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September 2011 Archives

The National Education Association has released a great ad in support of President Obama's American Jobs Act, highlighting the investments the legislation would make in education. If you live in the Richmond or DC media markets, this ad is coming to a tv near you:

As we told you last week, the jobs plan would provide over $425M to Virginia to improve classrooms and upgrade schools, creating up to 5,500 Virginia jobs. That in addition to tax cuts for workers and small businesses, upgrades to our crumbling transportation infrastructure, and jobs created.

This is too important for Congress to keep delaying. Join ProgressVA and the NEA in telling Congress: Pass This Bill Now!


Saving Money vs. Saving Children


Guest post from the Virginia Education Association

Virginia has a long tradition of providing little state support for public education - making the quality of public education highly dependent on local taxes, primarily the real estate tax.  This arrangement makes the quality of education highly dependent on the wealth of the locality.  Arlington makes a $20,543 per-pupil investment, while Tazewell's investment is $8,945.  Weak state support engenders a disparate educational opportunity for our children.  And now...


RSVP Today for the Rally for Women's Health


From the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women's Health:

Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli think they're about to get away with restricting choice under the radar.

Despite hearing strong testimony from young men and women, medical professionals, and pro-choice advocates, the Virginia Board of Health, under pressure from the Attorney General's office, advanced the most onerous anti-choice regulations in the country.

On October 15, we need pro-choice supporters like you to show up in person in Richmond for our Rally for Women's Health. You will carry a simple message: the War on Virginia Women ends now.

RSVP today for our pro-choice rally in Richmond on Saturday, October 15.

We're arranging buses from several regions and we'll give you all the training and materials you need. You'll meet other pro-choice activists from around Virginia and be able to make a direct impact. 

Be sure to RSVP by the end of the day on Monday, September 26 to guarantee a free bus seat for travel to the rally. Starting on Tuesday, September 27, bus seats will cost $15 for adults and $10 for young people and students. Kids accompanied by the paying adult are free. Inability to pay should not deter you; scholarships are available on the RSVP page starting Tuesday, September 27 as well.


Cuccinelli: What's He Gunning For Now?


It's hard to know where to start with the problems raised in David Sherfinski's piece in today's Washington Times on Attorney General Cuccinelli's push to expand the authority of his office. But we'll give it the old college try anyways.

Cuccinelli is seeking authority for members of his office's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to serve subpoenas, wear a badge, and carry a gun. Legislation to approve this expansion has previously died in the House Court of Justice Committee because Chair Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) thinks that state employees carrying guns should probably have some sort of firearms training. Cuccinelli, however, disagrees. He told the Washington Times that "those concerns" weren't necessary. He didn't include any explanation of why investigating poor people is so dangerous that it might require (untrained) state employees to carry a gun. 


President Obama's American Jobs Act is commonsense legislation that will put Americans back to work and get our economy moving again. Both Republicans and Democrats have supported nearly all the proposals. The plan is simple: put people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.


Tell Congress: pass this bill right away to get our economy moving again!

Here's what it means for Virginia:

150,000: The number of Virginia firms that would receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act. The President's plan would cut the payroll tax in half for employers on the first $5 million in wage, providing broad tax relief.

10,500: The minimum number of local jobs that would be created by infrastructure investments under the American Jobs Act.

$809,000,000: The amount of immediate investments to be made in Virginia's infrastructure under the American Jobs Act. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 26% of Virginia's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, 23% of Virginia's roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 33% of Virginia's major urban highways are congested.



Many of you have already helped stand up for women's health in Virginia by signing the petition to help save Virginia's women's health centers. These centers provide vital health care services like STD screenings, cancer screenings and family planning services, in addition to providing legal and safe abortions. Lending your voice is incredibly important to fighting back against these burdensome and medically unnecessary regulations. But, we still need your help.


Cuccinelli at the Bat


Photo via the Washington Post

Via the Washington Post

In the classic baseball poem Casey at the Bat, the main character blows the game in the bottom of the ninth inning for his hometown due to his overconfidence in his own abilities.  Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is also striking out for his home team - the people of Virginia.  Casey's arrogance allows the first two strikes to fly bye, and is followed by a whiff on the final pitch, causing a strike out and him losing the game.  But Cuccinelli is striking out with self-indulgent partisan legal pursuits, and in an inverse fashion from Casey - with two whiffs followed by a final passed ball third strike. 

Cuccinelli's first strike came in the form of a frivolous demand for documents from the University of Virginia regarding a former professor's work on climate change.  Despite regular indicators that he should drop the purely ideological inquiry, such as last week's judicial halt, the Attorney General continues to press on with an issue that couldn't be lower on a priority list for the people of Virginia. 

His second strike was quite similar - another philosophical crusade, and this one on another favorite partisan topic: attacking health care reform.   The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals called this second strike just last Thursday, throwing out his lawsuit ruling that Virginia lacks the standing to sue.  Not only has Cuccinelli been wasting his office's resources and time to go after meaningful health care reform, he's been doing it solo and independent of the similar legal challenge from 13 states who are working together, basically replicating each other's work.


Debunking McDonnell's Surplus Claim


You may have heard Bob McDonnell telling national news anchors and others that Virginia has a $544.8 million budget surplus.  You may have also heard that his numbers are disingenuous.  But you probably don't have a clear explanation to give as to why if a friend or family member were to ask you about it.  Well, allow us to help. 

Simply, this "surplus" was achieved through budget gimmicks and accounting games. The combination of heavy borrowing, substantial cuts to services, federal stimulus, creative accounting, and not paying our bills has resulted in the commonwealth having a few dollars left in the bank at the end of the budget cycle. When I have $50 in my bank account at the end of the month, but thousands of dollars in late bill payments, credit card debt, and student loans, I don't crow about my stellar financial management. And neither should McDonnell.



Wednesday evening, over 200 folks showed up at the Holiday Inn in Midlothian, hoping to speak with Eric Cantor about our country's job crisis at his closed "Advisory Council" campaign event. Instead, hotel management evicted the group from the premises and called the Chesterfield Police Department to ensure none of the group returned to the premises.