Stop the power grab and get to work
January 10, 2012
Virginia's part-time legislature will begin its short session tomorrow. Sadly, the Daily Press reports, "Republicans and Democrats will be at each other's throats from the opening gavel over whether Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling can use his tie-breaking vote as president of the Senate to organize the chamber and give the GOP control. As a result of last November's elections, the Senate is evenly divided with each party holding 20 seats."
Progressive Point: The conservative power grab in the State Senate ignores the will of the voters and distracts focus from the pressing issues facing Virginians. Virginians have real concerns about our economy, creating jobs, fixing our roads, and strengthening our families. Instead of tackling bipartisan solutions, conservatives continue to push their extreme agenda.
Virginians don't want the same political games in Richmond that the politicians play in Washington, D.C. Our legislators should be working for us, not an extreme Tea Party agenda. Virginia families are facing very real problems that our representatives can all agree on. It is their duty to respect the will of the voters, share power and serve all Virginians. Conservatives should stop their partisan power grab and get to work.
Get the Facts:
- Research from Public Policy Polling show that the majority of voting Virginians support power sharing in the State Senate: "On one hand only 31% of voters think the Republicans should have full control of the chamber, while 55% think there should be some sort of power sharing arrangement. Predictably Republicans think they should have all the power and Democrats think it should be shared. Independents tip the balance by siding with the Democrats in support of power sharing by a 53/28 margin."
In the mid-90s, when the shoe was on the other foot, Virginia Republicans argued for the exact opposite for what they are saying today. Here are a couple of their quotes:
- "There are 20 of them -- there are 20 of us... We are going to be equal partners." Sen. John Chichester, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011
- "We've got parity we're entitled to 50 percent of the committee chairmanships and 75 of the 150 committee assignments." Sen. Joe Benedetti (R-Richmond), The Washington Times, December 13, 1995
- "[the power-sharing pact] is consistent with what [voters] decided on during the election which was a 20-20 split" Gov. George Allen, The Washington Times, January 13, 1996
- "I thought in 1996 that the power-sharing arrangement, which was good for four years, made for greater harmony in doing the business of the Senate... I think such would be true today if a sharing agreement could be worked out." Rep. Virgil Goode, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011