'99 Election Brings New Rulers to Richmond





With a bloodied pace reminiscent of World War I, the Republican Party has finally achieved full political power in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Governor James Gilmore is now joined by a two seat Republican majority in the Virginia Senate and a ten seat Republican majority in the House of Delegates according to the November 2nd election tallies.


The Republican Party first won statewide office in the Post-Reconstruction era in 1973.  The Commonwealth of Virginia has voted for the Republican Presidential nominee in every national election since 1968.  It took another thirty years or so, though, to break the electoral lock the Virginia Democratic Party has always held in the General Assembly.  Now wielding plenary legislative power themselves, the Virginia Republicans are certain to see that new electoral lines and voting laws are drawn in their favor.  It may be a long reign indeed.

Virginia Republicans rode to power this election promising to not even suggest an agenda for the coming years.  If this were true, maybe Republican rule would be a welcome respite from Democratic cronyism.  Of course, the main themes of Virginia political campaigns seldom bear much relation to the actual game plan.

In the coming year look for the pressure to build on Governor Gilmore to give the Christian Right in Virginia a grand trophy to show the world.  There are no excuses any longer.

Expect those citizens who bear the least resemblance to those in Pat Robertson's following to be hounded by new laws before much longer. 

Expect new tax laws to favor with even greater vigor big business and big money.  Once again, no excuses remain for Virginia Republicans.  It is now time to pay the bill for all of that campaign money and for all those generous fringe benefits.  The bill will be paid in spades by the taxpayers.  Count on it. The Republicans will be as subtle about it as the press allows.  Watch as the always flexible Democrats in the General Assembly are retained by special interests to advance different parts of the Republican agenda. 


Then watch the Commonwealth's tax examiners disappear as a threat to Republican constituent groups.  This may be the biggest prize to come out of the change of power.

Expect the Virginia penal code, already grand in scope, to expand each time the Republican majority finds the old whipping post useful in public relations.  By the next General Assembly election expect a big increase in the number of harmless, productive citizens imprisoned for disregarding government policy.

But one shining hope for greater freedom in Virginia does glitter from this election.  Will the Republicans finally begin the privatization of primary and secondary education?  Will freedom in education choice finally be given a chance here?  This newspaper has its fingers crossed, but would only accept very long odds in making a wager on it.  The track record of other Republican ruled states is not encouraging.  Virginia politicians are known for guarding state power, not letting it slip away.

One thing, though, does seem a certainty.  As the loss of our money and our freedom in Virginia continues to rise just as it has for the past seventy years of Democratic rule, the myth that Republicans stand for something different will be proven the fraud that it is.  Maybe only then Virginia will be ready for a great second revolution in liberty. Author:  Editor


What Does it Mean to be a Virginia Democrat when
there is no Patronage to Spread Around?

The nominal head of the Democrats, House of Delegates Speaker Thomas Moss of Norfolk, retained his seat if not most of his power.  Mr. Moss was considered a progressive rebel at the outset of his career.  It is hard to picture him as one today.  Indeed, he is viewed today as the very symbol of pork and patronage.

Mr. Moss’ longtime Democratic colleague, Stanley Walker of Norfolk, had his thirty-six year term of office ended by the voters this year.  Even heavyweight Virginia Beach Delegate Glenn Croshaw got his walking papers at the polls.  Both men rightfully answered for “old boy” style dealings in public office.  The only South Hampton Roads Democrat other than Mr. Moss to retain a contested seat was Delegate William P. Robinson, possibly the single most vilified politician in the Commonwealth: for good reasons.  It is rather obvious that leadership is at a premium for Democrats here.

 A question presents itself: why is it again someone would want to be a part of the Virginia Democratic Party when it comes to their policy agenda?  The only really meaningful distinction has been that the Democratic legislators have the power to spend all taxes collected and to appoint judges and other officials.  The Virginia Democratic Party has prided itself on not being a part of the national party’s creed of class entitlements and creeping socialism.  The Virginia Democrats scheduled elections in off years specifically to avoid association with their national party.  Now without an ideology of their own or the reigns of power.

Whoever eventually takes the leading roles in the Democratic Party will have to answer the question of identity.  Certainly the present formula of rabid support of socialism in education with “Republican lite” on everything else will no longer be enough.  New leaders will also have to assure the voters that corrupt back-slapping in Richmond is a practice of the past.  That is quite a plateful.

Should the Democrats lose most of their financial support as expected and also fail to establish a workable new agenda, it is likely that few Republican seats will be contested as the remaining incumbent Democrats pay for walls around their own fiefdoms. 

This is an opening that third parties should exploit.  Voters always want a choice (even if they often do not get one).  Before long voters will be feeling the pinch of Republican spending and intolerance.  Bereft of the claim to having freedom values themselves, the Republicans will have little ideological defense left.

All freedom fighters should begin now to make the new choice on the ballot to be the Libertarian Party of Virginia.
  Author:  Editor




Libertarians Score a

Number of Wins!




The Libertarian Party in Virginia and nationally continues to grow and build on previous success.  Nationally, just over 200 candidates were fielded.  Thirteen won office to various posts including city council and school boards.  In one race in Indiana, the Libertarian beat an incumbent Republican who was also the county chair of his party.  Washington State picked up five wins.

The eight campaigns in Virginia were sound, vigorous efforts providing a platform for further challenges.  In the Richmond area, John Girardeau and Tim Belton both ran for delegate.  John may have launched the biggest Operation Politically Homeless initiative ever by mailing over 28,000 postcards of the Nolan quiz to citizen’s in his district.  Tim garnered good press coverage.  Each received 19 and 23% respectively.  Tim’s percentage was the highest in the nation for a Libertarian running for that position.

In Fairfax, the husband and wife team of Paul and Johna Gagnon ran dynamic campaigns.  Paul, running for Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors ended with 10% of the vote and beat the nominal Republican.  Johna received 6% of the vote for Soil and Water in a race that was surprisingly highly contested by both dominant parties.  Johna also received an endorsement from the Fairfax Journal and support from one of the county supervisors.


Pete Thomas (Fairfax) and Garry Myers (Lowdown) both ran for state delegate.  Both received press attention and brought out volunteers.  Garry’s vote total was 27%: the highest nationally for a Libertarian running for that position.

Robert McBride received 5% of the vote for Prince William Chairman, Board of Supervisors.  He also gained some very favorable press.  Jim Vencil received 26% of the vote for School Board.

     These races demonstrate to the public that the LP is here to stay.  The favorable press coverage is bringing in new members, motivating volunteers, and informing the public about libertarianism.

     Now that the LP is finally organizing in Hampton Roads, we expect to contest the year 2000 election here as well.  Help make freedom happen.

Author:  Gary Reams, LP State Chair.



Norfolk District Office 757-623-4200