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Posts Tagged ‘Todd Gilbert’

BREAKING: Delegate Gilbert to be Challenged

April 11, 2009 2 comments

From Winchester Report and Rappahannock News, we have word that Delegate Todd Gilbert has drawn a challenger: Democrat John Lesinski. Mr. Lesinski decided to announce at the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors meeting. So far, only Rapp News has carried the announcement. The announcement was just stuffed into a report on the Board meeting. However, the editors had harsh words for the Delegate, who also happened to be at the meeting to give Board members an update on the legislative work he has done on behalf of the county. 

Then, county resident John Lesinski, a Democrat, announced that he would be running against Republican incumbent Todd Gilbert for the 15th District delegate seat. Why Mr. Gilbert would show up at this BOS meeting, instead of all the other ones he didn’t attend, seemed only slightly coincidental.

But, coincidence aside, that was not all. Toward the end of the meeting, several supervisors made a point of praising Mr. Gilbert’s championing the county in Richmond, and that they were very grateful for all his effort. Not a word was said in support of Lesinski’s candidacy even though he is a resident and Gilbert is not.

It’s not the sentiments we object to, but the timing and the venue and the appearance that the county Board of Supervisors publicly supports one candidate over the other, and on the day one chooses to announce.

Let’s put aside for a second that Delegate Gilbert has a good working relationship with county officials and has welcomed them multiple times in his Richmond office. In terms of his legislative work, he has been a staunch advocate for the tiny county that constitutes just about 10% of his district. He patroned HB936, which allows the sort of cost sharing agreement that the county just entered into with Madison County that will help guarantee up to a quarter of a million more in school funding, and introduced a budget amendment that would have granted $50,000 to the Scrabble School Foundation (although the amendment did not make it into the final budget). Outside of his official legislative duties, he has also been a leader on other issues confronting the county, including fighting Dominion Power on the planned line through the county and fighting against VDOT’s plan service cuts in rural areas. 

Of course, the paper was the only in the area not to carry the announcement of Gilbert’s re-election bid and did not endorse him in 2005, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. However, before they decide he is not worthy of their support over someone who just moved to the county in 2006 2007, perhaps they should look at the incumbent’s history of leadership on behalf of the county. 

All that aside, I look forward to a vigorous discussion of ideas between the two candidates. I think we will see a number of contrasts, particularly on the future of Interstate 81.  However, for now I can assure you I will be standing behind the principled and effective leadership of Delegate Todd Gilbert. 

Disclaimer: I am a former employee of Delegate Todd Gilbert. However, I have received no compensation for this post nor from his campaign or office since April 2006. 

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Gilbert on VDOT at Lincoln Day Dinner

As we noted the other day, Delegate Todd Gilbert has been putting more and more fiscal issues of late. You might think this is obvious given the mess Richmond’s budget is in and the currently dire economic situation. However, Delegate Gilbert is resisting the siren call of higher taxes as the way to “save” our republic and instead is looking for ways to make government more streamlined and effective. 

His current target: VDOT. VDOT has decided to cut back services and close reststops alll up and down the I-81 corridor. Delegate Gilbert believes we’re seeing a repeat of 2004, when many departments played games with the citizenry of the commonwealth, with the full cooperation of the Warner administration, to force the General Assembly into raising taxes. From the Daily News Record:

Gilbert, however, said it was the current administration that was playing politics. The delegate, whose 15th district includes parts of Page, Shenandoah, Rappahannock and Rockingham counties, was more blunt in his assessment of the purpose of the proposed residency closings. He drew a comparison to a budget battle in recent years when the Department of Motor Vehicle offices were closed during a debate over raising taxes.

When the debate was over, the offices stayed open, he said.

Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to raise taxes this time, Gilbert said, VDOT is similarly proposing cuts after resisting an independent analysis of its spending practices.

“I am not sure that the motivation behind this plan isn’t political,” he said during the meeting.

Once again, we scooped ’em!

The Northern Virginia Daily covered the Lincoln Day Dinner–in a pretty bare bones fashion, as they could have done an entire article on the AG candidates.(Note to the editors–next time send Shipley!) However, it’s nice that our event is finally worthy of coming out of the shadows on party intrigue and being an open event for all comers to celebrate our principles and support the party. 

In the article the Daily announces that Delegate Gilbert is running for re-election–remember who had that news first.

BREAKING–Delegate Gilbert Makes Major Announcement

March 15, 2009 3 comments

Last night, 15th District Delegate Todd Gilbert made a major announcement about his future:

That’s right, Delegate Gilbert is engaged to the lovely Jennifer Wishon, CBN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent. You can see her here in this clip from the other week. Congratulations to Todd and Jennifer–best wishes as you plan and set a date for the wedding. 

Oh yes, and Delegate Gilbert will be seeking re-election. 

VDOT: Video Department, Occasionally Transportation

I spent last night with 176 of my fellow Shenandoah County Republicans at our Annual Lincoln Day Dinner. The crowd was the largest its been in years, the food from Shaffer’s catering wonderful (as always), and the speakers electric. I’m working on getting some video up, but there’s one thing I wanted to comment on while I’m getting some of that up. 

As I noted the other day, Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Todd Gilbert have been taking VDOT to task for holding rural Virginia hostage in order to provoke legislators into supporting a tax increase, all while the General Assembly has been unable to get an independent audit of the department conducted. Delegate Gilbert devoted most of his speech to the topic, noting some of the waste during the inaugural while calling again for an independent audit. 

Well, from Mark Obenshain’s office, via Tertium Quids, we have word that VDOT is playing its hand as towards where some of the money is going. It appears that, while making the decision to cut services in rural Virginia, there’s plenty of time and money for the department to launch its very own YouTube channel. There, you can watch scenes from the last winter storm (if your local news station and the Weather channel just weren’t enough):

Learn about the Norris Bridge Festival:

And watch five years worth of bridget demolitions, both with natural sound:

And set to OPERA!

Look, some of these videos are good public service announcements, but are they really best distributed via YouTube? The video on workzone safety should be required watching for every high school driver’s ed class, yet I never recall seeing it. Does VDOT really expect to be able to get the public’s attention this way when videos of laughing babies and dancing cats have hits in the millions? A number of the videos are self-serving promotional materials, but should a department with giant orange trucks really have a PR problem? Well, I suppose if it had no idea how to manage it’s money it might…..

YouTube doesn’t charge a fee, but I’m sure that the videographers who either work for the department or are contracted do. VDOTs maintenance workers are fine, hardworking people who take pride in their work. The problem here is with the bureaucracy. They are making cuts that will cripple rural Virginia, all the while not making such non-essential expenditures clear. Call your Delegate and Senator now and demand an independent audit of VDOT. 

Lincoln Day DInner Tonight

Tonight the Shenandoah County Republican Committee will gather for an annual tradition, its Lincoln Day Dinner. The event is such an integral part of Committee tradition that no one’s entirely sure when the first one was held–it dates at least back to the 1950s. For many, many years it has been the premier event for the party. However, its role as the party’s main fundraiser traces back only to last year–however, its already starting to prove its worth, as last year we made nearly $1,000 (much needed when we discovered we had to buy our own supplies), and this year we are looking to shatter records for both fundraising and attendance, as keynote speaker former Governor George Allen is bringing many people out of the woodwork. We’ll also be joined by Delegate Todd Gilbert, Senator Mark Obenshain, and all three candidates for Attorney General. 

Tonight begins, hopefully, another new tradition–digital documentation of the event. I hope to bring updates to you via Twitter, along with video with excerpts of speeches and tons and tons of photos. So stay tuned if you aren’t able to make it, and be sure to come back tomorrow if you’re going to be there.

House Election News

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

While there’s certainly a flurry of activity coming out of Capitol Square today with the end of the General Assembly Session (and it appears as if today will in fact be the end, but more on that later), there’s also big news on the election front. 

First off, Republican William Fralin of Roanoke will be retiring. This move comes as somewhat of a surprise, as at 46 Fralin isn’t exactly an elder statesman in the House, and while Roanoke has (like many of Virginia’s cities) been bluing of recent vintage (46.3% for Bush in ’04 to 37.5% for McCain in 2008), the outlying territory is red enough that it was still a solid district for McCain. As a relative moderate in the House GOP Caucus (primarily on education and fiscal issues), Fralin could, COULD stand a shot against John Edwards in 2011. That, however, will take time to shake itself out. In the meantime, CraigOrndorff.com can now project that, should he secure re-election in November, Delegate Todd Gilbert of Woodstock will officially be the tallest member in the House of Delegates. 

In related news, Delegate Steve Landes will face Democrat Greg Marrow this fall. Landes, who has represented the district for 14 years, has not faced much opposition. However, with a fading red Waynesboro at the heart of his district (63.9% for Bush in ’04 to 53.3% for McCain in 2008) Landes may face a stiff challenge, but again, the outlying territory in Rockingham and Augusta counties made this a solid McCain district in 2008. With both Landes and Matt Lohr facing challenges in November, this means that half of Rockingham County’s four man delegation is under fire. However, with Chris Saxman’s district being based in Staunton (which went from 60.3% for Bush in 2004 to 48.4% in 2008) and Todd Gilbert still under fire from liberal circles for his comments about Barack Obama this past fall, we may very well be seeing challengers for those two as well. 

Stay tuned. This is shaping up to be a great political year in the Shenandoah Valley.