Volume 2, Number 1. January, 2011
Virginia Shows the Nation How to Create Jobs
The Ins and Outs of Redistricting
Guest Column by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling
Bearing Drift’s Legislative Agenda Meet the New Majority Leader
Health Care Checkup
Ward’s 2010 Year in Review
Our First Print Issue!
In this Issue Bearing Drift
4 From the Publisherâ€™s Desk
Virginia Politics on Demand J.R. Hoeft, Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Fletcher, Editor-in-Chief email@example.com Contributors this issue: Wade Brumett Eve Marie Barner Gleason Brian W. Schoeneman Ward Smythe Josh St. Louis Krystle D. Weeks Guest Contributor Lt. Governor Bill Bolling
ÂŠ Copyright 2011
5 Bearing Drift's Legislative Agenda 6 Virginia Shows the Nation How to Create Jobs Guest Column by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling 12 Meet the New Majority Leader J.R. Hoeft interviews Delegate Kirk Cox 16 A Glance at the Governor's Budget Proposals Krystle D. Weeks 17 Can Northern Virginia Jeopardize GOP Control of the State Senate? Josh St. Louis 18 Checkup on Health Care Eve Marie Barner Gleason 22 Redistricting in Virginia - The Ins and Outs Brian W. Schoeneman 27 The Final Ward: 2010 in Review Ward Smythe
Cover Photo: Jane Dudley BearingDrift.com
From the Publisher’s Desk
In 2011, legislators will have just 45 days to determine how government is funded and its core commitments are addressed. That’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough to do both good and ill.
Virginia’s legislature is unique.
This is also our first print issue.
Virginia’s General Assembly, born from the House of Burgesses, is the "oldest continuous law-making body in the New World." It is scheduled to meet only once a year, or, under special circumstances, when the governor reconvenes them for a specific purpose. In 2011, legislators will have just 45 days to determine how government is funded and its core commitments are addressed.
Second, a print article is different from an online post. Not only can a reader That’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough physically put the magazine down, but to do both good and ill. can pick right up where they left off without repowering, logging in again, Therefore, in this issue, we look at searching for the website, etc. All you some of the items they will be need to do is grab the magazine sitting considering, such as job creation and on your table, which is already open to healthcare. We also make some the article being read. Just as you left it. recommendations of our own. Third, imagery matters. In magazine Our feature story is written by format, we can get more creative with Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. The imagery, graphics, fonts, colors, etc. – Lieutenant Governor is certainly all for effect to help tell the story – redefining his job description within much more so than online. the administration as an active member of Governor Bob McDonnell’s I could go on, but I think you get the cabinet. The LG is responsible for point. Print has some real advantages creating jobs and improving the over online. vibrancy of the Virginia economy. No easy task. If advertisers and sponsors also see the advantage to print, then we will be Also in this issue we profile the new able to continue. We certainly hope majority leader in the House of that is the case because we’re excited Delegates, Del. Kirk Cox, to find out to be bringing you “Virginia Politics On what, in his view, are the core Demand” right to your doorstep! priorities of government and get a glimpse as to what might be the Republican playbook for this General Assembly session. We also provide a primer on redistricting and preview some of the changes being considered for healthcare, from a Virginia perspective.
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First, and perhaps most importantly, there’s a void in Virginia for a political publication that’s smart, savvy, and informative. We hope that we can fit the bill, and provide you the best conservative commentary and information in the Commonwealth.
J.R. Hoeft Publisher
Bearing Drift Legislative Agenda We support: The State Police entering into an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (HB 1420 – Albo) Requiring abortion clinics to be licensed by the Board of Health (HB 1428 – Bell) Capping the interest rate on payday lending to 36% (HB 1441 – Oder) Requiring all firms doing contract work with the Commonwealth to vet employee citizenship status through E-Verify (Anderson*) Changing the burden of proof from the taxpayer to the assessor when a taxpayer appeals the assessment of real property to a board of equalization or to a circuit court (Iaquinto*) Approving most of the Governor’s amendments to the budget (HB 1500 – Putney; SB 800 - Colgan) Specifically: Ÿ $54 million for Job Creation and Economic Development Ÿ $150 million for the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Ÿ $50 Million for Higher Education· Ÿ $191 million in Cuts, Savings and Reappropriations· Ÿ Reforming Virginia’s Retirement System (VRS) (not necessarily as proposed by the governor) Making application to the Congress of the United States to call an amendment convention pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of proposing a constitutional amendment that permits the repeal of any federal law or regulation by vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures (HJ 542 – LeMunyon; SJ 280 – McDougle) We absolutely oppose: Setting the gas tax as a percentage of the price per gallon vice flat rate (HB 1413 - Scott) * - Number not yet assigned
Virginia Shows The Nation How To Create Jobs Special Guest Column by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
Photo credit: Jane Dudley
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During the 2009 statewide campaigns, Governor McDonnell and I made clear that our top priority was getting Virginia’s economy growing again and creating jobs. “Bobs For Jobs” was more than a campaign slogan - we meant it, and since taking office we have worked hard to keep that promise. Shortly after taking the oath of office on January 16th, Governor McDonnell signed Executive Order #1, which designated the Lieutenant Governor as Virginia’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer. In this role, I am responsible for overseeing our state’s economic development efforts and coordinating those efforts across numerous state agencies. During the past year, I have worked closely with the Governor and our economic development team to shepherd our Jobs and Opportunity Agenda through the General Assembly, met with dozens of CEOs to talk about what we can do to help their businesses grow and expand, helped negotiate economic development deals to bring new business and industry to our state, and visited with countless business groups to talk about our economic evelopment efforts. Serving as Virginia’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my political or professional career. Given the impact that the recession has had on families and businesses, nothing could be more rewarding than helping create jobs, and we have made a great deal of progress over the past year. Our job creation efforts are based on a clear understanding that it is the private sector that creates jobs, not the government. It is the role of government to pursue policies that help the private sector create jobs. First and foremost, we have worked to make certain that Virginia remains a great place to do business. By keeping taxes low, eliminating overly burdensome regulations, maintaining a favorable litigation environment and protecting our right to work law, we can position Virginia to take full advantage of the future economic recovery. Earlier this year we asked the General Assembly to join us in promoting economic development by passing our Jobs and Opportunity Agenda, which was designed to give us more tools to recruit new business and industry to our state and help existing businesses grow and expand; and more resources to help us tell the Virginia story domestically and internationally. The General Assembly accepted our challenge, approving 36 of our 39 legislative initiatives. As a result, we now have
Our job creation efforts are based on a clear understanding that it is the private sector that creates jobs, not the government. more tax credits for businesses creating jobs in Virginia, more flexibility in administering important programs like the Governor’s Opportunity Fund and a more competitive workforce training program. In addition, the General Assembly invested $57M in new funding for proven economic development and job creation programs. With this new funding, we have significantly expanded our domestic and international marketing programs, and we will be opening new economic development and trade offices in China, India and the United Kingdom. Armed with these new tools and resources, we have been very aggressive with our business recruitment and business development efforts. It is safe to say that we are doing everything we can to send the message far and wide that Virginia is open for business! I’m pleased to report that our efforts to date have been very successful. Here are a few of the accomplishments we have achieved during our first year in office: Ÿ Since January 16, 2010 Virginia has closed 240 economic development deals, which will result in 15,886 new jobs and over $2.4B in capital investment. Ÿ Since February 1, 2010 Virginia has added 67,900 net new jobs. This is the 3rd highest number of new jobs in the nation. (Source: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistic) Ÿ By contrast, during the Kaine Administration Virginia ranked 35th nationally in net new jobs created. Ÿ Of Virginia’s 67,900 net new jobs, only 11% (or 7,600) are government positions, 89% of these new jobs have been created in the private sector. Ÿ We have seen significant job growth in every region of our state. In fact, about 33% of the economic development deals we have closed have been in rural parts of Virginia. Ÿ We have reduced Virginia’s unemployment rate from a high of 7.6% to 6.8%, the 3rd lowest unemployment rate east of Mississippi River. Ÿ The number of economic development prospects we are working with has increased by 24% over the past year. Ÿ Virginia was ranked as the #1 or #2 state for business by Forbes.com, CNBC and Pollina Corporate Real Estate.
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Lt. Governor Bolling Guest Column Continued from Page 7 While we are very pleased with the progress we have made to date, we have a lot of work to do to restore economic opportunity for every Virginian. More than 280,000 Virginians are still without a job, and we are committed to do everything we can to get these families back to work. On December 17th, Governor McDonnell and I announced an additional $54M in new investments that will help advance our economic development efforts. These new investments, which are part of our Opportunity At Work agenda, will build on the successes of last year’s Jobs and Opportunity Agenda. These strategic investments include the following initiatives. GROWING VIRGINIA’S INNOVATION ECONOMY In the 1990s, Virginia distinguished itself as the nation’s leader in attracting technology related businesses. As a result of a focused effort on technology related economic development, we became known as the Silicon Dominion and computer chips replaced tobacco as our leading export. While technology has continued to be an important part of Virginia’s economy, in recent years many other states have been more aggressive than Virginia in implementing economic development strategies that are specifically targeted toward new and emerging technology companies. As a result, many new businesses in promising fields such as biotechnology and life sciences, nanotechnology and other new and emerging technologies have migrated to other states. We must reverse this trend and reassert Virginia as a leading location for the innovation businesses of the 21st century. To accomplish this goal we have propose an investment of $25M to establish the Virginia Research and Technology Innovation Program (VRTIP). This program will:
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
Photo Credit: Jane Dudley
1. Help new and emerging technology companies gain access to needed gap funding. 2. Assist established companies with commercialization of promising technology products. 3. Enable Virginia’s research universities to assist businesses with technology related research and development activities. 4. Develop an eminent scholars program to help us attract the best and brightest technology researchers to our universities.
VRTIP will enable us to effectively compete for established technology businesses, as well as new and emerging technology companies in important fields like information technology, biotechnology and life sciences, nanotechnology, energy, advanced manufacturing and more. The message behind this initiative is clear – just like Virginia emerged as a technology leader in the last decade of the 20th century, we intend to reassert Virginia as a technology leader in the second decade of the 21st Century. SUPPORTING VIRGINIA’S SMALL BUSINESSES Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but they have been particularly hard hit by the recession over the past three years. Small business development and expansion will continue to be at the forefront of our efforts to grow Virginia’s economy. Last year we took steps to support small businesses in Virginia by expanding and modernizing our Business One Stop program, streamlining processes and reinvesting in the Department of Business Assistance, our lead small business agency. Those steps have had a positive impact, but we can do more to support Virginia’s small businesses. As I have traveled around our state over the past year and talked with small business owners, the major challenge they continue to face is an inability to obtain access to capital to help grow their businesses. New federal bank regulations have made it very difficult for small businesses to obtain loans or credit. This makes it very difficult for them to grow and, in some cases, even stay in business. To address this issue, we have proposed a $5M investment of in the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSFBA). The VSBFA operates a loan guaranty fund and a direct loan program for small businesses in Virginia, but they have very little money to do their job effectively. This investment – which will build on similar investments made last year - will enable VSBFA to expand their programs and do more to help support the creation and expansion of small businesses. SUPPORTING VIRGINIA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY
We also know that there are tremendous tourism opportunities on the horizon, such as the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation and the upcoming 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Now is the time to make further investments in Virginia’s tourism industry and we have proposed additional investments in three proven programs: 1. We are proposing $2M in additional funding for the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund. This deal closing fund enables us to support Virginia’s film industry by having major motion pictures and other films made in Virginia, such as the recent Sony Television production Unanswered Prayers, which was filmed in Richmond and Ashland. 2. We are proposing $2M to establish a Tourism Development Micro Loan Fund in Virginia. This Fund will help provide low interest loans to qualified tourism related economic development projects throughout our state. 3. We are proposing $1M to expand the Tourism Marketing Partnership Grant Program, which provides state matching funds to help support local tourism initiatives. This successful program historically leverages 3:1 in private sector matching funding and is a great way to help promote tourism on the local level. By making these strategic investments, we will make certain that Virginia remains a great place for people to visit and vacation. REVITALIZING OUR COMMUNITIES We have a number of programs in Virginia that are designed to help promote revitalization and redevelopment of communities and properties in urban centers, abandoned industrial sites or economically distress communities. These are great programs which can help support our job creation efforts, but in recent years these programs have not had sufficient funding. We have identified three such programs that will receive special attention this year:
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Tourism is big business in Virginia. It is an $18B industry that employs more than 200,000 people. Last year, we made significant investments in the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Film Office which are already generating positive results.
Lt. Governor Bolling Guest Column Continued from Page 9 1. We are proposing $1M in additional funding to help support job creation efforts in those areas of our state that have received Enterprise Zone designations. Some of these Enterprise Zones are in urban centers, while others are in rural communities. By providing additional funding to this program we will be better equipped to fully fund economic development and job creation programs in these communities. 2. We are proposing $500,000 in additional funding to Virginia’s Main Street Program, which supports efforts to revitalize downtown areas in small towns all across our state. This program requires significant matching funds from local governments, private businesses and other organizations. Accordingly, this modest investment will generate a much larger financial benefit to assist with the revitalization of Main Street corridors all across Virginia. 3. We are proposing $4M to help support Virginia’s Industrial Site Revitalization program, which helps revitalize abandoned industrial sites and enhance the ability of local communities to attract new business and industry to these sites. We believe that this is our most important and effective revitalization and redevelopment program and we want to give it a much needed shot in the arm. TRAINING WORKERS FOR VIRGINIA’S BUSINESSES
To further advance our workforce training efforts in other skill based disciplines, we are proposing two important initiatives this year: 1. By federal law, every public school system in Virginia must develop a Career Pathways Program to help promote skill based training by 2012. We are requesting a modest budget appropriation of $100,000 to help promote the Career Pathways Program in our public school system. 2. Current state law requires the Commonwealth to fund 30% of the cost of non-credit education at our community colleges. These courses help existing and prospective businesses train workers with the skills they need to support their businesses. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth is currently only funding 5% of these costs and the remainder of these costs are passed on to employers. To remain competitive in the economic development marketplace, significantly expand workforce training opportunities and fulfill our legal obligations to our community colleges, we have proposed an increase of $3M in state funding for non-credit education. PROMOTING REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION Our economic development efforts are more effective when our local partners work together. Many regions currently have effective regional economic development organizations, but there is more we can do to assist them in accomplishing their goals. And in some parts of our state we need to do more to help promote regional cooperation.
This year we implemented a very successful regional economic development strategy in Southern Virginia. The Commonwealth put up $200,000 to encourage six localities – Patrick, Martinsville, Henry, Danville, Pittsylvania and Halifax – to develop a regional economic development marketing strategy. The six localities agreed to match this The Governor has recently announced proposals to begin contribution and subsequently formed the Southern the process of reinvesting in Virginia colleges and universities and increasing the number of Virginia students Virginia Regional Economic Development Alliance. We are currently asking the Tobacco Commission to provide a that receive a four year college degree. similar match, which will enable us to launch a $600,000 Those investments are important, but we must also make marketing program to help promote Southern Virginia as a great place to do business. certain that students are receiving access to training in other important areas and that they have a real chance to follow other important career pathways. There is nothing more important to our economic development efforts than making certain that we have a skilled workforce to meet the needs of Virginia’s employers.
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We have proposed $400,000 to expand this model and provide additional opportunities for regional collaboration to other parts of Virginia. These funds will assist more localities with developing a regional economic development program or enhance the effectiveness of existing regional programs or organizations. The bottom line is simple – when we work together we can get more done and we want to incentivize that kind of positive economic development approach in more regions of Virginia. JOB CREATING TAX REFORM Our 2010 Jobs and Opportunity Agenda included a number of job creating tax reform measures. For example, we doubled the effective application of our Major Business Facilities Tax Credit program and we implemented a new Green Energy Jobs Tax Credit program. This year, we proposed three additional tax reforms that will help improve Virginia’s overall economic competitiveness: 1. Virginia Port Tax Incentive – we have proposed a tax credit for businesses utilizing the Port of Virginia for important import and export activities to enable the Port of Virginia to more effectively compete against other ports who have already implemented tax credit programs like this. The Port of Virginia is a major economic driver for the Commonwealth and we must do everything we can to support the Port’s continued growth and success. This tax credit will be capped at $5M per year. 2. Virginia Winery and Vineyard Development Tax Credit – Virginia’s wine industry is a rapidly growing sector of our agribusiness community. In the past year, wine sales in Virginia have increased by 13%. To support this growing industry, we have proposed the creation of a tax credit to assist with the establishment and expansion of wineries and vineyards in Virginia. This tax credit will be capped at $250,000 per year.
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3. Refundable Research and Development Tax Credit – To help Virginia’s compete for 21st century technology related businesses, we have proposed a tax credit of 15% of qualified research and development expenses incurred by advanced technology companies in the Commonwealth. The tax credit would increase to 20% if such research is conducted in partnership with a public college or university in Virginia. Virginia is one of only twelve states that do not offer a state R&D tax credit, and if we are going to be competitive with other states we must adopt this legislation. This tax credit will be capped at $5M per year.
These additional investments in proven economic development and job creation programs are an important next step in our efforts to get Virginia’s economy growing again and create jobs. We hope that they will be well received by the members of the General Assembly. We have used the resources they gave us last year wisely and the results speak for themselves. By making these additional investments, we can build on the progress we have made and help restore economic prosperity for more of Virginia’s families.
Meet the New Majority Leader J.R Hoeft recently sat down with newly elected Majority Leader Kirk Cox. JH: How did you get involved in politics? KC: My family got me involved in politics at a young age. Growing up, my mother and father both liked politics, and my father liked to talk about politics. I had a great-Uncle who was a fascinating man that would to come visit us for two weeks at a time. He was a fascinating storyteller and loved to tell us stories about his experiences in politics. He would make the point that he voted against President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D-NY) all four times. He lived at one time in California and his sister lived in Arizona. During that period, they worked for Nixon in 1960, Barry Goldwater in 1964, and Governor Reagan. He used to regularly write his congressman on a host of issues and just took a real interest in politics. After listening to those stories, I became fascinated with politics and knew that I wanted to become government teacher.
people with the church and the community. They believed that the government should only play a limited role in our lives and should focus on certain core functions. They believed that your volunteerism, through civic activities and your church, is really what makes a difference in people’s lives. They were both wonderful people who worked hard and did their best to make a difference in their community. One thing that I try to take to the General Assembly is my philosophy that the government should only focus on the core functions of government. When the General Assembly is in session, everyone seems to have a good idea and has a spending program that they believe should be funded. If you don’t have a philosophy of a limited government that focuses on the core functions, then everything sounds good and you will wind up voting for nearly everything. I have stuck to my core philosophy, and I believe that it has done me well with respect to the thousands of votes that I have taken over the years. JH: What are the core issues that government should fund?
By 1985, I had taught for five years and decided that teaching is great – I love teaching and still love it to this day – but I needed to get some practical experience. I ended up being the driver for Wyatt Durrette in 1985 when he ran for governor. The driver is the best job you can have in a campaign because you meet some interesting people. I had the opportunity to meet President Reagan, Elizabeth Dole, Don Regan, and various members of the Reagan cabinet who helped campaigned for us. Unfortunately, we lost badly. It was so bad that we lost all four coin flips for the debates. After spending a year-and-a-half of my life working for him, losing on Election Day was a very frustrating experience.
KC: Education, transportation, and public safety.
Education - While education is a core function of government there are certain things in education that we are doing now that have gotten away from the core mission of education. For example, former Governor Kaine’s desire to greatly expand the Virginia Pre-School Initiative. We are now spending $60 to 70 million on Pre-K education and would be spending more if it weren’t for Republicans holding the line over the last four years on this program. Even with a core issue like K-12, you have to have priorities. While I think there should not be Pre-K, there should be a school choice component. I’ve taught in Virginia public schools for over twenty-eight years, but for the life of me, I don’t After that campaign, I decided that I was going to run understand why you would want to keep a kid or a parent myself. When running a campaign, you have the opportunity to control the literature, the door-to-door, and your in a school they don’t want to be in. I just never understood that philosophy. School choice would also allow us to save effort. I gave it a shot four years later and ran for the House of Delegates. A lot of my students came out to help money on infrastructure and per pupil costs. me with the campaign, and we ended up barely winning. Transportation - Transportation infrastructure is a big economic generator. We often debate whether we should JH: What makes you a conservative/Republican? spend general fund money on transportation, and I believe KC: My parents instilled in me the conservative values that that we should because it is a core function of government. I still hold dear to this day. My mother was a school Public Safety – Public Safety is also a key core function of teacher, and my father had to go to work to support his government. Keeping citizens safe should always be a top family after his mother died at 18. We weren’t very priority of the General Assembly. wealthy, but they saved a lot and they were generous
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Photo credit: Delegate Kirk Cox
Allen helped lead that early charge – he was one of the early delegates we turned to – but I was part of this original committee we called the “Calendar Committee” (it was a strategy committee). We put together public hearing on taxes all across the state. Hundreds of citizens and businessmen testified about the myriad of taxes they were forced to pay and how it was a burden to economic progress. We started to challenge Democrats on the floor of the House, like then Majority Leader Dickie Cranwell. Cranwell was a smart, tough debater and Republicans previously wouldn’t challenge him. Young Delegates like Bob McDonnell stood up and started challenging him and Democrats finally knew there truly was a loyal opposition. There were lots of proud moments during that time. We decided that philosophy and principle were going to mean more than winning or losing an election. If we didn’t get that certain project that everyone else craved so be it. We were going to try to take the majority for the right reasons.
JH: Discuss conservatism in the Republican Party. Is there a tension between fiscal and social conservatism? Do you find yourself favoring one over the other?
I would think that from a personal standpoint, I have been most proud of the fact that we have been able to put together fiscally sound budgets which is in direct contrast to KC: That’s a tough question. I don’t think there’s any Washington. For example, last year, the House budget when question that within the Republican Party you have some it went over to the Senate had no fee or tax increases, and who are more focused on social issues and some who are for the first time some true structural changes. I’ll give you more focused on fiscal issues. It is only natural that both one quick example: K-12 education funding. I’m a K-12 sides are not always going to agree on everything. Instead teacher, but we’ve not scrutinized the 34% of our budget of focusing on the divisions, I think it is better to focus on spent on K-12. A lot of our costs were exponentially growhow we can bring both sides together. Ronald Reagan did a ing. One of the great things we did was place a priority on great job of bringing fiscal conservatives and social congetting money in the classroom. We found that our support servatives together. Today, the one issue that social and personnel were growing twice as fast as our instructional fiscal conservatives can find common ground on is keeping personnel. To correct this situation, we put in put a ratio taxes low. Socially conservative groups like the Family cap on support personnel (4:1 instructional personnel to Foundation have broadened their agenda to bring in the support personnel) that saved us millions. People screamed issue of taxes, and I applaud them on their efforts to do so. and yelled what terrible consequences would result, but it has been a very effective budget action. JH: What is your most significant remembrance since being elected to the General Assembly? There a few select programs that state government should support. One that Republicans have focused on in the KC: Right off the bat we had a freshman class that came in House are kids and adults who have multiple disabilities: when the Democrats had a significant majority. We felt those that might not only have a physical disability like that the Republican leadership had failed to offer any cerebral palsy but have an intellectual disability. Most opposition to the Democrat’s agenda. At the time, we only of the parents in that situation keep there kids at home had four members on the Appropriations Committee, and all the way to when they are forty, fifty, sixty years of they were on there largely because they cooperated with age. We hear a lot of talk about family values but these the Democrats. One of the things we did very early on was families truly represent what it means to care for a love vote against the budget, which was unheard of at the time. one. We have over 5,000 of these profoundly disabled The five of us who voted against the budget were called folks who are at risk of going into an institution. Their the lonesome five. We voted against the budget because mother and father are aging out and without some state we felt that the budget had a lot of areas that had not financial support will not be able to keep them at home. been examined, there was a lot of wasteful spending. That In the House, we’ve made this group of citizens one of budget vote sparked a revolution in Republicans being able our funding priorities. to stand up to Democrats on key policy issues. George Continued on Page 14
Meet the New Majority Leader Continued from Page 13 unused during the summer. As Tom Farrell of Dominion Power, who is Chairman of the Commission, KC: The top responsibility of the majority leader is to take has pointed out, there are almost no businesses that the philosophy of your caucus (and ours is obviously a use their buildings nine months out of the year. We conservative philosophy) and translate that philosophy into cannot afford to have these $45 to $50 million dollar a successful legislative strategy. Organizing Floor debate is buildings sitting idle for three months. One goal of the also a key responsibility and is crucial when you are trying commission is to see those buildings used year round. JH: What is the responsibility of the Majority Leader?
to cut popular programs like pre-K or funding for NPR. You also have other jobs that are important with regards to
Another aim for the commission is to push for opportunities to promote three-year degrees. We also need to get more Virginia students accepted into JH: Why did you select Todd Gilbert as your deputy? Virginia colleges. We have to give more access to Virginia students to get in Virginia institutions than we KC: As the Deputy Majority Leader, Todd will play an currently have. We need to reward colleges that offer important role in articulating the Republican Caucus’ more slots to Virginia students and penalize colleges positions on the bills before the House of Delegates. Philosophically, Todd is a lock-step conservative and is that don’t. Many of the jobs in the future are going to be in the disciplines of science, engineering, math and particularly knowledgeable on fiscal issues as well as technology. We must start to start encourage college on law and order issues. He has shown as much skill students to pursue those majors. on the floor debating-wise as anyone I’ve seen in the last four years. Not only does he articulate the conWe must do more in the area of technology and servative positions well, but he also knows when to innovative teaching. For example, every college talk and when not to talk. Todd has the ability to be insightful, get to the point, and frankly he knows when teaches an entry level Economics 101 course. If you’re a big college the professor only lectures and leaves the not to talk. grading to a graduate student, it is a less than ideal model. Why not find the two or three best economic JH: How do you reform education? professors in the state and allow students at all KC: One area in which the state government can make Virginia schools to choose between them. Instead of more of a direct impact with meaningful reforms is in paying an economic teacher at each university, why not have a teaching students at multiple universities higher education. Currently, I serve as the Vice Chair would receive a bonus for teaching more than the of the Governor’s Higher Education Reform Committee, and we are looking for innovative ways to improve students at one university. You save a lot of money over all because you’re not having all these teachers higher education in Virginia. We’ve cut higher eduteaching Economics 101 in a very boring type fashion. cation by about 30% over the last four or five years. There’s actually a consortium idea that actually will Unfortunately, our universities have raised tuition come in and look at your school and show you how to cost, making it harder for middle-income families to put a certain course online very effectively that gives put their children through college. Higher education needs more consistent funding in the future but even you good academic instruction, etc. Now, it’s not for everybody. Teachers are very important, but we must more importantly institutions must change the way they do business. That’s why we’re putting together a use technology to increase efficiency. We’re not effectively using our buildings. So if we’re going to package that incentivizes certain best practices in fund more to bring down tuition, a lot of that funding higher education to encourage efficiencies at our colleges and universities. For example, we have put a has got to be for reform. parliamentary procedure and House rules.
lot of money into the construction of buildings on college campuses, but a lot of these buildings sit Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
JH: Do you see education as a driving force for the economy?
economic incentives and helped bring 55,000 new jobs to the state. While Virginia probably has had less incentive to recruit new businesses, we must recognize KC: No doubt! People with a two or four year degree make that we are competing with other states. a lot more money. And frankly, they generate more tax money, but you don’t have as many social problems. You What the governor has consistently told me is that we don’t have as many kids in jail, etc. So making our colleges need to focus on offering four or five key incentives to more affordable, with better access, etc. Really changing effectively compete with other states. For example, one of the model makes a lot of sense. Governor McDonnell’s budget amendments this year, if passed, would establish the Virginia Research and JH: What are your thoughts on transportation? Technology Innovation Fund. This fund would offer targeted grants to help spur job growth in the sectors of KC: First and foremost, I believe strongly that we can information technology, biotechnology, life sciences, improve transportation and reduce congestion in the alternative energy, and advanced electronics. I look Commonwealth without raising taxes. Instead of raising forward to supporting incentives like this to continue to taxes, we can use an array of innovative solutions to meet help create new jobs in Virginia. the needs of motorists across Virginia. The Governor’s audit of VDOT and the discovery of over one billion dollars One thing we must be careful of is that we don’t want to go in unspent funds were two steps in the right direction. I so far as offering incentives that border on corporate am also supportive of the Governor’s efforts to welfare. It would be a mistake to give a blank check to any establish a transportation infrastructure bank. Finally, spending program for economic development and say, we must look to establishing public-private partner“here’s all the incentive money in the world,” because ships on these construction projects to ensure we are that’s when the government has gone too far. Fortunately, getting the best return on our investment. we do not have the problem in Virginia, but we must always be mindful of overstepping our bounds as we move JH: Should government be in the business of recruiting forward. Overall, I believe that the governor has taken the business to Virginia? right approach in his efforts to recruit new businesses and new jobs to Virginia.
KC: Yes, I think it’s important for Virginia to be in the business of recruiting business to Virginia and is an important component in a comprehensive strategy to create new jobs. Last year, we gave $50 million in
JH: Thank you very much for your time and candor. We wish you the best of luck! KC: Thank you, J.R.
L: Delegate Cox confers with House Speaker Bill Howell. Photo credit: Delegate Kirk Cox
A Glance at the Governor’s Budget Proposals By Krystle D. Weeks While Virginia only writes budgets every two years, every General Assembly session offers the opportunity to amend the spending. This year is no different. Governor Bob McDonnell has released a series of budget proposals, focusing on using state dollars for bringing jobs to the Commonwealth of Virginia – continuing to keep his campaign promise of focusing on job creation. During a December speech to members of the Senate Finance, House Appropriations and House Finance Committees, McDonnell directed funds to areas that directly benefit job creation, including: Economic Development, Higher Education, Transportation, and Government Reform. Some of the proposals include: Ÿ Allocating $54 million for Job Creation and Economic Development. These initiatives include: Revitalizing economically distressed communities, expanding small businesses, and promoting tourism in the Commonwealth of Virginia
care coordination models to all beneficiaries of the Medicaid program. Additionally, McDonnell proposed cuts to all services not mandated by federal or state law, saving $5 million over time. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, McDonnell allocated $191 million in budget cuts and savings that will provide more funding for core functions of the government solely focused on job creation and economic development – part of his government reform initiative. McDonnell also proposed reforms to the Virginia Retirement System. The governor wants state employees to contribute 5 percent of their pre-tax earnings to the pension plan to improve its solvency. He also proposes that the additional contributions be slightly offset with a 3 percent pay raise and that the 2 percent shortfall be offset at the end of the year with a bonus, if the state has the ability to pay for it. During his speech to the legislators, McDonnell stated that he wants to keep Virginia focused on job creation by adhering to free market principles. McDonnell mentioned: “Government must set priorities, encourage costsavings, and frugality, fund core functions well, set the right climate for job creation and economic growth, and then get out of the way.” Now, it is up to the General Assembly to decide if and how to implement these proposals.
Ÿ Devoting $150 million to the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank. This money will also be coupled with $250 million from the VDOT audit. This bank will have $400 million at the start with funding to rise to $1 billion by the end of the McDonnell administration. Another component includes issuing $1.1 Billion in Federal GARVEE bonds that does not add to the state debt. Ÿ Adding $50 Million in Higher Education, which will increase college access and affordability. McDonnell also mentioned that the federal health care reform laws will have an impact on Virginia’s budget. As Medicaid enrollments rise because of the new rules, this unfunded mandate will cost Virginia nearly $2 billion. McDonnell proposed an expansion on managed care and
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
Governor McDonnell Addresses Joint Meeting of the Senate Finance, House Appropriations and House Finance Committees on December 17. Photo credit: Office of the Governor
Can Northern Virginia Jeopardize GOP Control of the State Senate? After a highly successful year at the ballot box, many Republicans have started planning for a good year at the polls in 2011. Northern Virginia may especially be one the biggest battlegrounds for the State Senate, given the fact that currently there are no Republican State Senators in Northern Virginia. In fact, the last Republican State Senator from Northern Virginia was Ken Cuccinelli. During a
by Josh St. Louis
I also asked Spike Williams if he was worried that a late primary would lead to a much shorter general election. “Absolutely, and that’s one of the reasons why I chose to start my campaign so early,” he said. “Redistricting always benefits incumbents for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they have organizations already in place and can have an impact on the redistricting process that is greater than a non-incumbent.”
special election to fill his seat, Democrat Dave Marsden won, giving the Democrats one extra seat Patricia Phillips, a candidate who potentially may be in the and making it harder for Republicans to regain control. same district as Spike, also weighed in. “The impact of redistricting on the election calendar is challenging and In addition, redistricting adds to this mess. Various definitely leads to a later primary,” she said. “The candidates have announced for State Senate not even nomination process will hopefully focus on choosing the knowing which district they will be in. Thus far, there best candidate to win in the general election. If all are already primaries in at least two races. In the 39th candidates stay focused with that attitude, we should district, George Barker’s district, two candidates have emerge with a united GOP for the general election.”
already announced, GMU Dean Scott Martin, and Miller Baker, a lawyer for a national law firm. Steve Hunt, who ran for the 37th district in a special election, may also be redistricted in that district. In the 33rd district, former Delegate Dick Black is running, in addition to prior candidate Patricia Phillips. Spike Williams, a businessman, may also be in that District.
Even though 2011 promises to be a good year with the anti-incumbent mood so strong, and Northern Virginia already being a battleground for Republicans, many Republicans will silently be asking themselves if these late primaries and multitude of candidates can actually help the party. One this is sure: I’ll be holding my breath to see if the GOP can take back a Senate Seat in Northern Virginia.
Redistricting also means that primaries may not even be held until August or September. Meaning, fundraising could be a serious problem. I asked Scott Martin, a candidate in the 39th district, what he thought about the late primaries and the multiple challengers in various districts. “It now looks like primaries won’t occur until late August 2011, which will severely jeopardize a challengers chance to unseat an incumbent,“ he said. “It is almost impossible to unseat an incumbent starting a general election in September. Challenging candidates need to walk a district at least twice to have any real chance of winning, and with primaries so late; it will be physically impossible to accomplish that goal…. All late primary candidates should be aware of this, and understand they are increasing the chances of the incumbent winning, and damaging their party chances of picking up seats in the process.”
Checkup on Health Care by Eve Marie Barner Gleason When you are sick, you want a doctor. You want quality care: good value for the money you spend. You also don’t want to bankrupt yourself or your loved ones paying for the care you need.
Congress didn’t consult Stolle and other Virginia lawmakers before passing its health care reform law, but top officials say the new law could have devastating effects on the Commonwealth.
With health costs growing 35% faster than income over the last ten years, one million uninsured Virginians, and current government health subsidy programs facing bankruptcy, there is little doubt that the entire health care system is sick. However, when many Virginia leaders look at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”), they don’t see a solution, they see more problems. Dr. Chris Stolle, a member of the House of Delegates from Virginia Beach puts it simply: “The biggest threat to our health care system today is too much government intervention.” Stolle, a physician and medical administrator, has reason to Delegate Chris Stolle, a physician and medical administrator says, know. He suggests that “states are far better at under“The biggest threat to our health care system today is too much standing the needs of their citizens and responding to government intervention.” those needs than is the Federal government.”
Photo credit: Delegate Chris Stolle
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
In a statement released immediately after the law passed, Governor Bob McDonnell said,
"Regardless of whether this current health care act stands or falls, I would urge the next Congress to look into solutions that make the insurance market a freer market, not a government-controlled market. That is what will increase competition and make a dramatic difference in the affordability of health insurance.”
“The proposed expansion of Medicaid is an historic unfunded federal mandate on the states. This expansion will put at least 400,000 more individuals on Virginia's Medicaid rolls. The Virginia Department While Cuccinelli’s lawsuit against the federal measure of Medical Assistance Services has estimated that it will cost the Commonwealth an additional $1.1 billion proceeds, the McDonnell administration is preparing to work with the General Assembly to implement its by 2022. … We simply cannot afford this expansion.” mandates on the state. Dr. Bill Hazel, Virginia’s Secretary of With implementation deadlines looming for the new federal Health and Human Resources, said their goal is to create a health care law, Virginia Republicans have developed a Health Benefits Exchange (HBE) that reflects “Virginia two-pronged strategy for responding to its mandates: the values.” Hazel, who chairs the Virginia Health Reform Attorney General is trying to overturn them and the Initiative (VHRI), explained, Governor is preparing to implement them with the least “We see it as our job to prepare disruption possible to Virginia’s economy. Virginia for implementation of the Citing Virginia’s Health Care Freedom Act, which states that federal law so that we don’t end up in a federal exchange. The model we no individual shall be compelled to purchase health are looking at is more Utah than insurance, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is suing the federal government over the “individual mandate” portion Massachusetts... A basic structure with a market oriented approach.” of the health care law. On December 13th, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled that the federal law exceeds Hazel’s Initiative is seeking to reCongress’s constitutional authority by compelling imagine the future of health care private citizens to purchase an insurance product. policy in Virginia. Right now, “absent Hudson declined to stop the implementation of the law significant reform in delivery, costs while the appeals process continues. Although are simply unsustainable.” Hazel said Cuccinelli and McDonnell have requested expedited Secretary of Health the VHRI “has outlined a road forward review of the law by the U.S. Supreme Court, they are and Human Resources, to improve the value of healthcare in not expected to decide the case before 2012. By that Dr. Bill Hazel Virginia. This should in turn improve time, the law requires states to have taken several steps quality, enable access, and provide a to implement its provisions. competitive advantage for our employers.” For Cuccinelli, the Federal health care law represents an Hazel wants his initiative to succeed where he believes the unprecedented violation of individual liberties. When discussing his decision to sue the federal government over health care reform efforts of the last Congress failed: “Issues related to value and cost were not an urgent the law, he cites his oath to uphold the Constitution: priority at the national level, so the health bill is basically unaffordable.” “If we cross this constitutional line with health care – where the government can force us to buy a private Beyond implementing the requirements of the federal product and say it is for our own good – then we will health care law and setting up reforms to payment and have given the government the power to force us to delivery systems in Virginia, Hazel stressed the need to buy other private products, such as cars, gym control the cost of Medicaid. He expressed support for memberships, or even asparagus. The government’s power to intrude on our lives for our own good will be Medicaid reforms, such as those outlined in a recent report released by Congressman Paul Ryan and former White virtually unlimited.” House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Even as he has become a nationwide hero to conservatives Alice Rivlin. Hazel noted: “Block grants would help break and libertarians who oppose the health care law, Cuccinelli the stranglehold that the funding formula has on the says he is sympathetic to the concerns of those who cannot Virginia budget. It would allow for better value, flexibility and creativity with use of Medicaid dollars.” get health insurance:
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Checkup on Health Care Continued from Page 19 The McDonnell administration, Hazel said, is also “advocating changes federally to allow cost sharing with recipients. Research shows that cost sharing helps patients make cost conscious decisions.” The Initiative’s recommendations, he noted, are about “making health care more affordable, independent of the federal law.” While Republican leaders strategize over the implementation of the federal health care law and examine possible state level health care policy changes, Virginia’s top Democrats are touting popular aspects of the law. In a statement late last year, Sen. Jim Webb focused on new mandates on insurers, rather than premium increases and the individual purchase mandate. Webb reminded consumers that children with pre-existing conditions must be covered and insurers can no longer drop coverage arbitrarily, young adults can stay on their parents plans until they are 26 years old and individuals can appeal unfavorable insurance company decisions to an independent third party.
As big picture health care policy has garnered policy makers’ attention inside and outside the beltway, private and market oriented solutions are likely to take center stage. Uninsured and underinsured patients in Virginia continue to struggle to get needed care. Even if it is upheld in subsequent court decisions, the individual mandate does not go into effect until 2014. In the meantime, premiums continue to rise, the jobless often lack insurance and many people ineligible for Medicaid are still unable to afford top tier policies. For these individuals, Virginia’s non-profit community health centers serve a vital role. Funded by a combination of federal, state, and local taxes and private donations, they serve 220,000 people a year. Republican and Democrat legislators have a history of bi-partisan support for community health centers that may point the way forward for future health care solutions. From creating Virginia’s Health Benefits Exchange to tackling explosive Medicaid costs and suing the federal government, Virginia leaders are looking at full agenda for health care policy in 2011. In the end, they hope more people will get better value for their health care dollar.
Senator Mark Warner’s public statements have been even more cautious than those of his senior colleague. His statement about the bill focuses on his efforts to bring down its costs and incorporate “private sector solutions.”
When he tried to convince his Virginia colleagues to vote in favor of ratifying the Constitution as the supreme law of our land in 1788, James Madison spoke of the need for a constitution to establish definite boundaries for the federal government. He said, "There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations." - Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Redistricting in Virginia – The Ins and Outs
Earlier this year, we all had the pleasure of engaging in a public duty that is as old as the Republic – participation in the decennial census. The U.S. Constitution requires an actual enumeration be taken every ten years, and it forms the basis of the apportionment scheme that underlies the formation of the House of Representatives. Likewise, the Constitution of Virginia requires that the General Assembly "reapportion the Commonwealth into electoral districts….in the year 2011 and every ten years thereafter." Additionally, state law requires that counties, cities and towns that elect governing bodies also redistrict every 10 years. Redistricting and reapportionment are both critical endeavors that are potential game changers in politics at both the state and federal level. Given our focus on single-member districts (where one individual represents one district drawn based on population), how these lines are drawn, who is included, and what their political – and often racial and ethnic – affiliations are, can make a huge difference in the shape and tenor of Virginia’s politics.
by Brian W. Schoeneman Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
With Republicans currently in control of the House of Delegates, Democrats in control of the State Senate, a Republican governor, and an almost 3-to-1 overwhelming Republican majority in
Congressional seats, we face the prospect of a partisan redistricting process. It’s likely that Democrats in the Senate look at this as something akin to “Custer’s Last Stand” or the “Alamo”. Coupled with the fact that Virginia must have any redistricting plan approved by the federal government under the terms of the Voting Rights Act, we may not know for sure that the lines drawn in 2011 will be the permanent ones for a long time. Given the importance of redistricting and reapportionment to the 2011 General Assembly and local elections, the 2012 federal elections, and the 2013 statewide elections, it is important to understand what exactly is going on with redistricting, what some of the likely outcomes are, and what the various players stand to gain or lose in the battles over the lines that loom before us.
districts and passing the Voting Rights Act), but the ultimate decision rests in the hands of the General Assembly. Under current federal law, the Clerk of the House of Representatives must notify each state of the number of seats they will be entitled to under the new reapportionment by January 25, 2011. The Census Bureau announced the first release of final data on the 2010 census in December and the impact on Virginia was minimal. We will still have the same 11 seats to draw that we do now. The Voting Rights Act – What It Means to Virginia
Redistricting is the process whereby the lines are redrawn at the federal, state and local levels.
Passed in response to almost one hundred years of Democratic Party suppression of the black vote across the south, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of the most sweeping and immediately successful civil rights legislation passed during the 1960s. For example, in Mississippi, one of the most unreconstructed of all the southern states, black voter registration went from 6.7 percent before the passage of the act to 59.8 percent just two years later. In the seven states originally covered, including Virginia, black registration increased from 29.3 percent to 56.6 percent in less than ten years.
Reapportionment is a different creature – it is the process by which the population of the states determine the number of seats in the House of Representatives each state receives.
Section 2 of the act restates the 15th amendment and prohibits any redistricting plans or other voting plans that are designed with the intention of disenfranchising a minority population.
Since the number of Congressmen was capped by Congress in the Reapportionment Act of 1929, the question of reapportionment has been critical, as it represents major losses or gains of political power for a state.
Section 5 of the act requires that any changes to "any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice or procedure with respect to voting" be submitted to either the attorney general of the United States or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The law has been reauthorized multiple times since 1965, and Section 5 has been extended to a number of other states. The protection of Section 5 has been extended to foreign language minorities in addition to racial minorities.
It’s likely that Democrats in the Senate look at this as something akin to “Custer’s Last Stand” or the “Alamo.” Redistricting and Reapportionment – What are they?
Each state must have a minimum of one Congressman, and because of the current cap, the average Congressional seat today represents about 650,000 people, save for the four states who only have that single Congressman (Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and North Dakota). Under our current apportionment process, population numbers are fed into a mathematical formula that assigns the 385 unassigned seats based on population – each state gets one to start. Both federal and state redistricting is done by the Virginia General Assembly, under the Constitutions of both the United States and Virginia. Congress may alter by legislation the means by which Virginia handles its drawing of the lines (as it has done by adopting single-member
The Republican-led 2006 Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act with the Section 5 preclearance provisions set to expire in 2032. Virginia has a long and unfortunate history when it comes to Jim Crow and voting rights. Virginia's poll tax was one of the last to remain on the books until it was finally struck down by the Supreme Court in 1966 in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 662 (1966). Thus any changes made to our district lines, both at the federal and state level, must be precleared either by the attorney general or a federal court.
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Redistricting in Virginia Continued from Page 23 Under the Voting Rights Act and Supreme Court precedent, redistricting plans should be precleared so long as they are not retrogressive – meaning that as long as they do not see a protected minority class lose voting power within a district, they should be approved. It took the attorney general less than two months to preclear the House, Senate and Federal plans in 2001. Two lawsuits were filed over the drawing of the 4th District lines in 2001, arguing a violation of Section 5, and those suits were finally disposed of in 2005, demonstrating how long a process litigation of the district lines under the VRA may take.
President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Governor Patrick Henry, an avowed anti-federalist and opponent of the federal constitution, tried to draw the lines of the 5th Congressional District in such a way as to keep James Madison, architect of the Constitution, out of the Congress.
The most likely place we could see a VRA Section 5 challenge this time around is in the 3rd District. It is the most diverse district in Virginia, and with a majority black population of 54%, any changes to the district that reduce that percentage may open up the lines to a challenge under Henry tried to pack Madison's district with anti-federalists and even went so far as to recruit future president and Section 5's retrogression standards. James Monroe to run against Madison. Madison won by over three hundred votes – almost a landslide at the time. Section 2 and Section 5 have been used to challenge And there apparently were no hard feelings between district gerrymandering – the process where the lines are Madison and Monroe, as Monroe served as Madison's drawn in weird or seemingly random fashion designed to Secretary of State and Secretary of War before succeeding scoop up discrete groups of people for the benefit (or him as president. detriment) of the office holder. The Supreme Court has held that racial gerrymandering is barred under both the This time around, things may be just as tough. equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and the Voting Rights Act. Political gerrymandering, however, The November elections that swept Robert Hurt, Morgan where the districts are drawn specifically to benefit a Griffith and Scott Rigell into Congress will make it political party and race is not a factor, has recently been considerably more difficult to draw the Congressional lines held to be a political issue that is outside the Supreme Court's purview. In Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004), in 2010. With Republicans holding 8 of the 11 current Congressional seats (Democrats hold the 3rd, 8th and 11th Justice Scalia closed the door on the Court hearing any districts) drawing lines that do not harm any Republican more political gerrymandering cases, holding that those incumbents while making Democratic strongholds types of cases are best resolved by the political process and are non-justiciable. The Vieth case reversed a number vulnerable will be exceedingly difficult. of prior court rulings about partisan gerrymandering. But make no mistake – the changes have to come. When it comes to Virginia drawing federal lines, A quick look at the estimated variances from target partisanship is okay to take into account, race is not. population across Virginia make it clear that the Congressional districts we have come to know are going to Federal Redistricting – Expectations and Issues see some major changes. The districts need to gain or lose the following number of people in order to meet the Virginia has a lively history of redistricting fights at the estimated 717K people each Virginia district should federal level, right from the very beginning. possess:
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ
1st (Rob Wittman-R): -36K 2nd (Scott Rigell-R): +57K 3rd (Bobby Scott-D): +60K 4th (Randy Forbes-R): -20K 5th (Robert Hurt-R): +38K 6th (Bob Goodlatte-R): +23K 7th (Eric Cantor-R): -66K 8th (Jim Moran-D): +33K 9th (Morgan Griffith-R): +67K 10th (Frank Wolf-R): -132K 11th (Gerry Connolly-D): -24K
Northern Virginia sources tell Bearing Drift that the most likely outcome here would be for the 11th to shed some of its more Democratic precincts into the 8th District, while possibly gaining some more Republican voters from the 10th. The 10th will have to lose some of its western portions into Bob Goodlatte's district. The makeup of these districts invariably must change. The current makeup politically of these districts on the Cook Partisanship Index is as follows: 1 – R+7; 2 – R+5; 3 – D+20; 4 – R+4; 5 – R+5; 6 – R+12; 7 – R+9; 8 – D+16; 9 – R+11; 10 – R+2; 11 – D+2. As you can tell by these numbers, the two Democratic strongholds are almost impregnable, and given the high number of minorities in the 3rd District, trying to dilute the Democratic advantage in the 3rd is almost impossible thanks to the Voting Rights Act (more on that later). The most Republican part of the state, the Shenandoah valley along Interstate-81 from Front Royal to Bristol, is going to have to add significant numbers and the only place to get them is going to be by shifting the borders north into Northern Virginia. Federal redistricting is going to be a slog; I’m sure the General Assembly is not looking forward to it. State House and State Senate Redistricting The House of Delegates and the State Senate redistricting process is a little different, mainly because they have more rules applied than at the federal level. The Virginia Constitution, as noted above, governs the drawing of lines, and includes a provision requiring that the districts be "composed of contiguous and compact territory" and that they provide for "representation in proportion to the population of the district" as nearly as is possible. Generally, under federal law, variances in population of less than 10% do not trigger a presumption that the lines violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution, but being within 10% is not an automatic approval, either.
While the criteria for this year's redistricting hasn't been released by the General Assembly yet, in 2001, the goal was plus-or-minus 2% deviation across all General Assembly districts and no deviation for Congressional districts. The lines from 2001 met both of those goals. Even more difficult questions come up when dealing with House of Delegates and State Senate redistricting. With Republicans enjoying a significant lead in the House of Delegates (59 Republicans and 2 Independents who caucus with the GOP vs. 39 Democrats) the pressure on Republicans in the House to play games with district lines to benefit their party is diminished. The biggest issue will be determining which parts of the state will gain and which will lose seats. Right now, most of the overpopulated districts in the State House are in Northern and Central Virginia. It is likely that Northern and Central Virginia will pick up a handful of new districts, while southern Virginia will lose – which sets up a number of major primary fights. The State Senate is a much more difficult provision. Democrats do not enjoy as significant a majority in the Senate as Republicans do in the House (merely 22 Democrats to 18 Republicans). The chances of Democrats using the process here to strengthen their electoral process is slim, as they have to expect that Republicans in the House will not agree to a redraw districts that significantly damages their party’s chance at taking back the Senate. Districts in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads area and Southwest Virginia are likely to lose seats to Northern and Central Virginia during this process based on population. Sources have told Bearing Drift that conversations between the House and the Senate have been few and far between. Both sides seem to be focusing on their own processes and ignoring those of the other body. Both the House and the Senate have held multiple public hearings around the Commonwealth to get public input into the redistricting process. The conventional wisdom, which has not been contradicted by any of the elected officials or staff who spoke with Bearing Drift on strict anonymity, is that both houses will draw their own lines and likely not interfere significantly in the other body's line drawing. The two sides will have to compromise on federal redistricting, but that process does
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Redistricting in Virginia Continued from Page 25 not have the immediacy of resolving the issues with House and Senate districts, amidst of the pressures of a general election looming in mere months. Strategists expect to see a special session of the legislature in March to finalize the line drawing, with primaries set for July. It is unlikely that we, the voters, will get a chance to see the lines as suggested until the House and Senate are prepared to vote on them. What About a Bipartisan Commission? The notion of a bipartisan commission to draw the lines is repeatedly proposed – usually by the party not in power. An independent commission would, proponents argue, increase voter faith in the redistricting process and draw the lines in a way that doesn't focus on political advantage for the party in control. As recently as this month, some political strategists in Richmond have said that Governor Bob McDonnell is interested in the idea of a commission and may announce the formation of one in the coming months. "The governor will work with Republicans and Democrats, and enlist greater public input to ensure that a more open approach is taken to the redistricting process,” responded Taylor Thornley a spokeswoman with the governor’s communication team. “We will have further details on how the Administration will approach the matter in the days ahead." Bearing Drift, however, has talked to a number of sources who believe a bipartisan commission is not going to happen.
unlikely that a bipartisan commission will be chosen to suggest lines to the governor. What Does This Mean for 2011? With the entire House of Delegates and State Senate up for reelection, the impact of redistricting on the 2011 elections is up in the air. One thing seems certain – it is likely to be an incumbent's year. Given the compressed schedule, all of the usual decisions candidates make about running will be compressed into a much shorter timeline. With primaries not likely to take place until July or August, the crucial summer period that many candidates use to regroup from primary fights and prepare for the general election will be gone. But not everything trends in favor of incumbents. New district lines mean new voters, and in areas where significant changes will likely be made, some incumbents face the prospect of almost entirely new districts, while others may end up taking on colleagues in primaries or the general election. And, given the compactness of the schedule and the need for an additional session to focus specifically on redistricting, the amount of time incumbents will have to campaign and raise money, which incumbents are barred from doing during a legislative session – is significantly lessened. Running in 2011 is going to be much more difficult for just about everybody thanks to the redistricting process. Conclusion
The redistricting and reapportionment processes are in full swing, and we can expect to see even more news on the efforts in both the House and Senate over the next coming Opponents argue that bipartisan commissions tend to weeks. Given the inherent difficulty in drawing the lines, result in the same partisan fights you see in a normal redistricting process. Since the make-up of the commission complying with state and federal law, and the typical partisan concerns that weave their way through this entire tends to include both Democrats, Republicans and process, this process is not going to be easy nor will it be independents, the independents effectively own the drama-free. process. This doesn't result in any better results than the current system. That means for political junkies like all of us, it should be The bipartisan commission system necessarily benefits the pretty darn fun, but misery for all the party not in power, as it gives them a greater chance to influence the process than they would have otherwise. But elected officials. A win-win! given the fact that we have divided government in Richmond, neither party gains a real edge or loses Photo credit: significantly by choosing a bipartisan commission, leaving it Michael R. Fletcher
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
The Final Ward Snarkery and Cartoons from Ward Smythe & Friends.
January first, after the champagne corks popped and the parades floated by, Virginians settled in for a good six or more weeks of winter and snow, and In an interview with Sean Hannity, GOP Chair Michael Steele revealed that he had no confidence in his own party to retake either chamber of the U.S. Congress telling Hannity, “Not this year.” The winter of 2010 turned out to be one of Virginia’s coldest in nearly 25 years, but as though Providence was smiling upon the Old Dominion, the day of Robert F. McDonnell’s Inauguration to be Virginia’s 71st Governor dawned sunny and mild. McDonnell took the office promising a Commonwealth of Opportunity. Bill Bolling re-took the Oath of Office for his second term of Lt. Governor. Ken Cuccinnelli was sworn in to be Attorney General, at which time he immediately filed suit. And, J.R. Hoeft covered the proceedings in a capitol square flower garden – he’d get arrested for that most days.
The Massachusetts Miracle sees Tea Party darling and former centerfold Scott Brown win the seat vacated by the death of Liberal Icon Ted Kennedy in a special election. Tea Party members are soon shocked to realize that Brown is actually from Massachusetts.I n one of his first official acts Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia's nineteen shuttered rest stops and welcome centers would begin reopening in midFebruary. The Virginia State Police reported a near immediate decrease in roadside “trucker bombs.” Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher is declared unbeatable and appears poised to sail to reelection without an opponent. Newly minted Governor Bob McDonnell gives the GOP response to the State of the Union address in front of a live audience at the Virginia State Capitol. Republicans across the nation rejoice that he is “Not Bobby Jindal.” In February, the National Football Conference Champion New Orleans Saints breathe life into a city still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by defeating American Football Conference Champions 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV. FEMA announced that trailers would be available for the victory parade. In a shock to Richmond eaters, treasured Ukrop’s Grocery Stores are bought out by Martin’s Food Markets, owned by Giant. The coming Urkropalypse promises that stores will sell beer and wine and be open on Sundays. Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing after all?
Closer, home, in one of two special elections, the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli is narrowly won by a homeless State Delegate. We’re still not sure if Sen. Dave Marsden has found a place to live. In Virginia Beach, Jeff McWaters was elected to replace former State Senator turned Sheriff Ken Stolle.
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
Liberal Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha passed away at the age of 77 from complications from gallbladder surgery. Republicans see an opportunity for another “Massachusetts Miracle” but in no real surprise, the heavily Democratic district returns a Democrat to Congress as Murtha’s replacement. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a petition on behalf of Virginia asking the federal Environmental Protection
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that to be an oversight. Bearing Drift publisher J.R. Hoeft made his annual call for a Virginia Heritage Day. Set your watches…it’s as consistent as the Winter Solstice.
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Thousands of Americans convened peacefully in Washington D.C. to protest the government takeover of the health care system. Typically, Congress didn't listen. Congress still didn’t listen when Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins kicked off “Read the Bill” a marathon reading of the health care legislation that even Nancy Pelosi said “we have to pass the bill so you’ll know what’s in it.” Perhaps it was because they fell asleep during the exercise. Thanks to the leadership of McDonnell and Bolling, a deal is reached balancing the Virginia budget without a tax increase. Whoda thunk it? In what would turn out to be one of his last Town Hall meetings, at least with constituents, Congressman Tom Perriello told an assembled crowd, “If you don't tie our hands, we'll keep stealing." Apparently, they believed him.
In late April the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers, and resulting in one of the largest oil spills in history. While tragic, President Obama used the tragedy to appease his liberal left by hamstringing any possibility of the U.S. Becoming energy independent. While celebrating Earth Day, Attorney General Cuccinelli called on the University of Virginia to produce documents relating to the research of former professor Michael Mann’s state grant-funded climate research. Shocker of shocks: the state asking to review research at a state university funded by state tax dollars! In an economic win for Governor McDonnell Northrop Grumman announced that Virginia had been chosen as the site for their new corporate headquarters. They promptly announced later in the year they would be spinning off their Newport News Shipyard. Not content with multiple lawsuits against the federal government, in May the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued lapel pins featuring a little used, but more modest version of the Virginia State Seal sans bare breast from an antique flag hanging in the State Capitol. In a statement after discontinuing the use of the pin, Cuccinelli said “I cannot believe that joking with my staff about Virtue being a little more ‘virtuous’ in this antique version has become news. This is simply a media-made issue that has become distracting to the work of my office.” C’mon, Ken. Virginia is for Lovers! Do you really think we’d stand for you covering up Ms. Virtue?
As part of the budget balancing measure, thousands of state employees were forced to take Friday, May 28 as a Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit against non-paid furlough day. The end result was a four-day President Obama's nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul, weekend for most, accompanied by a slightly reduced challenging the individual insurance requirement as an overreach of federal power. Apparently Cuccinelli wants to paycheck. As for the government being closed, it’s not certain that anyone noticed. inoculate us from Washington, DC. When campaigning for Governor in 1985, former Congressman Stan Parris often joked that he once got a job in the U.S. Capitol as an elevator operator and worked his way up. In March he took his final ride all the way to the top floor.
Former State Senator Jay O’Brien dropped his campaign to reclaim his Senate seat after being caught on video removing his opponent’s fliers from a local convenience store. C’mon, Jay, at least you could have made it interesting by hoisting a six-pack of Four Loko.
In April Governor Bob McDonnell caused a stir by proclaiming April as “Confederate History Month” without a reference to the stain of slavery. McDonnell admitted
In June, Country music legend and sausage king Jimmy Dean was buried in a piano shaped mausoleum at his James River estate with the epitaph "Here Lies One Hell of a Man".
Volume 2, Number 1 / January 2011
Freedom 1650AM hosted the first “Freedom Fest” in Hampton Roads with headliners Sarah Palin, Lee Greenwood, George Allen, Oliver North and soon-to-be Congressman Scott Rigell. Unfortunately, Bearing Drift was told to “shut down” during Palin’s speech. Bless her heart. After serving nearly 60 years in the United States Congress, West Virginia Senator and ex Klansmen Robert C. Byrd passed away at the age of 92. In late July and early August Virginia hosted, for perhaps the last time, the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green. An estimated 45,000 scouts, leaders and volunteers participated in the 100th Anniversary event. Once again, a win for the “Union” – apparently the Jamboree is moving to WEST Virginia. Former Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski passed away at the age of 82. A statement from his Chicago office said that he still intends to vote for Rahm Emmanuel for Mayor. An overworked President Obama took his family on his 6th recession year vacation. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommends the closure of JFCOM in Hampton Roads. Virginia officials respond with a collective “Are you out of your mind?”
we’re looking to create jobs – and allow Speaker Pelosi to bring a bill to the floor that will make sure that taxes won’t go up for any American this year.” The President didn’t get the message until a few weeks later.
The Virginia Tea Party held their first convention in October with an all-star list of speakers and sponsors. Even we showed up. First District Democratic candidate Krystal (yes that’s her real name) Ball was embarrassed by suggestive photos released that showed her enjoying some…um…reindeer games with her former husband. Some Virginia bloggers are still looking at the photos in the basement of their mom’s house.
In September, Governor McDonnell tapped Chesterfield Delegate Sam Nixon to be head of the troubled Virginia Information and Technology Agency. It remains troubled, and after several statewide outages, we wonder if Nixon doesn’t miss the General Assembly. Seriously…this is like the 8th time we’ve said this. Sam…what were you thinking!
Former 2nd District Congressman Owen Pickett passed away at the age of 80.
Former part-time Governor, and please-God-don’t-letthem-replace-him, DNC Chair Tim Kaine announced something big, and we mean really big for Democrats. Turned out to be just a new logo and the prototype for the Big Ten’s new branding.
In November, in a landslide of epic proportions, Republicans take back the House of Representatives. Unbeatable Congressman Rick Boucher goes down in defeat to Morgan Griffith. Robert Hurt wins in the 5th, Scott Rigell wins in the 2nd and the remainder of Virginia’s GOP delegation wins with ease. Now that we’re back to where we were in before the 2008 election, have these guys learned their lesson?
President Obama visited the 7th Congressional District, one of only a handful where he knew he couldn’t ruin the Democrat’s chances. Congressman Eric Cantor said of the President’s visit, “I join my colleagues in urging the President when he’s in Richmond to come out in favor of defending all people –especially small businesses, when
President Obama makes an eleventh hour visit to the liberal haven of Charlottesville in order to save the 5th District election, which he does...for Robert Hurt.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair and Senate-wannabe Corey Stewart strikes out at George Allen and Bob McDonnell in a move that has the pundits saying “what?” Hmm…smart move Corey – go after the two most popular political figures in your party? You must have some great advisers.
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The Congress passed and the President signed the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, effectively leaving the tax rates in place. There were concessions and convulsions
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on both sides of the aisle. Compromise? “Bah, Humbug!” said Bearing Drift contributor D.J. McGuire.
In December, the Democratic Party of Virginia gives Republicans an early Christmas present by naming failed gubernatorial candidate and younger, angrier brother of Angry-Jim, Brian Moran their new party chairman. In the words of BD contributor Eve Gleason, “The Democrats like to recycle.”
The DREAM Act failed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 55-41, while the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of the U.S. military sailed through with a 63-33 vote. “Hello, Sailor!”
In a major victory for freedom and for Ken Cuccinelli, Federal Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia ruled that the individual mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance or face penalties is unconstitutional. Keep the government’s hands off our bodies! Oh, wait… Governor McDonnell released his list of budget amendment recommendations. The upcoming General Assembly Session will sort them all out. Thank God, because we can’t.
And, just before the end of the year, on a cold, clear night of a non-specific holiday, a figure with a broad but normal face and an advanced-size abdomen was seen flying over the Old Dominion in an emissions-free vehicle produced by Terry McAuliffe, yet still pulled by eight size-challenged reindeer The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals promptly protested in the buff, promptly catching frostbite because of global warming. Undeterred, the verticallychallenged, mature, rouge-attired workaholic shouted, "Lady of the Evening! Lady of the Evening! Lady of the Evening! To all a happy non-denominational winter holiday!"
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- Bill Bolling on job creation. - Exclusive interview with Kirk Cox, new majority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates. - Redistric...