• Sen. Bill DeSteph: Virginia Republicans are Paving the Way for the Future of Driving.

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hi, I’m Senator Bill DeSteph, and I represent the 8th Senatorial District, which includes the majority of Virginia Beach.During this General Assembly session, we’re working on significant issues facing the Commonwealth, including the budget, education, and the Second Amendment.

    But we’re also working on legislation that will pave the way for the future of transportation in Virginia.Senate Bill 286 ensures that Virginia consumers can purchase and have access to engaged driving technologies that promote advanced safety standard.

    Autonomous vehicles mean jobs to Virginia. Virginia is the first state to allow the testing and acceptance of autonomous vehicles on the road today.This is an evolutionary technology, not revolutionary technology, reflecting the steady improvement of automotive safety.

    In the 1970s, we had cruise control. Next came lane assist, and then collision detection. Then came dynamic cruise control, a great technology that lets you drive from Virginia Beach to Richmond without touching the gas or the brakes. When the car in front of you starts, you start. When it stops, you stop.

    All of these technologies allow for increased safety and help prevent distracted driving.Some of the questions surrounding these technologies are “Who will be held liable with an accident?” This is handled like insurance. Coverage is on the car not on the driver.

    Higher education institutions like Virginia Tech and technology companies all around the Commonwealth are working together to make this future a reality. We should see the roll out of these vehicles in late 2017 or early 2018. We’re creating the laws to allow this technology in Virginia over the next 20 years.

    Virginia has always been at the vanguard of technology. Just a few years ago the Internet was a novelty. Now 70 percent of the world’s data flows through Northern Virginia every second of every day.

    With bills like SB 286, Virginia will continue to be a global leader by allowing evolutionary technologies. Thanks to our efforts, the Commonwealth is prepared to accept these vehicles.

    I’m Senator Bill DeSteph. Thanks for watching, and have a great weekend.”
  • Chairman Whitbeck: “Justice Scalia’s Legacy Will Last Forever”

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement on the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia:
    Many Americans have come and gone from the Supreme Court bench, but few have left a legacy as rich and important as Justice Scalia. A staunch defender of the Constitution, Justice Scalia’s opinions often served as the bright line marking the edge where erosion of our rights would be allowed to progress no further. Even in cases where he was not a member of the majority, Justice Scalia’s powerful dissents planted the seeds for future generations to discover the clear voice of limited government. His legacy will last forever.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Justice Scalia will be sorely missed.John Whitbeck, RPV Chairman

  • Del. Jay Leftwich: At Crossover, Republicans are Pursuing Bold Conservative Ideas

    Del. Jay Leftwich, R-Chesapeake, delivered this week’s Virginia Republican Address.

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hi, I’m Jay Leftwich and I represent the 78th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. It is an honor to serve in the Virginia General Assembly as we work on behalf of the Commonwealth and her citizens.

    We just wrapped up our fifth week of session, which means we are almost at the halfway point of our 60 day session. All of that bills that were introduced in the House this year must be completed by Tuesday, what is known as crossover day. On Wednesday, all of our legislative agenda will be sent across the hall to the Senate for their consideration until the end of session. The House will then begin to start working on the legislation the Senate passed so far this year.

    Our legislative priorities this year focuses on bold conservative ideas. We passed bills that will foster job creation, encourage and incentivize economic growth, and reform the regulatory process to protect small businesses.

    We also passed legislation aimed at creating new opportunities in education by promoting choice and flexibility, encouraging early education, and continuing to work on reforming our educational curriculum and testing.

    And we remain committed to meaningful healthcare reform, including increasing access to care and controlling costs – but not through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

    We work every day to live up to our principles of fiscal responsibility and limited government. We keep those principles in mind as we continue to craft the two year state budget. We will adopt a responsible, conservative budget that strategically invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources. We understand the need to invest in priorities, but we must do so in a fiscally prudent manner.

    Our agenda offers real solutions to make life easier for Virginia families to get ahead. But we can’t do it alone. We need to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Delegate and share your thoughts on this session. I’m Jay Leftwich. Thanks for watching, and have a great weekend.”

  • Memo: Hillary in Virginia — Go Big or Go Home

    Memo
    To: Interested Parties
    From: Chairman John Whitbeck
    Date: February 11, 2016

    Re: Go Big or Go Home

    Execution is everything.

     

    And for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, executing in the Commonwealth of Virginia is her last chance to prove that her campaign isn’t reenacting 2008 all over again.

     

    After her massive loss to socialist Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Hillary must regroup, and fast. Major donors have already begun to make noise about a Joe Biden contingency plan, and it’s far from certain that Clinton is going to win the all-important FBI primary.

     

    The good news for Hillary is that there’s no reason she shouldn’t roll to a massive win in Virginia over Sanders.

     

    Clinton has had 8 years since her stinging defeat in 2008 to build the bridges she needs to utterly crush Sanders in the Commonwealth. Openly embracing Obamacare, Hillary has made it clear that she claims the mantle of President Obama’s third term.

     

    First Friend turned Governor Terry McAuliffe was elected in 2013, and has had one political objective since then – locking down the Commonwealth of Virginia for Hillary Clinton.

     

    Hillary’s entire campaign has been modeled as the national version of McAuliffe’s 2013 Virginia campaign. Manager Robby Mook went from Northern Virginia to Brooklyn, along with other key staff. Hillary has run far to the left on issues like gun control as well, hoping to capture the same hard-left base that gave McAuliffe his margin of victory in 2013. W

     

    McAuliffe has been working for years to turn the Democratic Party of Virginia in to a Hillary for President field office. McAuliffe has dumped some $1.7 million into the organization since he took office, parking likely Clinton staffers in the organization, and quietly lining up supporters to back Clinton’s play in Virginia.

     

    Clinton has also locked up the endorsements of every statewide Democrat and a host of key Democrat leaders in the General Assembly. Hillary has already won the inside game in Virginia over Bernie Sanders. But as New Hampshire showed, that’s not everything.

     

    On paper, Virginia is without a doubt Clinton country, but you wouldn’t know it based on her field operation. According to a recent news report, “Sanders appears to have a more organized ground game in Virginia. game. Clearly, Clinton is taking success in the Commonwealth for granted and expecting Terry to deliver a win.  Her first field office in Virginia opened last night. She should win handily – and must – in order to prove this isn’t 2008 all over again.

     

    In short, anything less than a massive win for Hillary Clinton in Virginia is a major disaster, and sure sign that her southern “firewall” isn’t stopping her campaign from feeling The Bern.
  • Sen. Bryce Reeves: Virginia Republicans are Fighting for the Second Amendment

    Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, delivered this week’s Virginia Republican Address.


    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hi, I’m Senator Bryce Reeves of Virginia’s 17th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Albemarle, Culpeper, Louisa, and Spotsylvania Counties, as well as Orange County and the City of Fredericksburg.

    One of the top priorities of Republicans during this year’s General Assembly session is reversing the recent action of the Attorney General, which seeks to end Virginia’s concealed carry reciprocity agreements with many states. My fellow Republicans and I in the General Assembly are committed to protecting the 2nd Amendment rights for all Virginians, particularly the 421,000 law-abiding Virginians who hold concealed carry handgun permits and are directly affected by the Attorney General’s action.

    I am proud to help lead the charge on this matter by carrying Senate Bill 610, which restores and protects the existing reciprocity agreements Virginia has with other states, as well as expands such agreements with additional states.

    I am happy to announce that we are on a clear path to achieving this. Just last Friday, the Governor announced his intention to sign this bill when it reaches his desk.

    Just yesterday, my reciprocity bill passed the full Senate with bipartisan support. The House’s companion bill to Senate Bill 610, introduced by Delegate Michael Webert, is on its way to passing as well. We are now one step closer to getting this done and ensuring that the Constitutional rights of Virginians are upheld and protected.

    Republicans in the General Assembly are steadfast in guaranteeing that law-abiding Virginians have the right to protect themselves and their families from violent attack, whether they are in the Commonwealth or out of state. We will continue to stand by you, our constituents, and ensure your rights are protected.

    I’m Senator Bryce Reeves. Thank you for watching and have a great weekend.”

  • Del. Jason Miyares: Improving the Economy is Job One for the House GOP

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hi, I’m Delegate Jason Miyares from Virginia Beach, and it is an honor to represent her citizens in the Virginia House of Delegates.

    As Virginians we are heirs to one of the noblest experiment in self-government known to man and on January 13th we continued that tradition with the beginning of another Session of the Virginia General Assembly.

    It’s tough times economically for Virginia, and we are falling further and further behind in the creation of good paying jobs for working families. Too many Virginians feel that they are being left behind; stagnant wages, a disappearing middle class, and an economy that works against them rather than for them.

    It is clear the policies of the Obama Administration of too much taxation, too much litigation and too much regulation are choking the life out of Virginia small business owners, entrepreneurs and families. Governor McAuliffe likes to say that our economy is booming. I wish that were true.. In 2014, Virginia’s economy registered zero economic growth, which put us 48th in the United States.

    Here is the good news, Republicans are leading the charge in providing common-sense, real solutions to help Virginians and get our economy moving again. Here is an update of some of the priorities that Republicans will be working on this year.  Our #1 focus is creating the policies that will unleash the greatest job creating engine the world has ever seen…. The American Entrepreneur.

    That’s why we’re working hard to encourage job growth, protect small businesses, continue to reform our regulatory process, and focus on workforce development.

    Majority Leader Kirk Cox has introduced innovative legislation to create Go Virginia, a regional economic development collaborative that will bring all of the leaders in regions across Virginia together to focus on economic development. Our efforts are stronger when business and community leaders work with our localities to recruit and retain jobs in the Commonwealth.

    Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. That is why several measures have been introduced to help protect them. Delegate Richard Bell has introduced a resolution to enshrine our right to work status in the Constitution. Delegate Chris Head has introduced a bill that would protect franchises from big labor trying to unionize their employees. And Delegate Kathy Byron has introduced a measure that would allow small employers to keep their current health plans, and not face drastic hikes from Obamacare.

    We continue to make progress on reforming our regulatory process. Far too many are affected by burdensome regulations that end up costing thousands of dollars. This year, Delegates Ransone, Head, and Leftwich have all introduced measures that would bring much needed change to the regulatory process in Virginia, which includes requiring cumulative economic statements on all new proposed regulations.

    In the area of workforce development, Del. Byron has a proposal to credential workforce training programs, making it easier for individuals looking for work to obtain the skills necessary for the 21st century job market.

    We are also focusing on creating new opportunities for all of our citizens. I have introduced legislation that would create a commission to study aspiring and diverse communities. As a Cuban-American, I understand the need to make sure all of our citizens have the means necessary for economic success in our great Commonwealth.

    Over the next 60 days, Republicans in the General Assembly will be working hard to make life easier for Virginia families. But we can’t do it alone. We need to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to your representatives and share your thoughts on important issues to you.

    On behalf of the Republican caucus, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.”
  • Memo: Hillary Clinton’s Virginia Email Problem

    MEMO

    To: Interested Parties
    From: John Findlay, Executive Director
    Re: Hillary’s Virginia Email Problem
    Date: January 20, 2016

    By now you’ve all seen the latest report from the Inspector General – Hillary Clinton’s insecure home-brew email account at one time contained materials that were part of Special Access Programs, the most secret of all top secret U.S. intelligence programs.

    Handling these highly-sensitive materials in such an insecure way is a massive problem for Hillary in Virginia, and not just because of the likely Federal charges that will be levied against her.

    Virginia is home to more military retirees than any other state in the union, all of whom have had the urgency of operational security drilled into them from their first weeks at boot camp.

    Said simply, Virginia veterans who have spent their entire lives handling classified information with care – and with the legal consequences of failure drilled into them – will not take kindly to Hillary’s lackadaisical attitude toward national security.

    It’s a disqualifying failure on her part, according to Del. Rich Anderson, R-Woodbridge, an Air Force veteran:

    “With today’s disclosure that federal investigators found ‘Special Access Program’ (SAP) material on the unsecured private email server of Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State has demonstrated a fatal character flaw that renders her permanently ineligible for any position of public trust or responsibility. Because SAP material is beyond the classification level of Top Secret, Ms. Clinton’s misconduct has caused, in the words of federal classification rules, “exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

    “As a retired senior Air Force officer who in recent years had access to SAP-level documents and information, I cannot over-emphasize the lasting damage that Ms. Clinton’s misconduct has had on national security. Uniformed members of America’s armed forces who have access to sensitive and classified national security information know full well their responsibilities for protecting the nation’s secrets. No excuse or explanation offered by Ms. Clinton or her apologists can lessen the risk that she has caused to methods and sources of national intelligence or to the lives of American patriots who risk all to defend our nation.”

    Ms. Clinton’s disregard for the national security for her own political advantage or gain makes it indisputably clear that she is forever disqualified to serve as President or Commander in Chief.”

    Around Virginia, news of Hillary’s mishandling of classified information is being met with disgust and anger by those who wore the uniform.

    Bob Watson retired from the Army after 25 years of service as intelligence officer at the rank of Colonel. He agrees that Hillary’s lapses are simply inexcusable:

    “The disclosure by Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough that Hillary Clinton retained information on her personal email server exceeding the Top Secret level disqualifies her to be the next Commander-in-Chief. The potential damage to our national security directly impacts our men and women in uniform, all of whom place their lives on the line every day for our nation. ”

    “Members of the armed forces who handle classified information are taught that their number one priority is to protect that information. Sacrificing the security of classified information for the sake of personal convenience is strictly forbidden. Service members who handled much less sensitive information in far less damaging ways were prosecuted and dishonorably discharged from the military.”

    “Our men and women in uniform do not deserve a leader who flagrantly violated national security regulations for the sake of personal convenience and entitlement. Hillary Clinton does not possess the integrity we demand in a Commander-in-Chief. Our Service Members deserve much better.”

    Hillary can spin all she wants. But the facts are clear, and people who worked with classified information know just how bad Hillary’s transgressions are. Even if Hillary somehow manages to escape an indictment, Virginia veterans know what she did.

    No amount of spin can change that. No claims of a “vast right wing conspiracy” can cover her failure in the eyes of veterans.

    And that is a serious problem.

  • Sen. Mark Obenshain: It’s Time for Charter Schools in Virginia

    Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, delivered this week’s Virginia Republican Address.

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hello and welcome to the first installment of this year’s weekly Virginia Republican Address.
    I’m Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg, Co-Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.

     

    In his State of the Commonwealth Address this week, Governor McAuliffe said that Virginia ‘should invest in smart, innovative programs that get results for the students.’

     

    I agree with that statement. But, Governor McAuliffe failed to mention that Virginia is under-utilizing a successful, smart, innovative education reform: charter schools.

     

    Charter schools will provide Virginia’s parents with options for where their children attend school.

     

    They provide greater choice for parents and strong value for taxpayers.

     

    And, charter schools are already in working in other states, providing a quality education to over 2 million school-aged Americans.

     

    In Virginia, though, there’s been a lot of resistance to this innovation. As a result, our state consistently ranks near the bottom in both enrollment and in the number of charter schools.

     

    Because of resistance to this reform, Virginia has just nine charter schools in the entire state. For comparison, Maryland has more than five times as many and North Carolina has fourteen times the number of charter schools as Virginia.

     

    Education reform and innovation is flourishing, but Virginia is falling behind.
    We have an opportunity to fix that this year. During this session I am sponsoring legislation that would give you the opportunity to vote to amend the Constitution of Virginia to make it easier to establish public charter schools.

     

    Senate Joint Resolution 6 will put this issue directly to the voters in this November’s election. It would provide a new route to establishing public charter schools that would overcome the current hurdles. As a result, a lot of Virginia’s kids – and their parents – would have access to proven educational reforms that are already working in other states. And it won’t take away local control.

     

    Education is always a top priority of Republican legislators. And as champions of educational reform and innovation, we’ll keep fighting to ensure Virginia’s children get the best education available.

     

    I’m Senator Mark Obenshain, and I thank you for watching.”

     

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