Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric physician, started off the discussion Wednesday morning with a chilling statistic – there have been 860 deaths so far this year due to opioid overdoses. Virginia is on par to reach 1000 deaths by year end he said.
Dr. Northam, met with leaders at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to discuss the opioid public health emergency and to highlight policy solutions he will push for in the 2017 General Assembly session and beyond.
Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic
Steve Arner, President/CEO, Carilion Medical Center, Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic, Dr. Willia
Ken Cuccinelli and family after accepting the Republican nomination for governor.
A twelve-hour day started late as participants squeezed through two coliseum entrance checkpoints instead of the expected twelve. Over 8500 convention goers and credentialed delegates filled the Richmond coliseum at Saturday’s Virginia Republican convention. The guest speaker was Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had no contest and was easily declared the Republican nominee for governor by acclimation and a resounding roar of approval. The first round of balloting took out Mark Obenshain’s opponent Delegate Rob Bell and Senator Obenshain was declared the party’s attorney general nominee.
Seven candidates were vying for lieutenant governor. Four rounds of voting took up the rest of the day and evening. The first round of voting took almost three hours and the participants became restless. The voting machines didn’t factor in a weighted voting system. Not every vote is equal.
Grumbling could be heard as some feared the RPV didn’t want Jackson as the lieutenant governor nominee. That was the feeling of Roanoke Tea Party President Chip Tarbutton – coalitions were being formed to override Jackson’s commanding lead in each round of balloting. On the 3rd round Jackson fell just short of the 50% needed. He came in at 49.7% but in the fourth round Jackson succeeded.
E. W. Jackson
Jackson is a Harvard Law School graduate and minister. He came in last with 4.7% of the vote in the 2012 Republican Senate primary where George Allen won. A line of his supporters and volunteers at the convention marched around the floor perimeter with signs and shouts for Jackson as more voting rounds were called.
To pass the time bored attendees mingled, listened to or in some cases ignored speeches and flew paper airplanes from the balconies. They even initiated a “wave” that went around the coliseum.
Cuccinelli spoke with a less ideological and more methodical tone than in speeches past. His speech was streamed live and lasted 24 minutes. He hit some of the same notes that Democrats have been beating the drum on for years. “We need a stronger middle class … better paying jobs, more opportunity and a more competitive economic environment for businesses to invest and grow.”
Crowd roars for E. W. Jackson
His softer tone didn’t keep him from taking a few pot shots at his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe. “We should be trying to bring those jobs here in Virginia and not in Mississippi.” A clear reference to McAuliff’s electric car company GreenTech that located in Mississippi to take advantage of a large incentive the state offered. Cuccinelli attacked McAuliffe on what he called his changing story on why he located his startup company in Mississippi.
McAuliffe released three years of tax returns but Cuccinelli demanded that he should release eight years of returns as he has done. Democrats have called him “extreme” and Cuccinelli tried to dampen that label down with rationalizations. “When did it become extreme to guard our constitution from overreach,” he said.
Cuccinelli promoted quality education calling for giving “parents greater control over their children’s education.” In contrast to his earlier statements bemoaning the increased taxes that Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation package would bring he instead was more nuanced saying Virginia needed a transportation system that advances the state’s economy and improves quality of life.
Planned Parenthood PAC Rally
Protecting the elderly from abuse to the rights of the unborn was his only venture into social issues. Outside the convention center across the street stood a row of Planned Parenthood PAC women in pink holding signs that read “Keep Ken Out.” A rally against tightening restrictions on women’s healthcare and abortion clinics.
“I’m the only candidate in this race that won’t need on-the-job training,” said Cuccinelli. A direct reference to McAuliffe who has never held elective office. “My opponent knows Washington – I know Virginia.” He called McAuliffe a “Virginia outsider” pushing home McAuliffe’s image as a carpetbagger. McAuliffe has lived in Virginia for over 20 years and is having trouble shaking the label placed on him by Republicans.
As if he needed to remind Virginians he touted his lawsuit against the Affordable Healthcare Act, his challenges to climate change data and his resistance to overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Cuccinelli has waged a battle against child pornography and human trafficking for much of his term as attorney general. His recently introduced economic plan reduces the personal income tax rate from 5.75% to 5% over four years and the corporate tax from 6% to 4%. Lt. Governor Bill Bolling has criticized both candidate’s tax plans saying, ” you can’t just propose tax cuts willy nilly.”
The Democratic primary is June 11 when voters will select Sen. Mark Herring or Justin Fairfax for attorney general and Aneesh Chopra or Sen. Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor.
Democrats were quick to respond to the ticket:“This year’s election will present Virginians with a clear choice between a Democratic vision for more jobs, good schools and the transportation system our economy needs and the Cuccinelli-Jackson-Obenshain agenda to roll back the clock on women’s health and turn our government into a hotbed for Tea Party extremism.”
SEE Chip Tarbutton President of Roanoke Tea Party and Roanoke City Republican Chair John Brill towards the end of the video chanting for E. W. Jackson.