Grassroots Coalesce Around Obenshain

From: Anthony Markwort, Political Director

Today is an exciting day here at Team Obenshain, and as Mark’s political director, I wanted to share the good news with you.

A few moments ago, the campaign released the first round of endorsements for Mark in his bid for Attorney General. Let me tell you, it’s quite a list. Team Obenshain now includes:

  • Our National Committeeman
  • One former RPV Chairman
  • Six District Chairmen
  • Thirty members of RPV’s State Central Committee
  • Over 1,000 grassroots leaders from 83 units across Virginia

Take a look at what Republican leaders are saying about Mark Obenshain:

“Mark Obenshain is a principled lifelong conservative leader. I am proud to endorse him for Attorney General.” – Don Huffman, Western Vice Chairman and Former RPV Chairman

“We need leaders like Mark Obenshain, who has been the standard-bearer for individual liberty in the Virginia Senate. I know that, as our next Attorney General, he will continue to stand firm in our fight for freedom.” – Chris Stearns, Third District Chairman

“Conventions are won by the candidate who best connects with and mobilizes the grassroots. The grassroots are making it clear: that candidate is Mark Obenshain.” – Marie Quinn, Seventh District SCC Representative

“Mark Obenshain is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate the entire party can unite behind.” – Kevin Gentry, RPV Eastern Vice Chairman

Conservative leaders are coalescing behind Mark Obenshain, as you can see in the list of early endorsements below. As a campaign guy, I know that it all comes down to grassroots, which is why I’m ecstatic about the 1,000 grassroots activists who have joined our team. And I wonder: is your name on the list yet?

When you add your name, you’ll be joining a National Committeeman, District Chairs, State Central members and the over 1,000 activists who have already joined Team Obenshain.

People like:

  • Morton Blackwell, National Committeeman
  • Brian Plum, Treasurer
  • Gary Byler, Second District Chairman
  • Chris Stearns, Third District Chairman
  • Jack Wilson, Fourth District Chairman
  • Bill Stanley, Fifth District Chairman
  • Wendell Walker, Sixth District Chairman
  • John Whitbeck, Tenth District Chairman
  • John Scott, Young Republican Federation of Virginia Chairman
  • Kevin Gentry, Eastern Vice Chairman
  • Donald Huffman, Western Vice Chairman
  • Dr. Judi Lynch, Western Vice Chairman
  • Steve Albertson, First Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Roger Miles, Second Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Chip Muir, Third Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Peyton Knight, Fifth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Renee Maxey, Fifth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Fred Anderson, Sixth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Mark Peake, Sixth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Marie Quinn, Seventh Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Rich Nilsen, Eighth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Susan Edwards, Ninth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Jerry Lester, Ninth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Adam Tolbert, Ninth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Marcy Hernick, Ninth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Mark Berg, Tenth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Eve Marie Gleason, Tenth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Kay Gunter, Tenth Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Patsy Drain, Eleventh Congressional District SCC Representative
  • Pam Brown, Virginia Federation of Republican Women SCC Representative

If you’re not on Team Obenshain yet, now is the time!

Best wishes,
Anthony Markwort
Political Director
Obenshain for Attorney General

anthony@markobenshain.com

Posted July 13th, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

How You Can Help Me — and the Republican Ticket!

Two polls have been conducted here in Virginia in the past couple of weeks. One showed Romney and Allen up, while the other showed Obama and Kaine with the lead. Virginia is very much in play.

And if the polls didn’t convince you, the candidate itineraries should. Romney and Obama have both been crisscrossing the Commonwealth, barnstorming from NoVA to Southwest, Central Virginia to Tidewater. Let there be no mistake: Virginia is going to be a critical battleground in 2012. And we need to work together to make sure that we put our Republican candidates over the top!

A lot of people have asked me how they can help me in my bid for Attorney General. Here are two ways that you can help me right now:

  1. By lending me your name, allowing me to list you publicly as a supporter!
  2. By helping our great slate of Republican candidates win in 2012!

So if you haven’t done so already, please stop by your local Victory office to get plugged into the 2012 campaign! We need people to make phone calls, go door-to-door, and volunteer in other capacities on behalf of Mitt Romney, George Allen, our Republican congressional candidates, and local Republican candidates across the Commonwealth!

Here’s a list of Victory offices across Virginia, with contact information. The best thing you can do to help me right now (besides endorsing me – have you done that yet?) is get involved on behalf of our Republican ticket locally!

Abingdon Victory Office

  • 1060 W. Main St Suite 5, Abingdon VA 24210
  • Email: SouthWestHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 276-239-0119

Arlington Victory Office

  • 3811 Fairfax Dr, Arlington VA 22203
  • Email: ArlingtonHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter

Blacksburg Victory Office

  • 215 Draper Road, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Email: BlacksburgHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Phone: (276) 239-2003

Charlottesville Victory Office

  • 455 Albemarle Square, Charlottesville VA 22901
  • Email: CharlottesvilleHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 424-465-0437

Chesapeake Victory Office

  • 124 S. Battlefield Blvd, Chesapeake VA 23322
  • Email: ChesapeakeHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 757-256-0214

Chesterfield Victory Office (North)

  • 9503 Hull Street Road, Suite D, Richmond, Virginia
  • Email: ChesterfieldHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Phone: (804) 982-1356

Chesterfield Victory Office (South)

  • 3610 Festival Park Plaza, Chester VA 23831
  • Email: SChesterfieldhq@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 804-247-7905

Danville Victory Office

  • 625 Piney Forest Road – Suite 207, Danville, VA
  • Email: DanvilleHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Phone: (434) 465-1021

Fairfax Victory Office

  • 4246 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia
  • Email: FairfaxWestHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Phone: (703) 679-7785

Fredericksburg Victory Office

  • 1311 Central Park Blvd, Fredericksburg VA 22401
  • Email: FredericksburgHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 540-206-5401

Harrisonburg Victory Office

  • 182 Neff Avenue, Suite S13, Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Email: HarrisonburgHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Friday: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Phone: (540) 221-1503

Henrico Victory Office

  • 2819 N. Parham Rd Ste 210A, Henrico VA 23294
  • Email: HenricoHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 804-239-0119

Loudoun Victory Office

  • 18 Royal Street, Leesburg, Virginia
  • Email: LoudounHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Phone: (703) 375-9467

Lynchburg Victory Office

  • 3700 Candlers Mountain Road, Lynchburg, VA 24501
  • Email: LynchburgHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

McLean Victory Office

  • 6867 Elm St Ste 103, McLean VA 22101
  • Email: mcleanhq@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 571-425-7037

Norfolk Victory Office

  • 193 W. Ocean View Ave., Norfolk VA 23503
  • Email: NorfolkHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 757-256-0195

Newport News Victory Office

  • 12715 Wawick Blvd, Newport News, VA
  • Email: NewportNewsHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Prince William Victory Office (East)

  • 4431 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge, Virginia
  • Email: PWEastHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Prince William Victory Office (West)

  • 10286 Bristow Center Dr – Suite G5, Bristow VA 20136
  • Email: PWwestHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 571-425-6557

Roanoke Victory Office

  • 2706 Ogden Rd SW, Roanoke VA 24018
  • Email: RoanokeHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 540-206-5531

Springfield Victory Office

  • 6320 Augusta Dr Ste 900, Springfield VA 22150
  • Email: FairfaxEastHQ@rpv.org
  • Phone: 571-425-6549

Sterling Victory Office

  • 46950 Community Plaza – 201, Sterling VA 20164
  • Email: SterlingHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 571-263-9330

North Stafford Victory Office

  • 2773 Jefferson Davis Hgwy – Suite 119, Stafford VA 22554
  • Email: StaffordHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Phone: 540-206-5419

Virginia Beach Victory Office

  • 911 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Email: VaBeachHQ@rpv.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Phone: (757) 802-9936
Posted July 10th, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

Happy Independence Day!

The horse was weary, the rider pale, his frame draped in a muddy cloak, that July morning. Inside the Philadelphia State House, a vote was being called — a vote long in the making, and one which would reverberate the world over.

In England over a century before, the seeds of this moment had been planted by men who came to embody the spirit of liberty: jurists like Sir Edward Coke, statesmen like William Pitt and Edmund Burke, and theorists like John Locke. And once the flame of liberty began to burn, it could not be extinguished — not in England, and not in the colonies.

Far from it: it was raised a torch, a beacon, its light bathing the colonies. A year before that rider dismounted in Philadelphia, a fiery Patrick Henry inspired Virginia’s embrace of independence, his voice raising to a crescendo as he concluded with the words that ring down to this present day: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

And now, on a July morning in Philadelphia, as Charles Thompson counted the delegates taking their seats, he cast his eye upon a few dozen men, their names yet largely unknown; men who would change the world.

The day before, the Continental Congress had met in a committee of the whole, and nine colonies had cast their lot with the cause of independence. Nine was enough — on paper. But in the broader sense, nine colonies could never have been enough. Perhaps Franklin’s admonition rang in the delegates’ ears: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately.” The vote was postponed until the following day.

Caesar Rodney had been in Dover when the news arrived: the Delaware delegation was deadlocked at the Second Continental Congress, its other two delegates divided on the question of independence. Patriotic lore holds that Rodney, who later died of cancer, was already in its throes, and was confined to bed when he received the news. Upon receiving word, Rodney arose, saddled his horse, and rode through the night to Philadelphia, pressing onward through a violent thunderstorm, urging his horse forward eighty miles along the washed-out roads.

And so it transpired that the roll was being called when a haggard man arrived at the State House — Caesar Rodney of the muddy cloak, still drenched from his ride, making his way into the hall, providing Delaware with the decisive vote for independence as John Hancock called for the yeas and the nays. The other holdouts declared for independence as well, save New York, whose delegation received similar instructions a week later.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” – the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson now proclaimed for all the world to hear.

In time, some of the days and events would run together. That decisive vote was taken on the second, not the fourth, of July, the latter being the day the text went to print. The famous reading from the steps of the State House, at the culmination of which bells pealed across the city, took place July 8th. Signatures would not be affixed until the second of August.

But when the bells rang out for liberty, or whether the famed Liberty Bell was among them, is nothing more than trivia. What matters is what the Second Continental Congress did that summer in Philadelphia — that they, in the scriptural text inscribed upon the Liberty Bell, came together to “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Two hundred thirty-six years later, we still carry the torch of liberty. As we celebrate Independence Day, I hope that we will reflect upon the courage and resolve of those who won our freedom, and the sacrifices of those who have fought to preserve it. May we always stand with them, and ever hold that torch high! Happy Independence Day!

Posted July 4th, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

Update on Power Restoration Efforts

With hundreds of thousands still without electricity in the aftermath of Friday night’s storm, my office has remained in contact with utilities serving the Shenandoah Valley over the weekend, and I wanted to provide you with an update on where we stand. Please share this information with friends and neighbors who may still be without power, and do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of any assistance during this time.

Damage to the grid is extensive across the Commonwealth. In many places, poles and crossarms need to be replaced, distribution feeders are down, and, over the weekend, work crews were often diverted from infrastructure restoration to respond to reports of downed live wires. My office will remain in communication with utilities serving this region, and we are here to help where possible. In the meantime, I would urge patience as workers across the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia as a whole labor to restore power in the aftermath of Friday’s storms.

The following details are ordered by provider serving the 26th District, which includes the City of Harrisonburg and the counties of Rappahannock, Warren, Shenandoah, Page, and Rockingham (part). For those outside the 26th District, I would encourage you to check the website of your service provider and to consult the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s list of cooling shelters across Virginia.

Dominion Power

At the time of this writing, an estimated 56,675 Dominion customers in the Shenandoah Valley remain without power, though the worst damage was south of the 26th District. Region-wide, 80-85% of customers can expect to have power restored by Tuesday night and 90-95% by Thursday night, with restoration potentially not complete until Sunday, though it is my understanding that most, if not all, of the service territory within the 26th District should see restoration much earlier than that. An outage map is available here. Outages should be reported to (866) DOM-HELP (366-4357).

Shenandoah County (also served by SVEC)
Dominion reports significant progress in restoring power to its Shenandoah County service territory, though a timeline for complete restoration is unavailable. Cooling shelters have been set up at the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department at 200 Stoney Creek Boulevard, and at the Star Tannery Volunteer Fire Department at 950 Brill Road.

Today, work crews will be in Edinburg (Route 707 west of Route 11), Mt. Crawford (Farm Rd.), New Market (2nd St. & Lee Hwy and Route 211 east of town), Toms Brook (Mt. Olvie Rd. and Route 653 west of Route 11), and Woodstock (Chapel Dr. south of Stonewall Rd. and Ox Rd.).

Rockingham County (also served by SVEC)
A sizable percentage of Rockingham County customers continue to experience power outages, and it may be several days until power is restored across the county. Cooling shelters are being maintained at Broadway High School (269 Gobbler Drive, Broadway), Spotswood High School (368 Blazer Drive, Penn Laird), and Harrisonburg High School (1001 Garbers Church Road, Harrisonburg).

Work crews will be present today in Broadway (Route 619 north of Mayland), Dayton (Mason St. and Main St.), Elkton (Fox Mountain Rd.), Grottoes (18th St. & Dogwood Ave., 21st St., Dogwood Ave. between 18th and 20th, and S. Eastside Highway), Port Republic (Route 605 N off Route 1605 and S. River Rd.), and Timberville (Kay Dr., Main St. & Crestview, and Route 881 north of town).

Harrisonburg Electric Commission

All known outages have been addressed, and power should be fully restored within the city of Harrisonburg. If you are within the HEC’s service area and are still experiencing outages, please call (540) 434-5361. The nearest cooling shelter is located at Harrisonburg High School at 1001 Garbers Church Road. The shelter remains open, primarily serving Rockingham County residents who remain without power.

Shenandoah Valley Electric Coop

The SVEC serves significant portions of Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Page counties, and a small number of households in Warren County. Across the entire service area, approximately 9,458 households still lack power, and 400 workers are currently on the ground conducting repairs. The location of work crews is not presently available, but outage maps are available here.

Page County
As of late morning,1,810 customers continue to experience outages. A cooling shelter is being maintained at the Stanley Volunteer Fire Company’s facility at 190 East Main Street. No timeline is available for complete restoration, but SVEC representatives caution that it could take several more days due to the scope of the damage.

Rockingham County (also served by Dominion)
Roughly one-sixth of SVEC customers in Rockingham County still lack power, and no timeline for restoration is available at this time. Cooling shelters are being maintained at Broadway High School (269 Gobbler Drive, Broadway), Spotswood High School (368 Blazer Drive, Penn Laird), and Harrisonburg High School (1001 Garbers Church Road, Harrisonburg).

Shenandoah County (also served by Dominion)
The vast majority of households in Shenandoah County should now have power. The SVEC estimates that 274 homes are still experiencing outages, roughly 3% of hookups I the county. Cooling shelters have been set up at the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department at 200 Stoney Creek Boulevard, and at the Star Tannery Volunteer Fire Department at 950 Brill Road.

Warren County (also served by REC)
Most homes served by SVEC in Warren County should have electricity restored by this point, with current estimates of outages at 405 households, but cooling shelters are still being maintained at South Warren Fire & Rescue #3 (3330 Stonewall Jackson Hwy, Bentonville) and North Warren Fire & Rescue #10 (89 Rockland Rd., Front Royal).

Rappahannock Electric Coop

Across the REC’s entire service area, over 16,000 households remain without power, and in some cases, restoration may still be a number of days away. An outage map is available here. To report an outage, please call (800) 552-3904.

Rappahannock County
At last count, 1,983 customers in Rappahannock County still lack electricity. Work crews are present at the following locations: Washington and Smedley areas (Fodderstack Rd., Gid Brown Hollow to Shenandoah National Park via Keyser Run Rd, Harris Hollow, Tiger Valley Rd, Shade Farm, Ski Lodge Rd, Sunnyside, Orchard Rd, and the Town of Washington) and the Woodville and Castleton areas (Dennis Store, Fletchers Mill Rd, FT Valley Rd – N to Belle Meade School, Hawlin Rd, Jenkins Mountain, Pearl Ln, Red Oak Mountain, Round Hill Rd, Turkey Ridge Rd, Town of Sperryville, Town of Woodville, Village of Castleton, and Quaintance Rd). My office is not aware of any cooling shelters in Rappahannock County at this time.

Warren County
Power has been restored to nearly all REC customers in Warren County, but cooling shelters are still being maintained at South Warren Fire & Rescue #3 (3330 Stonewall Jackson Hwy, Bentonville) and North Warren Fire & Rescue #10 (89 Rockland Rd., Front Royal).

Elsewhere in Virginia

If you are located outside the 26th District, please consult the website of your electric utility for outage reports and updates and check the VDEM cooling shelter list for locations in your area. A map of electric service territories is available here.

Please stay cool and keep safe!

Posted July 2nd, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

New Laws Taking Effect Sunday

This past session, the General Assembly considered 2,876 bills and resolutions, enacting 1,616 of them — 855 bills and 746 resolutions.

Most of this new legislation goes into effect on Sunday, July 1, so I wanted to take a few moments to outline what changes, and to provide you with a quick guide to the laws that have just been added to the books.

Public Safety

  • A three year mandatory minimum sentence has been adopted for those convicted of dealing or manufacturing drugs a second or subsequent time (SB 159 - my bill)
  • A mandatory minimum of life imprisonment is now in effect for some of the most heinous of criminals, adults who rape a minor under the age of thirteen (SB 436 - my bill)
  • It is now a felony with a mandatory minimum of 20 years imprisonment to knowingly defraud a senior citizen or incapacitated person of their financial assets (SB 431)
  • Individuals convicted of a DUI are now required to install an ignition interlock on the vehicle they drive after the first offense, and must have one installed in each vehicle they own or have registered to them after a second offense (SB 378)
  • The list of individuals required to report suspected child abuse and neglect has been expanded to include those associated with or employed by any public organization responsible for the care of children, and any person employed by a public or private college or university, so that no one will be able to say “it’s not my responsibility” (SB 239)
  • The definitions of synthetic marijuana and bath salts have been revised to foreclose attempts to circumvent the law by making slight tweaks to the drugs’ chemical compositions, helping us keep these drugs off the street (SB 273)

Economic Growth and Prosperity

  • A new tax credit for small businesses will provide grants covering 10% of certain investments in growth and job creation (SB 344)
  • The Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, which is available to companies creating at least fifty new jobs, has been extended for another two years (SB 368)
  • Virginia law now prohibits state and local contracts from requiring costly, union-only Project Labor Agreements, which are frequently an attempt to skirt our “right to work” laws (SB 242 - my bill)

Education

  • Charter schools will now enjoy greater flexibility and will have access to additional resources to operate and allow them to serve more students across the Commonwealth (SB 440 - my bill)
  • Home school families will no longer have to clear quite so many hurdles to educate their children at home (SB 564)
  • The General Assembly also enacted my legislation (and Senator Stanley’s) creating educational improvement tax credits to enable more families to send their children to a school of choice, though this legislation does not go into effect until 2013 (SB 131)

Government Reform

  • Based in significant part on the recommendations of the Reform Commission, on which I serve, the General Assembly adopted legislation streamlining, and in some cases consolidating, dozens of government agencies to promote efficiency, eliminate duplication, and produce savings for taxpayers (SB 678)
  • Fourteen mandates on local government have been eliminated, freeing local governments to use their resources more prudently (SB 679)
  • Local governments which designated an Urban Development Area may now reverse the decision if they so choose (SB 274)

Gun Rights

  • The one handgun a month restriction has been lifted, with Virginia joining forty-eight other states in not placing arbitrary time limits between gun purchases (SB 323)
  • The handful of localities which still fingerprint those who purchase firearms (data state government does not use) are no longer permitted to do so (SB 67)
  • Clerks of Court may now issue concealed handgun permits by mail, and may not request any information from an applicant that is not contained on the concealed handgun permit form (SB 563)

Other Legislation

  • Voters will now be required to show some form of identification at the polls, and if unable to do so, must vote provisionally (SB 1 - Senator Martin and I were chief co-patrons)
  • A cause of action may now be brought for wrongful acts leading to the death of an unborn child (SB 674)
  • Abortion clinics must now offer a woman the opportunity to view an ultrasound image, which she may accept or decline (HB 462)
  • A law is now on the books specifically prohibiting law enforcement or any other agents of the Commonwealth from participating in any indefinite detention action pursued by the federal government (HB 1160)
  • Although it’s not in effect yet, it’s worth noting that the Virginia Property Rights Amendment will be on the ballot in November; this eminent domain reform amendment will ensure that no property is taken for economic development purposes, and that in legitimate takings, owners truly receive just compensation (SJ 3 - my resolution)

This list only scratches the surface, of course, but these are some of the key bills going into effect on Sunday. As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns!

Posted June 30th, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

The Fight Isn’t Over

We always knew it was going to be close — but I was really hoping it would go the other way.

You and I both know that the individual mandate is an unwarranted encroachment upon our liberties. The Obama administration tried to justify this overreach under the Commerce Clause, in an argument which turns the Commerce Clause upside down. If the federal government can require you to purchase something against your will, what can’t it do?

It tentatively appears that the Court instead concluded that the mandate was a tax, despite the Obama administration’s insistence that it wasn’t, and their attempt to draft the bill to avoid it being one. It was a mandate — until being a mandate become too problematic.

It will take a while to parse the entire opinion, but I know you’re as disappointed as I am with this outcome, and concerned about where it could lead. The question remains: what can’t the federal government make us do, whether under commerce or tax authority?

Unfortunately, today was not our day. The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. But we won’t take this lying down. Other challenges are pending to other aspects of the law, and a vigorous defense of limits on federal power is more pertinent than ever.

Our next Attorney General could see today’s outcome as a reason to step back, to shy away from cases involving the rights and liberties of Virginians. If that’s what you want in the next Attorney General, I’m not your candidate.

But there’s an alternative. We can turn this day into a rallying cry; we can draw a line in the sand and vow to fight against federal overreach and encroachments on our liberties. And our next Attorney General can help lead that fight, taking the battle to the federal government when it oversteps its bounds.

If that’s what you want in your next Attorney General, I’m your candidate.

But to win, I need your support. We’re fast approaching a critical fundraising deadline, and your contribution of $50, $25, or even $10 by June 30 is crucial.

It looks like the Supreme Court offered a glimmer of hope today, placing limits on the degree to which the federal government can dictate elements of the law to the states. Given this, don’t you want an Attorney General who will fight vigorously for Virginia?

Today’s decision only underscores the importance of having an Attorney General in Richmond who will fight for our liberties. Your contribution will help make that possible, and will send a message to the left: we’re not taking this lying down!

Will you contribute today? Your gift of $50, $25, or $10 will go a long way!

We can keep the federal government in check — but only if we stand together.

Best regards,
Mark

Posted June 28th, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

Why Oppose Obamacare? A Refresher

The Supreme Court’s current term is entering the home stretch, and by the looks of things, the Court is saving the health care case for a grand finale. Officially, Monday is the last day on which the Court is scheduled to deliver cases, but an extension is probable, and a ruling on the federal health care bill isn’t likely until later in the week.

That makes this a good time to review what’s at stake — and what’s to come. As we wait for the Court to rule, it’s worth reviewing the case against ObamaCare.

First, here’s what it’s not. Opposition is not predicated on the notion that our existing health care system is what it could or should be. We must find ways to improve health care availability and access.

It is founded upon the belief that the approach pursued by the Obama administration is counterproductive, unaffordable, and constitutionally suspect–and that it would bring about a myriad of major unintended consequences. Which is why I believe that “Repeal and Replace” has to be more than just a slogan; it has to be a commitment. The problems are real, but “ObamaCare” isn’t the solution. Here’s why:

ObamaCare drives up health care costs

Health care costs are already skyrocketing, with annual medical inflation north of 7%. The lack of price transparency is a component, as are limitations on meaningful competition. ObamaCare exacerbates these trends. Those on private insurance plans also subsidize Medicare and Medicaid patients above and beyond what they pay in taxes, as physicians receiving sub-standard provider payments are forced to pass these costs along to paying customers. The overnight doubling of Medicaid enrollees will only make the problem more acute, forcing insurance costs upward and forcing many to drop their coverage.

ObamaCare will have to cover unanticipated enrollees

Health insurance is expensive. If the PPACA went into full effect, it would be more expensive still – and many people who could previously afford health insurance (or received it through their employer) will drop, or be dropped, from coverage, falling into the newly expanded safety net. It’s a dangerous feedback loop: a greater proportion of the population receiving government-provided care drives up costs for the rest of the population, forcing some of them to start relying on government-provided care, further growing that population.

ObamaCare will lower the quality of care

National health care systems rarely have stellar reputations when it comes to quality of care, whether the concern is long waiting lists for certain procedures or limitations on the care provided. Don’t misunderstand me: health care is always “rationed” in some sense, whether it’s an insurer declining to cover a certain procedure or space not being available in a clinical trial. But when the government itself becomes a primary provider, and competition begins to decline, we all have fewer choices, and if the European experience means anything, overall quality of care declines significantly.

ObamaCare will hamstring innovation

Countries with national health care systems vary in their degrees of effectiveness and cost control when it comes to health care delivery, but there’s one disturbing unifying feature: the industry is moribund. The major medical advances aren’t coming out of Europe – and a lot of that has to do with the fact that innovation is expensive and an inherently risky investment, and national health care systems remove many of the incentives that exist when the balance is farther in the direction of private insurance or care. I’m not saying that private R&D would come to an end, or that there isn’t value in the sort of R&D sponsored by medical colleges and universities, but there will be a drop-off in innovation.

ObamaCare places major new burdens on states

At least initially, the federal government will pick up most (but not all) of the additional costs for increased Medicaid enrollment. The operative word here is “initially,” and if-when-that assistance is scaled back to typical levels, states will find themselves facing an almost unrivaled financial crunch. State governments are struggling enough as it is.

ObamaCare violates the Constitution

The now-infamous “mandate” is integral to the PPACA, and it relies on an alarming constitutional theory: that the federal government’s commerce power is so expansive that it can force you to purchase something, that it can require you to take action. In one fell swoop, the PPACA turns the Commerce Clause on its head. We’re no longer arguing about what sort of commercial transactions the federal government may regulate or prohibit, but what sort of transactions it can require.

Some conservatives used to support a federal mandate; frankly, I don’t think they thought it through. (As Justice Frankfurter once wrote, “Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”) Many of our liberal friends are in that position now. They may like this mandate, but is anyone really comfortable with the idea that the federal government is claiming, at least theoretically, almost complete control over your purchasing decisions? Is that a power the government should have? Is it a power that the Constitution authorizes? I believe not–and I hope the Court will see it the same way.

No one really knows what the Supreme Court will do. Here are the Court’s options:

  1. They could, after all this, decline to address the merits of the case on a technicality, questioning the case’s “ripeness” or the plaintiff’s standing-thankfully, almost certainly the least likely outcome.
  2. They could strike down the mandate but leave the rest of the law in place, or they could strike down the mandate and find that it cannot be severed from the rest of the law, striking down the full PPACA.
  3. They could strike down the law on the grounds that, by tying the program to Medicaid, the states are essentially coerced into participating.
  4. Or–and I think that this would be a very dangerous development–they could leave the law mostly or fully in place, mandate and all.

Time will tell. I won’t try to read the tea leaves. I’ll only echo Jefferson: “Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.”

Posted June 23rd, 2012   No Comments         Read More »

RPV Convention Wrap-Up: Results from Richmond!

What a great convention! I hope you had a chance to stop by my hospitality suite on Friday night. We were packed all night long, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with so many dedicated Republicans. You could really feel the enthusiasm, the intensity, and the commitment to victory this November!

In the whirlwind of convention activities, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with everything that takes place, and most of us (myself included!) aren’t taking notes when nominating committee reports are read. So for you political junkies out there, I’m providing a run-down of the results from Saturday’s convention. This is inside baseball, and won’t be of interest to everyone, but I offer it up for those of you who have been dying to know who the party is sending to the national convention, and what State Central Committee decided about the nominating method for 2013.

As you know, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) met in convention to elect the party’s national committeeman and national committeewoman, thirteen at-large delegates and alternates to the Republican National Convention, and two at-large presidential electors. The day before, at a meeting of the RPV State Central Committee, the party took up the method of nomination for candidates in 2013. Here’s what happened.

Primary vs. Convention
In December 2011, State Central Committee adopted a primary as the method for nominating candidates for statewide office in 2013. On Friday, the Committee reversed its decision, adopting a convention by a vote of 47-31. This decision will affect the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. Since the nomination of Virginia’s first Republican Governor in the modern era in 1969, eight gubernatorial nominees have been selected at convention and three at primaries. (As a candidate for Attorney General, this decision affects me, but I was not involved in it. I was prepared to run-and, with your help, win!-in either a primary or a convention.)

Party Chairman
Incumbent Party Chairman Pat Mullins faced no opposition, and was reelected by acclamation (that is, by a unanimous voice vote) at Saturday’s convention.

National Committeeman and Committeewoman
Morton Blackwell, our National Committeeman, and Kathy Terry, our National Committeewoman, were both reelected at convention. Morton Blackwell, who has represented Virginia on the Republican National Committee since 1988 and has been a member of the RNC Executive Committee since 2004, convincingly defeated challenger Shelby McCurnin, while Kathy Terry, who is completing her first term at the RNC, fended off challenger Donna Holt by a mere 4.13 weighted votes.

To put that in perspective through an example from one of my localities, each Rockingham County delegate present at the convention controlled 15.6 weighted votes, almost four times the margin between the two candidates. Every vote counts!

By virtue of his office, Party Chairman Pat Mullins also represents Virginia on the National Committee, with the 168 members of the RNC comprising the national leadership of the Republican Party.

National Convention Delegates and Alternates
Virginia selects its delegates and alternates to the Republican National Convention through a modified winner-take-all system, in which 33 district delegates are bound to presidential candidates based on the primary results in their congressional district (three delegates each), 13 delegates are selected at-large at state convention (bound when a candidate wins a majority, proportional otherwise), and three are reserved for party officials.

Ten of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts went for Mitt Romney in the primary, and their combined thirty delegates, chosen at district conventions, are bound to him. The 3rd District is sending three delegates bound to Ron Paul. At state convention, the nominations committee proposed a negotiated slate of thirteen delegates and thirteen alternates from among the 85 who filed for delegate and 48 who filed for alternate.

Since Romney won 59% of the primary vote, all thirteen delegates elected at the state convention on Saturday are bound to Romney on the first ballot (only one ballot is anticipated), though the Ron Paul campaign, which demonstrated significant strength at district conventions as well as the state convention, succeeded in securing many of those slots for Paul supporters in hopes of influencing the party platform. The nominating committee’s slate was adopted by acclamation, and is as follows:

Delegates

  • The Hon. Bob McDonnell
  • The Hon. Bill Bolling
  • The Hon. Ken Cuccinelli
  • The Hon. Jim Gilmore
  • The Hon. Mark Dudenhefer
  • Caleb Coulter
  • Shirley Forbes
  • Kay Gunter
  • Jared Hendrix
  • Matthew Hurt
  • Chris Sterns
  • John Tate
  • Marie Quinn
Alternates

  • The Hon. Tom Davis
  • Trevor Benson
  • Chuck Cunningham
  • Hilary Griffith
  • Aleyda Kasten
  • Linda Kivy-Porter
  • Dwayne McIntyre
  • Lori-Ann Miller
  • Mikki Miller
  • John Salm
  • Ernesto Sampson
  • Pete Snyder
  • Wendell Walker

Convention Committee Assignment

For the national convention, each state appoints two of its delegates each to the Rules, Platform, Credentials, and Arrangements. These are, of course, highly coveted appointments, as the members of these committee guide the manner in which the convention operates, write the party’s platform and the resolutions coming before the convention, and certify delegations, and the like. At convention, the following delegates were named to these committees:

  • Rules: Morton Blackwell and Anne Gentry
  • Platform: Kathy Terry and Chris Stearns
  • Credentials: Jo Thoburn and Mike Rothfeld
  • Arrangements: Evan Draim and Erin Smith

Presidential Electors

Virginia is entitled to thirteen presidential electors, one chosen at each district convention and two — Gary Byler and Cortland Putbrese — elected at-large at Saturday’s state convention from a field of seventeen candidates. All electors, chosen at both district and state convention, are legally bound to support their party’s nominee.

This, of course, only scratches the surface of what transpired at the convention, as a convention is so much more than a few votes. It’s a convention hall full of Republicans revving themselves up for this year’s campaigns. It’s mingling, visiting hospitality suites, meeting candidates, and listening to inspiring speeches. I can’t capture the full atmosphere of the convention here, but I did want to provide a quick synopsis of the convention’s actions for those of you who live and breathe politics.

With primaries and convention behind us, our 2012 field is set and our party leadership is in place. Only one thing remains: to win in November. I look forward to standing beside you as we work to defeat Barack Obama and Tim Kaine, and to return our Republican congressmen to continue representing us in Washington!

Posted June 18th, 2012   No Comments         Read More »
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