Prince William County Republican Committee – June 25, 2007 Meeting Highlights

elephantgop.pngBecause of the topics that were discussed, this was a very interesting meeting. The candidates had something to say, the chairman had something to say, and, most important, the members had their say.

Candidate’s Time

Michele McQuigg – Clerk of the Circuit Court

McQuigg made the point she is up against two independently wealthy opponents. She asked members to attend her fundraiser and to provide financial support.

Gil Trenum – Brentsville Distict’s Member on the School Board

Trenum thanked people for their support and getting his campaign off to a good start.

Jackson Miller – House of Delegates, 50th District

Oddly, this was Miller’s night for an excellent speech. He arrived and spoke late, near the end of the meeting, but as you will see latter, his tardiness helped to set the stage.

With respect to immigration, Miller argued that his race is the state’s most important. He said he is a new delegate who campaigned to stem the flow of illegal immigration. He sponsored legislation that passed the House but failed in the Senate. His opponent takes the exact opposite position, and she is raising far more funds for her campaign (see here for Miller and here for Rishell).

Chairman’s Time

Committee Chairman Tom Kopko addressed two issues:

  • Kopko began by noting the decision of two committee members to runs as independents. He specifically asked that we postpone taking action and give the matter some thought. Undoubtedly, this issue will come up at the next meeting.
  • Two committee members asked Kopko about the Julie Lucas’ appeal of Faisal Gill’s victory at the 51st House of Delegates convention. Kopko said the process could not be rushed, and he was still awaiting reports from two convention observers. In addition, he noted that during the convention, both candidates had said they would support the winner. He asked members to remember that primaries and conventions are difficult for any political party; when primaries and conventions are over, we have to unite for the general election.

Legislative Briefing

Here is a summary of the briefing.

Notable Legislative Activity in the U.S. Senate

Warner amendment to H.R. 6 to authorize the State of Virginia to petition for authorization to conduct natural gas exploration and drilling activities in the coastal zone of the State. Rejected 43-44 June 14, 2007 FOR: John Warner, Jim Webb

Coburn amendment to S. 1348 to require the enforcement of existing border security and immigration laws and Congressional approval before amnesty can be granted. Rejected 42-54 June 7, 2007 AGAINST: John Warner, Jim Webb

Author’s Note: S.1348 is a bill the Senate is currently debating.  The bill would grant illegal immigrants an accelerated path to citizenship, that is, amnesty.

DeMint amendment to S. 1348 to require health care coverage for holders of Z nonimmigrant visas. Rejected 43-55 June 6, 2007
FOR: John Warner AGAINST: Jim Webb

McConnell amendment to S. 1348 to require individuals voting in person to present photo identification. Rejected 41-52 June 5, 2007. FOR: John Warner AGAINST: Jim Webb

Coleman amendment to S. 1348 to facilitate information sharing between federal and local law enforcement officials related to an individual’s immigration status. Rejected 48-49 May 24, 2007 FOR: John Warner AGAINST: Jim Webb.

Notable Legislative Activity in the U.S. House

H. R. 2764 Dept. of State Appropriations Adopted 241-178 June 22, 2007. FOR: Tom Davis AGAINST: Frank Wolf NOT VOTING: Jo Ann Davis

Smith amendment to H.R. 2764 to restore the “Mexico City policy” against funding abortions through international family planning assistance. Defeated 205-218 June 21, 2007. FOR: Frank Wolf AGAINST: Tom Davis NOT VOTING: Jo Ann Davis

Author’s note: During the meeting the item above was in error. Although Wolf voted to the restore the “Mexico City policy” and Tom Davis for against restoring it, the slide showed the exact opposite and obscured the fact that Frank Wolf voted consistently against abortion. This apparently was an unfortunate typo.

Wolf amendment to H.R. 2764 to increase funding (by transfer) for assistance programs for Iraq by $158,000,000. Defeated 205-219 June 21, 2007. FOR: Tom Davis, Frank Wolf NOT VOTING: Jo Ann Davis

Musgrave amendment to H.R. 2764 to reduce State Dept. funding by 1/2 of 1% other than aid to Israel. Defeated 179-241 June 22, 2007. AGAINST: Tom Davis, Frank Wolf NOT VOTING: Jo Ann Davis

S. 5 Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act Passed 247-176 June 7, 2007 FOR: Tom Davis AGAINST: JoAnn Davis, Wolf

Notable Legislative Activity in the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS)

  • The BOCS rejected a staff recommended 38% pay raise for themselves. Instead, they opted for 3% COLA 2009-11. Note that compared to regional averages, PWC BOCS have low yearly salaries, $39,737 for members and $45,256 for the chairman.
  • The BOCS approved trailers for Brentsville High School; however, the School Board is still pursuing a ruling on the Planning Commission’s right to deny trailers.
  • The BOCS voted to defer residential proffer increases and deny proffer increases for commercial development and churches. With the drop in housing prices, the BOCS is worried about maintaining a competitive housing market in the county.
  • The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) vote on levying seven different fees and taxes is expected July 12. Supervisor Nohe, Prince William’s NVTA representative, is promoting three projects in PWC: PW Pkwy widening, Rollins Ford extension, and Park n Ride lot in Haymarket. Vice Mayor Parrish, Manassas’ NVTA representative, is promoting a VA 28 overpass at Wellington Rd.
  • The BOCS directed staff to respond to Citizen’s Resource Protection Area (RPA) Committee ‘s concerns. The RPAs are difficult to enforce and create consternation with property owners and buyers. Apparently, this is due in part to the fact the RPAs are not mapped.

Resolution Opposing Senate Bill 1348

With only one vote in opposition the committee passed the following resolution.

Whereas, the United States Congress is debating Senate Bill 1348 (“S.1348”), which, if passed into law, immediately grants individuals currently in this country illegally the right to stay indefinitely, with access to welfare, social security, and other public benefits as well as an abbreviated path to citizenship, and

Whereas the application for legal residency status under S.1348 is voluntarily, and therefore does nothing to improve national security, and

Whereas, the increased number of legal U.S. residents created by S.1348 would substantially increase the strain on federal, state, and local governments in the long term costs of social security, welfare, medical aid, education, and other services, with many of these services already overburdened, and

Whereas, a legal process is in place for immigration to the United States and millions of people from around the world show respect for the laws of our nation by following this process, and

Whereas, S.1348 disregards the concept of equal protection under the law, a founding principle of our Republic, by allowing illegal residents to bypass the established immigration process, be pardoned of various past crimes committed, and receive privileges not even accessible to U.S. citizens, and

Whereas, S.1348 also amnesties U.S. employers who previously have knowingly and unlawfully hired illegal aliens and committed fraud thereby, and

Whereas, these various amnesties granted by S.1348 undermine the rule of law, another principle that is the foundation of our Republic and a guiding philosophy of the Republican Party, and

Whereas, the United States previously passed a similar amnesty and border security bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, otherwise known as the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, which, with weak and improper enforcement, not only failed to solve the problem of illegal immigration but exacerbated it by encouraging more unlawful entries into the United States, and

Whereas, with relatively modest additional resources provided, S.1348 imposes a substantially more complex infrastructure to an immigration system already insufficiently coping with current immigration law and enforcement, and

Whereas, in 2006 Congress overwhelming passed, and the President signed into law, the Secure Fence Act, which mandated construction of 700 miles of fencing along the Southern border, but thus far only several miles have been built and S.1348 reduces the required lenght to only 370 miles, and

Whereas, current law already provides solutions to illegal immigration as well as the growing lawlessness on the American frontier, including the smuggling of people, contraband and potential terrorist elements, if only existing laws were vigorously enforced and border security improved,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Prince William County Republican Committee strongly and ardently opposes Senate Bill 1348, or any bill granting legal status to individuals who have knowingly violated the sovereignty and immigration laws of our nation, and asks our elected representatives to vote NO on this or any similar bill before Congress, and

Be it resolved that the Prince William County Republican Committee calls for the immediate securing of our borders and the enforcement of existing immigration laws with all available means, and

Be it resolved, finally, that this resolution be communicated in writing to each Republican member of the Virginia delegation to the United States Senate and the House of Representatives during the current legislative session, to the office of the President of the United States, and to other appropriate parties.

PWC GOP members carefully considered the language of this resolution, and that consideration generated some debate. The one member who voted against the resolution also spoke against S.1348. However, he wanted to added language to the resolution that would show that the PWC GOP likes and respects legal immigrants. He feared that the Democratic Party would used the resolution the “prove” Republicans are bigots. If successful, such a tactic would interfere with Republican efforts to recruit legal immigrants.

After some consideration, the majority of PWC GOP members opposed changing the initial language of the resolution. They decided that the language of the resolution (already passed by a Republican Committee in another county) was quite clear and needed no such qualification. As paragraph four in the resolution well indicates, the issue not whether members of the PWC GOP like and respect legal immigrants; the issue is whether the people coming to this nation respect our laws.

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