U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) addressed a Public Square at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday (October 21) discussing how the U.S. should clarify the war powers of the President and Congress. Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution says Congress will declare war. Article 2 establishes the President as the Commander in Chief. Senator Kaine says while the President has the authority to defend against an imminent attack when the country’s strategy goes from defense to offense, congressional authorization is required.
Just a week after Governor McAuliffe announced 509 layoffs in the Department of Corrections, the state agency says it needs $45 million over the next two years to meet its healthcare obligations to the state’s prison population. The bulk of the costs come from a state medical services provider terminating its contract and the department having to replace those services at higher cost.
The Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections, which faces a $45 million health care shortfall, says expanding the state’s Medicaid program would lower costs to taxpayers to deliver prisoner healthcare. Virginia has approximately 30,000 individuals currently incarcerated. Over half of those receive their constitutionally required healthcare services from a private healthcare provider. Last year just over 10% of the states inmates qualified by being 65 years or older, on dialysis, pregnant or having another chronic health condition
Virginia’s hotly-contested 10th District Congressional race could go down to the wire. Republican Barbara Comstock and Democrat John Foust are competing to succeed Republican Frank Wolf, who is retiring after 30 years. The race is tight.
Comstock is known to political observers for her work in the 1990’s as the Capitol Hill staffer who led much of the opposition research into Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Foust claims she is a hyper-partisan who will only exacerbate the divisiveness in Congress.
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday (10/15) that Virginia will lay off 556 state employees, largely from the department of corrections, to help close an $882 million dollar budget gap due to reduced federal spending brought on by sequestration. The state will close the Powhatan Correctional Center, as well as two smaller corrections facilities and delaying the opening of a new women’s correctional center.
The Governor is also leaving vacant positions unfilled, including several dozen state troopers, though no cuts were made to public schools.
At a Republican rally for Dave Brat and Ed Gillespie in Ashland yesterday (10/15), U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky shared his vision to grow the GOP brand nationally. Paul says the Republican party must reach out to new groups they’ve previously ignored, including the poor and minorities.
The Senator believes Republicans can make gains with minorities on issues like school choice, and more lenient sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
Paul wants to establish what he calls “economic freedom zones.”
Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was in Ashland yesterday (10/15) to rally for 7th District GOP candidate Dave Brat and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Ed Gillespie. Paul nationalized both races, first urging the conservative crowd to vote for Ed Gillespie.
The Tea Party favorite told supporters they woke Washington up when they ousted former Majority Leader Eric Cantor in favor of newcomer Dave Brat.
Paul concluded saying in order to grow the GOP must reach out to new groups they’ve previously ignored, including the poor and minorities.
Tickets are available for the October 28th debate in a Virginia election that has gotten national attention. When Dave Brat defeated Eric Cantor in Virginia’s Seventh District Republican primary, the national media descended upon Ashland to report the stunning upset of one of the nation’s most powerful members of Congress by a political novice and relatively unknown college professor at Randolph Macon.
During Monday night’s (10/13) People’s Debate on WCVE, Senator Mark Warner responded to the recent revelation that he spoke with former Democratic State Senator Philip Puckett’s son about a possible federal judgeship for his sister, should their father remain in the Senate. Puckett resigned earlier this year after Republicans offered to confirm his daughter for a state judgeship and a six-figure salary position on the state tobacco commission for himself. Senator Warner says he brainstormed with Puckett’s son the day before about other possible job opportunities for his sister.
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones says he will use two million dollars in surplus funds from real estate tax collections to create a reserve fund for the maintenance of Richmond Public Schools. Jones had wanted to return the money to taxpayers and reduce the city’s real estate tax by one cent per $100 of assessed value, though there was little appetite for this on City Council.