Tag: Ken Plum

ken plum

The NRA, and the tactics of fear

I recently received a “Dear Mr. Plum” letter from the executive vice president of the NRA. Had it not been for the obvious marketing design of the envelope, I may have thought that he was writing to me about my monthly appearance outside his office as part of our End Gun Violence Vigil.


ken plum

What are the political prospects for Medicaid expansion?

If elections were based purely on facts, Medicaid expansion would be a sure winner. The White House Council of Economic Advisors issued a report recently that said expansion would reach an additional 179,000 Virginia residents with lifesaving care. The report also said Virginia will miss out on $1.24 billion in federal funding in 2016 by not expanding Medicaid.


ken plum

Fixing our corrupt political system

Recently the public perception by some of our political system was brought clearly to my attention. I was invited to George Mason University by a group of students concerned about corruption in government who had organized themselves as part of a national group, Represent.Us.


ken plum

Virginia Politics: The lull before the storm

If the Virginia political scene seems to you to be quiet at the moment, stick around for we may just be experiencing a lull before the storm.


ken plum

Ken Plum: Learning from my own education

Public schools did so much for me. That’s why I work hard to ensure that our education system is the best they can be and that teachers who are the keys in the process get support.


ken plum

Ken Plum: Doing the heavy lifting

I announced my first bid for elective office in 1973 while standing on the steps of the historic Fairfax County Courthouse. Only my immediate family and my secretary and her husband were there to hear me harken back to the Fairfax Resolves of 1774 when the citizens of Fairfax County enumerated their complaints against the Crown.


Ken Plum: A hundred fifty years ago

The first person I ever knew who wrote a weekly newspaper column was a teacher in the high school I attended who wrote a column during the period 1961-1965 entitled, “A Hundred Years Ago: The Civil War Day By Day.”


Ken Plum: Return on investment

Constituents contacted me recently about a Richmond Times Dispatch article headline they felt was misleading: “Ken Plum says Pre-K education leads to less crime and welfare.”


Ken Plum: The lady’s got clout

Each year the Library of Virginia honors women who have distinguished themselves in many different ways in the state’s history.


Ken Plum: What else was done in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly?

Previous columns have focused on major legislation passed in the 2015 General Assembly session, but this column will describe other legislation that passed.


Ken Plum: Electricity will be cheaper and cheaper

Under a bill passed by the General Assembly in the 2015 session and signed by the Governor, the cost of electricity in Virginia will go down next month, and the base rate of electricity will be frozen for the next five years.


Ken Plum: Behind a single vote

I have been pleased to work over many years to make the legislative process transparent in order that citizens can understand what is behind a single vote.


Ken Plum: General Assembly values efficiency over effectiveness

At the time of this writing, the General Assembly seems to be on course for an earlier than scheduled February 28 adjournment date.


Ken Plum: Staying ahead of the feds

The federal government is not always wrong. At the same time, the state government is not always right. The public expects that leaders work through these differences and that issues be resolved.


Ken Plum: Halftime

The General Assembly has reached crossover, the point on the legislative calendar when each house must have completed work on bills introduced into its respective chamber. That point was Tuesday for all bills except for adjustments to the budget that will be considered on Thursday.


Ken Plum: Clash of ideas, ideals

Ideas and ideals clash in the legislature. That makes the job interesting and at the same time challenging.


Ken Plum: Reinvigorating Virginia’s economy

Virginia is well on its way to economic recovery for many families, but working families across the state are telling me and other legislators that they feel like the recession never ended.


Ken Plum: Building a new Virginia economy

Candidate Terry McAuliffe campaigned on a platform of building a new Virginia economy. His theme clearly resonated with voters who elected him and with those who were concerned with Virginia’s sluggish recovery from the Great Recession.


Ken Plum: Virginia General Assembly session under way

The General Assembly convened for its annual session on January 14. Although the session scheduled to adjourn at the end of February is termed “the short session,” it will have a full agenda of opportunities and challenges.


Ken Plum: Legislative redistricting remains an issue

Just last month a panel appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to look at ethics issues in state government recommended that Virginia establish an independent redistricting commission to draw legislative district lines.


Ken Plum: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

The editorial in the September 21, 1897 New York Sun, responding to a letter from eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon who had inquired about whether there was a Santa Claus, has become the most reprinted newspaper editorial, according to the Newseum.


Ken Plum: On the agenda for the Virginia General Assembly

One of the most frequently asked questions of me this time of year is, “What will the General Assembly be doing when it meets?”


Ken Plum: A legislator’s holiday season

The multiple celebrations that make up the holiday season bring travel, big meals, and family and friend reunions. For state legislators the end of the year and the holidays bring an additional dimension: preparation for the next legislative session.


Ken Plum: Taxes

Governor Terry McAuliffe will address the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees on December 17 in a statutorily required report on the state’s finances.


Ken Plum: Rocket science

Even the professionals have their problems with rocket launches with about one of ten not being successful.


Ken Plum: Protracted General Assembly session

The Virginia General Assembly adjourned its regular session in early March this year and immediately went into special session that while still continuing has become the longest special session ever.


Ken Plum: From polarization to compromise

The Senate is polarized between opposing points of view with a willingness to compromise being seen as a sign of weakness.


Ken Plum: Your civic duty

A basic tenet of all levels of civic education is that citizens should vote. We are told of the importance of voting in social studies classes, Scouting, and in community groups.


Ken Plum: Energy plan moves Virginia in the right direction

Governor Terry McAuliffe had two interesting supporters speak at his press conference on Virginia’s latest Energy Plan–the heads of the state Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.


Ken Plum: Saved by the Feds

As I wrote in a column several months ago, Virginia has historically ceded decisions to federal authorities on major issues on which the state had been unwilling to move forward, despite the Commonwealth’s historic antipathy toward the federal government.


Ken Plum: The Age Wave

Last week, Bob Brink, a former colleague of mine who represented Arlington-McLean in the House of Delegates and who was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to be Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services, spoke to the Northern Virginia Aging Network’s (NVAN) annual legislative summit.


Ken Plum: A Virginia Statesman

I first heard of Vincent F. (Vince) Callahan, Jr. in 1965 when he ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Virginia. It was his first run for political office, and while it may seem that he aimed high to start in those days it was easy to get the Republican nomination since the Republicans always lost.


Ken Plum: Medicaid expansion-lite

The General Assembly is scheduled to go back into special session on September 18 to discuss Medicaid expansion.


Ken Plum: The legacy of Bob McDonnell

I had no idea what to expect when the jury announced it had reached its verdicts on the charges against former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, but when the verdicts were announced I was stunned.


Ken Plum: Back to school

Although it has been many years since I was a teacher in the classroom, I still get a nervous stomach around Labor Day each year in anticipation of the beginning of a new school year.


Ken Plum: Climate change is here

“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” according to a report, Climate Change Impacts in the United States, that was released this year and that includes the findings of 300 experts affiliated with the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.


Ken Plum: Conservation as a way of life

The quality of conservation that necessity brought to my parents and their peers is a quality that necessity will once again bring to our society.


Ken Plum: Two ladies named Alice

Mrs. Alice Foltz was my sixth and seventh grade teacher as well as being principal of Grove Hill Elementary School near Shenandoah, Virginia.


Ken Plum: Kids count!

Since 1990 the Annie E. Casey Foundation has ranked states annually on overall child well-being in a report called Kids Count Data Book. The Foundation’s report is viewed as the authoritative source of information on how we are doing nationally as well as state by state for our children.


Ken Plum: Virginia, Medicaid and the billion-dollar giveaway

We got to this point by the Republican majority in the General Assembly refusing to pass a plan for Medicaid expansion that would bring more than $5 million dollars a day to the state, produce as many as 30,000 new jobs in the health care industry, insure as many as 400,000 of the working poor, and enhance the quality of life for Virginia’s workforce and their families.


Ken Plum: Preventing gun violence

The total number of people killed by guns, suicide and accidental deaths between Newtown and December 2013 is 12,042. With all the fear and anguish brought on by these shootings, little has been done to address the issue in Congress or in state legislatures.


Ken Plum: A bloodless revolution

About this time of year in 1966 I wrote a letter to my hometown newspaper, Page News and Courier, suggesting that Virginia had just undergone one of the bloodless revolutions that Thomas Jefferson had suggested would be good for society periodically.


Ken Plum: Garden magic

I have had more time to spend in my garden than I have had any spring for many years. I had almost forgotten how relaxing and satisfying working in the soil can be.


Ken Plum: Moral imperative on healthcare reform

Recently the New York Times editorial board wrote about the “healthcare showdown in Virginia.” Their comments were not favorable.


Ken Plum: Are business incentives worth the investment?

Last month Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia will participate in the Business Incentives Initiative, a joint project of The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC).


Ken Plum: Contrasting views on healthcare, Medicaid expansion

It is time for legislators in Richmond to stop talking politics and start listening to the people in need of healthcare and to those in the community who have health insurance but are concerned for the people who do not.


Ken Plum: Virginia General Assembly leaves unanswered questions

Last Wednesday the 2014 session of the General Assembly adjourned sine die at the end of the Reconvened Session that is called at the conclusion of each regular session to consider amendments to legislation proposed by the Governor and vetoes he made of any bills.


Ken Plum: The interesting politics of the Medicaid gap

People who could benefit from an expansion of Medicaid that closes the coverage gap by insuring more of the working poor are found throughout the Commonwealth.


Ken Plum: Governor proposes new budget

In Virginia a governor can serve two terms, but the terms cannot be successive. All newly elected governors of Virginia take office at the beginning of a biennial budget cycle where the outgoing governor has proposed a budget for that cycle.


Ken Plum: A Letter from Newtown

On the fourteenth of each month, the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I join dozens of others at a vigil at the National Rifle Association headquarters to remind everyone of the need for sensible gun safety measures. After the most recent vigil, I got an email from Erin Nikitchyuk in Newtown, Conn., which I share with her permission to remind us of how we all need to be concerned about this issue.