What’s Going On with Rep. Kiggans?

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s a good, old-fashioned clusterfart in our paralyzed House of Representatives as Republicans fruitlessly bicker over a replacement for Speaker Kevin McCarthy who was deposed recently by eight GOP agents of chaos without a plan for what comes next.

Early on, it appeared that Louisiana’s Steve Scalise would be the consensus candidate to replace McCarthy, but when his bid failed on a floor vote, it was the more conservative Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan who got the nod.

Yet Jordan failed to reach the magic 217 needed to lead House Republicans. When a second vote was called he lost again.

Many in Virginia’s 2nd District were shocked to see Rep. Jen Kiggans, who flipped the district from blue to red in 2022, among the “no” votes.

The backlash was swift and nasty. My emails and Twitter feed were full of livid Republicans saying they were “done” with Kiggans.

“What’s the difference between Kiggans and Elaine Luria?” one wanted to know.

For one, Kiggans doesn’t vote in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi, I replied.

“She’s another Lynn Cheney,” Tweeted a disgruntled Republican.

“Jen just voted against Jim Jordan for Speaker. Everyone needs to remember this day and never vote for this traitor again.”


Calm down, please. You may not agree with this former helicopter pilot and Navy vet but she is anything but a traitor.

Control yourselves, you’re sounding crazy.

After her first no vote, I thought Kiggans was simply holding out to get a pledge from Jordan not to shut down the federal government next month. Remember, a few weeks ago he voted against keeping government open.

She’d get the promise, I figured, and then support the new leader.

In a hasty Tweet I said that her second no vote made her look like an obstructionist.

I deleted it after I listened to her.

Kiggans has sound reasons to worry about what would happen to the military with Jim Jordan as Speaker. American troops who are preparing to deploy to the Mideast could find themselves in harm’s way while their dependents are left without an income if Jordan and the hardliners shut down the federal government as they’ve threatened to do.

That would be unthinkable.

Look, Kiggans campaigned hard to flip this district. During the campaign she accused Elaine Luria of canoodling with far-left Nancy Pelosi. (That was accurate, by the way.)

Should Kiggans support an extremely conservative Republican for speaker, her opponent could use the same tactic to try to defeat her next year.

Republicans from districts Biden won in 2020 are on a tightrope. They don’t have the luxury of taking uncompromising conservative stands like their colleagues in bright red districts.

Kiggans could lose in 2024 if independents desert her. In 2022 she won with just 51.63% of the vote.

She knows what she’s doing.

And she has a message for those who are harassing her over her position on the speakership.

On Wednesday, Kiggans tweeted: “I will never regret standing up for the military and for doing what’s right for Virginia’s Second District. I was a helicopter pilot in the United States Navy … threats and intimidation tactics will not change my principles and values.”

Republicans need to come together and elect a speaker. Soon. Kiggans favors electing N.C. Rep. Patrick McHenry as temporary speaker with expanded powers to get the House back on track during these perilous times.

It’s not ideal, but it’s practical and will get Congress moving again.

Do it, Republicans.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited. 


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78 responses to “What’s Going On with Rep. Kiggans?”

  1. Ronnie Chappell Avatar
    Ronnie Chappell

    I’m pleased my representative voted against Jordan. Very pleased.

  2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    People feel free to call Kiggan’s names like children on a playground with no adult monitor because they can. Pitiful.

    There have been many politicians I have not agreed with over my years, but I didn’t reduce myself to name calling. Maybe opinion writing, but not name calling.

    Unattended children.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      …. it’s how the GOP and Conservatives behave these days……….. they do it to each other also!

  3. William O'Keefe Avatar
    William O’Keefe

    I like the comparison to Liz Cheney. Kiggans is showing moral courage and principles. If there were more like her, the Republican Party wouldn’t be a joke. Members of Congress are supposed to govern by doing what is best for the country. The House is not doing that and in the process is doing great damage to our system.

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      Liz for Speaker…? Just saying…

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Now that Trump and company have had a run at it?

        I still think more than 50% of the GOP in Congress align with Trump and his election-denying grievances… so no Liz for them….

        Might be interesting to see which, if any, of the folks than refused to vote for the Trump toadies, can win speaker.

        I doubt it… the same crew that wrecked McCarthy will not “reward” any Congress critter who showed some spine at turning down the Trump-endorsed.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’d LOVE to hear more from Kerry on why the GOP is having these problems these days……….. in part by channeling folks like Kerry IMO.

  5. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    Shows the strength of her conviction on this. She is the kind of politician we say we want. I certainly do.

  6. Matt Adams Avatar
    Matt Adams

    “On Wednesday, Kiggans tweeted: “I will never regret standing up for the military and for doing what’s right for Virginia’s Second District. I was a helicopter pilot in the United States Navy … threats and intimidation tactics will not change my principles and values.””

    That’s not an entirely true statement, shutdowns have occurred several time throughout our stories history.

    In fact Rep Kiggans sponsored a bill that would pay the services members if a shutdown were to happen, the exact same thing that occurred in 2013.

    I suspect she has other reasons for voting no, which she’s not inclined to tell us.


    1. how_it_works Avatar

      I remember the 1996 shutdown well. Traffic on I66 was so much better.

      1. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        13 we didn’t see that much impact, if you don’t get all the fancy holidays the fed does, traffic on those days wasn’t bad.

      2. VaPragamtist Avatar

        You don’t have to go back that far. . .there was a 35-day shutdown in 2018/2019.

        1. how_it_works Avatar

          I wasn’t driving on I66 then so I have no idea what that did for traffic.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            You could move to Dallas like DJ’s kids and enjoy the “better” traffic there.. 😉

          2. how_it_works Avatar

            I’d just like to live in a place where the roads weren’t obviously laid out by a drunk with a bad case of the shakes.

          3. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            Most NOVA roads are old Indian trails, colonial roads, and outright turkey paths with just a thin layer of asphalt on top.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            Most Va roads are. I assume you have read this:



            “It was against this background that the General Assembly in 1932 approved a means by which the counties could be relieved of road construction and maintenance responsibility. The “Byrd Road Act” inspired by the former Winchester senator who two years before had completed a term as governor, authorized the establishment of the state “secondary” road system.

            When the secondary system was established, it totaled 35,900 miles. It included 2,000 miles hard-surfaced, 8,900 miles with soil or gravel surfaces, and more than 25,000 miles, or almost 70 percent, of largely unimproved dirt roads. Some counties had no hard-surfaced roads at all.”

          5. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            Harry Byrd pulled Virginia out of the mud! Route 1 in Dumfries VA pre Harry Byrd. Put his statue back up!

          6. how_it_works Avatar

            Unexplained is how the state had the money to pave those roads when the counties didn’t.

          7. LarrytheG Avatar

            gas tax.. explained..

          8. how_it_works Avatar

            So the state, which at the time didn’t maintain any roads, was somehow hoarding the gas tax revenue that should have been going to the counties?

            Well, that makes no sense, but it is Virginia…

          9. how_it_works Avatar

            So the state, which at the time didn’t maintain any roads, was somehow hoarding the gas tax revenue that should have been going to the counties?

            Well, that makes no sense, but it is Virginia…

          10. LarrytheG Avatar

            not a penny! It got spent and gets spent on transportation 100%. It never gets spent on projects
            that some folks want and many suspect their tax money gets spent for others roads. What VDH/VDOT
            does do is “round-robin” funding where the taxes collected in a locality in one year is not enough to
            pay for a project that will take more than one years funding. So they pre-fund a project then maybe
            not do another major project the next year in that locality but another. A single interchange can cost 40 million dollars.. while the average gasoline buyer might pay $600 in a year. It would take more than
            50,000 people in one year to pay for that one interchange (@ $600 per). VDOT has almost 5000 projects
            on it’s 6 year plan … that’s a lot of gas tax money!

          11. how_it_works Avatar

            I thought we were talking about how the state managed to have the money to maintain the roads that the counties did not….about a hundred years ago.

          12. LarrytheG Avatar

            We are but it’s the same then and now. The state authorizes a tax that then is used to address the
            roads in the counties but not just for the counties. They wanted to establish uniform standards for some county roads to be improved as part of a state-wide network. I’m not sure I’m getting your point and vice versa…

          13. how_it_works Avatar

            So the issue was that the counties didn’t have sufficient taxing authority to be able to improve their roads?

          14. LarrytheG Avatar

            no. The issue is they would not tax even if they could. It’s the same with schools. If not for
            State and Fed laws, many counties would not provide much beyond very basic minimal services.

            And they did not have the revenue capacity because they had little economy. In Texas, these roads
            are called “Farm to Market”…. and the rural electrification law was also intended to help them
            improve their economy.

          15. how_it_works Avatar

            Isn’t the gas tax administered on a state level even in those states where the DOT doesn’t maintain local roads?

          16. LarrytheG Avatar

            It can be but there can also be a local tax. But just because the State collects the tax does not
            mean that tax is high enough to pay for all roads needs. The counties actually can prioritize
            what improvements they want but they can’t get all of them done.

          17. how_it_works Avatar

            Yep, they got paved and that’s where the improvement stopped. A bit like putting a fresh coat of paint on rotted wood, I think.

          18. LarrytheG Avatar

            nothing prevents the counties from improving these roads. In fact, in most states, it’s the county’s responsibility not the State DOT.

          19. how_it_works Avatar

            Well, except that all the gas tax money goes to VDOT, so the counties have to find other funding sources for improving those roads.

          20. LarrytheG Avatar

            same as in those other states where counties are responsible. Counties DO get some gas tax money. Henrico, Arlington and most cities and towns get more and more authority. VDOT’s PRIMARY responsibility is Interstates, Primaries, and major collectors. One of the issues with funding is
            new subdivision roads – which ought to be the responsibility of the property owners but it
            becomes VDOT so every year, VDOT has more money siphoned out of their funds to pay for
            roads that in just about every other state is the responsibility of the property owners.

          21. how_it_works Avatar

            VDOT pays cities a certain amount of money per lane mile. Counties do not get anything from VDOT unless they elect to maintain their own roads, and VDOT is not transparent about how much money a county would actually get it if they were to do that.

          22. LarrytheG Avatar

            Not entirely true. There is revenue-matching where the county can get a match for some projects.
            And the counties get maintenance and operation of existing roads as well as any new roads the
            county gets built from new development. 1//2 of the total VDOT budget goes for maintenance and operations before they spend a dime on new improvements. You can go to their six year plan and
            put in your county and see how much is allocated for improvements.

            But I agree , it’s not easy, maybe next to impossible to see exactly how much is collected nor spent
            for a given county.

            Secondary roads aside, our interstate and primary roads are considered among the best
            in the nation.

          23. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
            Dick Hall-Sizemore

            Counties cannot elect to administer their own road systems. The Byrd Act allowed counties to opt out being in the state system, but there were time limits set on that authority. Arlington and Henrico chose to opt out. I have heard Henrico officials say that was the best decision Henrico ever made. To make it sweeter, there is a provision in the formula for distributing state transportation funds to provide Arlington and Henrico funding for its road systems.

            As a result, the state maintains interstate and primary roads in Henrico and the county is responsible for the rest. Some of the major highways in the county, such as Parham Road, were county built and are county maintained. To make it sweeter, the state transportation formula includes a provision to give funding to Arlington and Henrico to partially offset their costs in maintaining their systems.

          24. how_it_works Avatar

            LarryG seems to be under the impression that counties CAN elect to administer their own roads.

          25. LarrytheG Avatar

            Well.. it certainly was an option and maybe still is:



            But even if they don’t want to do that – they certainly can hold referenda to use local taxes to improve secondary roads.

            I know that in both Spotsylvania and Stafford, they have done exactly that!

          26. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
            James Wyatt Whitehead

            Or painting a rusty Ford Pinto. Never see that car at a vintage car show.

          27. how_it_works Avatar

            Did they all burn up in rear-end crashes?

  7. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    There is a flip side to a vacant speakership. For once, perhaps the only time in my life, neither party can hurt me.

  8. Turbocohen Avatar

    Kind of surprised that none of you Dems trashed her for being a MAGA Republican like you did in 2022.

  9. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    No. No. And no.
    We have kicked the can down the road for 30 years.
    We have a $2 trillion current deficit and $33 trillion in debt. No Congresscritter and no federal employee except enlisted military get paid until we have a budget, passed in separate appropriations bills, with no back pay. There should be a penalty for not doing your job besides getting paid a pension for bankrupting the nation.

    Let’s do math $33 trillion at 5% = $1.65 trillion…just to service the debt.

    I suspect Kiggans has been given orders by defense contractors… Isn’t Huntington Ingalls in her district? Major employer?

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      How about the correctional officers in federal prisons? How about the Border Patrol officers? What about the folks at the national weather service? What about the air traffic controllers? Etc. They are doing their jobs every day. You want them to be sent home without pay?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        The “burn it all down” folk don’t do well with realities.

        1. walter smith Avatar
          walter smith

          Do you spend 40% more than you make every year? Are you nearly 7 times your income in debt? That’s not burn it all down. Your take is let it burn. I contend I am responsible, and you are not.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            The Trump tax cuts are causing a major part of the deficit The issue is do you pay your bills that you already have spent.

            As I said earlier about 75% of the budget is for DOD and health care. For those who say we need to
            cut – let them take a principled stand and advocate for cuts AND be accountable to voters.

            We also provide tax expenditures, the total of which is equal to the deficit which could be cut, phased out, means-tested, etc.

            So do advocate fo “generic” cuts without being honest with voters about what specific cuts
            you’d make and again, let them hold you accountable for your honest position.

            Don’t hide what you want to do from voters. Do the deed.

          2. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Don’t you mean the Biden tax rates, since Biden and the Democratic Congress could have changed them the first two years in office, but didn’t?

          3. LarrytheG Avatar

            Fair point. But the Dems are not noted as nor mostly claim to be fiscal conservatives who “cut” spending, In fact, they advocate for higher taxes on higher income which is how they DID pay for the ACA and Medicaid expansion. But it’s totally hypocritical to advocate for tax cuts without cutting spending to pay for them and then complain about deficits….IMO

          4. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            There are plenty of conservative lawmakers who advocate to cut spending, they are depicted as extreme, ultra MAGA, Far right, teabagger, deplorable, etc. You asked me just a few days ago if I was far right or a Bob Good Republican, just slash and burn conservative, or something to that effect.

            This is very old and tiring.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            There ARE principled conservatives who actually do propose specific cuts but they are way different than the MAGA crowd that trumpets “cuts” like USDA food stamps and such that come nowhere near to actually balancing the budget. They’re “show” votes – virtue signaling.

            Actually, what I did ask when you said there were legitimate tea party folks, I asked if in your opinion, Bob Goode was that or considered “far right”?

            Sorry if I did not make that clear. Is it now?

          6. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
            Dick Hall-Sizemore

            Biden has proposed tax increases. However,as we have seen, it is difficult to get even a status quo budget passed. https://www.cato.org/blog/8-biggest-tax-increases-bidens-budget

          7. LarrytheG Avatar

            We could FIX social security with one simple tax change and that would be to apply FICA to money earned and spent on employer-provided health insurance – just like we already do for money spent on ACA insurance.

          8. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Just lift the FICA cap and stop it from being a regressive tax.

          9. LarrytheG Avatar


          10. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Yes he has, but he did so after Republicans took over the House knowing it would never pass, and his tax increases only came as a means to “justify” more spending.

            Now I will concede that there are a group of Republicans who advocate for tax cuts yet spend away. I personally would not have gone as far as the Republicans did in 2017, and I concur they did not cut spending as much as they should have.

            But my position is Republicans are far more fiscally responsible than Democrats (especially since Obama took office). I also believe the majority of Americans do not have any fiscal sense in their demands of their politicians, so they spend away like drunken sailors. The day if reckoning is just starting to manifest itself.

          11. LarrytheG Avatar

            Randy, do you support the concept of means-tested with respect to taxes and tax benefits?

          12. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            I don’t have a lot of time as I have to go deal with a family issue and cannot respond after this, but will offer my thoughts :

            I generally think our tax system is appropriate, such as taxing realized gains but not unrealized gains, as those are paper gains only. I believe capital gains and dividends should be taxed at lower rates due to double taxation at the corporate level. I believe in a simpler tax code system, as way too many politicians proclaim they are going to raise taxes, only to create loopholes in the name of agenda items such as “going green”.

            A lot of tax deductions already have caps, mortgage interest, and state and local tax deductions are two big ones, there are AMT’s in place if deductions exceed thresholds, miscellaneous itemized taxes were eliminated in the Trump tax bill. Yet Democrats try and restore many of these tax deductions while screaming that Republicans gave away the store. It’s sickening to watch and raunch polarization.

            I believe most benefits are means tested. There are higher insurance rates paid for Medicare if income exceeds thresholds, social security is limited at certain age brackets, then taxed if income is over specified limits, COVID rebates were not available over certain income levels. It goes without saying SNAP benefits are available only for low income people. There are limits in place for just about any Government benefits

            So yes, I do concur with most of these mechanisms. But I would say if these are going to be tightened, politicians need to address other out of control benefits which is what is really driving up our out of control spending . But that my friend is a whole other topic.

          13. LarrytheG Avatar

            thanks Randy. Go deal with your family needs and get back in touch when you can.

          14. LarrytheG Avatar

            Biden HAS proposed tax increases on those who make over 400k and actually were the primary beneficiaries of the Trump tax cuts that were never paid for and took us even further into deficits.

            He advocates folks over 400K paying at least at the rate that lower paid folks have to pay from their wages.

            They could do that by means-testing more of the tax credits like we already do for things like energy credits, child-care, education, etc.

          15. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            The Trump tax cuts, but it’s structural. Which one? How about the Biden destruction of the economy while ramping up inflation? And then try to get us in a war…but heck, we destroyed a vibrant economy and cheated massively in the election and censored critics and now are throwing people in jail for having doubts about what was pretty obviously a highly questionable election…all totally normal…
            I have eyes and a brain. And as usual, no answer – your answer is tell the truth and lose election, so lie. Glad you hate your grandkids and future generations. Good leadership there. Too bad so many Americans are stupid enough to be so easily manipulated.

          16. LarrytheG Avatar

            The economy seems to be great guns… jobs are up, wages are up, inflation has come down…

            The Trump tax cuts goosed the economy just like a stimulus does AND at the same time since it did not have cuts, increased the deficit.

            And the Trump election denier folk seem to be getting convicted ..after pleading guilty…

            all of the above is true.

            No one in their right mind wants the stable genius to return… and got even more clear when
            Republicans in Congress grew a spine and would not be intimidated by him…

            we have cut taxes below what we want in health care and defense.

            Only the far right GOP would cut health care and even then would get booted if they did.

            so we actually must pay for the things we want – since the “tax cuts” being advocated are
            never actually specified because they know they’ll get booted if they actually are honest about it.

            how am I doing?

          17. LarrytheG Avatar

            Thanks. Yes, when we did the Trump tax cuts, we decreased revenue for things we don’t want to
            give up – namely health care and Defense. There is no consensus to cut either one so the “cut”
            folks primarily go after smaller programs that won’t make a dent in the overall picture and they do so
            to be able to claim they want “cuts” but none of them will advocate cutting Medicare or even Medicaid any more.

            We could balance the budget tomorrow if we taxed things that now are loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy who end up not paying taxes at the same rate that lower income wage earners do,

            We could fix Social Security if we just applied FICA taxes to money spend for employer-provided health insurance, again, means-tested like Medicare and ACA already is.

      2. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        Lemme think…
        The border patrol officers who have been handcuffed and are just illegal processing agents maybe.
        NWS – we can live without them for a while.
        Air traffic controllers… Reagan took care of PATCO… depends.
        Stop the hysteria selling. The hysteria should be over our spending and a broken uniparty system that spends and spends and spends and will not address the issue. You know in your own life that you can’t spend yourself rich.

      3. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        “You want them to be sent home without pay?”

        Hyperbole much? All those you cited are considered essential, they will continue to work. Additional the CBP is funded through DHS and typically their have had legislation passed prior to shutdown still paying them.

        The only will feel a pinch, but be paid retroactive upon the government reopening.

        Is the phase where you’re throwing anything against the wall to see if it sticks?

        1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
          Dick Hall-Sizemore

          Just responding to Mr. Smith who wanted “no federal employee except enlisted military get paid until we have a
          budget, passed in separate appropriations bills, with no back pay.”

          1. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            If they didn’t work, they don’t deserve any retroactive pay, most of them enjoy the vacation time.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            could be a tall hill to climb… just saying…

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      75% of the budget is health care (Medicare) and DOD… no Congress Critter worth their salt will cut either one.

      We just don’t want to pay for it so we don’t!

    3. Mark O Flaherty Avatar
      Mark O Flaherty

      I do not agree with her decision on this (while I do support her). Understand that in every shutdown to date, everyone is made whole so shot about HII shows little understanding. They get paid.

      Understand that there are many military and federal employees hoping they are not designated as “essential” which means they have to come to work whereas others stay home and then get paid.

      Shutdowns do little except provide the appearance that people are disadvantaged.

      1. Not Today Avatar

        MY FAMILY was on the receiving end of MULTIPLE Republican-led shutdowns. Ain’t nobody got time for these shenanigans when they’re sending our loved ones to war and saber rattling for more. No worker, military or no, should go UNPAID for work they provided in expectation of being paid. Civilian employers would be sued for a similar pattern of behavior.

      2. Not Today Avatar

        MY FAMILY was on the receiving end of MULTIPLE Republican-led shutdowns. Ain’t nobody got time for these shenanigans when they’re sending our loved ones to war and saber rattling for more. No worker, military or no, should go UNPAID for work they provided in expectation of being paid. Civilian employers would be sued for a similar pattern of behavior.

  10. Thomas Dixon Avatar
    Thomas Dixon

    The way congress is going, it may not be a good thing to “get it moving again”.

  11. Not Today Avatar

    LOL. She’s listening to *ALL* of her constituents, not just the loudest and most vocal. Good on her. I was not inclined to vote for her…at all. Wait, I didn’t vote for her, but her moves right now *will* swing people on the fence. I will admit that as a Dem in this district I am hoping the Rs eat their young and hand us the seat next year. I disagree with her on abortion most strenuously but can find common ground with her on almost every other issue. Too bad reproductive freedom/choice is foundational for me.

  12. Stanwood Avatar

    Voting NO on Jordon was the obvious decision. It’s still a job half done. She still needs to vote YES for someone that can get a majority. (Extra points if the Speaker-elect is not an insurrectionist.)

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      not an insurrectionist, not an election-denier and not a Trump supporter but someone with some spine who actually is a legitimate big C Conservative and respects the role of they were elected to…. short list…

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