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Posts Tagged ‘First Friday’

Today, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties held their monthly gathering at the Woodgrill Buffet in Harrisonburg.  The featured speaker at this event was Dr. Robert Roberts, a professor of political science at James Madison University.  The topic of the day revolved around the upcoming 2013 statewide elections.

Dr. Roberts painted a not particularly rosy picture for Republicans, pointing out the recent shake-up in the Cuccinelli campaign coupled with declining poll numbers for the attorney general, especially among women voters, does not bode well for the candidate.  According to his historical data, public opinion typically shifts little between September and November and should this trend continue, the Cuccinelli camp is in serious trouble; Cuccinelli has not led a poll since mid-July.  Someone in the crowd argued that Cuccinelli was heavily behind late in his 2009 run for attorney general and managed to overcome that deficit.  However, the polls from that time suggest that speaker was in error, Cuccinelli seems to have led throughout that contest.  Dr. Roberts also pointed out that the Cuccinelli campaign’s attempts to smear McAuliffe and make him appear unelectable have failed.  Curiously, when he asked the Republican crowd what Cuccinelli’s first campaign issue was, no one in the group knew of his plan to cut the state income tax.

As for the lieutenant governor, Dr. Roberts predicted that the average Virginia voter will find E.W. Jackson too extreme, based primarily upon his opposition to gay rights, especially gay marriage, and the issue of abortion.

Moving to attorney general, Dr. Roberts offered some measure of hope to the Republicans, reminded them that Virginia has not elected a Democrat to that post since Mary Sue Terry in the late 80’s.  However, even that race he thought was far from over for either candidate.  Although certainly not as talked about, the latest PPP poll has that election within the margin of error.

Given his predictions of a general Republican defeat, Dr. Roberts seemed like a rather curious choice for speaker at this event.  Not surprisingly, his comments seemed to upset a goodly chunk of the audience.  However, I found it interesting that his opinions closely mirror my own from last week, which suggested a result similar to 2001 where the only Republican victory was in the attorney general’s race.

Will Dr. Roberts words come true?

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E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson

Today, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties played host to both E.W. Jackson and Corey Stewart at their monthly First Friday gathering.  These two men are vying, along with five other individuals, for the Republican nomination to be the next lieutenant governor of Virginia.

As the title of this article states, this meeting saw a tremendously high turnout.  Normally, the event takes up one of the back rooms at the Woodgrill Buffet in Harrisonburg, but today’s attendence was doubled, a number of activists not reached in at least a year’s time.  Besides Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County residents, there were also citizens from most of the neighboring and nearby cities and counties of Virginia including: Shenandoah, Page, Augusta, Staunton, Charlottesville, and Rockbridge.

Both Stewart and Jackson gave impassioned speeches.  Jackson, arguably the strongest speaker of the seven GOP candidates, invoked the role of religion in the founding of the nation and highlighting his ability to reach out to minority communities, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, while Stewart offered excellent statements as well, reminding the group of his successes as the chairman of the board of supervisors in Prince William County and also adding that it is not a proper role of government to be in the business of job creation.

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Corey Stewart

Upon the conclusion of First Friday, Corey Stewart offered what is likely to be a bit of chilling news to the Republican crowd stating his belief that Bill Bolling, the current Lieutenant Governor of Virginia who earlier dropped his run for the Republican nomination for governor, will announce his bid as either a third-party or an independent candidate for governor soon.  Such a move on the part of Bolling would likely greatly hinder Ken Cuccinelli, the current Republican Party nominee.

Jackson and Stewart seemed to gain a number of followers at this meeting today.  However, as mentioned previously, given the fact that seven men and women are seeking the GOP nod, it is difficult to say which of the candidates currently enjoy the highest level of support.

Remember, the May GOP convention will be here before we know it.

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On Friday at noon, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties held their monthly First Friday gathering at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg.  The featured speaker was Pete Snyder who is heading up the Republican victory program in Virginia for 2012.

The meeting itself was a fairly ordinary affair.  About two-dozen or so local Republicans attended, most enjoyed lunch, while I just had several glasses of sweet tea.  However, once just about everyone had dispersed, I paid my bill, sat on the bench near the entrance and wept.

As we live in a society which typically discourages most public forms of emotion, especially from men, it must have been a strange sight indeed for those around watching a thirty-one-year-old person cry for no discernable reason.

So what, may you ask, caused me to act in such a fashion?  The answer is boiling anger, overwhelming frustration, and infinite sadness triggered by the actions of one local Republican.

I wept for the sake of the party.  In the meeting, one person declared that our goal should be to elect “anyone but Obama”.  Really?  Has our party become so vapid and devoid of rational worth that we will gladly rally behind any man or woman regardless of merit simply because he or she is not Barack Obama?  Heck, Hilary Clinton is not Obama; does that mean we should support her if she had an “R” by her name?  And isn’t there is an ocean of difference between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich?  Don’t principles mean anything anymore?  And I started to fear that perhaps I was gravely mistaken to believe that they ever did.  Yet if we cast aside principles, what’s left to separate the parties other than a meaningless animal mascot and a color?

I wept for the state of Virginia and the nation as a whole due to the fact that we have so many leaders of both parties that seem to care nothing or at least very little about the values of the people and the society that placed them in their position of power.  Sure, we can criticize members of the other party who trample upon the Constitution, moral decency, or the rule of law, but calling out members of your own party who violate these ideals has become taboo.  Therefore, I must mourn the loss of political dialogue and freedom that have given way to strict and unthinking party loyalty.

Although it may sound selfish, I wept for my future employment prospects and myself.  As I’ve mentioned to many people over the last several months, there are few things that I desire more than the chance to make a decent living promoting my political principles among my fellow countrymen, the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  However, my rugged insistence of clinging to my values is likely seen as a liability.  Who wants to hire a passionate paleo-conservative when malleable yes men are available? Which kind of person will likely cause less headaches?  Unfortunately, most of the powerful and affluent politicians scoff at liberty-minded constitutional conservatives while those companies and people who do value us either have no money and can only offer volunteer opportunities or give little better than subsistence wages.  Does the easiest, and perhaps only, way to succeed involve selling out?  Again, I fear that blind allegiance to the party and its leaders trump standing up for the creeds that supposedly guide their actions.

Lastly, and more importantly, I wept for the demise of a former political ally, a person who supposedly once held the political principles that I cherish.  To be fair, I had known for some time that this person had jettisoned our shared beliefs, but I now realized that there was no turning back, there is no hope for redemption.  Conservative/libertarian principles have melted away and have been replaced with a zeal for the establishment.  Now the ideological drift is simply too great; today we have about as much in common as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky does with someone like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina or Virginia Senator Steve Newman does with fellow Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment.  We might both call ourselves Republican but we likely have as many areas of disagreement as agreement.

This knowledge is particularly disappointing, but it alone wouldn’t have been enough to spur such a reaction.  However, after the Republican meeting was over, that same person savagely attacked me with an over the top tirade in front of a fellow activist.  At that moment, that person represented to me everything that is wrong with politics today; a person ruled, apparently not by principle, but self-serving ambition that is willing to use anything or anyone as a stepping-stone to greater influence.  Although I know that it only heightened tensions during the exchange, much like a scene from Fellowship of the Ring, I more or less inquired when did this person decide to “abandon reason for madness?”  This particularly ugly combination of events frays any past political ties and makes the hope of any future cooperation unlikely at best.

So, if you happened to have entered the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg on Friday and saw someone crying on the bench, now you know why.  I was overcome with grief and anger mourning the downfall of many things: the bastardization of my party, the way in which so many politicians continually deceive the public without recourse, the loss of a former ideological believer, the likely failure of my future, and the death of the principles which supposedly guided them all.

How would you feel if you discovered that so many of the activities and relationships you crafted over the past seventeen years might be meaningless?  What if your great passion created nothing but corrupted politics and false friends, and the only thing you had to show for your effort was a pile of crumbly ashes?  If so, you might say, as Lesley Gore wrote in her well-known song, “it’s my party…you would cry too if it happened to you”.

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About a week ago, I received a pretty troubling email from another political activist.  It concerned a pre-filed bill for the upcoming legislative session, HB 1528 sponsored by Dickie Bell of Staunton.  According to the email, this bill “requires every dealer to prepare a daily report” of precious metal transactions.  Furthermore, these reports would be available to both government and law enforcement agents.  As you would imagine, I found this news to be particularly troubling.  I would assume that more and more Virginians would look toward investing in precious metals given the continued weakness of the U.S. Dollar.  Isn’t it just a little bit disconcerting that the government would take such a keen interest in these transactions?  What do they plan to do with this data now or in the future?

Resisting the temptation to hastily write a letter to Delegate Bell regarding my concerns, I thought it prudent to do a bit of research first.  The most interesting point that I discovered is that the Virginia Code  (54.1-4101) already requires precious metal or gem dealers to keep a written record of both their transactions and customers that are available on request.  Delegate Bell’s bill would primarily change two points:

  1. “Every dealer shall prepare a daily report containing the information required by 54.1-4101 sold to him each day and shall file such report by noon of the following day with the chief of police or other law-enforcement officer of the county, city or town where his business is conducted designated by the local attorney for the Commonwealth to receive it.”  The dealer can submit his or her report electronically as opposed to mailing or delivering them in person, which is the current norm.
  2. Dealers can charge their customers a small service fee to cover the added costs associated with these filings.

As you can see, some of the most onerous parts of the law are already in place.  Delegate Bell’s bill just enhances them and provides a much closer and daily link to law enforcement.  As you can imagine, with this new information I was still against HB 1528 and looked for an opportunity to speak with the Delegate about it.  That opportunity came on Friday when Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republicans gathered for lunch at our typical First Friday meeting.  All of the Delegates and Senators who represent any portion of the city and/or the county were invited.  Once I got to the gathering, I discovered that neither Senator Hanger could not attend nor could most of the Delegates.  Fortunately, both Delegate Bell and Senator Obenshain were there.

After the meal and a short speech by the Senator and Delegate, I patiently waited my turn to ask about HB1528.  Senator Obenshain moderated the questions from the audience and several times he passed over my outstretched hand.  Amazingly, after just about everyone else’s questions had been answered, the Senator ended the meeting, thus denying me my opportunity and primary reason for showing up to the meeting in the first place.  Although it would be easy to assume such a move as an intentional slight, I really hope it was merely an oversight.

As the crowd began to trickle away, fortunately Delegate Bell stuck around to speak with some of the guests and so I kept my eye on him.  Once the line dwindled, I finally got my chance.

The first thing Delegate Bell said to me was that he noticed that I had been waiting patiently for quite some time. I agreed and pulled out my printed copy of HB 1528 and asked him why he was proposing that bill.  He responded that local law-enforcement officials suggested the bill as an effort to further crack down on illegal trafficking of stolen goods.  However, after speaking with a number of interested parties, Delegate Bell stated that he no longer supports this bill and would be removing it from consideration very soon.  In addition, given the potential privacy violations already present in the law, he mentioned that he would be speaking to the Attorney General about deleting (or at least modifying) 54.1-4101 from the Virginia Code.

It is difficult to find the balance between security and liberty.  Although I’m sure that HB 1528 would aid Virginia police in catching criminals, is the added bureaucracy, hassle, and loss of privacy worth is?  I would say no.  In our post 9-11 world, far too many conservatives and liberals alike are willing to sacrifice just about every right in order to gain even the slightest feeling of security, even if doing so provides no tangible benefits.  For another example one needs look no further than the ridiculous nature of airport security.  First, why do we allow the federal government to look after airport safety?  Shouldn’t that role be the responsibility of the independent airport authorities or at least the states or the localities in which they are located?  Second, aren’t these body scanners and aggressive pat-downs a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment rights?  Must we give up our Constitutional protections in order to fly the not so friendly skies?  I could go on, but the simple fact is that once we surrender liberty in one facet, like travel, it will be that much easier to surrender it in another, like commerce, all in the false and misguided hope of greater security.

Now some activists might be upset by Delegate Bell’s HB 1528 proposal, but I think we should look at this event in a different light.  After all, Delegate Bell freely admits that HB 1528 is a blunder that he intends to correct immediately.  I believe that gesture shows volumes about his character.  He could have ignored the concerned letters and phone calls.  He could have not taken responsibility for this lapse in judgment.  After all everyone makes mistakes and the easiest and most widespread response is to simply deny their existence.  A true mark of strength is when we recognize missteps and correct them before the damage becomes irreversible.

Even though we share many conservative values, I’m sure that Delegate Bell and I will disagree on a few points in the future.  I’m just glad to know that the 20th district has a Delegate who listens to the people and will change course when he discovers he is in error.

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While other several other congressional districts decide who will be their Republican nominee for the House of Representatives, here in the 6th District we have an important decision to make as well.  Obviously Bob Goodlatte will be our candidate of choice.  But who will be the new 6th District Chairman?  For a little while, the race was between longtime activist and Western RPV Vice-Chairwoman Trixie Averill and Greg Habeeb, Chairman of the Salem GOP.  With Mr. Habeeb’s recent and sudden departure from the race, I figured the election was over.  However, now a new challenger has emerged from Botetourt, the Vice-Chairman of the County Party, Danny Goad.  Here is an email announcement I received earlier today:

Danny H. Goad Announces He Is Running For Chairman of Republican Party, Sixth Congressional District

Danny H. Goad

February 22, 2010

Citizens of the Sixth Congressional District,

It is with great anticipation and a strong sense of duty to serve that I write to you.  After encouragement of many throughout the district I want to let you know that I am running for Chairman of the Republican Party of the Sixth Congressional District of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I believe as a nation and a state our best days are yet to come and that freedom fought and died for by our Founders is resurging. Great encouragement should be taken in the activity we are seeing in groups in our localities like the tea parties and Constitutional advocacy groups.  For freedom to endure we must set the stage for it to be nurtured.  We cannot sit idly by and think that business as usual will accomplish the task.  We must be deliberate in what we do.  We must have a plan for correcting the things that we are not doing well as the Republican Party.

As Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District I will work hard to strengthen the local units in accomplishing our stated goals and to grow the Party.  The purpose of the Republican Party is threefold. First, we have an obligation to advocate the principles of the Republican Party and represent those electing us in our respective
units.  Second, we have an obligation to work hard to get Republican candidates elected to office.  Lastly, we have an obligation to assist elected Republican office holders as they have need to attend meetings or otherwise assist them.  I believe the Sixth Congressional District does a good job working on campaigns and assisting elected Republicans.

As we reflect on the events of the last year we recognize that our district is not what it was one year ago.  Something has changed. Citizens are on their own volition speaking out in a constructive manner on the issues of liberty and the role of government.  Once again citizens are talking about the Constitution like it means what it says.  While Republicans recognize that this resurgence of liberty is a good thing, we must be true to ourselves and acknowledge it did not originate in the Republican Party.  We must ask ourselves right here in the Sixth District what we must do differently to nurture this freedom.

We have a great opportunity to participate in this renewal of freedom. Our greatest strength is our principles.  What we say we believe is the only thing that makes us different from the Democrat Party.  The principles of the Republican Party are quite simple and are expressed concisely in the Virginia Republican Creed.  Of particular note is the fourth clause of the Creed which refers to Constitutional limitations. As I have intently listened to many citizen groups in the last year I get the sense they feel the Republican Party has let them down in the Party’s failure to abide by Constitutional limitations.  Specifically, they say, “On what authority does the federal government have the permission to dictate what health care plan we have?  On what authority do you pass the TARP legislation and provide no accounting of the funds?  On what authority do you pass ex post facto legislation that targets specific individuals and takes their assets?”  These are but a few examples of concerns of the citizen’s groups.  Many citizens feel to a large degree that the response of the Republican Party has been silence.  Recognizing our weakness is the first step in gaining the confidence of those who feel our actions do not match our rhetoric.  As Chairman of the Sixth District I will not be silent on these issues.

We declare that we are a grassroots organization when we need someone to volunteer with the campaign but we sometimes cringe when we are asked by a volunteer why an elected Republican took a certain position on an issue.  I think this is a natural human response.  We don’t like it when the actions of elected representatives that we campaigned for are questioned.  However, we must be willing to hear the concerns of citizens and be willing to advocate for them when we view their concern and recognize it as consistent with the Republican Creed and Constitution.

The Sixth District Republican Party has the opportunity to embrace freedom in a manner not paralleled in recent history.  If we embrace the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, the Republican Party will grow.  As Chairman I will lead that effort.

Very briefly I will tell you some of my political experience and I’ll follow-up with more at a later time.  In 1992, I joined the Republican Party and went to my first state convention in Salem.  In 1993, I was elected Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Hampton and was responsible for organizing the city-wide campaign of more than 300 volunteers.  Simultaneously, I was City Coordinator for Mike Farris for Lieutenant Governor.  1994-Elected to Hampton City School Board, organized North for Senate campaign in Hampton.  1997, 1998-Elected Chairman of the Giles County Republican Committee.  2001-SW VA Area Director Jay Katzen for Lt. Governor.  2006,2008-Elected Vice-Chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Committee.  I have a record of growing the Republican Party.

By trade I am a Mechanical Engineer, licensed in two states, and hold an engineering degree from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.  I am also a graduate of The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding.

I am married and have six children.

We have a fantastic opportunity to more fully embrace the ideals of our Founders: the opportunity to pass a greater freedom to our posterity.  Let’s work together to promote liberty in the Sixth District. Will you join me in reaching out to Virginians who share our vision of limited government who have not been active in a political party?  Will you join me in my campaign for Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District?  Please call or email me and I will let you know how you can get involved in my campaign.
Sincerely,

Danny H. Goad

(540)354-9556

dhgoadpe@msn.com

This race should be interesting.  Having worked for Trixie Averill back in 2006, I can attest that she is, without a doubt, one of the most hardworking and committed persons that I have ever met.  Most GOP activists in the 6th district not only know who she is, but also like her.  On the other hand, although I haven’t personally met Danny Goad, I have read and written about some of the many positive actions taken by the Botetourt Committee.  In addition, I greatly appreciate his strong statement in favor of limited government and the 10th amendment.

I’m looking forward to learning more about both.  With that thought in mind, Trixie Averill will be attending the First Friday lunch this week in Harrisonburg, so I encourage you to go if you are free.  Once I know when Danny Goad is coming, I’ll share that information too.

And so it begins…

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