Tag: Ken Plum

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Ken Plum: Clearing an obstacle to gun violence prevention in Virginia

Virginia has the distinction of having had the biggest mass murder in history, Virginia Tech in 2007, and the first televised shooting, Smith Mountain Lake in 2015.


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Ken Plum: Legislative Report 2016

Del, Ken Plum dedicates his 2016 Legislative Report to the late Senator Clive DuVal, who represented parts of Fairfax County in the Virginia Senate.


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

Virginians, especially those around the capital city, have long believed in Santa Claus.


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Ken Plum: Passing of Thomas Moss is end of an era

Last week I made a journey to Norfolk, Virginia, to say a final goodbye to a former colleague in the House of Delegates, Thomas W. Moss, Jr.


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Ken Plum: Helping the working poor

There is another solution for Virginia that can make a great deal of difference: let working people keep more of the money they earn.


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Ken Plum: 2016 Virginia General Assembly session preview

The General Assembly will convene for its regular session on January 13. Major work in the even-numbered years is passage of a biennial budget.


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Ken Plum: Medicaid in perspective

A recent newspaper headline proclaimed that “Audit finds waste, inefficiencies in Virginia’s Medicaid program.” As often is the case, the real story is beyond the headline.


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Ken Plum: Chicken and the egg

A chicken or egg kind of debate has been going on in Virginia recently as a result of a report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC).


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Ken Plum: Elections matter

I know it is a safe assumption that readers of this column are regular voters. There is no need for me to carry on about the importance of voting, how elections matter, etc. You get it, but it is a bit shocking and disappointing to realize the small percentage of people who do.


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Ken Plum: Not up to the living wage challenge

ProgressVA sponsored the “Live the Wage Challenge” asking elected officials, community leaders, advocates, and everyday citizens to walk in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on a minimum wage budget for one week.


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Ken Plum: Remembering Robert E. Simon Jr.

Robert E. Simon Jr., our immediate surprise and sadness at your passing have quickly turned to joy at having known you. Rest in peace inspirational leader, wise counselor and good friend; you made a wonderful difference for all!


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Ken Plum: Keeping Virginia voters informed

Virginians can access state government programs and services through a single internet portal,www.virginia.gov that is nationally recognized as one of the best among the states.


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Ken Plum: Time for redistricting reform

The redistricting of 2011 packed black voters from Richmond to Norfolk in a single congressional district ensuring the probable election of one black representative while reducing the likelihood of another one being elected.


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Yes, Virginia, it’s time to act on gun control

Virginia made history last week – not for the kind of event for which we would like to be remembered, but one nonetheless that took place on our soil and will be talked about around the globe.


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Ken Plum: Both sides of the wall between church and state

Recently a place of worship in the community asked me to be a speaker in their summer worship series. After getting past the frightening idea that I was to preach a sermon, I started to focus on the fact that I live my life on both sides of the wall that separates church and state.


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Ken Plum: Public trust above party in redistricting fight

Shifting from a relaxing vacation back to work is always challenging, but my return this past week from the mountains, streams and lakes of Glacier National Park to a special session of the General Assembly has been a particularly stark contrast.


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Ken Plum: Alzheimer’s epidemic

In 1982 my then legislative assistant came to me distressed that her father had been found to have Alzheimer’s disease.


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Wind energy: Part of the renewable mix

According to an American Wind Energy Association announcement last year the United States has more wind energy supplying its grid than any other country, enough to power 15.5 million American homes.


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Ken Plum: School funding in Virginia

The recent tension between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the School Board over approval of the budget for the public schools left one big factor out of the equation for funding schools–the role of state government in financing public education in the Commonwealth.


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Ken Plum: Recent victories call for another

I continue to celebrate the human rights victories we have had recently in marriage equality, health care and housing. I voted against Virginia’s marriage amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman when it came before the General Assembly.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.