AFP Politics Blog – Feb. 13-15, 2009

– News: Moran gets firefighters endorsements, Sunday, 3:09 p.m.
– News: Dems comment on addition of Gillespie to McDonnell campaign team, Friday, 5:10 p.m.
– News: McAuliffe comments on House education-funding cuts, Friday, 4:35 p.m.
– News: Perriello comments on stimulus, Friday, 4:35 p.m.
– Video: Jeff Frederick denounces Darwin, Friday, 9:40 a.m.
– News: Bowerbank opposes offshore drilling, Friday, 9:40 a.m.

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News: Moran gets firefighters endorsements, Sunday, 3:09 p.m.

Brian Moran’s campaign for Governor announced the endorsement of two fire fighter unions from Alexandria and the Washington-area airports system. Moran has consistently fought for Virginia fire fighters, including efforts to increase funding for fire programs and the passage of the Line of Duty Act.

Moran received the support of:

– Alexandria Fire Fighters Local 2141

– Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire Fighters Association, Local 3217

“Brian Moran has a strong record of fighting for the fire fighters and first responders of Virginia,” said John Vollmer, President of the Alexandria Fire Fighters Local 2141. “For over a decade in the General Assembly, Brian’s been fighting side by side with us. Now, it’s our turn to fight alongside him. From his time as a prosecutor to today, it is clear to us that no other candidate shares his commitment to our cause, his chance to win in November, or his dedication to protecting the people of Virginia.”

“Your skill as a legislator is incomparable,” Karl Liedke, President of Local 3217 at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, told Moran. “It is abundantly clear that you are the best candidate running for Virginia Governor. One of the most pressing issues facing our region is transportation. We feel that your knowledge and experience will improve the region’s transportation system and thus benefit the fire and emergency services in our communities.”

Prior to serving in the House, Moran was a prosecutor in Arlington County. He was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association in 2007.

“I’m proud to have the support of these men and women who put their lives on the line for our communities each and every day,” Moran said. “They know what it means to serve the public, they know my record, and they’re clearly backing a fighter who has been there for them.”

 

News: Dems comment on addition of Gillespie to McDonnell campaign team, Friday, 5:10 p.m.

Seeking a break from the failed Republican campaigns of the past, Attorney General Bob McDonnell brought on a top advisor to George Bush and George Allen to chair his campaign.

McDonnell’s campaign announced Friday that Ed Gillespie, a Washington super-lobbyist and former White House Counsel, would “be involved in every aspect of the campaign, from policy development to strategic decisions to fundraising.”

The Democratic Party of Virginia welcomed Gillespie back to Virginia on Friday and questioned whether he represented a break from the Bush era.

“We welcome Mr. Gillespie back to the fray of Virginia politics,” said Jared Leopold, Communications Director for the Democratic Party of Virginia. “But Virginians have to question Bob McDonnell’s judgment.

“The last thing Virginia needs is more Bush-style economics and politics,” Leopold added. “Last year, Virginians voted to end the Bush era and bring change to America. It remains to be seen whether Bob McDonnell got that message.”

After statewide GOP losses in 2005, 2006 and 2008, McDonnell has attempted to brand himself as a new type of Republican willing to reach across Party lines. In his announcement video last week, McDonnell pledged to ‘”usher in a new period of innovation, opportunity, and reform in this state.” [McDonnell video announcement, 2/3/09].

Gillespie, a veteran operative and lobbyist, hardly represents a new period of reform. He is known as “a fierce partisan” [Washington Post, 8/16/07] responsible for dirty tricks.

As the Roanoke Times editorialized when Gillespie briefly took over the Republican Party of Virginia in 2006: “Under Gillespie’s watch from 2003 to 2005, the national Republican Party embraced unrestrained campaigning. No dirty trick was off limits. No attack was too low. No annoyance to voters was too intrusive. He made sure President Bush won re-election by ignoring honor and propriety.” [Roanoke Times, 12/1/06].

After serving as RPV Chair, Gillespie “filled the void” of Karl Rove in the Bush White House. In the White House, Gillespie was “called on to handle political strategy and message management for the president, becoming the dominant voice in determining where and how often Bush appears and what he says during the final 17 months of his tenure.” [Washington Post, 8/16/07]

“The Bush era was a disaster for our national economy,” Leopold said. “Does Bob McDonnell really think he’s going to bring jobs to Virginia by hiring the guy who’s been whispering in George Bush’s ear for the last eight years? Who’s next? Karl Rove?”

  

News: McAuliffe comments on House education-funding cuts, Friday, 4:35 p.m.

Today, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe released the following statement regarding the House of Delegates cuts to higher education research funding:

“Yesterday, the the House of Delegates voted to eliminate funding to the Commonwealth Technology Research Fund (item 254 #1h). These funds would support the commercialization of research at our higher education institutions, which can help stimulate our economy and keep college tuition costs down. In these tough economic times, we need to watch every penny, but we also need to focus on growing the economy. Finding ways to capitalize on the research conducted at our colleges and universities here in Virginia is critical to the commonwealth’s economic vitality and growth.

“Governor Kaine’s proposed budget took a fiscally responsible approach to balancing the budget, while taking steps — like turning higher ed research into new companies and new jobs — to help get our economy back on track. I urge the the House and Senate to restore this important funding during the budget conference, so we can start to get Virginia’s economy moving again.”

  

News: Perriello comments on stimulus, Friday, 4:35 p.m.

Congressman Tom Perriello announced that his first bill – the “American Opportunity Tax Credit” to provide a $2,500 tax credit for higher-education – was included in the final conference report of H.R. 1, which passed the House today. The provision, which he co-authored with Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, will provide urgent relief to four million American working families and displaced workers.

“This tax credit puts money into the economy today and invests in our workforce for tomorrow. There are no shortcuts to regaining America’s competitive advantage. I believe this tax credit is one of the smartest investments we can make to give enterprising Americans the opportunity to gain new skills and become competitive in this tough job market, while getting our national economy out of the dumps,” said Perriello.

For 2009 and 2010, the bill will provide a tax credit of up to $2,500 of the cost of tuition and related expenses – including textbooks for the first time – paid during the taxable year. Forty percent of the tax credit – up to $1,000 – would be refundable. This tax credit will be subject to a phase-out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income in excess of $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly). This will provide an estimated $13.9 billion in tax relief.

In addition to this tax credit for higher education, H.R. 1 will provide billions in tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses, create or save 3.5 million American jobs, and invest in the future of our country by supporting education and infrastructure projects. Perriello voted in favor of the bill.

Before the final vote, Perriello bucked party leadership by requesting that the final vote be delayed until 48 hours after the bill had been posted online, to allow constituents ample time to study and understand the bill. He was one of only 18 Democrats to take this stand. In a letter sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday afternoon, Perriello said, “I support the passage of this bill because only urgent and dramatic action can begin to close the $2 trillion contraction in our national economy, but providing for these funds does not exempt us from our responsibility to keep policy-making transparent for our constituents.”

  

Video: Jeff Frederick denounces Darwin, Friday, 9:40 a.m.

  

News: Bowerbank opposes offshore drilling, Friday, 9:40 a.m.

Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Jon Bowerbank on Thursday came out forcefully against a plan to drill off Virginia’s coast. The plan, Lease Sale 220, would lease land off the coast of Virginia for the purpose of drilling for oil and natural gas. His remarks come in response to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s recent announcement that he would not intervene to halt the Virginia proposal although expansion of offshore drilling along other parts of the United States would be delayed for 180 days.

“Drilling off Virginia’s coast is a backwards way of solving our energy problems. It will not produce enough oil to change our energy situation significantly; I do not believe there are commercial quantities of hydrocarbons off the Virginia coast; it will potentially irreparably damage an internationally recognized environmental habitat; it poses challenges to our national security training capabilities; it will garner no revenue for the Commonwealth of Virginia unless a new law is passed by Congress, but rather it will threaten tourism income at a time when we can least afford to lose it.

“We need to invest in new energy solutions that can reduce our dependence on oil and create jobs in Virginia while helping our environment. In the meantime there are 68 million acres of leased land available for energy extraction that are not being used by oil companies. Rather than expand the area available, companies should be using these previously leased areas. I urge President Obama and Secretary Salazar to halt the Lease Sale 220 proposal and not hurt Virginia’s economy and environment. We should be looking forward for solutions to our energy crisis,” Bowerbank said.

“No one knows the path toward an environmentally sustainable energy policy better than Jon Bowerbank. Jon’s company helped take the pollutant byproducts of coal mining and turn them into energy. Jon’s combination of energy expertise and progressive values are sorely needed in Richmond,” said Bowerbank campaign manager Jon Paul Lupo.


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