SPECIAL ELECTION FOR THE PRINCE WILLIAM CLERK OF THE COURT ON APRIL 18, 2017

The Prince William County Courthouse in Manassas in July 2011 (from here)

On April 18, 2017, Prince William County will hold a Special Election for the Clerk of the Court.  Why?

Michele McQuigg’s untimely death last month (February 15, 2015) left an opening in one of the county’s constitutional offices, prompting the three localities served by the court — Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park–to ask for an April 18 special election to fill the seat. (from here)

What is the Clerk of the Court? It is a big job. If the Clerk of the Court does a poor job, we can waste lots of time in line waiting our turn. Worst, the Office of the Clerk can lose track of or mess up important records.

Here is a miserable example waiting in line from Atlanta, GA, of gods and goddess… by Julie (aka Cookie). With an introductory lesson in Thalia, the Greek Goddess of comedy, she tells her story of visiting the courthouse in Atlanta to probate her father’s will. is a skilled writer. So she makes her story both interesting and amusing. She also reminds of just how insufferable it is to wait in line for no good reason.

Put yourself in ‘s position. Your father has just died. So you are in mourning. Is that the best time to be driving through heavy traffic just so you can spend hours in line? Don’t you think the better option would be to plan ahead? If we take the time we can elect decent manager to keep our county’s legal records.

Here is the official job description. The full title is The Clerk of Circuit Court.

The Clerk of Circuit Court is a constitutional officer elected every eight (8) years. The Clerk serves the citizens of the County of Prince William and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

The Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court dates back to the 1700s. From that time to the present, the Clerk’s duties have changed significantly, but the office remains vitally important to the citizens of the county and each city.

The Code of Virginia lists more than 800 responsibilities of the Clerk, many of which are complex and challenging. The Clerk serves as the recorder of deeds and probate judge, issues marriage licenses and fictitious names, and is the official court administrator for all civil and criminal court cases. In this latter capacity, the Clerk creates and maintains all court files and records, prepares court orders and jury lists, contacts jurors and issues summons and court processes.

Circuit Court Clerks in Virginia perform duties that in many states are divided among three or four separate offices. Virginia has chosen to combine judicial and administrative functions into a single office–saving citizens significant tax dollars. (from here)

If you want to understand the full scope of the job, click on this link. That is the web site for the Clerk of the Court. That will show you the kind of records that office maintains.

Who is running for the job?

Check out the candidate’s websites. In addition, check out some news articles.

Who am I campaigning for? Jackson Miller. Like Miller, I think the job requires an experienced leader/manager, and he is that. Smith is sharp, but Miller strikes me as sharper and a bit more honest, but judge for yourself.

Anyway, please take the time to become informed and vote. If you are unwilling to do a little research, please stay home.

Need information about voting? Check out pwcvotes.com. Note that if you commute out of the county or expect to be out of the county on election day, you can either vote in-person absentee.

VIRGINIA’S BUDGET WAR

What follows are excerpts from several emails written by members of the Virginia House of Delegates to their constituents. These were published last week after the General Assembly passed a budget.

From RICHARD L. ANDERSON, Delegate, 51st House District.  Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 3:05 PM

anderson

WE HAVE A BUDGET!

I arrived home at 3am this morning after the General Assembly passed a responsible and cautious budget at midnight last night. The bill passed the House 69-31 and the Senate 21-18, an almost 2-to-1 margin across both houses.

Key:  Our spending plan for the next two years increases funding for selected programs that are critical for our people, funds most other programs at the same amount as the prior two-year budget (i.e., few cuts), addresses our state’s $1.5 billion revenue shortfall forecasted over the next two years, and defers Medicaid decisions until after the legislature has completed its work on Medicaid.

To ensure that the General Assembly retains its rightful role regarding Medicaid decisions, both houses approved an added clarifying section that unequivocally prohibits the expansion of Medicaid without the direct approval of the legislature.

This budget closes the $1.5 billion revenue shortfall by also using some of the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Unfortunately, we had to eliminate teacher pay raises and new funding for higher education. I strongly supported teacher compensation increases and am disappointed by this turn of events, but depressed revenues meant that the money is simply not there.

On the other hand, we protected over $300 million in new classroom funding for K-12 education, $50 million in new funding for mental health reforms, and investments in our state employee retirement system.

For a very detailed look at what the budget does and does not include, visit the House Appropriations Committee website by clicking here.

The budget is now enroute to the Governor for his consideration and action. I am hopeful that he will sign the budget with minimal changes so that our Commonwealth is not moved closer to a shutdown and/or interruption of services to our people.

From Jackson H. Miller, Majority Whip, 50th House District. Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 7:58 AM

JacksonMiller

Budget Passes

I am pleased to announce that last night, after a three-month impasse, both the House of Delegates and Senate passed a responsible budget on a bi-partisan vote. Passing this budget guarantees paychecks for our teachers, police officers, firefighters and includes funding for 14,000 more in-state slots at Virginia’s public colleges and universities.  What this budget does not include is further expansion of Obamacare in Virginia.  While the Virginia General Assembly has had to deal with a significant shortfall, the budget we passed will allow us to preserve our investments in the core functions of government – education, transportation, and public safety.

From Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate, 31st House District. Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 12:04 PM

Lingamfelter

Stand Firm with Scott

We stood firm!  We listened to you! We are accountable to the people we serve! That is why we have a budget in Virginia at last; a budget that is fiscally sound and does not expand Obamacare.

This week, Virginians saw firsthand what happens to politicians when voters feel their elected leaders are out of touch with their issues, their thinking, and their expectation for good governance.  The lesson is clear: in order to lead, you have to listen.  Once you listen, you have to take action to help create the right policies that protect our constitutional rights, the vitality of families, and the prosperity of small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, I take my role very seriously. I have an obligation to the people I serve.  That means I take the tough positions-which aren’t always popular with some people-but that’s the price of leadership.  There are people who want to expand Obamacare in Virginia; I get it, but I also get this: We have a $17.5 trillion national debt and we borrow $430 million per HOUR at the federal level. Obamacare expansion in Virginia would put a huge hole in Virginia’s budget going forward. This hole would inevitably result in cuts in education, law enforcement, higher education, and other core functions of state government.  Many people, including myself, very badly want real healthcare reform.  What has been delivered to us by the Obama administration-a huge federal program forced down our throats-is not the right approach. It is time for Congress to take a clean sheet of paper toward healthcare reform, and the first step is to repeal Obamacare and put in place legitimate reform… not big government.

From Rob Bell, Delegate, 58th House District. Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 1:32 AM

rob bell

Budget Passes — WITHOUT Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

It took until late on June 13, but tonight the House and Senate both endorsed a state budget — and one without the proposed Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

The bill passed the Senate 21-18 and the House 69-31.  Click for the votes of your Delegate and Senator.  Both bodies also endorsed an amendment to add safeguards against the Governor expanding Medicaid without legislative approval.

I opposed the proposed Medicaid expansion because spending on the program is already unsustainable.  Even without the proposed expansion, Virginia will pay $600 million more in Medicaid benefits in this biennial budget.  The proposed expansion would have accelerated this spending, and by adding thousands of recipients, it would have made it that much harder to reform the program.

The budget has now been sent to Governor McAuliffe, and we anticipate his actions next week.

These guys run every two years, and they will be running again in 2015. So please do as Bell suggests. Find out how your Delegate (and your Senator to) voted, and let him or her know what you think.

DELEGATE RICH ANDERSON: ANOTHER NO VOTE ON THE TRANSPORTATION BILL

travel.pngWell, it took awhile, but Democrats finally figured out that Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation bill is full of tax increases. Therefore, they are happy with it.

This article explains, and it says who voted for it.

VA Senate Passes $880 Million Transportation Bill, Sends It To McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The state Senate has passed the first long-term reform to Virginia’s floundering 27-year-old system for funding repairs and upkeep of its 58,000-mile network of highways.

The 25-15 vote sends to Gov. Bob McDonnell what would be the defining policy legacy in the fourth and final year of the single, non-renewable term Virginia allows its governors.      It would replace Virginia’s 17 1/2 cents-per-gallon retail gasoline tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent levy on diesel fuel. It boosts statewide sales taxes from 5 percent to 5.3 percent.

It increases the titling tax on car sales and adds a $100 registration fee for fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles. It also rules out proposed tolls on Interstate 95 south of Petersburg. (continued here)

How did this happen? We have been greedy. Because we have voted for people who promise to give us other people’s money, we have put thieves in charge of our government.

There is no honor among thieves. — proverb

The thieves we elect will steal from the people, even from the people who voted for them.

Proverbs 29:24 Good News Translation (GNT)

A thief’s partner is his own worst enemy. He will be punished if he tells the truth in court, and God will curse him if he doesn’t.

And they cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Fortunately, we still elect some people who care about doing the right thing. Delegate Rich Anderson sent out an email today explaining his vote against the bill. Here is an excerpt.

Staying Connected, District Update #2013-3:

“House Bill 2313 on Virginia Transportation

It’s Saturday afternoon, February 23rd, and I am typing these words at my General Assembly desk in Richmond during a recess on our last day of the 2013 legislative session. I am writing to tell you about a crucial vote we took yesterday (Friday).

This crucial vote concerned final passage of HB2313 (the House-Senate Transportation Bill).  Although HB2313 passed by a final vote of 60-40, I voted NO on this bill, along with five other Prince William County delegates. As your delegate to the General Assembly, I feel a strong sense of accountability to you and wish to explain my vote.

Despite the reality that the transportation needs of the Commonwealth require additional new funding for construction of new roadways and maintenance of existing roads, I felt that this bill levied a heavy fiscal burden on our neighbors. Washington’s solution is higher taxes on families and job creators, and I didn’t want to do the same in Virginia.

My reasons for my NO vote resulted from the below realities.

First, we saw the final copy of HB2313, 109 pages of complex data, on Thursday night at 6:15pm—hours before our vote on Friday and without full discussion and understanding its complexities. The bill was not posted promptly on the General Assembly website for you to make input.

Second, our citizens were hit last month with a 2% federal decrease in their take-home pay.  Federal officials openly speak of federal tax increases. Sequestration and the federal fiscal cliff threaten to kill hundreds of thousands of jobs in Virginia and Prince William County. The national economy didn’t merely remain flat last quarter…it contracted.  And we are in times of unprecedented fiscal uncertainty.

Third, HB2313 is a “compromise” that raises taxes and fees on Virginia families at a time when people are worried about losing their jobs. It increases taxes at the pump for cars and trucks; it increases the tax on car sales by 40%; it increases the sales tax to 6%; it increases fees on alternative fuel vehicles; it implements a high grantor tax on houses; it levies a 3% transient occupancy tax; and it depends on internet taxes that will be implemented by Washington—all without a single dollar cut in spending or an offset of another tax.

Let me be clear:  I am not a legislator who will reflexively vote against a tax or fee increase if truly needed—and affordable to hardworking citizens in Prince William County. I have also declined to sign any “no-tax pledges.” But I thought we could do better than HB2313.

To better understand your perspective, I conducted three town hall meetings with our neighbors in January and February; personally exchanged several thousand emails with people in Prince William County; discussed the issue of taxes in hundreds of telephone calls; and met with hundreds of PWC residents. The overwhelming sentiment expressed to me was a simple “please do not raise my taxes in this economy.”

As a member of both the House Transportation Committee and House Finance Committee, I presented an alternative Transportation bill last month, on behalf of several legislators, to a committee hearing in the Capitol. The bill I presented would have adjusted a number of taxes to raise revenue, repealed the food tax to help those less fortunate, saved the average family of four $100 in taxes each year (as scored by the Virginia Department of Taxation), and lessened the financial impact on you and your family. Unfortunately, the House-Senate Conference Committee wrote the final plan that we saw yesterday.

For years, Northern Virginia has sent money to Richmond without adequate return to our area. We currently get an average of 30 cents back for every dollar we send to Richmond. Friday’s plan does not fully resolve that problem, and I believe strongly that more transportation dollars must come back to our community where gridlock exists.

Friends, in making this tough decision, we received an avalanche of mail and calls from you, our neighbors. My colleagues and I are citizen-legislators, meaning that we are citizens first. Your perspective helped shape my vote, and I believe strongly that most Prince William County residents sincerely want a transportation solution, but not one that burdens them financially.

Note that Anderson listened to your input. It does not hurt to contact your legislators.

BATTLING OVER “POWER SHARING”; ANOTHER VIEW

Here is Delegate Rich Anderson‘s view of the budget stalemate. He also provides some information on road closures.

Rich’s Richmond Report: Staying Connected

Capitol Update 2012-05

Dear Prince William Neighbors,

As of today (Friday), we have a proposed budget once again! The House adjourned at 3 PM today and concluded our 8th week of the 2012 legislative session of the General Assembly—and we did so with bi-partisan approval of House Bill (HB) 1301, the proposed two-year $85 billion budget that runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014.

This week was filled with budgetary action after Senate Democrats killed BOTH the House and Senate budgets last week for the next two Fiscal Years. Floor amendments on HB 1301 were flying fast and furious all afternoon today, but House Republicans and Democrats settled on a bipartisan state budget with an impressive vote of 75-22. Like the House budget killed last week by the Senate, this new House budget is fiscally responsible and fully balanced. During Floor debate this afternoon, House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) publicly thanked each other’s Caucus for an inclusive process and for having the opportunity to participate fully. There is a lot to like in the House budget for both sides of the aisle.

Our proposed budget that now goes to the Senate for a “re-do” is a structurally balanced document that contains targeted funding increases in core areas of government, to include job growth, education, public safety, and health care—all without raising taxes or fees. In the end, one third of the House Democrats joined with House Republicans in supporting the House Budget that passed by a whopping three-to-one margin.

And that’s the latest regarding the Virginia biennial budget—more to follow next week! Regarding transportation in NOVA, no closures are scheduled today for I-95 and the current I-95 widening project. Please click here for more information on the project itself: http://www.vamegaprojects.com/about-megaprojects/i95-widening. For current info or to report conditions to VDOT, please call 1-800-FOR-ROAD or go to www.511Virginia.org.

As I’ve said before, I need and value your input on issues before the General Assembly. We’ve posted an on-line survey to our House website, and I invite you to click here and provide us with your views: http://tinyurl.com/7r46cza. We’ve received a large amount of feedback, which I found to be invaluable to my decisions when called upon to vote on legislation before the House.

I hope to also hear your thoughts via email, phone calls, a telephone town hall in the coming weeks, in-person town halls when we return home in mid-March, and your visits to our Capitol office here in Richmond (we are in Room 406 of the General Assembly Building).

During the week, you may reach me and Ryan M. Galloway (my legislative assistant) in Richmond at 804-698-1051. If you have an urgent need on the weekend, please call me at home (703-730-1380) and I will be happy to assist you or even meet you in person. My direct email address is DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov, and Ryan’s email is RGalloway@house.virginia.gov. Have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you around the 51st House District in the coming weeks and months!

Warmest regards,
Rich Anderson
Delegate, 51st House District
Virginia General Assembly

Here is a thoroughly partisan editorial from the dailypress.com.

On Election Day last November, as returns showed the political makeup of the state Senate was split down the middle, Virginia’s lieutenant governor crowed, “Make no mistake … there is a Republican majority.”

And in one fell sound-bite, Bill Bolling made it abundantly clear he was a Grand Old Party man — first, last and always.

Not a Virginian.

He also helped enable the cage match now raging in Richmond, with 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats ready to sacrifice the state budget over a power-sharing dispute in the Senate.

If only they’d all taken Gov. Bob McDonnell’s advice last fall. To fellow Republicans, he said, “Don’t be arrogant.” And to Democrats, “Don’t be angry.”

Fail, and fail.

Under Bolling’s eager hand, Republicans grabbed the bit between their teeth and ran roughshod over Democrats. (continued here)