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Afternoon Read: Is Virginia's GOP Too Focused on Social Issues?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A group of 17 Democratic legislators gathered in Richmond today to denounce the Republican stronghold on social issues this legislative session.

    Democrats accused the GOP of focusing on social issues at the exclusion of  issues most important to Virginia residents like the economy, transportation and education. Republicans, who control both chambers, passed controversial bills this session to loosen gun laws, require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, make women have ultrasounds prior to getting abortions and allow state-funded adoption agencies to turn away gay parents.

    The Richmond Times Dispatch reports:

    “It is now easier to get a gun in Virginia – and as many as you want effective July 1 – than it is to vote,” said Senate Democratic Leader Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

    Blue Virginia wrote:

    "Virginia Republicans are off pursuing their far-right-wing ideological agenda of telling women what they can do with their own bodies, of discrimination against GLBT citizens, of suppressing peoples' right to vote, of bashing immigrants, etc. I wonder, what percentage of Viginians voted for that last November? My guess: it was miniscule"

    The GOP responded to Democrat attacks today by issuing a “reform agenda being advanced” by Republicans in the General Assembly, according to the Post.

    Via the Post:

    “While our Democrat colleagues remain singularly focused on a small number of social issues, we are enacting the reforms necessary to move Virginia forward,” said Delegate Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax).

    In defense, Hugo noted bills that provided incentives for “expanding business, economic development grants for agricultural and forestry businesses, charter school enhancements and the most sweeping government reorganization plan in recent history."

    * Councilmember Muriel Bowser for D.C. mayor in 2014? That’s what some are speculating anyway.

    Earlier in the week Bowser posted on her Facebook page that she regrets agreeing to the Mayor’s furlough proposal, prompting The Georgetown Dish to ask if the councilwoman is distancing herself from the vote because she is planning a run for mayor.

    “Bowser's mea culpa is also clever in that it portrays the furloughs as a product of Mayor Vince Gray. The message is calculated to maximize political advantage. Bowser uses remorse to take a shot at Gray and also to distance herself from a mayor who has been struggling with low approval numbers.”

    "Bowser insiders say a run for mayor is the obvious next step for a “politician who is among the few untarnished by scandal.”

    * The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced today that it would launch a “multistate television ad and grassroots communications blitz” campaigning for candidates who support big government or free enterprise candidates.

    One ad endorses U.S. Senate hopeful George Allen, and another slams his opponent Tim Kaine by questioning why he supports President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan when it could cost Virginia $2.2 billion.

    “Higher costs, less jobs, these are no great achievements. Call Tim Kaine, ask him why he continues to support Obama care. We need jobs.

    Pro-Allen Ad:

    Anti-Kaine ad:

    * Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler estimates that up to 40,000 homeowners could benefit from the $960 million the state is expecting from the foreclosure settlement announced Thursday, The Washington Post reports.

    Prince George's County, which leads the state in foreclosures, will get a significant amount of the settlement.

    Gansler’s office will set up a hotline to answer questions at 1-888-743-0023.

    * Gov. Bob McDonnell joined students with Virginia21—a political advocacy group for young voters—at a press conference today on college affordability, student debt and the Governor's higher education budget.

    The students delivered 10,000 petition signatures to the governor, urging the General Assembly to support college affordability.

    Watch a video of the press conference.