Category Archives: Politics

Fact Checking Bill Leighty

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In my review of Bill Leighty’s memoir, I quoted at length an incident that was supposed to illustrate Leighty’s deal-making skills, as well as how things are often accomplished in state government. One of this blog’s alert readers, “how_it_works,” pointed that the timing of the events related in the story just did not work out, thereby casting doubt on the story.

I thought the objection was valid and serious enough to warrant investigation. Because the story involved legislation enacted in the late 1980’s and the on-line Legislative Information System does not have legislative history before 1994, I had to wait until the public agencies with the paper records opened after Memorial Day before I could do any checking. This follow-up article sets out the results of my research. Continue reading

Virginia Democrats Have New Tourism Twist

by Olivia Gans Turner

Recently North Carolina passed a bill to prevent abortions after 12 weeks. This new law may save many lives in North Carolina, but most abortions actually happen earlier, in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Now Virginia Democrats are announcing their intention to make Virginia a destination state for abortions. In the upcoming 2023 elections they must hold the Senate and gain the House of Delegates in order to turn Virginia into a place where unlimited abortions are available and paid for with our taxes.

It is tragic that the Democrats in Virginia are prepared to make Virginia a destination state for abortions-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. It is infuriating that they have opposed every rational bill that has come out of the House of Delegates during the past two General Assembly sessions. They have even announced their desire to enshrine a permanent, unrestricted “Right to Abortion” into the Virginia Constitution.

In polling done earlier this year by McLaughlin and Associates, 70 percent of respondents stated that abortion should only be legal under very limited circumstances, including the life of the mother or rape and incest, with reporting. Less than 5 percent of abortions are done in the U.S. for those reasons. Another 60 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions.

Pro-life Republicans are committed to passing reasonable laws on abortion, including the bill to protect unborn babies who can feel pain and a bill to provide medical care to babies who survive an abortion. Radical pro-abortion members of the Virginia Senate, led by Sen Louise Lucas, blocked every rational pro-life bill that came out of the House of Delegates.

Virginia Democrats are way out of step with most Virginians and are only committed to the abortion groups that fund so many of them. Abortion with no limits does not help women and it kills their babies. It is not good medicine or real health care. Tragically, it is big business in Virginia now.

It is up to Virginia voters to stop this dangerous agenda.

Olivia Gans Turner directs American Victims of Abortion (AVA), an outreach project of the National Right to Life Committee. This column was originally posted in The Republican Standard. It is reprinted here with permission.

Ah, So That’s What That Was All About!

Leighty, Bill. Capitol Secrets: Leadership Wisdom from a Lifetime of Public Service.  Holon Publishing, 2023.

A review by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The public sees the result of policy development.  What the public does not see is the sometimes- messy process that produced that policy nor, more broadly, what goes on behind the scenes to make government work.

In his recently released memoir, Bill Leighty has drawn back the curtain a bit to reveal some of the inner workings behind some of the activities of Virginia state government during a recent 30-year period.

Bill Leighty is not a name widely known by the general public. However, he was, and, to some extent still is, known by legislators, lobbyists, reporters, Cabinet members, agency heads, and other denizens of Capitol Square.

Bill Leighty

Through the course of his career, Leighty cut a wide swath through state government. After a stint in the Marine Corps following high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and landed a job in 1978 with the Virginia Department of Taxation. The agency assigned him to a new unit established to prepare revenue forecasts. That unit also prepared fiscal impact statements on tax bills for the legislature. Continue reading

Is Dominion Campaigning Behind a Front Again?

By Steve Haner

An electric power industry lobbying and public relations group which has been financially supported by Dominion Energy Virginia is mailing out flyers to voters praising legislative incumbents who helped Dominion pass favorable legislation this year.

A mailer supporting incumbent Fairfax Democratic Senator George Barker caused the Democrat blog Blue Virginia to respond with anger Friday. What appeared to be the same message appeared in mailboxes in the district of Henrico Republican Senator Siobhan Dunnavant. How many other incumbents received the mailer may not be known until the group reports its campaign spending.

If it actually does report the mailers as campaign donations.  Barker is in a very contested party primary June 20, but Dunnavant is not on the ballot until November. The mailer merely “thanks” them for “delivering energy savings for Virginia.” Votes are not directly solicited.

If anybody has received the mailer in support of a Virginia legislator who did not seek a new term, please note that in the comment section. Odds are only legislators seeking new terms got the flyer, one more sign it’s basically a campaign donation, not a legitimate “thank you.”

The group is called Power for Tomorrow and is based in Arlington. The Energy and Policy Institute, a non-profit that often clashes with the utilities over policy, notes that a donation of about $800,000 to Power for Tomorrow appears on a 2021 Dominion disclosure form. A few years back Power for Tomorrow apparently sent out mail in Virginia focused on energy regulation issues, but without using the names or photographs of individual candidates. That drew fire from Ivy Main of the Sierra Club, also reported in 2021 on Blue Virginia. Continue reading

Martin Brown Is Absolutely Correct: To Achieve Real Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, “DEI” Must Die

by J. Kennerly Davis

Martin Brown, a senior aide to Governor Glenn Youngkin, created quite a stir when he told an audience at the Virginia Military Institute that “DEI is dead.” Democrats in politics and the media jumped on the remark, and the Governor’s support of Brown, to assert that the Youngkin administration is hostile to policies and programs that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. The partisan criticism is baseless. Martin Brown is correct. For Virginia to effectively foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, DEI must die.  

Every system of government is based upon an idea, a fundamental concept for its organization and operation, a proposition. Most times, the idea has been small, shabby, uninspiring, and authoritarian. Ultimate authority has been held by a ruling class. The rights of individuals have been understood to be nothing more than malleable artifacts, with their scope and substance and tenure entirely dependent upon the changeable determinations and dispensations of the ruling class.

But sometimes, the idea for a system of government is a grand one, exceptional, inspiring, revolutionary. The idea of America is a grand idea: the revolutionary proposition that all persons are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inherent dignity and unalienable rights; the revolutionary proposition that the only rightful purpose of government, the legitimizing purpose, is to recognize, respect, and protect the shared sacred humanity, inherent dignity, and natural rights of the people;  the revolutionary proposition that the people shall rule, and each shall be able to think and speak and worship and associate freely; the revolutionary proposition that a richly diverse people can form a strongly united nation, e pluribus unum. That is a grand idea!

For more than a hundred years, the regressive authoritarians who wrongly style themselves “progressive” have worked to undermine the grand idea of America and replace it with their own very small idea: the counterrevolutionary proposition that an elitist ruling class of credentialed technocrats, infallible “experts,” should exercise unrestrained administrative power to define the rights, allocate the resources, and direct the affairs of the supposedly unenlightened masses under their paternalistic supervision. Continue reading

The Lost Art of a Newspaper Hit Piece

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like newspapers have lost more than just their senior editors and writers. They’ve also lost the ability to craft a good old-fashioned hit piece.

There was an art to that particular form of journalism. It had to be an expertly crafted story written with so much elegance that the subject sometimes didn’t realize he or she’d been skewered until days later.

Those required writers with skill and knowledge and the ability to deliver words like a perfectly placed stiletto.

What we get instead today are clunky, biased blobs of verbiage.

Oh look. Here’s an example:

On the front page of the local newspaper — on a Sunday — which once was the day to showcase the best staff writing — was a “news” story headlined “How Far Right Does Youngkin Lean?”
Continue reading

The New Virginia Way: More People Voting

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The 2020 and 2021 sessions of the General Assembly enacted numerous bills that made it easier for citizens of the Commonwealth to exercise their right to vote.  This article will outline the major changes, analyze their effects, and discuss efforts to repeal or modify these changes.

Following is a summary of the changes:

Voter ID

  • Photo ID requirement eliminated;
  • Voter must still present ID. In addition to the existing alternative forms of identification, driver’s license, DMV identification card, and student ID, the legislature added current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document as acceptable forms of identification;
  • Anyone not able to present any approved form of ID still allowed to vote, but must sign statement, under penalty of felony if false, that he is the named registered voter;
  • Provided for DMV to issue identification privilege card that could be used as ID for voting.

Continue reading

Glen Allen Va’s “Do No Harm” Doing a Great Deal of Good

by James C. Sherlock

Do you assume that Virginia’s medical schools are strict meritocracies, taking only the most well prepared and accomplished applicants?

And that their efforts are then focused entirely on creating the most skilled physicians possible?

If so, you are mistaken.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), written by the American Medical Association (AMA), a proudly progressive organization, measures everything they know to measure.

The AMA knows MCAT is by far the best predictor of success in medical school and brags about it. The MCAT itself was redesigned in 2015 to include sections that required test-takers to have an understanding of the social and behavioral sciences.

The current MCAT sections breakdown is as follows:

  • Section 1 – Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (BBLS);
  • Section 2 – Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (CPBS);
  • Section 3 – Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB);
  • Section 4 – Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS).

Remember that women and minorities who take the MCAT are not so “disadvantaged” that they do not feel ready to apply to medical school.

The AMA hoped the change would produce more women and “underrepresented” (as opposed to Asian-American) minorities with high MCAT scores.

Fair enough.

Yet the rest of the woke medical leadership refuses to accept the results of AMA’s MCAT because that test still does not yield the “correct” candidates. Continue reading

The Virginia Way

by Robin Beres

Politicians and pundits have invoked the “Virginia Way” in speeches and writings since colonial times. The phrase is used by partisans to evoke sentiments of decency and honor (and votes) in residents of the Old Dominion. In 1926, Douglas Southall Freeman wrote in an editorial for The Richmond News Leader that the Virginia way is not one of contention, but of understanding, not the making of humiliating laws, but the establishment of just, acceptable usage. Public sentiment can be trusted now, as always, to find the best ‘Virginia way.’”

In January 2019, writing in Bearing Drift, Brian Schoeneman described how the “Virginia way” used to work in the legislature: “Republicans and Democrats would fight hard and long during the campaign season, and when the fighting was over, both sides would pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and govern effectively for all Virginians. The bitter invective and the accusations went away.”

Unfortunately, if the childish, vindictive sign seen today in a Richmond front yard is any indication of today’s political atmosphere, the Virginia Way is in big trouble.

Virginia Democrats – “Progressive for Who?”

Al Sharpton. Courtesy New York Post

by James C. Sherlock

“Progressive for who?”

That question was asked by Al Sharpton directly to a gathering of his supporters at a conference hosted by his National Action Network while flanked by Lori Lightfoot, Eric Adams and two other big city Democratic mayors.

“Anybody that tells you they’re progressive but don’t care about dealing with violent crimes are not.”

“Progressive for who?”

“We gotta stop using progressive as a noun and use it as an adjective.”

“You’re labeled progressive but your action is regressive. I’m woke? You must think I’m asleep.”

He demanded “a national agenda around urban violence, urban crime and accountability.”

“Accountability.” There is no word more anathema to progressives. He could not have hurt them worse.

Watch the video.

That was not the first shot, but one of heavy caliber, in the revolution against progressive destructiveness by the Black people who are among its primary victims. Continue reading

Political Embellishment and Poor Journalism

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Some Virginians, along with citizens in the rest of the country, will be able to receive refunds from the company Intuit, the developers of the TurboTax automated tax return preparation program. According to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, approximately $3.5 million will be available for distribution to Virginians.

“TurboTax misled Virginians, and now they are officially paying the price,” Attorney General Miyares said in a statement. “I’m proud that my office was able to put that money back into the affected consumers’ pockets, where it belonged all along.”

There are a couple of things wrong with this statement. First of all, his office had virtually nothing to do with the settlement. Second, the announcement is late; the settlement was reached a year ago. Continue reading

The Unsettled State of Lee Chapel

by Kenneth G. Everett

“Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.”

— William E. Gladstone, British Statesman

The respect with which a civilization honors its dead has long been a gauge of its adherence to the duties of humane behavior and the cultivation of virtue in its citizens. That respect has found expression in the veneration of deceased persons of exemplary character and achievement, and in the enduring gratitude tendered to those of past generations whose labors laid the foundation of a society’s prosperity and moral strength. From the pyramids of Egypt, to the tombs of ancient Greece and Rome, to the monuments to the dead of more recent times, we find inspiring evidence of the homage paid by great civilizations to their dead — homage extending from the towering monuments that honor national heroes to the simplest graves of common peasants.

And it bears remembering that none of these honored dead have been without spot. Each suffered some flaw of character or lapse of right conduct, however great or small. Nevertheless, in developed societies it has been the tradition that funeral panegyrics on the dead praise and celebrate the goodness of a life rather than defaming it, so that flaws and missteps in the person eulogized have been commonly abridged or passed over without mention. The same tradition comprehends the epitaphs engraved on tombs of the dead, be they in Westminster Abbey or in humble country churchyards. A survey of funerary epitaphs reveals a uniformity of praise for whatever was worthy in the entombed, with intent to ensure that the record of their good works and virtues of character might live on to become an inspiration and support to those who follow. The arc of an enduring civilization rises upon the best in its historical heritage of individual and collective merit — wherever in its history, and in whatever circumstances, that merit is found.
Continue reading

Donnybrook in South Hampton Roads

Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) Photo Credit: Washington Post

Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake). Photo credit: Newsweek

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

It had to get ugly, and it finally has.

The premier party primary election this year will be the Democratic primary in Senate District 18 (Parts of Portsmouth and Chesapeake), featuring incumbents Louise Lucas and Lionel Spruill. Redistricting threw them into a newly-drawn district that includes about 71,000 of Spruill’s current constituents and 61,000 of Lucas’s constituents. Reportedly, party leaders tried to prevail upon both of them for one to move to a new district with no incumbent. Both refused. This has promised to be a donnybrook from the beginning.

The recent flash point is the chairmanship of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. George Barker (D-Fairfax) is currently a co-chair and is running for re-election as well. (The other co-chair, Janet Howell [Fairfax] is retiring.) Barker has his own electoral worries. He is facing a strong primary challenger in a redrawn district that includes only a small portion of his old district. Continue reading

Virginia Democrats in the House of Representatives Vote Against Their Own Daughters

USA Women’s National Team 2019

by James C. Sherlock

Abigail Spanberger, (D) Va. – Voted against protections for girls and women in sports

Every Virginia Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against a bill to amend Title IX to prohibit biological boys and men from competing against biological girls and women in K-12 and college sports.

Voting nay: Donald Beyer, Gerald Connolly, Jennifer McClellan, Bobby Scott, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton.

H.R. 734 Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 amends Title IX (“on the basis of sex”) by stating that the term “sex” in athletics shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.

Jennifer McClellan (D) Va. – Voted against protections for girls and women in sports

The consequences of a no vote. H.R. 734 protects the dreams and hard work of girls who wish to play college sports.

The ones who got up early and stayed late training for their sport. The ones whose parents ferried them to practice and games on weekends.

It protects girls and young women in contact sports such as soccer and field hockey from inevitable injury from bigger, stronger, faster men.

Indeed, it protects their ability to participate.

It prevents the biological male who never won a medal from deciding — no hormones or surgery required — he is female to mount the platform and be awarded the gold. To break records set by girls and women.

To get rich with the new NIL rule in college sports and richer yet in women’s professional sports.

Everyone who thinks that won’t happen, raise your hand. Continue reading

Partisan Takeover of the Electoral Process?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

It appears that Republicans in some localities are moving to place the election machinery under partisan control.

Before discussing the basis for this allegation, a little background might be useful.

Each city or county has an electoral board consisting of three members. They serve three-year terms, with the terms staggered so that one term ends on December 30 each year. The members are appointed by the chief circuit judge of the locality, or his designee, from lists provided by the political parties that cast the highest and the next highest number of votes for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. Two members of each board shall be from the party that cast the highest number of votes for Governor in that election. However, no member’s term may be shortened to comply with the party representation requirement. All these provisions are set out in Sec. 24.2-106. Continue reading