Jim Webb Makes Trip to New Hampshire

On Monday night, Former Sen. Jim Webb spoke to audiences St. Anslem College near Manchester, New Hampshire about his new memoir “I Heard My Country Calling”, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The trip to New Hampshire is one of a few recent appearances made by Webb after he announced interest in a potential 2016 presidential run. The Democrat also went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and made a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.

Webb has also been upping his social media presence as he tweeted a link to a CNBC story Sunday about Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellin’s warning about income inequality. Webb stated “I’ve been warning about this for more than 8 years.”

The former senator is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and has worked as a former assistant secretary of defense and secretary of the Navy. He represented Virginia in the Senate from 2007-2013, as he did not seek a second term in 2014.

Budget Cuts Will Not Affect Arlington Street Car Project

The Washington Post  is reporting that despite two Country Board members calling for the Commonwealth Transportation Board to drop funding for the Colombia Pike streetcar project amiss budget cuts, the state will not reduce it’s promised funding for the project.

Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Jennifer Mitchell says that the state remains “fully committed” to aiding Arlington and Fairfax counties with $65 million over a period of 6 years.

“This projects is an important regional priority and a key part of the economic redevelopment along Columbia Pike and the Pentagon and Crystal City corridors,” remarked Mitchell.

Board members Libby Garvey (D) and John Vihstadt (I) are against the streetcar plan and feel that the money would be better served if it was to go to funding rapid-transit busses along the same area.

“John and I strongly support a world-class transportation solution for Columbia Pike,” said Garvey earlier in the week, adding “that solution is bus rapid transit (BRT) — not the streetcar, which is currently in your plan. In fact, we believe BRT is a good solution for the entire region.”

Garvey and Vihstadt have been unsuccessful in opposing the streetcar project which is slated to run from the Skyline area of Fairfax County, northeast along Columbia Pike to Pentagon City, then over to Crystal City where it will connect with a separate but still related streetcar traveling from Crystal City to Potomac Yard.

Foust Works to Regain Female Voters

On Thursday Democrat John Foust, congressional candidate for Virginia’s 10th District, joined several women leaders to criticize Republican opponent Barbara Comstock for her stances on abortion and equal pay in the workplace, reports The Washington Post.

Foust stood with state Sen. Barbara Favola, former Fairfax County board of supervisors chair Kate Hanley and several other female Democratic leaders at the event in McLean. At the event Foust stated that, “Barbara Comstock’s position on women’s health and rights are completely out of touch with voters here in Northern Virginia.” Favola added,  “She [Comstock] is telling us time and again that government should interfere in a woman’s personal and private health-care decisions,” citing Comstock’s support for a bill that, before it was amended, would have made women seeking an abortion undergo a mandatory transvaginal ultrasound.

Despite the appearance being planned in advance, it gave Foust the opportunity to address Comstock’s claims that he was a “sexist” for a comment he made in August suggesting that she had never had a “real job”.  The leaders said that this was Comstock’s attempt to shy attention away from her voting record on women’s issues. They also restated that the comment was made in reference to Comstock’s lobbying career in Washington.

With less than 20 days before the midterm elections on November 4th, exchanges between the two candidates are continuing to intensify.

Virginia GOP Urge McAuliffe to Stop Travel From Ebola-Affected Countries

Three prominent Virginia Republicans have begun to put pressure on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to block travelers from Ebola-affected countries from entering the state, reports The Washington Post.

This week Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), Sen. Richard Black (R-Loudoun), and Del. Mark Berg (R-Frederick) wrote in a letter to McAuliffe that he should consider suing Washington Dulles International Airport or the federal government in order to make sure that anyone with the potential of bringing Ebola into Virginia get quarantined.

Marshall stated in a phone interview that, “He [McAuliffe] has significant influence with President Obama because of his personal relationship as a fundraiser for Democrats,” adding that, “He has been given vast powers to protect the citizens of Virginia from a situation we face.”

According to the governor’s spokesman, Brian Coy, McAuliffe received a briefing from multiple departments including health, emergency management, and public safety on the Ebola issue. Coy said that “He has confidence in the professional responders and the plan Virginia has, should we have a positive confirmation of these cases,” adding, that McAuliffe’s office is working on a response to the lawmaker’s letter.

In a statement Thursday from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, the hospital said that one patient had been tested for Ebola, the test came back negative, and the patient was discharged.

Federal Prosecutors Do Not Feel McDonnell Deserves a New Trial

The Washington Post is reporting that federal prosecutors are speaking out against former governor Bob McDonnell’s claim that he deserves a new trial. McDonnell holds that the federal judge told jurors that many of the defense attorney’s arguments were one the judge had already rejected.

These opinions from the federal prosecutors were not surprising and U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer is very likely to agree with them as he has in the past with similar disputes. These motions still give a preview into the battle that is likely to happen in the federal courts of appeals. They also reveal that the dismissal of a juror on the 12th day of the trial is on reason for the couple’s bid for a new trial.

Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen were convicted last month of lending the prestige of the Governor’s office to StarsScientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for loans, vacations and luxury goods.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Budget Cuts

On Wednesday Governor McAuliffe announced his plan for budget cuts aimed to remedy the state’s budget shortfall, which includes 565 layoffs, reports The Washington Post. 

The state employees slated to lose their jobs mostly work in the Department of Corrections, where Virginia plans to close a prison, residential facility, a diversion center, and plan to postpone the opening of a women’s prison. These cuts will save Virginia almost $4 million in “operational efficiencies.”

In addition, the state plans on gaining another $2.5 million in revenue when the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control increases the mark-up on distilled spirits.

The cuts announced can take effect immediately as they require no approval or action from the General Assembly.

On December 17, the governor will reveal a larger, revised budget plan for how to save money in the 2016 fiscal year, which will require the vote of the Republican controlled General Assembly.

This year was the first year outside of the national recession that the fund revenues in Virginia declined. They fell about $438 million, or 0.9 percent, despite the predicted 1.6 percent growth.

Warner and Gillespie Face Each Other in Final Debate

On Monday, October 13th candidates for U.S. Senate, Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie faced off in their final debate before the midterm election, reports The Washington Post. 

In their final debate Ed Gillespie made sure to attack Warner for the recently revealed job talked he had with the son of former state senator Phillip Puckett. The talks surrounded a potential federal judgeship for Puckett’s daughter, which had the intention of persuading Puckett, a Democrat, to keep his seat and thus avoid giving the control of  the state Senate to the Republicans.It was also recently revealed that Governor McAuliffe’s chief of staff had similar conversations with Puckett.

“This is very serious in terms of the federal bench, [it] has a big impact on our lives, and we need to make sure the qualified people are put on the bench, and I would never play politics with recommending judicial appointments,” declared Gillespie during the debate.

Warner denied the job offer and said that the call was intended to innocently “brainstorm” potential job options for Martha Puckett Ketron, Puckett’s daughter.

Warner also responded that “I’ve been a friend of Senator Phillip Puckett and his family for nearly 20 years. When I heard that Phillip was considering resigning from the Senate, I reached out to his son Joseph to find out what was going on,” further elaborating that, “I did not offer her a job nor would I offer her any kind of position.”

Maureen McDonnell Looks to Delay Sentencing

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that Maureen McDonnell has asked a judge to delay her sentencing  to a least mid-February because of her lawyer’s scheduling conflict.

As of now the sentencing for McDonnell and her husband, former governor Bob McDonnell is scheduled on January 6. The former first lady was convicted of 13 charges including obstruction of justice during a six-week trial last month.

Maureen McDonnell filed the motion because she says at least one of her lawyers will be representing another defendant in federal court in New Jersey on January 6th. She has requested that the sentencing be postponed until after Febraury 16th and says that the U.S. attorney’s office knows about the request and doesn’t take a position on it.

According to Andrew G. McBride. a former Virginia federal prosecutor the judge will most likely grant the motion adding, “Judges generally respect professional courtesy on conflicts.” The delay in Mrs. McDonnell’s sentencing date is not likely to affect her husband.

Same-Sex Couples Begin to Marry in Virginia

On October 6, The Supreme Court made a decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Virginia. That same afternoon same-sex couples were lined up eagerly waiting for the chance to finally marry their significant others, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

An issue mandated by the the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued at 1:00 p.m. stated that marriage licenses could be obtained and unions could be officiated.

Shortly after the mandate was lifted Nicole Pries, 42 and Lindsey Oliver, 30 were the first couple in Richmond to be issued a license and then married outside of the John Marshall Courts Building.

Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring called the change “momentous”, after the Supreme Court decided that it would not hear cases from the 10th, 7th and 4th circuits that aimed to continue bans on same-sex marriage.

The ruling also affected Indiana Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin and is likely to expand same-sex marriage to Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as well.

Governor McAuliffe commented saying “Virginia is already well-prepared to implement this historic decision. Going forward we will act quickly to continue to bring all of our policies and practices into compliance so that we can give marriages between same-sex partners the full faith and credit they deserve.”

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb Speaks Out in Support of Same-Sex Marriage

Despite the tough stance that former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) used to hold on same-sex marriage, The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that he is “comfortable with the evolution” on the issue that is taking place in public and in the courts.

On NBC’s Meet the Press Webb Stated that “I think this has been a good thing for the country”. This declaration is quite different from his opinion during his 2006 campaign where stated that he believed that marriage was between a man and woman. Despite this stance however, Webb did not support the constitutional amendment that would define it as such.

Webb made waves  two weeks ago when he announced he was seriously contemplating a 2016 presidential run.  The former senator did not seek reelection in 2012 and did not talk about his potential run on NBC’s program. He stated that he is trying “to identify the issues that America needs to focus on…to regain trust of the American people” adding that this was his same strategy when running for Senate n 2006.

“I think that people are way ahead of their leaders and they know we have these problems, that we’re at a crossroads. And they’re very disappointed in the fact that top leaders in both parties have not been able to come together for the good of the country,” said Webb.