromise and coalesce behind a single conservative candidate. Rather than allow themselves to be consumed with bitterness and mutual recrimination, Hoosier activists chose to adapt to the changing political climate by getting better organized and better trained in the fundamentals of grassroots
“Virginia is just one example of the difficulties that can arise when multiple candidates compete for tea party support without the discipline of an organized endorsement process.“
campaigning. The result was a convention last September at which more than 85 percent of Indiana tea party groups joined together to nominate a challenger to six-term Senator Richard Lugar. Now, rather than bickering among themselves, the tea parties’ umbrella group, Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate, is running a grassroots campaign parallel to that of their nominee, Richard Mourdock. They are recruiting volunteers in all 92 counties and have already distributed tens of thousands of yard signs, door hangers, bumper stickers and other traditional campaign materials supplied by organizations like FreedomWorks. They are even hosting their own phone banks and organizing neighborhood walks to educate Republican primary voters about Mourdock. In short, the tea par-
ties in Indiana have started acting as if they are working for the Republican establishment instead of trying to defeat it.
the difficulties that can arise when multiple candidates compete for tea party support without the discipline of an organized endorsement process.
Time to Enter the Republican Tent…
…Or Take It Over?
Which is precisely how they should be acting. After all, three years into the tea party insurgency, these conservative activists are not outsiders anymore. Most have been volunteers on at least one political campaign and many are precinct committeemen or otherwise active in their local Republican Party. Their sophisticated use of proven campaign techniques and existing party infrastructure to replace a sitting “Republican In Name Only” Senator with a true constitutional conservative represents the epitome of the tea party’s evolving “inside/outside” strategy. No matter what happens in the primary on May 8th, Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate has implemented an effective model for coordinated action that other tea parties around the country have already noticed and begun to emulate. Of course, coordinated action among fiercely independent groups is much easier said than done. In some places where coordination has been attempted, it has failed. Many tea partiers remain unable or unwilling to set aside their personal preferences or individual differences in order to achieve the kind of meaningful political change that first brought them to the movement. Virginia is just one example of
No doubt much of this problem lies in the richly-deserved disdain many tea party activists still feel for the Republican Party. Having been burned many times in the past by Republicans who say one thing to get elected and do another once in office, tea partiers are often reluctant to come together and compromise in support of a candidate who is not their first choice, or to seize the levers of power that control the Republican Party apparatus at local and state levels. But unite and seize power they must. Only by co-opting or replacing the current Republican establishment can the tea party reach its full potential as a movement and have the power to hold candidates and elected officials accountable for their actions. Obviously, this will not happen overnight or in a single election cycle, but, make no mistake, it has already begun, and it will be the key to the success of the tea party movement in 2012 and beyond. Josh Eboch has been active in the liberty movement since 2008. He is the Campaigns Manager at FreedomWorks, where he helped to plan and execute the original 9/12 March on Washington. He now travels the country helping to organize, train and equip grassroots activists. He lives in Richmond, VA when he’s lucky enough to be at home.
Bearing Drift Legislative Agenda by The Editors
With the 2012 General Assembly session in full swing, the contributors of Bearing Drift have outlined a legislative agenda we’d like to see Republicans in the House and Senate address over the coming years. Many of these items aren’t things that can be completed in a day, or even a in a single session. But they are all part of our conservative philosophy of low taxes, fewer and smarter regulations and a focus on core government functions. These agenda items represent a collaborative effort of all Bearing Drift contributors, which includes one sitting elected official, one former member of the General Assembly, State Central Committee members and other party officials and multiple candidates and former candidates for elected office across Virginia. They do not represent the opinions or official positions of any one individual contributor.
Party Registration – Yet another area where Virginia
Good Government and Political Reform Cutting and Reforming State Government -- The Governor’s “Government Reorganization Plan” eliminates two
state agencies; merges seven state agencies into others; eliminates 19 boards and commissions; merges 23 boards and commissions to form 11 boards and commissions; moves four offices and initiatives; and deregulates three professions. This is a good first step towards a more efficient and less intrusive state government. However, it is just that. A first step. This is not the first time government reorganization has been proposed. The Wilder Commission, the House of Delegates’ cost cutting caucus (once led by former Delegate and current Bearing Drift contributor Chris Saxman) and the proposals from former Republican gubernatorial candidate George Fitch in 2005 have all identified areas where greater savings can be realized. We support the Governor’s cost cutting measures. But when the biennial budget is still being increased by $8 billion, we know that there are more areas of wasteful government to be eliminated.
lags behind the rest of the nation is in official recognition and support for the two party system.While some independents complain that the two party system stifles choice, the reality is that it is so engrained in the American political psyche that the likelihood of it ever going away is next to nil. The current system has resulted in institu-
tional paranoia among Republicans and Democrats, as both parties fear meddling by activists on the other side of the aisle during the candidate selection process. This was less of a problem in the bad old days of the Byrd machine, when most decisions were made at conventions. But as primaries replace conventions as the candidate selection mechanism of choice, it’s time that we allow for official party registration to help administer the primary process. The current system – one that uses unenforceable and distasteful “loyalty oaths” to deter partisan interference – is antiquated and needs reform. While this is a perennial item on the General Assembly’s agenda, it needs to be pushed each year until it passes.
Relaxation of the Dillon Rule – Virginia is one of a handful of states that still subscribes to the Dillon Rule, a mid-19th century judicial doctrine that bars localities from exercising any authority beyond what is explicitly granted to them. Designed to curb local corruption found in the Tammany Hall era and prolonged by Jim Crow in the South, the Dillon Rule ensured that state governments kept tight control over things like taxing authority and core government services. The Dillon Rule still has value, especially because some larger urban areas have local governments that would eagerly implement a variety of policies that stand in direct contravention of the desires of the General Assembly. Bearing Drift would like to see a relaxation of the Dillon Rule for some items, such as local control over transportation or forms of taxation. For example, localities should be allowed to choose whether they wish to implement either a real estate property tax or a local income tax. For communities with large numbers of non-homeowners,
changing the form of taxation could be fairer and bring in more revenue from a larger tax base than current systems. This is one area where relaxation of the Dillon Rule makes sense.
Eliminate the BPOL Tax – The
Business Professional Occupations Licensing tax was originally enacted to pay for the War of 1812. And, like many taxes, it is still going strong today. One of the most damaging taxes
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to a free society and that is why we give our full support to the property rights amendment currently before the General Assembly.
Core Government and Job Creation Privatize the Alcohol Beverage Control Store System – Another anachronistic throw-
back to the post-Prohibition era, it’s hard, in the 21st century, to justify the government’s monopoly on the sale of liquor and distilled spirits. While Governor McDonnell pushed for the sale of the ABC stores as a revenue raiser, Bearing Drift supports the privatization of the ABC stores and the creation of a strong regulatory regime to ensure the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol as good public policy. 1719-21 E. Franklin Street 804 -377- 3968 www.juleps.net
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to small business, the General Assembly has been chipping away at the BPOL over the last few sessions. Most recently, the GA allowed localities to change their BPOL rules to tax only profits, rather than gross receipts, which is how the BPOL is traditionally administered. Despite the option, few localities have taken advantage of the new authority because it would necessarily result in reduced revenue. Bearing Drift believes that the benefits of increased small business activity and job creation far outweigh any loss of revenue and we support BPOL repeal.
Eminent Domain Amendment – One of the primary
provisions we expect to see pushed by Sen. Mark Obenshain in the 2012 General Assembly session is eminent domain reform. After the Supreme Court broadly expanded the use of eminent domain in the infamous Kelo decision, states have pushed for stricter rules on what constitutes a public use and the kinds of situations in which eminent domain may be used. Property rights are fundamental
Allow Limited Uranium Mining – The legis-
lature has been grappling with the issue of uranium mining since significant deposits were first discovered in Southside Virginia. While this issue remains contentious, given the current need for jobs and the safety of modern mining techniques, the General Assembly should authorize a limited number of uranium mining test projects to determine whether it can be done safely.
Conservation and Park Development –
Often overlooked, Virginia’s park system should be funded at a level that demonstrates our commitment to environmental conservation and provides sensible protection to such valuable natural resources as the Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay.
Fully Funding Virginia Retirement System – Virginia’s retirement system repre-
sents decades of promises made to state employees and our public sector workers deserve to have those promises kept. Too often, the VRS has been used to balance the state budget, leaving it with billions in unfunded liabilities. It’s time for the General Assembly to step up to and ensure the system has the funding it needs to meet its obligations.
ing from the General Assembly, it does receive funding for capital improvements. The General Assembly should look closely at the Port and invest the capital now so that we have the right infrastructure in place to take advantage of the expected increase in cargo traffic over the next decade.
2012: $39.5 2011: $38.9 2010: $37.1
Infrastructure Investment Across Virginia – Anyone who
2009: $37.0 2008: $36.0 2007: $35.0 2006: $31.9 2005: $29.2 2004: $26.3 2003: $24.9 2002: $23.4 2001: $23.3
S ource : V irginia D epartment
D ollar amounts M easured in billions
Virginia’s Operating Budget by Year
Transportation and Infrastructure
our already desirable tourism industry.
Development of the Virginia Space Port – With NASA retrench-
one of two deepwater ports on the east coast capable of handling the largest ships calling on American ports today, and is one of the largest on the eastern seaboard. The Obama Administration has announced a national export initiative to help double exports over the next few years, and the Port of Virginia is well poised to play a major role in that expansion. While the Port Authority does not receive annual fund-
ing and the future of American space exploration in disarray, the Wallops Island Space Port presents a unique scientific and economic opportunity for Virginia. Increasing funding for the spaceport will bring highly skilled jobs, foster educational opportunities in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and build upon
Increased Support for the Port of Virginia – The Port of Virginia is
has driven across Virginia recognizes the need for expanded infrastructure investment. Diminishing gas tax revenues, more fuel efficient cars and a greater emphasis on mass transit has resulted in fewer funds available for capital construction and road maintenance. Despite the Democratic party’s insistence that the only solution is to raise the gas tax, Governor McDonnell and Republicans in the General Assembly have successfully funding our transportation needs without raising taxes. We need to continue this trend in the future. We support smarter infrastructure funding – be it through greater efficiencies, more private investment or alternative financing methods -- particularly in Northern and Southeastern Virginia.
Road Maintenance Funding Prioritization – Deciding where
maintenance funding goes for roads is largely left to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, with localities fighting for their own projects. This has often resulted in maintenance funding going to areas of the state with the most influence, rather than where the dollars are needed most. It’s time for the General Assembly to prioritize road maintenance funding based on congestion relief, safety, and local flexibility – allowing localities to use funding as they see fit. Additionally, there is an obvious need to rethink the definitions of road maintenance and
“The largest budget increase occured during the Warner and Kaine administrations.”
construction. If a bridge is repaired and adds an inch in either direction, that is considered construction, not maintenance. The Commonwealth needs to rewrite the code on transportation funding and treat roads like the valuable assets they are.
Crime Control, Judicial Reform and Public Safety
Cutting Spending. Creating Jobs. Getting Results.
Codify the Virginia Rules of Evidence -- As amazing as it sounds, the Rules of Evidence in Virginia are not defined in the Virginia Code. It’s time for Virginia to codify its evidence rules and bring the Code into line with the vast majority of jurisdictions across the United States.
www.bobmcdonnell.com Paid for by Opportunity Virginia PAC, Inc. Not Authorized by Any Candidate.
Education Increased Funding for K-12 and Higher Education – Bearing Drift supports Gov-
ernor McDonnell’s increased funding requests for secondary and post-secondary education. As a core government function, education should be a primary focus of the legislature. We do not, however, endorse the idea of giving the education establishment a blank check. Proper checks and balances demand that all resources devoted to education show positive results – better educational outcomes, higher graduation rates, and a more engaged and involved citizenry.
More dollars in the classroom, not administration - We know that it costs money to manage schools. But why does upwards of 80 cents of every dollar spent on education go towards administrative costs? That’s unacceptable. We strongly support paying our teachers the salaries they deserve, based on merit and capability. Students should also have access to the materials that will best prepare them for the economy of the future.
Expand the Use of Charter Schools – While some areas of the Commonwealth boast some of the best public schools in the nation, the same can’t be said for every
jurisdiction. Charter schools are a proven way to raise standards and improve student learning. The General Assembly should expand the use of charter schools in underperforming jurisdictions.
Allow For Private Funding of Charter Schools – One of the most frequently used ar-
guments against charter schools is that they divert resources from the public school system. In order to combat that concern, the General Assembly should look at ways to allow private funding or sponsorships of charter schools. Public money can then continue to fund public schools while charter schools can continue to expand based upon the availability of private resources.
Support K-12 Education with Tax Credits – Whether a school is public, public charter,
virtual, virtual charter or private, the Commonwealth should adopt a vibrant tax credit program so that individuals and corporations are encouraged to support them with donations. There are several successful model tax credit pro-
grams in the US on which Virginia can base its program.
Increase the Number of In-State Slots at Virginia’s Colleges – Students from Virginia are able to attend
Virginia’s institutions of higher learning for less tuition than students from out of state. As a result, Virginia’s colleges and universities face financial pressures to limit the number of students they accept from in-state. That’s plain wrong. Virginia’s colleges shouldn’t be balancing their budgets by accepting greater numbers of out-of-state students who pay full tuition. The General Assembly should require a larger percentage of incoming freshman at Virginia’s universities be Virginia residents, and make up the difference in revenue either through greater funding or by increasing the tuition for out-of-state students.
And Lastly… Replace Lee-Jackson Day with Virginia Heritage Day - Each year, we celebrate a state holi-
day remembering two great Virginias – Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Instead of focusing on two military leaders of the Confederacy during the Civil War, we should embrace the broader history of the Commonwealth and the contributions of all her soldiers, those who fought for and against the United States. Bearing Drift supports the replacement of Lee-Jackson Day with Virginia Heritage Day in an effort to broaden our remembrance of those who gave so much for our state.
Social Issues Personhood Amendment -- The concept behind per-
sonhood is very simple. Every human being has the basic human right to exist. Should Virginia enact a law codifying personhood, it will mean that the state will recognize every human being as having legal protections from biological beginning until natural death, “subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and decisional interpretations thereof by the United States Supreme Court and specific provisions to the contrary in the statutes and constitution of this state (Virginia).” Bill HR 1 mirrors the “Missouri Preamble” -- a section of the Missouri Constitution that has already survived legal challenge at the Supreme Court (Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 (1989). In essence, this bill will subject Virginia abortion law to the strictures of federal courts. As such, the bill is not a true “personhood” bill as the initiatives that have been put forward in states such as Colorado and Mississippi. Pro-lifers across Virginia eagerly look forward to the discussion as to why every human being does not have the basic human right to exist. Bearing Drift strongly supports the basic human right to exist, and by extension, supports HR 1 in the General Assembly.
Robert E. Lee
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by Audrey Jackson and Chris Braunlich It is for this reason that families need a variety of options when deciding how to educate their children. What motivates one child to learn may not challenge another. If education is going to be effective in the 21st century, we are going to have to educate all children. While school systems theoretically can offer a variety of opportunities, too few schools can address the specific needs of all children. Rural schools don’t have the numbers to offer a large variety of programs. Urban schools face social challenges hampering their ability to innovate and meet individual student needs. Large suburban systems may offer multiple programs, but most times participation in them is the decision of the system, not the parent. Spend time with children and you’ll discover one thing for certain: Every child is different. They have different needs, different strengths, different weaknesses, different learning styles.
In short, education tends to be a one-sizefits-all affair, lacking the flexibility needed to help every child learn and grow and graduate from high school ready for life.
That’s why creating new opportunities for children is so important. Education choice isn’t about raising one educational model above all others, nor is it about doing away with public schools. It’s about making education better. The fact is, parental choice already exists in Virginia – unless you are poor. Affluent families have choices because they can move to different neighborhoods or communities, send their children to private schools or supplement education with tutors and enrichment programs. Lower-income and working class families are typically trapped with one option by virtue of their zip code – and most often that is a poorlyperforming school. Fortunately, the General Assembly has the opportunity to fix this problem this session. A number of education choice initiatives have been introduced that will enable the commonwealth to deliver educational options to all children. Here are three key proposals: Education Improvement Scholarships: Delegate Jimmie Massie will reintroduce his “Education Improvement Scholarship Act” this year. Last year’s proposal offered a 70 percent tax credit for donations to charitable funds that provide scholarships for K-12 students to attend the school that best fits their needs. Not only would the bill
offer new opportunities for more than 460,000 low-income children, but the General Assembly’s professional staff scored the bill as fiscally neutral. This proposal is not only good for students, but also for the schools. A similar Florida law led to improvements in the public schools when they were forced to compete and improve. And it had the additional advantage of producing an annual savings of nearly $39 million for the Sunshine State. It can happen here in the Old Dominion, too. Virtual Schools: Online learning – in which students may live anywhere in Virginia and receive a full-time education online from another school division – is not for everyone. But it is especially well-suited for military families and others who move frequently, gifted students, students on homebound instruction with medical needs, certain students with disabilities, or students who are not thriving in their current traditional public school as a result of overcrowding, bullying, lack of rigor, or other challenges. More than 200,000 public school students learn this way in the United States. Two years ago, Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly approved the creation of virtual schools in Virginia. Two schools for K-8 students have since formed in Carroll County and Buena Vista County. Unfortunately, it has become evident that Virginia’s funding formula makes virtual school opportunities unavailable to large numbers of students. Education funding is based on students living and attending school within the same geographic area, while online learning can take place place anywhere.
Thomas Jefferson Institute paper, Students Without Borders, suggests a potential funding solution and adds one more element of accountability: online schools will only receive taxpayer payments if a student successfully passes the course. For the first time, a new model would be forged: Payment based on student mastery. Charter Schools: In the United States, more than two million students attend 5,275 charter schools – public schools that are held accountable for outcomes but are independently operated. High quality charters offer publicly-funded opportunities for many students, such as at-risk students, gifted students, or students who may excel in particular subject areas. Only four charter schools exist in Virginia. Why so few? High quality, non-profit charter operators like KIPP Academies and Aspire Schools have made it clear they are reluctant to come to Virginia because our law doesn’t provide them independence to implement the creative staffing, accountability and instructional practices that have made them such a success in serving children elsewhere around the country. The result is a lost opportunity for Virginia
students. Legislation is desperately needed to add flexibility to Virginia’s charter law to attract quality providers. Virginia can’t allow children to fall behind because they come from low income families, or struggling neighborhoods, or rural regions. Everyone benefits from better education because better educated people are less likely to become dependent, less likely to be involved in crime, and more likely to hold a good job with a good paycheck. Better education will come from giving parents and children choices in finding the education program that fits their needs best. It’s time we gave them those choices. Audrey Jackson is Director of the Virginia Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Chris Braunlich is vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy and a member of the Virginia State Board of Education. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessary reflect the opinions of the Institute or its Board of Directors, or of the State Board of Education.
It is likely the General Assembly will seek a solution to this conundrum so opportunities can be expanded. A new
Real US and VA energy for a real economic recovery
Tapping our abundant energy deposits would help create jobs and restore prosperity Our nation’s economic growth may finish at an anemic 2 percent in 2011. Faced with looming taxes and regulations, few companies are expanding, hiring or buying equipment. More than 14 million Americans are unemployed, excluding the nearly 9 million who have been forced to take part-time jobs, or the 2.5 million who’ve given up on finding work. Meanwhile, 140,000 have been added to government payrolls, and the nation is spending $4 billion a day more than it’s taking in. That is unacceptable, demoralizing – and unnecessary. The White House and Congress are clueless about reinvigorating the economy. But they have proven they know how to kill jobs, prosperity and hope. Their energy policies are especially instructive, and destructive.
Green Energy Equals
Red Balance Sheets
As President Obama made clear, under his tutelage electricity costs would “necessarily skyrocket,” gasoline prices would soar, “green” energy would become the law of the land, and he would “fundamentally transform” America. He is keeping his promise. America’s vast storehouses of untapped oil, gas, coal and uranium could
generate millions of jobs and hundreds of billions in revenues. Virginia and other U.S.electricity generation industries and the factories and other businesses that depend on reliable, affordable energy could do likewise, if they were unshackled from excessive regulations that often actually harm health and environmental quality. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency, Departments of Energy and the Interior, and other government bureaucracies continue to impose a neartotal shutdown of onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing, both nationally and in Virginia. They drag their feet or simply reject drilling permits, display antipathy toward hydraulic fracturing to tap our 100-year supply of shale gas, and impose truckloads of punitive air and water rules designed to shutter dozens of coal-burning power plants. Here in Virginia, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refuses to hold offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 220, despite strong bipartisan support from Governor McDonnell and Virginia’s congressional delegation. But Salazar is moving forward on a major offshore wind turbine and coastal transmission line project to carry expensive, subsidized, intermittent electricity to New Jersey – as part of his “green energy revolution.” Meanwhile, the National Academy of Sciences (which is alarmist about manmade catastrophic climate change) has said Virginia must overcome serious environmental and safety concerns
by Paul Driessen
before it can mine rich uranium deposits near Danville. The NAS specifically cited hurricane risks – a topic that Secretary Salazar failed to mention in the context of his wind turbine and transmission line project.
Regulatory Shell Game The President claims he will “pare back regulation” by several billion dollars – out of an estimated $1 trillion in total annual regulatory compliance costs. EPA alone promised $126 million in supposed paperwork reductions, while imposing several hundred billion dollars in new EPA regulations. Mr. Obama finally suspended EPA’s proposed ozone rules, which many had warned would be the most expen-
sive environmental edicts in history. But they will almost assuredly be back after the 2012 elections. Now EPA wants 230,000 new bureaucrats, just to process future carbon dioxide emission permits, based on virtual reality climate chaos models and scenarios. Even our worst nightmares cannot fathom the job-killing compliance costs this would impose on the 6,000,000 businesses these regulations would affect. That’s before considering the mandates that EPA will impose if it succeeds in acquiring vastly expanded regulatory powers over businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development.”
Rewarding Bad Behavior Again using questionable to fraudulent assertions about catastrophic manmade climate change to justify its actions, EPA is also demanding 54.5 mpg fuel economy standards – which will result in thousands of deaths and millions of injuries, as cars are further downsized and plasticized. Even businesses on the leading edge of the “green revolution” are faring poorly. After lapping up $1.5 billion in government subsidies and loan guarantees, three US solar companies filed for bankruptcy and fired over 2,000 workers. And still the Energy Department shoveled billions of additional tax dollars into more wind and solar projects, despite public objections. DOE also sponsored programs that cost $20 million to create 14 jobs and weatherize four Seattle houses in a year. It spent $80 billion to create 225,000 “clean energy” jobs – at $356,000 apiece. It shells out $6 billion a year to grow corn on an area bigger
must promote and permit projects that actually generate real energy, jobs and revenues. It must reward and encourage companies that provide affordable 24/7 energy to power virtually everything we make, grow, transport and do. than Indiana, and convert it into ethanol that gets a third less mileage per gallon than gasoline. This isn’t “green” energy. It’s “greenbacks” energy. It requires perpetual infusions of taxpayer money, confiscated from hard-working, productive sectors, and given to companies that have better political connections. That is unconscionable, and unsustainable.
Oil and Gas to the Rescue America must promote and permit projects that actually generate real energy, jobs and revenues. It must reward and encourage companies that provide affordable 24/7 energy to power virtually everything we make, grow, transport and do. Unleashing America’s vast supplies of shale oil and gas, conventional petroleum, coal and nuclear energy isn’t a magic potion. But it is a vital part of the solution to what ails our nation.
The petroleum industry alone currently supports some 9.2 million jobs, but could do much more. Recent studies by Wood McKenzie, ICF International and other analysts conclude that opening currently off-limits onshore and offshore areas could generate an additional $800 billion in government revenues and another 1.4 million jobs, by 2030. That includes primary jobs for roughnecks on rigs; secondary jobs in steel making, construction, pipelines, refineries, transportation and other sectors; and indirect jobs in hotel, restaurant, retail and other sectors that benefit from the increased energy, payrolls and economic activity. We could do likewise with coal, nuclear and hydroelectric projects, in Virginia and nationwide. We need American energy for American jobs – tapping resource bounties to help balance the budget, drive down unemployment and get the country going again. We can and must protect human health and environmental quality – from real
threats, not exaggerated, speculative or computer-generated threats. We can and must do so without raising energy and business costs even higher, killing more jobs, and stifling private sector and government revenue opportunities. Over-regulation brings energy poverty and blackouts, destroys jobs, impairs living standards and nutrition, leads to foreclosures and homelessness, increases stress and alcohol abuse, makes it harder for families to afford proper heating and air conditioning and harms people’s health and welfare. Those impacts must be fully considered, along with putative benefits of current and future regulations. If laws and rules don’t pass muster, they need to be rewritten, rejected or repealed. Subsidies do not create jobs. Getting overzealous government out of the way, ending government deficit spending, letting business work within a sensible regulatory system, ensuring that companies have the affordable energy they need – that creates permanent, sustainable jobs and brings renewed prosperity. That generates revenue streams that curb the need to raise taxes on productive companies and workers.
risks, and ignoring exaggerated, imagined and invented dangers. Unaccountable politicians, bureaucrats and environmental ideologues have strangled our economy long enough. We the People must now lay the foundation for producing more real domestic energy, creating jobs, and ensuring that our children can look forward to 9/1/11 a brighter future. American energy can ignite America’s renewal, and restore American jobs, opportunity and prosperity. Voters need to send Congress, the White House and EPA a message: We need American resources for an American recovery. Slash the crippling regulations. Drill here in America. Produce affordable energy, to create jobs and fix our economy. Do it now! __________ Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.
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As election year 2012 dawns, voters must demand that presidential and congressional candidates explain how they will reform our legal and regulatory system, tap US energy bounties while protecting environmental values from actual
Local Look: Loudoun
by Paul Driessen
Elected officials in both parties acknowledge that winning Loudoun is crucial to a Virginia victory in 2012. Loudouners voted heavily for Obama in 2008 and heavily for McDonnell in 2009, putting the county in play in 2012. Representative Frank Wolf has warned GOP activists that the Obama campaign is targeting Loudoun and has called Loudoun the “firewall” that must protect Virginia from going blue in 2012. If Republicans leverage their advantages from last year’s victory, it is very possible they will secure Loudoun – and the Commonwealth – for the Republican presidential nominee this fall.
In Loudoun County, there’s a new sheiff in town – literally. 22
by E. M. Barner
After the local elections in 2007, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors was comprised of two Republicans, two Independents, and five Democrats. Four years later, Loudoun’s Board of Supervisors is 100 percent Republican. A newly elected Republican sheriff has joined the other Republican constitutional officers. Even the majority of school board members were Republican endorsed. State Senator Mark Herring is the only remaining elected Democrat from Loudoun. By way of comparison, no other highly populated (over 250,000) county in Virginia elected a single party county government this year. That Republicans gained control of the Board of Supervisors in the 2011 elections was predictable in a county that often switches dominant parties. But their margin of victory was unexpected.
Democrats Set Themselves Up for Defeat Three major decisions by the Democrat controlled 2007 Board of Supervisor-
likely affected the outcome of November’s election. First, they engaged in reckless spending policies and placed increasingly heavy tax burdens on Loudoun homeowners, even while many were struggling to meet mortgages due to job loss or were experiencing declining property values. According to one watchdog organization, Loudoun Taxpayers for Accountable Government, the Democratic Board increased the real property tax rate 32.5 cents during its term, and soaked homeowners with the highest average tax bills in Northern Virginia. Second, the Democratic Board pursued a politically costly environmental measure, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (CBPO), which drew heated public comment at open meetings. Citizen groups argued that the ordinance was unnecessary, was unlikely to impact the Chesapeake Bay in any measurable way, and imposed costly regulatory restrictions on private property owners. The two Republican members of the 2007 Board argued that the CBPO’s costs and impacts on property owners outweighed its pos-
about whether to obligate taxpayers to fund the extension of Metro Rail to Dulles. And, while growth has slowed since 2003/2004, when Loudoun was the fastest growing county in America, it still remains the fastest growing county in Virginia, with all the pressures on infrastructure that such growth produces. If the new Loudoun Board of Supervisors governs sensibly and remains essentially unified in facing these challenges, it could build the Republican brand in Northern Virginia, contributing to future Republican victories, not just in Loudoun, but statewide.
Loudoun Election History Year Board Makeup 2011 9R 2007 5D / 2R / 2I 2003 7R / 1D / 1I 1999 4D / 4R / 2I 1995 7R / 1D / 1I 1991 6R / 2D / 1I
S ource :
www . loudoun . gov
sible benefits. After more than two years of pushing the ordinance, the Democratic Board of Supervisors sustained lasting political damage from the CBPO despite failing to pass it before the November elections. Third, the Democratic majority’s redistricting plan backfired. For well over a decade, Loudoun has been polarized between geographical interests on the eastern and western ends of the county. Yet primarily due to restrictive zoning in western Loudoun, most population growth has been on the eastern end of the county, forcing major changes in last year’s redistricting process. In a highly partisan plan, the Democratic Board attempted to preserve two or three “western” seats on the Board. However, the population centers of these new districts were no longer strictly western. In November, three seats which had been reliably Democrat or Independent for the last several local elections went Republican, giving the GOP an unexpected 9-0 Board.
Board of Supervisors Election 2011 – Counties over 250,000 residents County Chesterfield Fairfax Henrico Loudoun Prince William
S ources :
www . vpap . org
3R / 1D / 1I (60%) 7D / 3R (70%) 3R / 2D (60%) 9R (100%) 6R / 2D (75%)
www . sbe . virginia . gov
E M Barner is a conservative activist with professional experience in both Richmond and Washington DC. She makes her home in Loudoun County, along with her husband and their dog, Coco.
Virginia’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer
A Strong Republican Organization Helps, Too
In addition to these three missteps by their Board, the 2011 Democratic candidates faced a well-organized and unified local Republican party. Factions among local Republicans that had publicly opposed each other in prior local elections called a truce, resulting in near universal support for the Republican nominees. Republicans ran candidates for every partisan office. They out organized and outperformed their counterparts in every district. Additionally, in three of the nine Board of Supervisors races, Republicans substantially outraised and outspent their opponents.
Now, with not a single Democrat or Independent on the Board, nine Republicans have the job of governing the highest average household income county in the nation. The GOP base is poised to insist on an immediate tax rate reduction. Board members also face tough decisions
Less Regulation, More Opportunity
Lower Taxes Energy and Offshore-Drilling Protecting Our Virginia Values
w w w. B I L L B O L L I N G . c o m
“As Lieutenant Governor, my number one job is making Virginia the best place in America to do business.”
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They Said It
Each week on “The Score” radio show, Scott Lee interviews the people who are making news in Virginia and across the nation. Here are some of the more notable quotes: Can Social and Economic Conservatives Get Along in 2012? “The vast majority of social conservatives, and I mean 80 or 90 percent or more, are inherently
fiscal conservatives. I think where the rub comes a little bit sometimes is that maybe the numbers aren’t that large with respect to fiscal conservatives being social conservatives. But I think we’re really going to merge the two groups as we go into the 2012 election because the primary issue on everybody’s mind is going to be job creation and the economy. “ - Del. Jimmie Massie August 20, 2011
“I think that what you discover as you look over time is that campaigns and candidates that are devoid of any one of the three areas of the ‘Rea-
gan stool’ -- whether it’s national security, economics or social issues
-- when those campaigns don’t focus on all three of those, you lose a huge portion of the base that you’re trying to rally to get out to vote for
you. So I think that there’s no way someone can try to call a time out on social issues, try to put those on the back burner, and still expect to be somebody heading into higher office.” -
Victoria Cobb, Family Foundation president, April 21, 2011
What Presidential Candidates Need to Know About Global Warming “Republican politicians, historically, just don’t understand environmental issues, and they can’t talk about them. So the easiest way to get
Republicans tongue-tied about the environment is to ask them a question about global warming…they need to know that there really is no scientific evidence linking human activities to catastrophic global warming.”
- Steve Milloy, publisher, JunkScience.com, June 4, 2011
What Does a Conservative Government Mean in Virginia? “First of all it means that government backs off in our lives. Number two, it means that we continue to become a more business-friendly state. Number three, it means that we have a greater ability to restrain state government spending and to prioritize our state government’s initiatives. We’re going to look for ways to get government out of areas it never should have gotten into.”
- Sen. Mark Obenshain, August 27, 2011
It’s (not) for the Children “Any time a politician can invoke ‘the children,’ they are immediately on a moral high ground. Except, and I think people are finally coming to realize this, people know now that
just because a politician says that something’s for schools or the children and they are going to spend a lot of money on it, it doesn’t actually mean it’s for the children. They realize
more and more that it’s for the teachers and especially the teachers’ unions and for the administrators and their lobbying associations. It’s for the adults.” -
Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute, September 17, 2011
It’s Good to be the King. Or Work for Him “When I started writing [Stealing You Blind], I wondered ‘What was the wealthiest congressional district in America?’ Was it Beverly Hills? Nope. Manhattan? No. It’s the 11th district of Virginia, where [Democrat] Gerry Connolly is the Representative. It’s the richest congressional district in the country -- twice as high an average income as the rest of the country. House prices are higher, unemployment is four percent as opposed to ten percent in the rest of the country. This is a recession-proof district.”
- Iain Murray, author of “Stealing You Blind,” August 6, 2011
In Utopia everyone is fit, the air is always clean, and auto body shops are open Sundays for your convenience.
They Said It
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The Big Issues for Senate Republicans “I think that some of the big issues we’re going to focus on are instilling our right to work statutes in our
constitution. People are going to work hard to instill eminent domain reforms in our constitution. And then the biggest struggle that we’re going to have is going to be the increasing expenditures put down on us from the federal government involving Medicaid and Medicare.” - Sen. Ryan McDougle, December 4, 2011
There’s Nothing So Permanent as a Temporary Tax “The War of 1812 is almost ready to celebrate its 200th anniversary and [the Business, Professional and Occupational
Licensing] tax was put on the books in 1815 to pay for that war. And most of us are willing to celebrate the 200th anniversary and declare it over.”
- George Peyton, vice president, Retail Merchants Federation, August 20, 2011
Virginian in the Sp
Communications Director for George Allen for U.S. Senate. How long you have been on that job? For a year now – January, 2011. What you did before that job? Deputy Communications Director for the Republican National Committee. What do you like the most about your job? I have the honor of working for someone who is extremely principled and has the right vision to move our country forward. What’s your favorite non-political thing to do? Travel – I love experiencing new places. What made you want to get into politics? Being in South Carolina during the 2000 Presidential primary betweenPresident Bush and Senator McCain. One of my favorite professors convinced me to volunteer for President Bush and it gave me a great opportunity to see the good, the bad and how much fun politics can be. Where are you from? A little bit of everywhere but mostly Virginia. Spent some of my childhood in Northern Virginia and went to high school in Richmond. Where did you go to school, what was your major, and when did you graduate? Clemson University, B.A. in Political Science, 2003.
Katie Wright February 2012
What is your goal for this year? To make sure that all Virginians have the opportunity to hear George Allen’s positive vision for a better future and get George Allen elected to the United States Senate.
Dog Gone Right The commonwealth is never boring, and 2011 didn’t disappoint.
While we’re already into a new year and its associated political debates, taking a quick look back is always worthwhile. Political cartoonist Wade Brumett shows us some of the more memorable moments of 2011.
Starting from the top left and moving clockwise: “Lincoln” being filmed in Richmond, our unforgettable 5.8 magnitude earthquake in August, the VT controversy of heading to the Sugar Bowl, Democratic candidates for the General Assembly running away from the Obama record, Majority Leader Eric Cantor trying to be an adult inWashington and get serious job-creating economic reforms passed, but not without Congressional Democrats playing partisan politics, now state Senator Bryce Reeves delivering state Democrats and his opponent, former state Senator Edd Houck, a political knock-out blow on election day to give the GOP effective control of the legislative and executive branches of government, Virginia was not spared the“occupy” movement as several “popped up” across the Commonwealth, former U.S. Senator George Allen tried to keep his primary opponents and the 2012 campaign at bay during 2011 to focus on the state races, and last, but certainly not least Osama bin Laden finally came face-to-face with his long promised “Virginians.
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