On Monday, political activists from across the commonwealth of Virginia gathered in Richmond to participate in the annual Lobby Day. Shortly before 7 AM that morning, I boarded a bus headed to the state capital to participate in these activities. My fellow passengers included other members of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party as well as the Valley Family Forum, and even a person or two from the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
After Harrisonburg, we made stops in Staunton and Waynesboro, picking up additional folks along the way. With our busload of around thirty-five, we crossed over Afton Mountain and made our way to our destination.
Shortly before arriving, we discovered that the pro-life presentation offered by the Family Foundation had reached its capacity, so Lois Paul (one of the tea party leaders), Lisa McCumsey, (the campaign manager for Karen Kwiatkowski), and myself decided to explore the capital on our own.
Our first stop was the general assembly office building. Although most delegates and senators were unavailable, I did appreciate the opportunity to speak with Delegate Landes (R-25) and my own Delegate, Tony Wilt (R-26) about their upcoming legislative proposals.
From there, we gathered with supporters of the Virginia Citizens Defense League around the bell tower on the capitol grounds. At this rally, I found two of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. While Jamie Radtke spoke to the crowd, David McCormick milled around the crowd gathering signatures to be on the ballot.
After that, we enjoyed lunch at the Tobacco Company restaurant. In the lounge of that establishment, the newly formed Central Virginia Tea Party welcomed visitors. Surprisingly, I ran into the Virginia chairman for the Gary Johnson campaign while returning from the restroom. We chatted briefly about the presidential race and each offered a bit of speculation as to the future of the Ron Paul movement.
From there, we toured the capitol building itself. Unfortunately, by this point, neither the House nor the Senate was in session and so we could not enter those chambers.
Shortly before our return to the bus, Delegate Bob Marshall crossed our path. He was on the way to the capitol to present a new bill. He stated that his proposal would exempt Virginians from unconstitutional detentions allowed in the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act. I’m always glad to discover new ways that our legislators are working to protect us from the excesses of the federal government.
On the ride back, several of us collected signatures for the various Senate and House candidates while a good chunk of the attendees took the opportunity to nap. About half of my fellow riders accepted a DVD explaining why they should support Dr. Ron Paul in the upcoming March 6th primary.
All in all, it was a great trip. If you couldn’t make it to Lobby Day 2012, I recommend marking your calendars in advance so that you won’t miss out next time.