2019 Session is over!

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, February 27, 2019

This session was a rewarding one as well as a challenging one.

For a period of several weeks, some wanted us to change our focus to the headline news. For three weeks, we were inundated with national and local media that wanted our opinions about the three statewide elected officials who were making headlines for events in their past. However, I and most others understood we were in Richmond to handle our true responsibilities. We were there to build a budget and deal with legislation that had been offered. We successfully accomplished that on Sunday. We created a budget that will give or reduce your state taxes and give back to the taxpayers almost $1 billion between this year and next. We almost quadrupled the money going to assist rural Virginia to get broadband internet. We increased funding for education at every level, from prekindergarten through some graduate college programs. We passed significant legislation that I will focus on in coming columns.

Some thought we should have done more quicker to address the problems with our statewide leaders. I wish I had a good response for those who contacted me with their individual thoughts on the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. I didn’t have a good answer to the turmoil that surrounds them at the time nor do I now. With the session coming to an end, we all wonder where this goes now. Only time will tell.

The Governor started it by offering a very unprofessional response to an abortion bill that he apparently did not fully understand. Several doctors he had gone to medical school with were so offended by his position on late term abortions that they released a picture that was in the yearbook 30 odd years ago. This set up a couple of media events that made him look inept and unprofessional at best. Many demanded that the Governor resign. It appeared that he might do so until the Lt. Governor’s personal life became an issue.

We cannot have a Governor resign with his successor facing rape charges. That shadow must be resolved. In turn, the Attorney General, knowing he had done the same thing in college as the Governor, called for the Governor to resign. Truly he is a hypocrite, knowing that he had done the exact same thing. His views on abortion are the same as the Governor, therefore, Virginia would be no better off with him.

Where does that leave us? The House has determined that they want to have an investigation hearing on the Lt Governor. With no investigative authority, I have no idea what investigation they can do. The Lt. Governor has publicly called for an FBI investigation, but he has no power to do that. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations has expired. In North Carolina they have not. Possibly something could come out of that, but, again, we have no control of what those states choose to do or not do. We in the Senate can say or do nothing at this time. Should the House decide to successfully impeach him, the Senate would act as the jury to remove him from office. For any of the senator’s to speak out against the Lt Governor could taint that jury.

Thanks to all of you who wrote, or called and filled out questionnaires. You are the ones that help me represent you in Richmond. I look forward to being back in the district and look forward to meeting real people in the coming weeks ahead.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen. Ruff@verizon.net.