Inauguration Day 2014

Congratulations to Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring, sworn in today as Virginia’s Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General!

Update: This story on the DPVA website – The inaugural speech and Video of the festivities are available through the link.

Democrats are right on coal

Democrats are right on coal, but here in the Ninth District Virginia, the GOP is more successful in pulling people’s strings. Many people are buying the story that the Democrats support the EPA, which is killing coal, and Republicans will preserve coal jobs. If the Ninth District goes for Republicans, coal will be a major reason for that choice. For Virginia and for coal, Republicans are the wrong choice.

Quite a few coal jobs in Virginia relate to research on clean coal. Finding a way to burn coal without carbon pollution is the best hope for sustainable jobs in coal, and Virginia Democrats support clean coal research. Republicans are not being truthful about problems in the coal industry. Coal in Virginia is suffering not from the EPA, but from several problems:

  • Gas is cheaper, and many coal plants have converted to natural gas, reducing the demand for coal.
  • Virginia coal production is difficult, since the coal is in mountains. Extraction costs less for coal producers in Wyoming, and they can sell for less, driving down the price of coal and Virginia coal’s profit margin.
  • Developing technology is against coal in the market, as wind and solar come into use, and cost of electricity produced by these methods is reduced by innovation and volume.
  • Coal is not a renewable resource. Predictions range from about 10 to about 30 years of coal production left in Virginia.

Burning coal does spill carbon into the atmosphere, and environmentalists will continue to work against it. Washing of coal also produces sludge that is harmful to the environment. Gas is cleaner, solar and wind are clean, and the environment is where we live and breathe. So the environmental point is well taken.

As clean coal technology progresses, we no longer have to trade our environment for electricity. The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (Dominion) in St. Paul (Wise County), is our largest and most modern coal-burning power plant, using coal, coal waste, and up to 20% biomass, and meeting EPA standards for carbon emission.

All of that said, politics is politics, and our Democrats may still lose the Ninth District because the clean coal message doesn’t fit in a soundbite and isn’t easy to share with people who won’t listen to you or talk to you.

I am three generations away from any actual coal miner, yet I know the words to a dozen songs that recount the heroism and endurance of coal miners. Here in the Ninth there are people who have no direct involvement, but who base their vote primarily on the coal issue. Many such voters do not know the market or the business of coal, but they identify with the culture, legend, and legacy – the song and story of coal. Perhaps this attachment explains in part why the UMWA and the mine owners supported Congressman Rick Boucher, a Democrat with a long friendship to coal, yet his Republican opponent won on the strength of the coal issue by proclaiming that President Obama had a war on coal. Boucher’s friendship was the true story, and still people believed the false GOP claim that Democrats had a war on coal.

Boucher hosted a recent fundraiser in Abingdon for Democrat Ralph Northam, who well deserves every Virginian’s vote for Lt. Governor on Election Day. Boucher continues to work for the Ninth in support of clean coal, and is among leading Democrats involved in The CoalBlue Project, a significant project for both sustainable coal usage and the environment.

If sustainable coal production and jobs is the goal, we owe our votes to Democrats in this election, because Democrats are the ones working on the real issues. A war is exciting, but in coal there is no war. There are resources and results that need to be managed. Democrats have the better plan for coal and energy, just as Democrats have the better plan for transportation, education, business, health care and keeping Virginia a good place for people to live.

Virginia Dems File Suit to Stop Conflict-of-Interest Voter Purge

Brian Coy
October 2, 2013

Today the Democratic Party of Virginia released a complaint filed in federal court asking a judge to stop a plan by the Virginia State Board of Elections, in coordination with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – who has a blatant conflict of interest in providing legal advice to the Board while serving as a candidate for governor – to purge 57,000 voters from the Virginia rolls.

Cuccinelli is the official legal adviser to the State Board, which has sought to eliminate voters that it says are listed as registered in multiple states. However, questions persist as to the accuracy of the lists provided and Cuccinelli’s conflict of interest in the matter raises serious questions about whether the planned purge would be carried out impartially.

In guidance to the local officials charged with carrying out the voter purge, the State Board urges those officials to “use your best judgment,” raising the real possibility of broad variance between different localities in terms of how individuals would be purged from the roles, which would violate Virginians’ right to equal protection under the law as protected by the 14th amendment.

“Ken Cuccinelli’s refusal to resign his office as he runs for Governor continues to damage Virginians’ confidence that this upcoming election will be conducted fairly and impartially,” said DPVA Chair Charniele Herring. “For him to be a candidate on the ballot and the adviser to a dubious effort to take voting rights away from 57,000 Virginians is an inexcusable conflict of interest that’s become all too common for the Attorney General.

“Today’s lawsuit is an effort to stop this questionable act until Virginians can be assured that it is conducted impartially and with proper consideration for the sacred voting rights of thousands of people across this Commonwealth.”

To view a copy of the formal complaint click here.

Terry McAuliffe nailed it with this ad:

Terry McAuliffe’s ad shown below calls his opponent out for wasting taxpayer money and not doing his job. His opponent wasted taxpayer money suing the federal government over Obamacare, opposing transportation and infrastructure spending, and — as this ad shows — trying to impose a political ideology on scientific research. An Attorney General is supposed to look after the interests of Virginia and Virginians, not litigate against the best interest of the Commonwealth and his constituents.

Cuccinelli fails to respond to FOIA request

Brian Coy, DPVA
July 18, 2013

On the morning of Thursday, July 11th, Senator Donald McEachin submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of the Attorney General seeking information about Ken Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

McEachin released the following statement today questioning why he has yet to receive a response of any sort despite the legally required 5-business day deadline for a response having passed:

“Last week I submitted a simple request for information about the Attorney General’s relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. A large part of that request sought information that Ken Cuccinelli’s office has already provided to his campaign for Governor. Despite that, the Attorney General’s Office has not yet responded to my request as Virginia law requires.

“Months of state and nationwide news coverage and a steady drip, drip, drip of ever-more disturbing revelations have become a distraction from the key issues we face as a state and a damaging signal to the rest of the world about the kind of government Virginia has.

“That is why I offered him the opportunity to give Virginians the information they deserve last week, and why today I am renewing my call for the Attorney General to open his office up to disinfecting sunlight that is so sorely needed right now. Until Virginians know the truth about how and why Ken Cuccinelli exposed his taxpayer-funded office to a massive conflict of interest scandal we cannot begin to undo the damage he has caused and move on from this dark period. It’s time for the Attorney General to provide the information that Virginians deserve.”

Senator McEachin’s FOIA from last week specifically asks for:

  1. All communications between any member of the Office of the Attorney General and Jonnie Williams.
  2. All internal and external communications to which the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the Office’s potential conflict of interest in the Commonwealth’s case against Todd Schneider for embezzlement at the Executive Mansion.
  3. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the allegations against Governor McDonnell made byTodd Schneider.
  4. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party related to any “walling off” of the Attorney General in the Commonwealth’s case against Todd Schneider for embezzlement at the Executive Mansion.
  5. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the Attorney General’s financial disclosures.
  6. All information concerning any fees charged by the Office of the Attorney General or paid by anyone for the preparation of the “Inquiry on Star Scientific” Memorandum dated June 27, 2013 from the Cuccinelli for Governor Campaign.
  7. All internal and external communications to which any member of the Office of the Attorney General was a party regarding the “Inquiry on Star Scientific” Memorandum dated June 27, 2013 from the Cuccinelli for Governor Campaign.
  8. All Freedom of Information Act requests received by the Office of the Attorney General seeking information or documents related in any way to the Commonwealth’s case against Todd Schneider for embezzlement at the Executive Mansion, and the response provided by the Office of the Attorney General.

Notice of cancellation of Caucus

The deadline for filing set at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, 2013 having passed, and the number of persons filing for Delegate or Alternate to the Ninth Congressional District Convention being five and only five persons sufficient to meet our delegate allotment, the caucus is cancelled and those five who have filed are declared Delegates and Alternates, pursuant to the rules stated in the Call to Caucus.

Thank you to folks who filed, and to all of our Bristol Democrats who were holding the date on the calendar in case a caucus was needed.

Since we will all be free on May 6th at 7:00, here is where we should be:

Monday, May 6, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. – Since the Caucus is cancelled! – Come out and support Bristol Tennessee Democrats at the Forum! Bristol TN-VA Association of Realtors will host a forum for Bristol TN City Council candidates at the Slater Community Center, 325 McDowell St., Bristol, TN. The forum will feature a segment allowing opponents to question each other. It is open to the public, and of interest to all residents of Bristol.

Also remember:

Border Bash tonight on State Street! 5:30 to around 8:00 the BVDC will be there! Come down and say hello!

The remainder of our calendar remains in effect as sent previously, but the two items below have highlighted updates:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. – Terry McAuliffe will be in Bristol! Corner of Moore and Cumberland streets in Bristol, at the Birthplace of Country Music. Come to meet and greet the next Governor of Virginia! The campaign website is at .

And very important:
Saturday, May 25, 2013 – Ninth District Convention to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 25 2013, at the Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center, Ratliff Hall Meeting Facility, 25236 Hillman Highway Abingdon, VA 24210. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. The timing of this convention prior to the primary on June 11th gives an opportunity for the primary candidates to come to the region and meet people from across the district. Please plan to attend if at all possible. I hope that our candidates running in the primary for nomination to Lt. Governor and Attorney General will be there, and the MC of the Convention will be Charniele Herring, the new Democratic Party of Virginia Chair!

Thank you – come see us at Border Bash, and be downtown at Moore and Cumberland on Wednesday to see Terry McAuliffe!

– Sarah

— Sarah Williams, Chair
Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee
P.O. Box 17452
Bristol, VA 24209-7452
Telephone: 276-591-3355