Tag Archives: Scott Dreyer

Sen. John Edwards Calls It Quits

by Scott Dreyer

In a highly-watched move, Democrat State Senator John Edwards announced this week he will not seek re-election after his current four-year term ends in January, ending his 40-plus-year run as a politician. Edwards, who will turn 80 in October, has been the subject of much speculation as to his intentions. Reportedly, he hosted a fundraiser just this past January and public records show he has a campaign war chest north of $100,000. Those aspects indicate his decision to retire to be somewhat mystifying.

However, with President Biden being less than one year older than Edwards, but with glaring displays of cognitive decline, and Americans increasingly on-edge regarding those gaffes and the president’s ability to function in a time of the Ukraine War, Edwards’ running for re-election as an octogenarian under increased scrutiny may have carried significant liabilities.

A native Roanoker, Edwards was born in the Star City in 1943, the son of the late Judge Richard T. Edwards. Growing up and attending school during the Jim Crow Era, Edwards graduated from the then-all-white Patrick Henry High School in 1962, because the school had not yet integrated.

According to Edwards’ campaign website, which is still up, “he was the first president of the student government [at PH]. He was a record setting pole vaulter and state high-school champion and voted by his classmates as ‘most likely to succeed’.”

Edwards graduated from Princeton University in 1966 cum laude. After graduation, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City for a year, and later graduated in 1970 from the University of Virginia Law School. Ironically, at UVA Edwards was a writing instructor assistant to Professor Antonin Scalia, who later became a well-known conservative Supreme Court Justice while Edwards went politically to the left.

Edwards served his country during the Vietnam War in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Captain from 1971 through 1973, as a JAG officer based first in Japan and later in North Carolina.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter (D) appointed Edwards United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.

In 1993, Edwards was appointed to fill a vacancy on Roanoke City Council and was elected in 1994 to a four year term and as Vice-Mayor. In 1995, Edwards defeated a Republican incumbent to win a seat in the Senate of Virginia, representing the 21st District. He was re-elected in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019. In a few of those races, he faced no or only token opposition.
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Calls Increase for Judge Bennett’s Resignation

Adrianne Bennett

by Scott Dreyer

As reported here, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently released a scathing report on the former Virginia Parole Board scandal from early 2020. As documented in 69 pages, the former board repeatedly broke both laws and the board’s own procedures to illegally release many prisoners convicted of violent crimes, and failed to notify the victims’ families.

The statute of limitations has since expired, so no members of that board will face any legal repercussions. One of those members was Roanoke City Mayor Sherman Lea Sr. (D). However, the former Chair of the Board, Adrianne Bennett, was later appointed to be a state judge in Virginia Beach before the parole board scandal became public knowledge.

Seeking some accountability, Del. Chris Head (R-Botetourt/Roanoke) as reported here has called on Judge Bennett to resign due to what the OAG described as a pattern of illegality and endangerment to the public.

Del. Head seems to be tapping into a large reservoir of voter ire. This frustration regards what to many appears to be a lack of accountability for political figures who do wrong and a two-tiered justice system that quickly punishes normal people but lets powerfully-connected individuals get off scot-free. Continue reading

Del. Chris Head Calls for Controversial Judge Adrianne Bennett to Resign

by Scott Dreyer

In a bold move, Valley legislator Del. Chris Head (R-Botetourt/Roanoke) has called on controversial judge Adrianne Bennett to resign her position.

Bennett was formerly the Chair of the Virginia State Parole Board. During March and April 2020, when most people were distracted if not paralyzed by fear from the new Covid pandemic, Bennett led the Board to release an unprecedented number of prisoners and broke countless laws and procedures by doing so. As news of that scandal began to go public, The Roanoke Star ran an August 19, 2020 commentary.

However, before the news became public, Bennett resigned from the Parole Board and was appointed by the General Assembly to be a state judge in Virginia Beach, a position she still occupies. However, for unknown reasons, Judge Bennett has recently not been hearing cases or presiding over trials. Continue reading

After Arctic Blast, Do We Still Want to Californicate Our Grid?

by Scott Dreyer

An old saying goes, “You don’t miss the water till the well runs dry.”

In modern days that might be, “You don’t miss the electricity till you lose the lights. And heat. And hot water. And wifi. And TV. And microwave. And phone charger. And electric blanket, and The Roanoke Star….”

Around here, blackouts were common over Christmas weekend. Some lost power for a day or two, but one friend today told me her Roanoke Valley suburb lost juice Thursday night and didn’t get it back till Monday evening. Those extended power outages, combined with the brutal temperatures, high winds, and the fact that it was Christmas weekend, caused misery for many. The death toll nationwide from the storm is already 60, and might climb higher as more bodies are found.

One Roanoke insurance agent told me her office has been flooded (pardon the pun) with calls from policy holders reporting frozen pipes and now water damage.

At my home office, it was 6 degrees Saturday morning. Ironically, friends of ours were in upstate New York for Christmas, where it hit a low of 7, so it was colder here than there. A friend in southwest Roanoke County recorded 2 degrees. At Paint Bank, on the western edge of Craig County near the West Virginia line, it was -5.

Another feature of the storm was its magnitude. Last Friday, some 240 million people were under a weather warning or advisory; that was more than two-thirds of the entire U.S. population of 330 million. The map of wintry hazards “depicts one of the greatest extents of winter weather warnings and advisories ever,” the National Weather Service said.  It was freezing in Atlanta and flurrying in Miami.

I would be remiss not to point out the incredible irony. Granted, one weather event–no matter how extreme–does not prove a trend. However, it’s remarkable how, after years of being warned the world is getting hotter and hotter, we just endured a storm that broke record lows in some places. In March 2000, the British newspaper Independent warned that, due to Global Warming, it was likely that in the near future English children would never see real snow.

The extreme cold should have showed us (again) the need to have affordable, reliable energy. Continue reading

Will W&L Wall Off Historic Site?

The recumbent statue of Robert E. Lee

by Scott Dreyer

Virginia, known as “The Cradle of Presidents,” has held an important and honored place in American history. For example, due to British explorers founding Jamestown along the James River in 1607, the Old Dominion became the birthplace of English-speaking America. Signage from the National Park Service explains that, owing to Richmond serving as the capital of the Confederacy from 1861-1865, the Richmond area has by far more Civil War-related sites than any other region in the country.

Even after the guns fell silent across Virginia following General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on Palm Sunday in 1865, countless aftershocks and fallout from that war have influenced and haunted the nation.

Whereas in most countries in world history, when the leader of a rebellion is defeated and captured, the winning side executes him. In an amazing example of grace and forbearance, however, the victorious Union did not kill Confederate General Lee. In contrast, they let him go free into a peaceful retirement where he could choose his own path for the remaining five years of his life. Continue reading

Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center Targeted in June Attack

by Scott Dreyer

According to the Catholic New Agency’s “Tracker: Pro-abortion attacks in the U.S. continue,” there have been over 90 attacks on crisis pregnancy centers, churches, and other pro-life targets since May 2022. That was when the draft opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Mississippi Dobbs case was leaked to the public. To date, not one attacker or vandal involved in these hate crimes has been sent to jail for these acts.

The first attack after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the abortion issue to the states as had been the case until 1973 came on June 25, 2022, less than one day after the high court has issued its landmark decision. That first target was the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg. Continue reading

Sneering at Flyover Country

by Scott Dreyer

Thoughtful people are concerned about the growing divisiveness in our culture, with so many “fault lines” like those from earthquakes cracking up our country. Much of the tension relates to groups pitted against each other: Democrat vs. Republican, men vs. women, older vs. younger, skin color A vs. skin color B, college-educated vs. high school graduates, rich vs. working class, etc.

As Americans who value our country and its freedoms, we should know that Marxism is based on the idea of “class struggle.” Brainwashing groups to hate each other has long been a way for tyrants to weaken a country internally by dividing its people into mutually-hostile factions, at which point it’s easier for a small clique to take over.

The longer I live, the more I believe a major fault line in the U.S. is between largely urban “coastal elites”… and the rest of us. Continue reading

A SW Virginia View of the Budget Impasse

by Scott Dreyer

Virginia’s headline-grabbing elections last fall put Republicans back in the top three statewide offices for the first time in about a decade and a Republican majority back in the House of Delegates. However, since state senators enjoy four-year terms and none were up for election last November, senate Democrats still hold a slender 21-19 majority. Led by Senator Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who, according to the Virginia Mercury, owns a shop that sells illegal and misidentified marijuana products with labeling targeting children, Senate Democrats have promised to be a “stone wall” against GOP-led proposals from Governor Glenn Youngkin and the House of Delegates. Continue reading

Northam Exits — the End of an Error

by Scott Dreyer

Unlike the other 49 states in the Union, only Virginia has a constitution that prohibits a governor from serving two consecutive terms. That is why former Governor Terry McAuliffe tried to make a comeback last November but current Governor Ralph Northam–blessedly–must exit the Governor’s Mansion on January 15, 2022.

Early on, Northam seemed to harbor a nasty streak. In November 2013, while running for Lieutenant Governor, Northam publicly snubbed his black opponent, E.W. Jackson by pointedly refusing to shake his hand after a debate. If a white Republican refused to shake the hand of a black man, the media would have a field day till the offender’s career was toast. But for Northam, a Democrat? He got a pass from the friendly media. He won that election.

Northam, a pediatrician from the Eastern Shore, then ran for governor in 2017 against Republican Ed Gillespie. Much like Joe Biden in 2020, Northam marketed himself not as a “scary radical” but as a reasonable “uncle figure.” Continue reading

End the Johnnymander!

The original gerrymander

by Scott Dreyer

In March 1812, the Boston Gazette ran a cartoon showing “a new species of monster” — ”the Gerry-mander.” It made fun of a contorted voting district that the Jeffersonian Republicans had drawn up to benefit its candidates. Governor Elbridge Gerry signed off on it, and with the cartoon’s publication, a new word entered the English language. “Gerrymandering” is the process whereby politicians can influence elections based on who is voting in that district.

The Johnnymander: Virginia senate district 21

Every ten years after our nation’s new census, those in power scramble to draw new political boundaries. Because of the “one man-one vote” principle, each district should have roughly the same population as all the others. However, these districts are not to be drawn too willy-nilly. Each district is supposed to combine “communities of interest.” In other words, each district should contain people who have much in common geographically, culturally, and economically. Also, the districts are supposed to be compact and contiguous. That is, the regions are to be as small and close together as reasonably possible.

This brings us to Southwest Virginia now. Continue reading