• 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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