• Chairman Whitbeck Applauds President Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

    -President Trump Fights for Tax Relief for the Middle Class-

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “I applaud President Trump’s efforts to reform our out-of-date, burdensome tax code. Once again, President Trump shows that he is an advocate for the middle class and will strive for tax relief to further stimulate our economy.”

    “Hardworking Virginians deserve tax relief. I hope you’ll join me in calling on the Virginia Congressional Delegation, specifically our two Democrat Senators, to put aside partisan politics and focus on what is best for Virginia’s middle class, to work with the President to update our tax code.”

  • Northam Thinks Fairfax’s Work Experience Disqualifies Him from Being Lieutenant Governor

    -Northam, DPV, and VEA Have Attacked Gillespie On His Career; Fairfax Did Similar Work-
    Will Northam Rescind His Support of Fairfax? Will VEA Rescind Its Fairfax Endorsement? Will VEA Pull Its Ads Against Gillespie? Will VEA Run Ads Against Fairfax?

    2017 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie has repeatedly been attacked by Ralph Northam, the Democratic Party of Virginia and the Virginia Education Association for one client that Ed’s firm did work for over a decade ago. Yesterday, however, The Washington Post reported that Justin Fairfax, the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor did the same type of work Gillespie has been criticized for.

    Yesterday, The Washington Post reported:

    “Democrats have pummeled the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ed Gillespie, because his lobbying firm represented a student loan provider in the mid-2000s that was accused of defrauding taxpayers. But at his first legal job, Fairfax represented a different lender involved in the same scandal.” (The Washington Post, 10/10/17)
    Northam has said: “My opponent has worked on behalf of student loan lenders to keep the costs of college higher in order to line his own pockets at Virginian’s expense,” (The Washington Post, 10/3/17). Virginia Democrats have echoed those attacks.

    The Virginia Education Association Fund has endorsed Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor while simultaneously running and ad buy of over $500,000 against Ed Gillespie. Northam has received $20,000 in campaign contributions from the VEA, according to Virginia Public Access Project.

    The reports raise these questions:

    Will Northam Rescind His Support of Fairfax?
    Will VEA Rescind Its Fairfax Endorsement?
    Will VEA Pull Its Ads Against Gillespie?
    Will VEA Run Ads Against Fairfax?
    Or was the VEA playing partisan politics all along…

    Background
    Ralph Northam

    From The Washington Post:
    “My opponent has worked on behalf of student loan lenders to keep the costs of college higher in order to line his own pockets at Virginian’s expense,” Northam said, in a statement. “I want all kids to have the same opportunities that I’ve had, and as governor, I’ll work to strengthen our system of higher education to ensure its access, excellence and most of all – its affordability.” (The Washington Post, 10/3/17)

    From A Northam Campaign Press Release:
    Northam for Governor Campaign Manager Brad Komar released the following statement on Dr. Ralph Northam’s victory in the third general election debate:

    “With tonight’s victory, it was clear who will lead Virginia forward: Dr. Ralph Northam. Ralph again proved to voters that he’ll fight for the best interests of all Virginians, while Trump-lobbyist Ed Gillespie will lean into his career working for predatory student loan companies and big Wall Street banks, selling out Virginians to the highest bidder. (Northam Press Release, 10/10/17)

    From A Northam Campaign Press Release:
    Ed Gillespie’s career of lobbying for corporate interests is long, and his success has often come at the expense of hardworking Virginians. In his newest ad today, Gillespie boasts that “special interests have too much sway over policy in Richmond right now.

    Yet, Trump’s top Virginia lobbyist has a resume of lobbying for the student-loan industry as it was fighting for profits over students, representing Enron, and “turned his relationship with President Bush into an $18-million business.” Now, dark money Koch-funded organizations like Americans for Prosperity are pumping money into Virginia to help get Gillespie elected, despite Ed’s pledge to crack down on special interests.

    “Virginians will never buy the story that Gillespie will stand up to special interests when he made his millions as a corporate lobbyist representing companies like Enron. That’s like a gator trying to go vegan.” said Northam spokeswoman Christina Freundlich. “Gillespie’s corporate lobbying success and work for dark money political organizations often came at the expense of Virginians. And now, dark money organizations are pumping money into helping get Gillespie elected as if he was registered as the Koch lobbyist. The only special interest Gillespie has is in himself, the wealthy, and Donald Trump.” (Northam Press Release, 8/10/17)

    From A Northam Campaign Press Release:
    Northam for Governor press secretary, Ofirah Yheskel, issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

    “Only in DC would being a lobbyist for a corporation like Enron qualify you as a small business owner. Instead, Ed Gillespie’s career of economic accomplishments have included fighting for tax breaks for corporations, tax breaks for the wealthy, stripping health care away from potentially millions of Americans and putting student loan company profits over students. These ads are nothing but audition tapes for Ed Gillespie to be Donald Trump’s lobbyist in Virginia.” (Northam Press Release, 7/25/17)

    From a Northam Fundraising Email:

    “In last night’s debate Ed Gillespie made a pretty telling statement:

    ‘I did show up for my clients.’

    But here are just a few of the clients he’s always shown up for:

    Predatory student lenders…”

    Virginia Democrats

    From a Virginia Democrats Press Release:
    Delegate Marcus Simon, Education Advocates and Virginia Students Call Gillespie’s Work for Student Loan Companies Disqualifying

    Gillespie’s Firm Made Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Lobbying for Predatory Student Loan Companies at the Expense of Virginia Students.

    Today Delegate Marcus Simon, former senior education counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy Michael Dannenberg, Generation Progress Action Executive Director Maggie Thompson, and Democrats at UVA Chair Elizabeth Parker laid out why Ed Gillespie’s years of lobbying for predatory student loan companies disqualifies him from serving as Virginia’s next governor. On a media conference call, speakers discussed why – in the wake of the Washington Post’s devastating report detailing Gillespie’s work for predatory loan companies – the Republican gubernatorial nominees is unfit to oversee Virginia’s higher education system.

    Listen to the press call here.

    The Post investigation revealed that, as a lobbyist in the 2000s, Gillespie and his firm made hundreds of thousands of dollars working to keep students loans expensive – and lobbying against policies to make it easier for Virginia students to afford to go to college. With Gillespie’s help, Bank of America and the private student loan lender, Nelnet, tried to kill legislation to take money away from predatory student loan companies and put it towards lowering the interest on student loans.

    “It has been shocking to read that Ed Gillespie made hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against student loan borrowers and on behalf of private companies that seek to profit from keeping student loan interest rates high and limited oversight of student loan oversight practices,” said Delegate Marcus Simon.

    “Gillespie hasn’t been telling Virginians his firm specifically lobbied for the Nelnet corporation at a time when it worked separately to keep nearly $300 million in illegally claimed student loan payments,” said Michael Dannenberg, former Senior Education Counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. “The ill-gotten gains from the Nelnet student loan bank heist could have wiped out the student loan debt of every borrower at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, William and Mary and Virginia Tech.”

    “We want to be sure borrowers in Virginia understand there is a clear difference between these two candidates and know about Ed Gillespie’s background lobbying on behalf of the people that are making money off of student debt,” said Maggie Thompson, Generation Progress Action Executive Director.”As late as this year there are still borrowers that are having issues with Nelnet with some of the same types of problems that they were having back when Ed Gillespie lobbied for them. There is such a difference between the two candidates in Virginia this year.”

    “Ed Gillespie claims to be running as a Governor for all Virginians, but it’s pretty clear from this investigation that Gillespie never has and never will be able to stand up for Virginia students like me,” said Elizabeth Parker, Chair of Democrats at UVA and a fourth year student at UVA. “As a student at a school like UVA, it’s frustrating that Ed Gillespie continues to sell himself as a viable candidate to students around the Commonwealth, when it’s clear that his loyalties don’t lie with us as students, but with these predatory student loan companies.” (Virginia Democrats Press Release, 10/4/17)

    From Virginia Democrats Press Release:

    Before Second Debate, Gillespie Doubles Down, Brags About His Work Lobbying for Predatory Student Loan Companies and Corporations That Laid Off Workers

    Gillespie Is Touting His Consulting Work on the Campaign Trail – But Refuses to Release His Clients

    For the past week, the Democratic Party of Virginia has been calling out Ed Gillespie for spending decades working for predatory student loan companies, Enron, and corporations that have laid off Virginia workers. In a series of events across the commonwealth, Virginia Democrats – including Tom Perriello, State Sen. John Edwards, Delegates Marcus Simon and Mark Levine, and Candidate for Delegate Djuna Osborne – have been hitting Gillespie’s shady work for student loan companies and urging him to disclose all of his clients from the past five years. (Virginia Democrats Press Release, 9/19/17)

    Virginia Education Association

    From a Virginia Education Association Press Release:

    Teachers’ Group Launches TV Ad: Ed Gillespie ‘Doesn’t Stand for Education’

    In a TV ad campaign set to launch Sunday, the Virginia Education Association (VEA) warns that gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie’s tax and education proposals would deal a crushing blow to students and public schools in the Commonwealth.

    The ad, “Education,” cites Gillespie’s tax plan, which would trigger large cuts to school funding, as well as Gillespie’s support for voucher programs that would transfer public dollars to unaccountable private interests. As Virginia parents struggle to cope with rising college tuition costs, the ad also notes that Gillespie, as a Washington, D.C., lobbyist represented lenders trying to keep interest loan rates high.

    “Ed Gillespie wants to take the Donald Trump-Betsy DeVos agenda of school funding cuts and vouchers and import it to the Commonwealth,” says Jim Livingston, president of the VEA, which represents 50,000 teachers and education support professionals in Virginia. “He’s ignoring the disastrous consequences of state funding cuts and vouchers in other states, because he cares more about ideology than about our public school students.”

    The text of the ad follows:

    “They’re studying for 21st century jobs…”

    “But Ed Gillespie supports Donald Trump’s plan to take money out of Virginia public schools and give it to private schools…”

    “As a Washington, D.C., lobbyist, Ed Gillespie worked for lenders trying to keep student loan rates high…”

    “And Ed Gillespie’s plan to cut taxes for the wealthy could cut Virginia’s school funding, too…”

    “Ed doesn’t stand for education.” (VEA Press Release, 9/8/17)

  • Whitbeck: JLARC Investigation of Herring’s AG Office is Well Deserved

    — Oversight body audit actions of Herring’s office. —

    Earlier today, the General Assembly’s investigative arm, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, better known by its acronym JLARC, opened an investigation into the way Democrat Mark Herring has run the Office of the Attorney General.

    Specifically, the agency will review Herring’s use of funds set aside to fight human trafficking to give his staff unauthorized raises, as well his decision to hire outside counsel to defend Virginia laws he doesn’t personally support.

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “This review of Mark Herring’s office is long overdue and well-deserved. Herring ran on the promise of getting politics out of the Attorney General’s office, but he’s done the exact opposite. Time and time again, Mark Herring has abandoned his client — the Commonwealth of Virginia — when it was politically expedient for him to do so.”

    “Herring’s diversion of funds from the victims of sex trafficking to his own staff’s wallets is disgusting, and JLARC is right to examine it. JLARC is about to discover what we’ve known for years – Virginia needs a new lawyer.”

  • Chairman Whitbeck: We Know Why Northam Only Wanted Three Debates

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a greater contrast between two candidates on debate stage before tonight. Ed Gillespie was poised, polished, and had complete mastery of the issues facing Virginia. Ralph Northam simply looked out of touch and out of place. Confronted with real issues and difference, Ralph Northam was simply outclassed.‘”

    “Next month Virginians will have a choice between a servant leader and a protest leader. In the voting booth, they’ll choose between policy and platitudes. They’re going to choose Ed Gillespie to be the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. ”

     

  • RPV Research: How Ralph Northam Tried to Rev Up the Liberal Base for Political Points, Only to Find Himself On Wrong Side of Virginia Voters

    On August 17th, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam surprised many Virginia political observers when he went on Roanoke radio station WFIR and said he now believed Virginia’s Civil War statues, both those at the local level and those controlled by the state, should come down immediately.

    He told the station: 

    “I will do everything that I can, that I have authority to do, to to remove the statues at the state level and I also will be a vocal advocate for their removal elsewhere.”   (WFIR August 17, 2017)

    This position from Northam stands in stark contrast to Ed Gillespie’s consistent position, which is that he believes decisions regarding city and county statues should be made by the localities, but he believes those statutes should stay up, with context. Local tax dollars should be used not for removing monuments, but for schools, roads, teacher and law enforcement salaries and the core functions of government.

    And that when it comes to state statues, which a governor has significant authority over, they will stay up in a Gillespie Administration. Gillespie has also called for the erection of new monuments to other Virginians including former Governor Doug Wilder and Booker T. Washington. As Gillespie has said, “our history is our history.”

    Longtime Virginia political columnist Jeff Schapiro at The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote about the Lieutenant Governor’s dramatic move, noting:

    “Northam declared – unbidden – that if it were up to him, he would take all of them down…Northam is playing to the Democratic base, further revving up the party’s most enthusiastic voters. But is he going too far with an issue that is more symbolic than substantive?” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 19, 2017)

    It now turns out, after extensive public polling on the issue, that yes, the Lieutenant Governor did go “too far.” And the headline of Jeff Schapiro’s column looks eerily prescient: “Northam’s new stance on statues a monumental blunder?”

    Here’s what public polling has revealed in the six weeks since the Lieutenant Governor introduced his promise to take down Virginia’s Civil War statues into the 2017 gubernatorial campaign:

    Roanoke College – September 2017
    20. As you know, there has been a great deal of discussion recently about Confederate statues and monuments. Some people see them as historical objects, while others see them as racist symbols. Which is closer to your view?

     
    Historical objects 62% 

    Racist symbols 28%
    Both [VOL] 6%
    Unsure 2%
    Refused 3%

    21. Do you think statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson should remain as a historical symbol or be removed because they are offensive to some people?

     
    Remain 66%
    Remove 28%
    Unsure 5%
    Refused 2%

    22. And should we remove the statues at many courthouses in Virginia that commemorate the soldiers who died in the Civil War or allow them to remain?

     
    Remain 76% 

    Remove 14%
    Unsure 7%
    Refused 3%

    Christopher Newport – September 2017

    Recently there has been a lot of debate and controversy surrounding Confederate statues and monuments in Virginia. Do you support or oppose removing confederate statues and monuments from public spaces around Virginia?

     

    Oppose: 54
    Support: 36%
    Among independents:
    Oppose: 47%
    Support 36%

    55% of voters oppose removing Richmond’s statues
    35% support
    Independents oppose removal 65%-25%
    61% of voters support keeping up monuments and adding context (Ed Gillespie’s exact position)
     

    And Democrats, DEMOCRATS, were split 46%-45% on keeping the statues up but adding context

    And just yesterday, The Washington Post, in a poll that had a sample of Democratic + 10 (a partisan turnout that has never occurred in a modern Virginia election) found that, even with a heavily Democratic sample, support for keeping up Virginia’s statues is strong throughout the Commonwealth.

    Washington Post – October 2017
     In Virginia, do you think monuments to leaders of the Confederacy in the Civil War should be (removed from) government property or (kept on) government property? Do you feel that way STRONGLY, or SOMEWHAT?

    All Voters:
    57%- Kept
    31%- Removed

    Likely Voters
    53%- Kept (42% STRONGLY)
    36%- Removed (ONLY 23% STRONGLY)

    Northern Va Exurbs:
    55%- Kept
    35%- Removed

    Richmond Area:
    57%- Kept
    29%- Removed

    Hampton Roads
    55%- Kept
    33%- Removed

    Even in the inner DC Suburbs
    46%- Kept
    41%- Removed

    Statewide: Even 34% of Democrats want them kept up

    Independents:
    58%- Kept
    30%- Removed

    In August many Democrats worried that Ralph Northam had gone too far in making such a radical promise. The Washington Post reported:
     

    “At least some Democratic officials expressed concern that both Northam and McAuliffe were too quick to stake out hard-line positions in the wake of Charlottesville.”

    The governor has since backed away from his position, as noted in the same article. Appearing on “Ask the Governor” on WRVA on August 31st he reverted back to his prior position of keeping statues up, but adding context:

    “Listen, if I’m the mayor of Richmond or I’m on the City Council, I’m faced with a tough decision,” he said on WRVA radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “Do I spend – I don’t know, $5 [million] or $10 million – taking something down when I got schools – I’ll tell you my first priority has got to be schools, because I got to get people employed.”

    He also indicated he would be satisfied with adding “context” to statues, such as plaques, as Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney proposed in July for Confederate statues that line the city’s Monument Avenue.

    “Let’s go ahead and put some context to these things and move forward,” McAuliffe said.

    Leading The Washington Post’s Robert McCartney to note: “Northam’s staked out a tough position on this, in favor of removing them. Now McAuliffe’s sawing off the tree limb that he’s sitting on.” (WAMU, 9/1/17)

    Wrapping it All Up

    When Ralph Northam proclaimed his support in August for taking down all of Virginia’s Civil War statues, and vowed to do all he can as governor to make that happen, he made them an issue in the general election.  But public polling has made clear that the vast majority of Virginia voters agree with Ed Gillespie’s position on the issue.
  • Does Ralph Northam Agree With His Running Mate on Single-Payer in Virginia?

    — Nearly a Third of House Dem Candidates Also Support Single-Payer —

     Richmond, VA- Recently, nearly a third of the Democrat Party’s House of Delegate candidates endorsed a socialized, single-payer government takeover of health care which would end private insurance as we know it for more than 5 million Virginians. The “plan” would amount to a $23 billion increase in spending per year and eliminate nearly all forms of private insurance. Given the current budget in Virginia, the only way to pay for such a large spending increase would require, as the plan’s authors write, “an exercise of the General Assembly’s taxation authority on a scale not seen before.”

    While Ralph Northam has attempted to avoid this issue, his running mate for statewide office, Justin Fairfax, has openly endorsed the concept of single-payer at the federal level, as reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In a survey filled out for Bernie Sanders-linked group Our Revolution, which endorsed Fairfax in June’s Democrat Primary, Fairfax clearly indicated he supports single-payer healthcare. Simply put, does Ralph Northam agree with his running mate?

    Statement from Chairman Whitbeck:

    “I understand why Ralph Northam doesn’t want to talk about the crazy single-payer government takeover that multiple House Democrats put forward. However, Ralph must answer this very basic question: Is his own running mate, Justin Fairfax, and nearly a third of Democrat House of Delegate Candidates horrifically wrong on the issue of healthcare in Virginia? 

    As a doctor, Ralph must understand what a disaster a single-payer healthcare system would be for Virginia families. The issue is also horribly unpopular with the public.  Nearly 80% of voters in Colorado voted against single payer last year and attempts in both Vermont and California to implement such a system have gone up in flames.

    Unfortunately, given Ralph’s repeated history of hiding from Virginia voters, it likely that Ralph will continue his record as No-Show Northam instead of answering a basic question.”
  • VA Democrats Embrace Government-Run Healthcare and Massive Tax Increase

     16 Democrat candidates for the House come out in support of single payer in Virginia —

    Today, a group of 16 Democrat candidates for the House of Delegates announced their support for the both the largest tax increase and most sweeping expansion of government in Virginia history – the abolition of private health insurance and the creation of a single-payer health care system in Virginia.

    Led by Democrat Lee Carter, the group has called for what is – by their own admission – a “staggering” tax hike. From their proposal:

    “Bringing the function of health insurance wholly under the purview of the Commonwealth of Virginia will thus require an exercise of the General Assembly’s taxation authority on a scale not seen before, an estimated increase of at least $23 billion per year.”

    Ralph Northam campaigns with single payer supporters Justin Fairfax and Lee Carter.

    The current biennial budget spends around $100 billion over two years. A $23 billion tax increase would add to total government spending by 46 percent! It would also put unelected bureaucrats in Richmond in charge of health care – regardless of what happened to Obamacare.

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “This is without a doubt the most extreme, far-left proposal I’ve ever seen from any candidate in Virginia, let alone a group of 16 candidates working together. Similar attempts at establishing a single-payer system have failed miserably in both California and Vermont. The Democrats’ plan would destroy the private insurance market in Virginia, add a new layer of bureaucracy between patients and their doctors, and then make Virginia taxpayers foot the bill!”

    “If it wasn’t clear to every Virginian before, it should be now: a vote for Ralph Northam, or a vote for a Democrat in the House of Delegates is a vote for government-run health care with taxpayers footing the bill.”

  • Chairman Whitbeck: Gillespie Trounces Northam in First Televised Debate

    — Tonight’s results explain why No Show Northam wanted only 3 debates —

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “It’s pretty clear now why Ralph Northam was so adamant that he only appear on stage with Ed Gillespie three times, and only twice on television. Ed laid out a clear, common-sense vision for the future of our Commonwealth, and all Ralph Northam had was attacks.”

    “The choice could not be more clear. If we want a governor who will truly be for All Virginians, and build a better future for our children and grandchildren, we will elect Ed Gillespie in November.”

  • Walking the Tightrope: Ralph Northam on Right to Work

    Ralph Northam is in quite the bind on Right to Work. Just days before the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce debate, Northam doubled down on his refusal to defend Right to Work.
    A Northam Campaign spokesperson told The News Virginian:

    “Dr. Ralph Northam knows right to work has been the law for 60 years, that it’s not going to change anytime soon, and he won’t make any attempt to change it.” (The News Virginian, 9/16/17)

    Protecting Right to Work is a perennial legislative priority for the NoVa Chamber. But Northam’s campaign gets huge money from labor unions — and their top priority is rolling back Right to Work.

    Northam has taken nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from labor groups, including:

    $355,000 – National Education Association
    $154,141 – Service Employees International Union
    $150,000 – Firefighters – International Association
    $100,255 – Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees Laborers PAC
    $79,500 – Mid-Atlantic Laborers’ Political Education Fund
    $50,000 – American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
    $15,000 – Virginia Education Association
    $10,000 – United Auto Workers

    Northam is already struggling to shore up the Democratic base, given his late-found support of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. Over the weekend, he took heat for accepting a $10,000 check from a company helping to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

    Democratic unity is nowhere in sight.

    ###

  • Northam to Democrat Base: I Don’t Care What You Want

    — After months of fence riding on pipelines, Northam takes $10k from pipeline co. —

    The primary is over, and Ralph Northam thinks he doesn’t need the tens of thousands of Democrat voters who are adamantly opposed to the Mountain Valley Pipeline anymore.

    Northam spent months refusing to take a position on the issue, before finally coming out in favor of the project after the Democrat primary. Today we learned that Northam took a $10,000 check from a company helping to build the project.

    Sorry pipeline voters, you’re no longer useful.

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “When Ralph Northam needed the far-left, environmental vote, he billed himself as a ‘progressive champion.’ But now that Tom Perriello has been defeated, Ralph has decided he needs corporate money more than he needs environmental voters.”

    “Sorry, anti-pipeline voters. Ralph doesn’t need you anymore. But if you’re willing to write a $10,000 check, I have no doubt he tell you what you want to hear.”

    ###

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