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AFP Politics Blog – Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009

– News: Webb statement on NAACP anniversary, Thursday, 9 p.m.
– News: Family Foundation president offers statement on House of Delegates votes on pro-life amendments in Virginia budget, Thursday, 9 p.m.
– News: Shannon gets endorsements of Richmond, Norfolk mayors, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.
– News: Perriello praised for voting against pay raise, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.
– News: McAuliffe statement on anniversary of NAACP, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.
– News: Kaine, UK ambassador sign climate-change agreement, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.
– News: New unemployment claims dip slightly, Thursday, 9:15 a.m.
– News: Bowerbank appointed to VACo committee, Thursday, 9:15 a.m.
– News: Obama signs DTV transition delay, Thursday, 9:15 a.m.



News: Webb statement on NAACP anniversary, Thursday, 9 p.m.

The following is a statement by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP:

“Mr. President, I rise today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), one of our nation’s oldest and most influential civil rights organizations.

“Founded on February 12, 1909, the NAACP’s original and primary goal was to secure for African Americans the rights that our Constitution guarantees under the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. The NAACP played a leading role in the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-20th century, stirring the conscience of our nation against segregation and institutionalized racism. Today, the NAACP continues its work to eliminate racial prejudice, and the organization has expanded its endeavors to ensure equal access to political, educational, social and economic advancement for all Americans.

“Throughout its 100-year history, the NAACP has affected change at all levels of society and politics, working tirelessly through organizing, advocacy, and judicial action. From a small group of determined citizens in the early 1900s to an organization with over a half-million members and supporters today, the NAACP has established itself throughout America and the world as a leading champion for civil and human rights.

“I am proud to be a lifetime member of the NAACP. I share its desire to ensure economic fairness and social justice in this country, and I am pleased to congratulate the NAACP on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.


News: Family Foundation president offers statement on House of Delegates votes on pro-life amendments in Virginia budget, Thursday, 9 p.m.

“We applaud the House of Delegate’s passage of three budget amendments that protect the taxpayers of Virginia from having to subsidize unethical and failed research, elective abortions and a wealthy, partisan organization. As the budget process moves forward we appeal to the state Senate to join the House in passing these taxpayer protections.”

Planned Parenthood Funding – “During this decade, Virginia taxpayers have unknowingly sent nearly $500,000 to one of the most partisan organizations in our nation, Planned Parenthood. This pro-abortion organization has an annual budget nationally of more than $1 billion. Particularly in these difficult times, we should not be asking the citizens of Virginia to send their hard earned money to this group.”

Abortion Funding – “This amendment will prohibit the use of taxpayer funding of abortions. Incredibly in 2006 and 2007, Virginia tax dollars funded 322 abortions (160 in fiscal-year 2007, and 162 in fiscal 2006). The Federal government subsidizes abortions only when a Medicaid-eligible woman’s life is at risk or in the cases of rape and incest. In Virginia, we fund abortions beyond what is required by the Federal government. This extra funding should stop now.”

Embryonic Stem Cell Research – “Why are we demanding that Virginia’s taxpayers fund failed research that is daily losing support in the scientific community? Adult stem cell research has produced dozens of cures and treatments, while embryonic stem cell research has produced none. Investment in adult stem cell research offers hope and promise, and that’s where Virginia’s money should be going.”


News: Shannon gets endorsements of Richmond, Norfolk mayors, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.

Del. Steve Shannon announced today that his campaign for attorney general has earned the support of Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim.

“Local government is where the rubber hits the road in making Virginia a safer place for families to call home,” said Shannon. “Mayors Fraim and Jones are leaders in making their communities safer, better places to live and I’m proud to have their support,” Shannon continued.

“Steve will be an attorney general we can all be proud of. I’m supporting Steve because I know that as a former prosecutor, he will work with our community to fight gangs and make sure our children are safe from predators,” Jones said.

“Steve Shannon is a leader who will fight to protect our families, our businesses, and our ports,” Fraim said. “As our next attorney general, I know Steve will be someone I can work with to continue improving our quality of life here in Norfolk,” Fraim continued.


News: Perriello praised for voting against pay raise, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.

Rep. Tom Perriello was thanked by Reps. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) for his support of H.R. 156, the Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act, which he co-sponsored the day after being sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives.

House leadership recently announced that pay raises for members of Congress will not be included in next year’s appropriations bill. In the letter, Reps. Mitchell and Paul say, “Your support has been invaluable in achieving this outcome.”

“With thousands of jobs being lost by the day and families struggling just to get by, it’s simply not right for members of Congress to be getting pay raises. This commonsense move will save taxpayers an estimated $2.5 million,” said Perriello, applauding the announcement by House leadership.


News: McAuliffe statement on anniversary of NAACP, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the NAACP. The NAACP was founded in 1909 to combat an epidemic of lynching across the South, and in the hundred years since has dedicated itself to achieving equality for minorities in America.

“I am proud to be a lifetime member of the NAACP. Their continued dedication to justice for all Americans made possible the historic era in which we are living. Today, I congratulate the NAACP on a century of courageous work. We owe a debt of gratitude to the NAACP and to all those individuals who fought for the integration of our schools and continue to fight for equal political, social, and economic rights for Americans of every race.”


News: Kaine, UK ambassador sign climate-change agreement, Thursday, 4:15 p.m.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald of the United Kingdom, signed a bilateral “Climate Change Action Agreement” at the Virginia Capitol today that commits each government to the common goals of combating the effects of climate change and developing a more climate-friendly economy.

“Virginia and the UK recognize that climate change is a global phenomenon and combating it requires global partnerships,” said Gov. Kaine. “Sir Nigel and I believe this agreement will help bring together Virginia and UK researchers, entrepreneurs, and environmental educators to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, promote energy efficiency and independence, and promote the development of a green economy.”

Virginia is the fifth state to enter a bilateral Climate Change Action Agreement with the United Kingdom—joining California, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan in a growing global effort to address climate change issues. Under the terms of the agreement, Virginia and the United Kingdom jointly agree to:

– Promote policies that cut emissions and develop a green economy at home.

– Promote market-based policies that reduce emissions globally.

– Improve scientific understanding of climate change’s effects.

– Develop technology to mitigate and reduce the effects of climate change

– Encourage climate-friendly economic development.

– Raise public awareness of the effects of climate change.

As Virginia and the UK work together on strategies to combat global warming, their governments will seek opportunities to share relevant research and encourage trade in alternative and renewable energy technologies. In particular, the agreement signed today advances a number of recommendations made by the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change launched in 2007 by Executive Order 59. It emphasizes the importance of a market-based cap-and-trade program designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to the earth’s warming. Great Britain currently participates in the European emissions trading program, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gases on a continental scale by 8% below 1990 levels by 2012. Gov. Kaine has long advocated a federal, nationwide cap-and-trade program to bring about annual CO2 reductions in the United States and has proposed a 19% reduction in electricity consumption in Virginia by 2025, the top recommendation of the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change.

The Virginia-UK agreement also recognizes the two governments share research interests and assets, especially in offshore renewable energy production. The Virginia Energy Plan, released by Gov. Kaine in September 2007, encourages research and development of the state’s coastal resources for energy production—including offshore wind, current, and marine biomass production. Virginia’s colleges and universities and the Virginia Costal Energy Research Consortium are considered leaders in the development of this technology domestically while the UK is recognized internationally as a leader in offshore tidal and wind energy research and production.

“Today the UK and Virginia sign an agreement to strengthen our relationship and to work together to cut emissions, increase the use of renewable energy, and better understand the science of climate change,” said Sir Nigel Sheinwald. “Meeting the challenges of energy security, economic growth and climate change will define the economic and environmental health of our two countries, and of states like Virginia, in the 21st century.”

Today’s announcement comes as Gov. Kaine continues to move his “Renew Virginia” initiative. Renew Virginia is focused on promoting renewable energy, creating green jobs, and encouraging preservation of the environment.


News: New unemployment claims dip slightly, Thursday, 9:15 a.m.

In the week ending Feb. 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 623,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 631,000, according to data released this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor. The 4-week moving average was 607,500, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 583,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.6 percent for the week ending Jan. 31, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.6 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Jan. 31 was 4,810,000, an increase of 11,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,799,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,745,250, an increase of 73,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,671,500.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Jan. 31 were in California (+20,001), North Carolina (+8,663), Ohio (+4,738), Georgia (+4,392), and Kansas (+3,232), while the largest decreases were in Virginia (-1,937), New Jersey (-1,551), Missouri (-1,370), Oklahoma (-1,199), and Connecticut (-1,000).


News: Bowerbank appointed to VACo committee, Thursday, 9:15 a.m.

The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) has appointed Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Jon Bowerbank to the VACo Transportation Committee. As a committee member, Jon will provide transportation policy direction to VACo staff, assist with the analysis of statewide transportation issues as they affect Virginia’s governments and consider proposals to the annual legislative agenda affecting Virginia’s infrastructure.

“I believe that improving the Commonwealth’s infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges facing our state and that it is essential to our economic growth and Virginians’ quality of life. Virginia needs improved mass transit systems, better roads and greener traveling options. I will use my experience building infrastructure to assist VACo in its efforts to create better transportation solutions and I look forward to carrying on that process as Lieutenant Governor and bringing local government experience to Richmond,” Jon Bowerbank said.

As a member of VACo, Bowerbank serves on both the Finance and Transportation Committees, roles which reflect his experience in business, energy and infrastructure.

“Given his background and experience, Jon is a great addition to the VACo Transportation Committee. In the State Senate, I work closely with VACo to create state transportation policy that makes sense for both the Commonwealth as a whole and the individual counties at the local level. Jon’s commitment to improving Virginia’s infrastructure and knowledge of the issues facing our transportation system make him a valuable resource to this committee and a great choice for Lieutenant Governor. I look forward to working with him on this important subject,” said State Senator Phil Puckett, a senior member of the Virginia Senate Transportation Committee.


News: Obama signs DTV transition delay, Thursday, 9:15 a.m.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed S.352, a bill to postpone the DTV transition date to June 12th to allow for more time for the American consumers to prepare for the switch from analog television.

“During these challenging economic times, the needs of American consumers are a top priority of my administration,” Obama said. “This law, which was crafted in a bipartisan way and passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, ensures that our citizens will have more time to prepare for the conversion. Millions of Americans, including those in our most vulnerable communities, would have been left in the dark if the conversion had gone on as planned, and this solution is an important step forward as we work to get the nation ready for digital TV. My administration will continue to work with leaders in Congress, broadcasters, consumer groups and the telecommunications industry to improve the information and assistance available to our citizens in advance of June 12.”

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