Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SAVE the Date!! Friday, Aug 8 Shrimpfest

Save the date -- Mark your calendar


Friday August 8, 6pm
at the Charles Hill Senior Center in Vinton!!

We have some great speakers already confirmed and more to come so don't miss this opportunity to have a great time and get up close and personal with our elected officials and our statewide candidates, for this year and next!!
Names will be forthcoming, so hang tight!!

Tickets are $20 per person
$10 for kids 5-12
under 5, free

Tickets will be available soon!!

The Republican Party - the place to be and the people to be with!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John Brownlee Announces Campaign for Attorney General

Roanoke, VA -- Former United States Attorney John Brownlee, a conservative Republican and former Army Ranger, announced his candidacy for Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“I am running for Attorney General because every Virginian deserves to live in a safe, secure and prosperous community,” said John Brownlee. “As Attorney General, I will work hard to ensure that all Virginians live in neighborhoods that are free from violent crime, drug dealers, child predators, criminal illegal aliens, and those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens”
John Brownlee has spent the last 20 years serving the citizens of Virginia and the United States. As a young military officer, John volunteered for the Infantry and successfully graduated from the Army’s rigorous Airborne and Ranger programs.

In 2001, President Bush appointed John as United States Attorney. As the top federal law enforcement official, John successfully prosecuted some of our nation’s most corrupt corporations and dangerous criminals. As one of Virginia’s leading crime fighters, John has earned the reputation as a tough prosecutor who knows how to keep our communities safe from violent criminals and drug dealers.

Said Brownlee, “From personally prosecuting criminals including some of the most violent offenders, to running the United States Attorney’s office for over half our Commonwealth for seven years, to working closely with Attorney General Bob McDonnell to make Virginia safer, I have the experience needed to serve effectively as Virginia’s Attorney General.”

Brownlee is the son of hard working and dedicated public servants. John’s mother served as a public school teacher for over 40 years – the last 17 in Fairfax County, Virginia. John’s father was a decorated Army officer and Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat and earned two Silver Stars for valor. John’s father retired in 2004 as the acting Secretary of the Army. John’s sister, Tracy Carney, and her husband and daughter live in Falls Church, Virginia.

Said Brownlee, “What drives me to work for a better Virginia is the same as many of you -- my family and two young children, and my faith in God and belief in the values of faith and service. I have been honored to serve my country as a soldier and my Commonwealth as its United States Attorney. As Attorney General, I will work for a safer, more secure and prosperous Virginia.

I am a pro-life candidate. I believe that life begins at conception and that our government has a duty to respect and protect all innocent human life. As a hunter, I also am a strong defender of the Second Amendment and will defend our right to keep and bear arms,” continued Brownlee.
John attended Robinson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and received three varsity letters in football. After high school, Brownlee attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, on a ROTC scholarship.

At Washington and Lee, Brownlee received a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Accounting, earned three varsity letters in football, and earned honors as a distinguished military graduate. In 1991, Brownlee entered law school at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, graduating in 1994. After graduation, he served as a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Judge Sam Wilson. From 1997 through 2001, John served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Since 2005, John has taught trial advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law.

In January 2005, Brownlee convicted defendant Brent Simmons for the 1996 murders of two James Madison University students. Simmons had traveled from Florida to Harrisonburg and then shot and killed the two students. After a mistrial in state court, Brownlee developed a novel legal theory by using the Violence Against Women Act, which had been enacted only 13 days before Simmons killed the students, to bring the case into federal court. Brownlee convicted the defendant of both murders, and the jury sentenced Simmons to life imprisonment with no chance of release.

Two years later, John convicted a defendant for committing a violent prison murder. The jury imposed the death penalty, and Brownlee became the first federal prosecutor in over 30 years to successfully prosecute a capital murder case in his judicial district.

In May 2007, after a five year investigation, Mr. Brownlee and Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell convicted the maker of the pain medication OxyContin of intentionally misbranding their highly addictive and dangerous drug. The company and executives were convicted of misbranding OxyContin and paid over $634 million in fines. The criminal fine was one of the largest financial penalties ever imposed on a drug company. Mr. Brownlee also served on Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s task force that helped toughen Virginia’s penalties against child predators.

Graduating from Washington and Lee in 1987, Brownlee entered the U.S. Army and volunteered for the Infantry. John was selected for the Commandant’s List from his Infantry Officer Basic Course, and successfully completed the Airborne, Ranger and Air Assault training programs. Brownlee was assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) at Ft. Myer, Virginia, where he lead an infantry rifle platoon. In 1997, Brownlee transferred to the Judge Advocate General Corps (USAR) where he served for 10 years. Brownlee received an honorable discharge in 2007 at the rank of major.

John is married to the former Lee Ann Necessary of Millers Creek, North Carolina. They attend, along with their daughters Thompson Ann and Catherine Harris, Grandin Court Baptist Church in Roanoke.

John's website

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kaine Announces Tax Hike Plan

Governor Tim Kaine yesterday surprised absolutely no one when he announced a nearly $1 billion tax and fee increase proposal under the guise of fixing transportation. A special tax session of the General Assembly is scheduled for June 23.

The Governor's plan includes increasing the sales tax in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia from 5 to 6 percent, something rejected by voters in those regions in 2002. It also includes increasing from 3 to 4 percent the motor-vehicle titling tax; an increase in the grantor's, or property seller's tax, of 10 cents per $100; and a $10 increase in the cost to register vehicles.

Last week I gave you two reasons why The Family Foundation does not support increasing taxes for "fixing transportation": the lack of a constitutional amendment that protects the Transportation Trust Fund from being raided, and the nearly 100 year old, depression era law that controls how Virginia funds its transportation needs. Until those two issues are resolved, Virginians should not be asked to send more money to Richmond to fund a broken system.

But there are other reasons to reject tax hikes for transportation. One of them is the new third rail of politics - education funding.

During this year's General Assembly session, the biannual "rebenchmarking" of the Standards of Quality resulted in a $1.1 billion increase in education spending in the new budget. What does "rebenchmarking of SOQs" mean? A convoluted formula that automatically ensures that Virginia's public school establishment will receive at least a billion more dollars every two years, regardless of student outcomes or reductions in enrollment. That spending goes up no matter what. By continuing with this system, public education is assured of securing funds at the expense of other core budget items (public safety, transportation, etc.). Any legislator who is honest will tell you that there is absolutely no way to fund this annual education increase and the rest of state government without some type of massive, statewide tax increase.

And here we are. In fact, do you know how much spending increased on transportation in the recently passed new budget? Zero. Not a penny. Zilch.

Why? Because as long as the SOQ funding formula remains unchanged, every other area of state government, including transportation and public safety, will get short changed. (Of course, the Virginia Education Association was one of the first to publically endorse the Governor's plan.)

This year, The Family Foundation supported a short-lived proposal to adjust the SOQ formula slightly, which would have in no way directly affected what is spent in the classroom. But such a change would have saved $200 million per year. That nearly half billion dollars every biennial would go a long way toward fixing the transportation crisis the Governor alleges needs immediate action.

As I said in my last email alert on this subject, because The Family Foundation has opposed increases in taxes over the years, we have gained a reputation as being "anti-tax." That isn't the case. We simply want our state government to be more responsible in how it spends our money before it comes to working families asking for more.

Family Foundation

Thursday, May 8, 2008

High Fuel Costs – Causes and Solutions

Fuel costs have shot up so high they are causing hardship for many Americans. It appears they will continue to surge, creating a number of serious problems. Why is this happening, and what can be done about it?

Politicians, bureaucrats, and judges have stifled domestic oil and gas production and the construction of new oil refineries and nuclear power plants. Their irresponsible behavior is forcing us to rely on foreign oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and gas; much of it coming from nations that are hostile to us. To buy this foreign oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and gas, we are forced to bid against other countries, including India and Red China, which have rapidly growing appetites for them. The United States dances to the tune of the OPEC oil cartels and the unstable and expensive world market of oil.

The U.S. has no shortage of oil and gas reserves. They are located in the Gulf of Mexico, other offshore areas, in parts of Alaska, and in other public lands. The American Petroleum Institute informs us that we could have enough domestic oil to power 60 million cars for 60 years and enough domestic natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. However, 85 percent of U.S. coastal waters and 75 percent of onshore prospects are off limits.

Did you know we import 60 percent of our oil and we have lost more than one million jobs in oil and gas during the past 20 years?

Politicians, bureaucrats, and judges have been blocking the construction of oil refineries and nuclear power plants for more than thirty years, which also contributes much to our dependence upon foreign suppliers of energy. The last new refinery built in the United States was Marathan Ashland's Garyville, La. Plant, completed in 1976. Between 1999 and 2002, refining capacity in the United States rose only 3 percent, pushing up prices since demand grew much faster than that. Watts Bar 1, which came on-line in Feb. 7, 1996, was the last U.S. commercial nuclear reactor to go on-line.

Politicians created federal and state regulations requiring dozens of "boutique fuels" – different blends of gasoline for different regions. This causes a very inefficient national market, because a surplus that occurs in one area cannot be shifted to another part of the country that needs more. Creating boutique fuels also requires expensive refinery shutdowns to change output from one formula to another, This reduces production overall and risks overproduction for some areas and underproduction for others. All of this results in higher prices at the pump.

Then there is the 2005 federal ethanol mandate, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, that politicians forced on us. Since taking effect in 2006, this measure has increased energy and food prices while doing little to reduce oil imports or improve the environment. Federal incentives for the creation of ethanol are costing the federal government (taxpayers) about $1.00 per gallon. Ethanol still tends to cost consumers more than gasoline. We can thank politicians for this additional increase in fuel costs.

Let us not overlook fuel taxes, a very large percentage of the cost of fuel. Who creates these big taxes? Politicians, of course.

Analysts tell us the steep decline in the value of the U.S. dollar is contributing to the steep increase in fuel costs. The dollar has lost its value because politicians have been spending far more money than our government has been receiving. The proposed Global Poverty Act (S.2433) is a classic example. The United States Senate may vote on it any day. This proposed United Nations style welfare to third-world countries could eventually cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $845 billion. Senator Barak Obama is sponsoring it.

When you see politicians attacking oil companies for the surge in fuel costs, you are seeing politicians scapegoating the oil companies to shift the blame. Let us put the blame squarely where it belongs – on politicians, bureaucrats, and judges.

What are the most important things we can do to bring fuel prices down? We must:Begin drilling for and using the oil and gas that are available in the United States.Build refineries and nuclear power plants.Remove expensive, wasteful mandates, such as the ethanol and boutique fuel mandates.Control governmental spending.

The huge problem of skyrocketing fuel prices and the serious problems they cause will not be solved until we, the people, insist that politicians, bureaucrats, and judges take the actions that commonsense tells us are required.

Monday, May 5, 2008

6th district committee meets on Saturday, May 3

The 6th district Republican committee met in Lexington on Sat. May 3.

Fred Anderson won re-election to chairman in a close race over Jim Crosby.

In the Roanoke Valley region of the 6th district, Trixie Averill won the position as National Delegate to the convention, while Max Beyer won Alternate Delegate.

Mike Bailey won 6th district Vice Chairman and Mickey Mixon won State Central Committee.

Congratulations to all these candidates!!