VA House of Delegates

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Sam Rasoul making major announcement today

2008 6th District Democratic nominee, Sam Rasoul is about to make a very important announcement. The press conference today has something to do with the 17th House of Delegates seat that has been vacated by William Fralin. There is a lot of speculation as to what he will announce. Some believe he will endorse Roanoke Councilwoman Gwen Mason. Or, could it be that Rasoul will seek the nomination for himself. We will have to wait and see.....


Taking back the House of Delegates

Democrats need 6 House of Delegates seats, and there is no shortage of targets. Back on January 7, Harry posted a list of the top targeted district and Republican incumbents, shown here with the 2007 results; let's update that list:

Del. Hogan not Seeking Reelection

A version of the story can be found here.

Delegate Clark Hogan has drawn much ire from members of the House of Delegates from both parties for his behavior and apparent lack of ethics. The article states that he intends to "focus his energies on his Ontario Hardwood business located in Keysville" as the reason for not seeking reelection. An understandable reason given the economy but I would think most business people in his area and Richmond are just as relieved as some politicians.

Brigades Strategy Meeting with guests Creigh Deeds and Jody Wagner

(promoted by FXBAmy)

Thanks to the over 50 members who attended this great event!
Also thanks to our visitors Chap Petersen, Karyn Moran, Liz Griffith and Rex Simmons.

Below is a summary of Deeds' speech and question-and-answer session, and I'll create a separate post on Jody Wagner and our discussion on a strategy for a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates.

Chris Rey No Longer Running for Delegate

Due to family issues, Chris V. Rey of Williamsburg will no longer be running for House of Delegates in the 93rd District - the seat currently held by Republican Phil Hamilton. He was an excellent candidate, we were blessed to have him, but we must move on and immediately work on finding another qualified Democrat.

Mr. Rey issued the following press release:

Mike Turner Running Against Joe May in the 33rd HD

You may remember Mike Turner from last year's Democratic primary when he ran against Judy Feder in the 10th District (currently held by Frank Wolf). I remember Mike from the Democracy for America training course we took in the summer of 2007. When he ran for Congress, I supported him. I knew he was the better candidate -- not just because a 28-year Air Force veteran would have a better chance in the 10th, but also because I knew Mike had a better grasp of the issues and an impressive record of service. He proved this during the debate at NOVA's Loudoun campus last May:

Two more key points that encouraged me to support Mike: he had the foresight to endorse Barack Obama in December 2007, and he supports single-payer health care.

Republican Delegate William Fralin to retire

(important news - promoted by code)

Delegate Adam Ebbin's Facebook status is reporting that Delegate William Fralin of Roanoke is retiring, presumably news going around the GAB today (which happens to be Sine Die - the last day of session).

Mr. Fralin is 46 years old and has served for only 5 years, an odd time to retire. But we shouldn't complain, his district is suburban Roanoke and has a DPI of 42% - certainly not friendly territory but somewhere in the middle for Republican House of Delegates seats. A hard pickup no doubt, but we would be fools not to put up a good candidate.

My trip to the Legislature

I joined some of my fellow students at NOVA for our annual Legislative Trip to Richmond. Our purpose in going was to advocate for Community College funding to be preserved. After visiting with some State Senators and Delegates, we sat in on the House while they were in session.

Keam Dream Team in the 35th

JFK inspired a whole generation of leaders to rise up and follow in his footsteps. So, for the other side, did Ronald Reagan. If you’re wondering whether Obama will have the same kind of generational impact, the place to keep your eye on is Virginia’s 35th House District, covering Vienna, Oakton, Dunn Loring and portions of Fairfax. And the campaign to watch is that of Mark Keam.

As I noted in an earlier diary , Keam impressed me and countless others with his work as Fairfax for Obama Campaign Coordinator. And now he is applying his inspiration and experience from the Campaign for Change to fire up his own quest for the House of Delegates.

Just as importantly, he is scooping up a great deal of talent from the Obama campaign, including:

• Campaign Manager Aveek Majumdar, a veteran of both the Webb Brigades and the Obama campaign, where he served as field organizer for Fairfax County and regional director for Southern Hampton Roads.
• Field Director Bridgit Donnelly, Obama field staff in charge of the Providence Magisterial District and the youngest delegate sent to the Democratic National Convention from Virginia.
• Communications Director Sarah Hoptman, former field organizer for the Virginia Combined Campaign.

To meet Mark and all of these folks, and to find out what you can do to help him win, come to the grand opening of his campaign office at 407 Church Street, NE, Unit J, Vienna, VA 22180, this Saturday, February 28th, 2:00-5:00 pm.

President Obama is going to need a lot of help to conquer the Herculean tasks facing him, and we need to put the right people in place to assist him – people like Mark Keam. Come join the team!

Roy Baldwin Running to Succeed Steve Shannon in 35th District

Roy Baldwin Announces Campaign to Succeed Shannon in Fairfax County’s 35th District

(OAKTON, Virginia) -- Roy Baldwin – a Vienna resident, Oakton attorney, area business leader and civic volunteer – announced on January 7th that he is running as a Democrat for State Delegate in Virginia’s 35th District to strengthen our local economy, tackle our transportation challenges, enhance Fairfax County’s fine schools and address the health care priorities of the 21st century.

It's Official - Another Open House Seat!

Today on the floor of the House of Delegates, Jeff Frederick made official his plans not to seek re-election to the House of Delegates this year.

Del/Chairman Frederick is the gift that keeps on giving. We should all thank him for not only totally devastating the RPV, but now vacating a House of Delegates seat in Eastern Prince William County that went 63% for Obama. I would venture to call this pickup number 1 for the House Democratic Caucus.

Pollard Introduces a New ‘Energy Efficiency Program’

Last night Del. Albert Pollard introduced HB 2506 before the House Commerce & Labor subcommittee on Energy:

Authorizes investor-owned electric utilities to recover, through a rate adjustment clause, the costs of designing and operating energy efficiency programs that have the effect of decreasing the total amount of energy used over time and of delaying the need for construction of new generation facilities. The utility may earn the same enhanced rate of return on energy efficiency programs that is currently provided for renewable powered generation facilities, as well as net lost revenues for the program's full service life.

Cross-Posted at Fred2Blue

Can Virginia Democrats win on a theme of good government?

Thinking about the fall elections, and looking for an issue or issues that might allow for a true statewide campaign...

It is said that all elections have one of two themes -- either "keep a good thing going," or "throw the bums out." In 2008, we saw the classic "throw the bums out" election. The 2008 election was unusual because the "throw the bums out" theme was so strong that even John McCain embraced it.

In 2009, I expect that Democrats will be saying, "Throw the bums out of Richmond," and the Republicans are going to have to argue, because they have no choice, "let us keep our legislative gridlock going."

Suppose the Democrats run against the Republicans and their refusal to pass nonpartisan redistricting? Or their insistence on killing early voting and no-excuses absentee balloting? Or, assuming that we end up with another train wreck of a budget, suppose we throw in their inability to figure out a way to fund government?

Of course, we have been running against the Republicans and their budgeting prowess for 8 years. The problem with that issue is that at base, the only intellectually honest answer to the budget mess is to look at tax increases, which some people will always oppose.

Looking at the polls and the editorial pages, there is NO ONE who doesn't favor the redistricting reform packages that Democrats have floated, and that the Republicans have killed in committee. And there is basically NO ONE who doesn't favor the early voting and no-excuses absentee balloting packages that the Democrats have put forward. The House Republicans have already killed the Democratic bills in committee, and even though they will pass the Senate, the Senate versions will also die in the House, at the hands of the Republicans.

Stop Assault on Verified Voting: House of Delegates Committee to Vote (5 PM today) on Eliminating Rule Banning Paperless Voting

This is not the article I had planned for today, but necessity upends my blogging wish-list. You can do one small, but crucial thing, to help save the people's voice today. A critical vote is on the docket for 5 PM tonight. Here's what's up:

Will Republicans (and Democrats) stand in the way of fairness (HB 2385) again?

Today is Lobby Day in Richmond for Equality Virginia.

This evening at 5 PM, the House General Laws Committee's sub-committee on Professional/Occupational/Administrative Process, Chaired by John Cosgrove from Chesapeake, will meet. Although it does not appear to be on today's docket, they may possibly discuss Adam Ebbin's bill HB2385 to end discrimination in statewide public employment on the basis of sexual orientation. If not today, it's sure to come up at the next sub-committee meeting.

This sub-committee is comprised of Republicans John Cosgrove, Bill Carrico, Ed Scott, Todd Gilbert, and Jackson Miller. The sub-committee also includes Democrats William Barlow, Jeion Ward, and Al Eisenberg, all co-patrons of the legislation. The trick that may get this legislation out of sub-committee will be convincing Jackson Miller and John Cosgrove to support it. That's not going to be easy. Perhaps an indication of their intent to kill this bill exists in that they didn't take it up while EV's Lobby Day participants were there? Let’s hope not.

The Key to Virginia's Economic Recovery

Russ Morris, the President of the consulting firm CFO Partner, LLC in Northern Virginia and potential candidate for delegate in the 13th district, is reaching out to start a discussion amongst the citizens of the Commonwealth to find out how business economy is affecting them. Having served as a CFO and Senior Financial Consultant to numerous small and mid-sized companies in Virginia, Russ is keenly aware of what must be done to help privately owned businesses thrive and prosper.

Special election turnout

The House of Delegates special elections of the past two weeks have had the lowest turnout for such elections in well over a decade. I went through the SBE numbers for all House special elections in the last 11 years, and came up with these voting numbers:

Democratic Charniele Herring need your help in the special election on Tuesday for 46th District

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 11, 2009; Page C05

In their 28-day dash to election day in Alexandria, Democratic lawyer Charniele Herring and Republican legislative aide Joe Murray have had to scramble for attention from distracted voters.

House Sessions Will Be Streamed Live on the Internet

It's becoming easier and easier to tell that Barack Obama carried Speaker Howell's 28th House district in the general election. First Howell announces that they'll finally record subcommittee votes in the House of Delegates, now this. As Del. Dave Englin explains to The Post's Anita Kumar, "He sees the writing on the wall.''

When the General Assembly convenes Wednesday, January 14, citizens will be able to view House floor proceedings live. These video streams will be delivered using the Adobe Flash player. If your computer does not have this software, you can download it from the Adobe website.

This server will allow up to 750 simultaneous video streams. However, House staff will continuously monitor traffic on this server to insure that video is available to all who wish to connect. For slower internet connections, an audio feed will also be available from the main page.

Links to both the audio and video feeds will be available from the General Assembly home page.

The House Republican Caucus v. Democracy – Part II

Continuing my report from December

Late last year politicians from both sides of the aisle were shocked when a young ruffian (aged 69) named Henry Waxman succeeded in challenging 53-year incumbent John Dingell for the coveted post of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair. Everyone knows that seniority is king amongst Democrats in the US House of Representatives, just as loyalty and ideology reign when Republicans are in power.

Were such the case in Richmond…

Political gain above all else determines committee assignments in the Virginia House of Delegates. Okay – no big surprise there – what shocks newcomers to the General Assembly is that the Speaker has the sole power to assign members of both parties to committees. The whim of one member is the ultimate decider in what effectively becomes the policy of the entire chamber thanks to the dictatorial power of subcommittees.

And it doesn’t even end there…