Tag: Ken Plum

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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.


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.