Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Virginia Politics

Just another beautiful day in Virginia

In honor of Virginia going to the primary polls today, let's take a quick look at the issues-

We have a Senate seat open in the fall, and both George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) want it.
Both men have fairly hefty political resumes. Kaine is the former Governor, Lt Governor, and Mayor of Richmond. He was also the head of the Democratic National Committee.
Allen is a former Governor, Senator, Congressman, and State Legislator.
Polls will be open across the state from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Because Virginia does not register voters by party, any voter may choose to cast a ballot in the Republican primary, but turnout is expected to be low.
Allen is the front-runner, but he does face some competition. Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson, Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William) and former Virginia Tea Party Patriots head Jamie Radtke have also all thrown their hats into the ring. However,a Washington Post poll released last month found Allen leading the primary contest with 62 percent of the vote.
So in a not-too-contested primary, what is the big deal?
Balance of the US Senate!
All politics are local, my friends. 
In the words of our esteemed Governor Bob McDonnell, “Majority control of the U.S. Senate could be determined right here in Virginia with George Allen."
Speaking of our governor, what has he been up to lately (when he's not out stumping for Romney)?
He vetoed part of the General Assembly’s state spending plan and declared another section unconstitutional Monday. He put the kibosh on a provision in the budget that would have prevented some surplus funds from being used for transportation. (For those not in the know, Virginia tends to always have a big budget surplus.) He also said not to what he thinks is an unconstitutional measure related to the Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) fund, a rainy day fund to prepare for potentially large federal cuts.
After he used his red pen, he did sign the two-year, $85 billion state budget plan.
The General Assembly went along with some of McDonnell’s biggest budget priorities, including boosting K-12 and higher education by more than $880 million, and pouring about $2 billion into the underfunded retirement system for state employees.But it rebuffed him on a plan to divert more general-fund revenue toward transportation.
There are more issues regarding transportation in the Commonwealth, particularly with Metro expansion plans in Northern VA, than can be covered in this blog here.
Overall, McDonnell made more than 100 amendments to the General Assembly’s budget plan. (And yet, they still like him. Go figure.) But the GA did  defeated 31 of his amendments — more than even the most veteran lawmakers could recall. (Turnabout is fair play?)
Meanwhile, the men who would like to be the next Governor- Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, have been busy as well. 
Bolling put out a lengthy list of more than 100 state and grassroots level GOPers who he says support his bid for gov.   It is an incredibly gutsy and political move to release such a list so early on in a race that already threatens to divide and agitate the state GOP.

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