Vogel deputy whip for Senate caucus
January 29, 2011
RICHMOND -- Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Upperville, has been named deputy whip for the Senate Republican Caucus.
In a news release from the caucus, Republican Leader Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, says that Vogel has been a caucus leader "and an effective conservative voice" for the three years she's been in office.
"Her strong work ethic has earned her the respect of Senators from both sides of the aisle," he says. "As our Deputy Whip, she will play a vital role in helping us advance our conservative agenda and positive message."
In a Friday afternoon phone call, Vogel said she is taking the place of the former deputy whip, Sen. Robert Hurt, who had represented Farmville and was recently elected to the U.S. House.
"For me, [the appointment] was a great honor because I have been very involved and I've worked closely with the leadership on lots and lots of issues," she said. "It's extra work, but I'm happy to do it."
SENATOR VOGEL APPOINTED DEPUTY WHIP FOR SENATE REPUBLICANS
January 28, 2011
RICHMOND, VA- Senate of Virginia Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg) today announced that Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier) has been appointed Deputy Whip for the Senate Republican Caucus. Senator Vogel fills the vacancy created by the election of Congressman Robert Hurt (R-VA05).
“Senator Vogel has been a leader in our Caucus and an effective conservative voice in the Senate since her election in 2007,” remarked Senator Norment. “Her strong work ethic has earned her the respect of Senators from both sides of the aisle. As our Deputy Whip, she will play a vital role in helping us advance our conservative agenda and positive message.”
“Having Senator Vogel serve as Deputy Whip will increase the effectiveness of our leadership team and our caucus,” noted Senator Newman. “From the time she arrived in the Senate, she has been diligently working on behalf of the people of her district, and has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to our conservative principles and traditional values.”
“I am excited to have been given this opportunity to serve my colleagues in the Republican Caucus,” Senator Vogel declared. “I am honored to have been chosen for this new responsibility and am looking forward to working with the members to promote our agenda.”
Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel is currently serving her first term representing the 27th District in the Senate of Virginia. The 27th District includes Clark and Frederick Counties, the City of Winchester, and portions of Fauquier and Loudoun Counties.
State legislators file campaign reports
January 20, 2011
Star staff report - Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Year-end campaign finance reports have been filed by state legislators.
Area legislators ended 2010 with the following:
_ State Sen. Jill H. Vogel, R-Upperville, had $127,498 in cash on hand. Her largest contributor in the last quarter of the year was her father, William B. Holtzman of Shenandoah County, who made a $20,000 donation on Dec. 12 and a $5,000 donation on Nov. 16. She also received $1,000 donations from Helen Cockrell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Fluor Enterprises Inc., Robert Frogale, Micron Technology, NVTC TechPAC, Veramar Vineyard, and Virginia Bank PAC.
Vogel’s starting balance for the fourth quarter, which began July 1, was $134,823.
_ Del. Beverly Sherwood, R-Frederick County, had $ 20,242. Her largest contributors in the fourth quarter were $ 1,000 donations from Alpha Services, Dominion Resources Inc. PAC, Genworth Financial, Medical Society of Virginia, Northrop Grumman Corp., Virginia Bankers Association, and Virginia Hospital Association PAC.
Her fourth quarter starting balance was $12,339.
_ Del. Joe T. May, R-Leesburg, ended the year with $40,179 in his campaign coffers. His largest fourth quarter contributions came from John Deere PAC and NVTC TechPAC, with $ 2,500 each; Virginia Cable PAC, $1,500; and AOL, Fluor Corp., Micron Technology, Northrop Grumman Corp., Orion Air Group, Transurban USA Inc., and Virginia Bank PAC, each of which donated $1,000.
His fourth quarter starting balance was $26,647.
Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey Jr., R-Warren County, had $27,832. His largest fourth quarter contributions were $ 2,500 from Allen Allen Allen & Allen, $2,000 from Medical Society of Virginia, $1,500 from Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, $1,200 from the Virginia Auto Dealers Association, and $1,000 from Virginia Health Care Association.
His fourth quarter starting balance was $12,346.
The seats held by Vogel, Sherwood, May, and Athey are up for re-election Nov. 8.
Vogel and May plan to seek re-election. Sherwood and Athey have not decided if they will run again.
Busy agenda scheduled for Virginia lawmakers
January 13, 2011
Danielle Nadler - The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Focused, upbeat, and busy is how state Sen. Jill H. Vogel described the tone among lawmakers on the first of the 46-day General Assembly session Wednesday.
“Given this really compact calendar, there’s been a lot of hustling around to get it all done,” Vogel said during a short afternoon recess.
The 40 state senators and 100 House delegates returned to the Virginia Capitol this week to debate a wide range of bills — from the partial privatization of liquor sales, to a boost in transportation funding, plus about 3,000 others.
The day kicked off with a prayer breakfast before the House and Senate convened at noon. Legislators voted on procedural measures and took other “housekeeping ” steps before they recessed to go into committee meetings, Vogel said.
In the evening, Gov. Bob McDonnell’s State of the Commonwealth address presented $191 million in proposed cuts and adjustments. He outlined plans to eliminate and consolidate government agencies to save money, invest $50 million in higher education, and push for a constitutional amendment that would allow the states to reject a federal law.
“I want history to record that it was you, the 2011 session of the General Assembly, who had the vision to take the big problems head on and fix them,” McDonnell told the legislators. “No excuses, no delays, no spin. We can do it together.” Del. Beverly J. Sherwood, R-Frederick, said after the speech that she was pleased that he emphasized “being there for our veterans”— an area where she hopes to play a big role in the upcoming session.
She also pointed to McDonnell’s reference to working across party lines in the weeks ahead. “He talked about bipartisanship and working for the people of the commonwealth,” she said. “It set the stage for what is going to be a productive and calm session.”
Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey Jr., R- Warren County, liked what he heard regarding the governor’s plan to stay the course with the policies that he said have lifted Virginia to No. 3 in the country in terms of job creation and put the commonwealth among the 10 states with the lowest unemployment.
“I think the governor did an outstanding job in laying out the continuation of what began last year to work our way out of a tough economy,” Athey said. “This is the Virginia way — hold the line on taxes, and continue to shift money in the budget to incentives for job growth.”
Vogel, who plans to introduce a handful of bills at the request of McDonnell, said most legislators seemed positive about the governor’s proposals.
If there are naysayers, she added, they might favor raising taxes over trimming government programs to match revenue with the state income in a recovering economy.
“It’s a hard thing to look folks in the eyes today as many of them are out of work and cutting back and (answer for them), ‘why can’t the state do the same?’ ” Vogel said. “It’s a question of philosophy.” Local governments and school systems will keep a close watch on the General Assembly over the next six weeks. Last year’s session ended with a biennial state budget that resulted in millions of dollars worth of funding cuts for Clarke and Frederick counties, the city of Winchester, and area school systems. The outlook appears brighter for schools in particular this time around, partly because of an increase in sales tax collections.
“That will free up some money,” Frederick County Public Schools Executive Director of Finance Lisa Frye said.
Frederick County Public Schools announced this week that it created a page on its website that will publicize General Assembly updates throughout session.
“It’s our hope,” Schools Superintendent Patricia Taylor said, “that the new Web page will provide those who are interested in the legislative process with a valuable resource to track bills that could impact our school division.”
A call to Joe T. May, R-Leesburg, for comment on the session were not returned Wednesday.
Virginia lawmakers scramble before donation ban hits
January 12, 2011
Nicholas Graham - LoudounTimes.com
Today, lawmakers representing Loudoun will take to their distinguished, polished wooden desks in the General Assembly with a full plate of issues and tasks before them. It’s session time.
Drafting bills, giving speeches, committee meetings, hosting constituents and more.
But there is one thing they will not be able to do as long as the General Assembly is in session: fund raise.
This is in marked contrast to the final two months of 2010, when members of the Loudoun delegation asked, cajoled, e-mailed, and invited friends and voters to write checks and enter their credit cards numbers – offline and online – to support their upcoming re-election races in November 2011.
In various ways, Loudoun’s state senators and state delegates frantically rushed to add dollars to their campaign bank accounts in the waning days of 2010. And for good reason.
Commonwealth of Virginia law strictly prohibits members of the General Assembly from soliciting – or even accepting – campaign donations of any kind (even in-kind) while the legislature meets this winter.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Virginia is one of 28 states placing restrictions on giving and receiving campaign contributions during the legislative session. A majority of these states – including Virginia - place a prohibition on any contributions during session; the rest only ban contributions from lobbyists.
Virginia’s law – under Va. Code 24.2-940 – was adopted in 2006.
Fortunately for commonwealth state lawmakers, 2011 is a non-budget year for the legislature, and the duration of this session is expected to last only 45 days, until about March 1.
But, it is still an election year – and that means six weeks of lost time for their ability to raise badly needed funds for their campaign efforts.
Throwing a proverbial monkey wrench into the process – 2011 marks a special, decennial event for the state and lawmakers seeking re-election: redistricting.
This complicates things for any political campaign. The political boundaries that mark their jurisdictions on Jan. 12 probably won’t look anything like the new, redrawn electoral districts they will be defending in November 2011.
That means the person who supports you and writes a cushy $500 check for you on Jan. 1 may not even be the person who votes for you in November, and vice-versa. Entirely new pools of potential campaign donors will need to be identified, contacted and solicited within the span of just a few months.
Furthermore, if the donation ban that started Jan. 12 wasn’t enough to light a fire under state lawmaker’s to raise greenbacks, then another milestone was – the state’s election deadline for filing end-of-year campaign finance reports, due on Dec. 31. Every major political candidate in Loudoun knows and understands that campaign soothsayers, bloggers and opponents watch the end-of-year campaign finance reports with a sharp eye since they usually indicate the early strength – or weakness – of a nascent campaign.
No wonder members of the Loudoun’s delegation to Richmond have been busy. Some were getting in a last grab for cash right before the ban went into effect.
On Jan. 11, state Del. Thomas “Tag” Greason (R-Northeastern Loudoun) sent out an e-mail with the subject line “I need your help – today!”, and in the body of the e-mail states, “By law, we are not able to raise money while in Session, and since this year’s Session starts tomorrow (Jan. 12), I need your help today!”
In a letter to a Loudoun constituent dated Dec. 23, state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Southern Loudoun/Prince William) wrote that he needed help “before January 11 to be sure I can take on another Democrat for 2011 in a newly drawn district,” and noted that Democrats outspent him $608,000 to $158,000 in his 2009 re-election race.
“Because I cannot raise money during the Assembly session, I need to raise funds by January 11 so I can run in a strong position,” Marshall pleaded. Later in his letter, Marshall added: “I need your help before January 11 to continue this fight for you.”
“I don’t ask for money very often,” Marshall concluded his USPS-delivered mail piece, “But I must ask you to please send your most generous donation before January 11…I cannot accept donations from January 12 through the end of February. So I need to hear from you soon.” And then Marshall gave his cell phone number and asked for donations ranging from $25 to $1,000.
Likewise, state Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Southern Loudoun/Western Fairfax) – elected for the first time in 2009 – made his case for cash in an e-mail pitch on Dec. 27.
“I’m writing today to ask that you please support my 2011 re-election campaign,” states LeMunyon’s e-mail. “December 31st marks the last day that donations count towards this six-month fundraising period. I would be very grateful if you would consider making a contribution of $500, $250, $100 or even $50 at this time.”
Like Marshall, LeMunyon adds an element of electoral urgency to his pitch for donations, without noting the ban on cash donations while the legislature is in session, as Marshall does.
“I plan to seek re-election in 2011, but I don’t expect it will be easy. First term members like me are always targets for defeat by the opposition. The 67th district is a swing district…I am building my campaign chest now for that very reason. The Democratic leadership in Richmond will look at the campaign bank account reports of first term members to decide who may be particularly vulnerable. I don’t want to be on that list. You can help me keep the 67th district in GOP hands by making a donation at this time.”
LeMunyon told the Times-Mirror he had planned one last event in Richmond for Jan. 11 – just before the state fundraising ban struck – a “small, informal coffee and donuts” gathering.
Other area lawmakers chose to raise quick cash via fundraisers before the ban goes into effect in Richmond and locally.
Greason snagged Gov. Bob McDonnell to headline a fundraiser on Nov. 12 in Lansdowne. “The event was a huge success…a huge night for us,” Greason told the Times-Mirror, raking in about $35,000 for his re-election in a single night from about 120 guests.
State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Eastern Loudoun) also got into the mix, holding a folksy “Pancake Breakfast with a side order of politics” according to his e-mail invitation dated Dec. 20 and resent on Dec. 30 for an event held on Jan. 2 at the Leesburg VFW Hall. Herring suggested a parsimonious donation of $20 but quickly added that a more generous “Event Sponsorship” was available at the cost of $500, $250, and $100 – in that order.
According to Herring’s staff, a hungry 90-100 people attended.
According to Herring aide Adam Zuckerman, the event generated a “record turnout,” forcing Herring “to spend a lot more time working the room than flipping pancakes.”
Several other Loudoun lawmakers were also engaged in chasing greenbacks before the state ban took effect today.
State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Western Loudoun) professed not to have done “any mail or fundraisers right now, prior to session,” but did gold a fundraiser in Leesburg at Vintage 50 in November, the “last for the year,” according to Vogel.
State Del. Tom Rust (R-Sterling/Herndon), who represents a highly competitive district, held fundraisers in Herndon and Richmond, he stated in an e-mail to the Times-Mirror, raising roughly $30,000 to $40,000, according to Rust.
State Del. Joe May (R-Western Loudoun) likewise held fundraisers in Richmond in late October and a “small” local event on Nov. 29.
All Loudoun lawmakers contacted, with the exception of Marshall – who did not return an e-mail seeking comment – acknowledged that the rigid enforcement of the state campaign donation ban while the legislature was in session was something they are used to, accept and rigidly enforce.
As of Jan. 12, all lawmakers stated that they will return any donations sent online or offline, and will remove the campaign donation link that conspicuously peppers their campaign websites until the General Assembly adjourns, “sine die”. That’s expected to happen in early March.
Loudoun’s delegation members also were quick to note that they agree with the campaign ban, though some noted that it does place incumbents at a disadvantage, while potential and announced opponents are allowed to continue fund raising in earnest while incumbents languish at their stately desks in Richmond in a form of fund raising atrophy.
But they still take the temporary disadvantage and ban in stride.
“For the most part,” May noted, “donors know that we can’t receive donations during session.”
“Yes, it does place us at a disadvantage,” Rust admits. “That’s just the rule…it is a very strict rule, and rightfully so. Clearly, incumbents should not be allowed to [fund raise] during the session.”
Greason said he thinks that opponents might get a “slight” advantage out of the campaign donation ban, but says “there is no advantage as great as being the actual incumbent. The fund raising effort between last year [as a challenger] and this year [as an incumbent] is like night and day. Any slight advantage that a challenger has while I am in session is fine with me.”
Vogel has a practical view of the ban, noting that this year’s session will operate in a compressed window of time, unlike last year’s session, which lasted more than two months.
“It’s a short six week session this year, and a halt in fund raising for the session is very appropriate. It is good to be solely focused on the tasks at hand.”
May agrees with Vogel’s take, and is already looking forward to fund raising plans after the session concludes.
“We just hit the ground running when we return from Richmond,” said May.
And Greason is already planning for a campaign kickoff event in late March or early April where money will be raised.
Of course, the challenge facing General Assembly lawmakers adhering to the donation ban is not mirrored elsewhere.
For example, members of the county Board of Supervisors and School Board can raise money at a campaign event for donors right after a business meeting where they consider sensitive development projects or consider rules for school system contractors and vendors.
Even more so, members of the U.S. Congress regularly interrupt their fundraisers at swanky restaurants on Capitol Hill to go a vote on the House or Senate floors or attend a committee meeting, then rush back in time to beg for another donation from an event guest.
Area lawmakers would be the first to admit that that’s the difference between the Washington way and the Virginia way – and they seem happy to oblige.
Huge Participation in 27th District Tele Town Hall Meeting
January 10, 2011
A whopping 3,645 people participated in a tele town hall meeting Monday night hosted by State Senator Jill Vogel (R-Upperville).
Senator Vogel gave opening remarks about the upcoming legislative session before opening the floor to participant questions. While the comments from callers spanned a broad number of topics, the themes were remarkably consistent: curb spending and support government reform, protect state employee pensions, protect public safety and K-12 and do something to make higher education more accessible.
"I love doing these calls," said Senator Vogel. "It is a convenient and informal way to connect with constituents and it starts a dialogue with people who would not typically reach out on their own but who have real issues where I can help."
Participants in a tele town hall have the option to speak on the call or to listen in and then leave a private message at the end with a comment or request.
"Many issues that I address for constituents are very personal and this kind of an event enhances that opportunity for personal connection."
The call netted record numbers for participation in a state senate district which Vogel attributes to the seriousness of the issues to be addressed in the upcoming General Assembly which will convene January 12th in Richmond.
“The number of people who participated in the call demonstrates how deeply concerned people in my district are about the issues we face and the impact of the votes that we will cast in the upcoming weeks.”
Constituents who were unable to participate in this tele-town hall meeting may contact Senator Vogel during the General Assembly session at 1 (804) 698-7527, P.O. Box 397, Richmond, VA 23218 or by email at email@example.com. Also, please visit her Facebook and website at http://senatorjillvogel.com/ for updates and other upcoming events.
2011 GENERAL ASSEMBLY - Legislators bring long to-do lists
Six-week session begins Wednesday in Richmond
January 08, 2011
Danielle Nadler - The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — State legislators will spend the weekend packing up their local offices. They’ll soon be heading to Richmond for Wednesday’s start of the 2011 General Assembly session.
Their to-do list for the six week short session and a special session in April is anything but short.
The lawmakers have $191.6 million in proposed budget amendments to consider, a tight deadline to redraw the state’s district lines, and thousands of pieces of legislation to debate.
Each legislator has a wish list of bills and resolutions he or she hopes to see passed, or at least discussed, during the session.
State Sen. Jill H. Vogel, R-Upperville, who will introduce more than 25 bills, will push for the consolidation of agencies, committees, and boards with several bills, along with legislation that would establish a state audit.
“There’s always a silver lining to a bad budget year, and that’s that it’s an awesome opportunity to consider legislation that maybe lawmakers wouldn’t consider under better circumstances,” she said Friday. “ This economy has made consolidation and efficiency almost impossible to ignore as everyone is being asked to do more with less.”
Vogel will also carry legislation that would encourage eco-friendly building, increase the penalty for drivers who pass school buses illegally, and establish a process for the inventory and sale of Virginia’s surplus land.
Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey,
R-Warren County, wants to see Internet “sweepstakes ” establishments banned — the legality of the sweepstakes is a gray area.
“ That’s become a new way to get around Virginia’s gambling laws,” said Athey, the patron of 15 bills — the short session limit in the House. The Senate has no limit.
He is offering a constitutional amendment that would make it more difficult for government entities to acquire a resident’s property through eminent domain, and another bill that would limit the growth of the state budget to the growth of population and inflation. “If you have to provide services to more people, I understand that it will cost more,” Athey said. “But I think we need to set a limit for the growth of government.”
Del. Beverly J. Sherwood, R-Frederick County, wants to free the Virginia National Guard to respond to an emergency before an official state of emergency is declared.
“As you can imagine, this would allow for pre-positioning for an event such as a severe winter storm in our area or a hurricane on the Tidewater,” she wrote in an email.
Sherwood is the patron of three bills, and expects to take on more within the next week. She is also introducing nine resolutions and two budget amendments.
Del. Joe T. May, R-Leesburg, is a co- patron on a bill that would change the way the sales factor is determined for the purposes of the corporate income tax.
He wants it to be market-based sourcing, rather than costs-of-performance — the current method used.
He and Vogel are also working together to make it illegal for anyone to place an electronic tracking device on a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
“It’s illegal to tap a phone line, it should be illegal to track someone’s car,” said Vogel, adding that the issue was one of many constituents urged her to work on.
During the special session in April, legislators will also be challenged to redraw the boundaries of each congressional and state legislative district to accommodate new population figures.
All of the local Senate and House districts will be required to shrink geographically, since the populations in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties have swelled since the last redistricting 10 years ago. The process could have a significant impact on November’s statewide elections.
The remapping will be completed during the summer, pushing the party primaries to the fall.