Sunday, November 4, 2012

Choices for Upcoming Elections

Tuesday is FINALLY Election Day and like the last time around, I waited until the day before to make up my mind on the candidates. As a way for me to help learn more about the candidates, I'm posting here who I am voting for. I don't feel a need to keep my choice secret.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk doesn’t have anything that is city-specific on the ballot.

For Virginia's US Senate seat, we have the choice of either Kaine or Allen. I’m going with Kaine on this one.

“In the Senate, George Allen co-sponsored a Federal Marriage Amendment in 2005. He does not support same-sex couples adopting children and has called upon Navy officials to abandon a planned policy to allow chaplains to marry same-sex couples on military installations. George Allen voted against legislation to add sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws in 2005 after such legislation in Pennsylvania was used as the basis for restricting Constitutional rights to free speech and religious expression.”

I’m no better than any gay or lesbian people out there, just because I’m straight. People need to be treated equally and fairly. To me, that snippet from Allen’s own website makes it sound like he’d be fine with more children being left un-adopted and on the state’s dime, just to make sure that same sex couples can’t adopt them.

"As a former civil rights lawyer, I am committed to federal policies that treat all equally without regard to race, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation,” taken from Kaine’s website. That's the way it should be.

For the House’s 2nd District, it’s between Rigell and Hirschbiel, a car salesman and an investor (doesn't that sound like the start of some cornball joke?). The 2nd District, which includes most of the region's military installations and a large community of active-duty military and veterans, encompasses Virginia Beach and the state's Eastern Shore, along with parts of Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News.

I’m going with Paul Hirschbiel for this one. Rigell signed a no-tax-increase pledge before his first election in 2010, but he changed his mind earlier this year. He now says he would consider new revenue but has not endorsed any specific increases.” Sorry, Rigell, but your constituents will want to know what those increases would be. Don’t flip flop on people. In all honesty, I don't think I voted for this guy last time, so I'm hoping he gets bounced. I've heard him speak in public twice and I was not impressed. The first time was when he was campaigning originally and the second time was after he had been elected. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Hirschbiel supports the 2014 deadline to withdraw most military forces by the end of 2014. In my own little, uneducated military opinion, I don’t think you can just yank all the troops from a specific country out of the country they are in and expect the military, government and infrastructure of the host country to remain intact (it's not just about protection or democracy, it's about teaching and self-sufficiency). It's like removing stitches from a surgical repair from a patient before they are ready to come out. Nothing good can come of it. You’ve just had your appendix out yesterday…time to take out the stitches! By giving the host countries a deadline, it helps them to know what has to be done and by when. They need time to heal on their own so they can take care of themselves.

For the House’s 3rd district, it’s between Scott and Longo. I was leaning more towards Longo originally, but the more I read makes me lean more towards Scott now. Even though Scott is a career politician, he’s got one aspect Longo doesn’t.

“Longo has staked out an anti-abortion stance and says he would support a federal bill declaring that fetuses are entitled to all the rights of personhood from the moment of conception. Scott, a backer of abortion rights, opposes 'personhood' legislation, calling it a back-door approach to banning abortion and some forms of birth control.”

I’m a women with my own sound, lucid mind. I don’t want or need the federal government telling me that I couldn’t have an abortion if I needed or wanted one. (Just for the record, I’ve never had an abortion.) This kind of stance takes women’s rights away and turns us in a patriarchal society. I prefer neither patriarchal nor matriarchal. The federal government needs to stay out of my uterus.

For the House’s 4th District, we have Forbes and Ward. Ward just comes across looking like a politically uneducated, inexperienced political wanna-be (that might be what I’m looking like here, but at least I have the guts and decency to admit it!) So yeah, gotta go with Forbes on this one.

“Forbes, who is the chairman of the readiness subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, points to his track record of defending Hampton Roads military bases and assets against budget cuts. He favors a budget in which national defense is a top priority. When asked about the military, Ward said the U.S. ‘cannot have a strong defense without educating our children.’"

"I wouldn't want someone on the front lines who doesn't have a strong education." Ward needs to stop turning other issues around back to her own educational platform and expand her knowledge base.

“In an interview, Ward erred when describing the 2010 closing of the International Paper Mill in Franklin, which led to layoffs of more than 1,000 people. Ward said those jobs were shipped to Mexico. Those operations were largely transferred to a new facility in Brazil.” Whoops! Ward also needs to learn her facts before an interview.

The big election this time around is obviously the presidential election. Last time, I voted for John McCain. I didn't think Obama had enough experience of any kind of to be President. And I know there are at least three people running on the independent ballot, and I thought about looking into them, but the more I think about it, those feel like they would be wasted votes. If I go that route, I may as well not vote.

“Romney opposes same-sex marriage and supports a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being only between one man and one woman. He opposes civil unions “if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” but he says states should be left to decide which rights and benefits should be allowed under those unions. He says certain domestic partnership benefits – largely unspecified – as well as hospital visitation rights are appropriate for gay couples but “others are not.” He says he won’t reverse Obama’s decision to allow gay members of the military to serve openly.”

I have to go Obama here this year for the same reason as my reason for Kaine above. I'm not sure how I feel about him for this election, because this year feels like I'm voting for the lesser of two evils. The last time I felt like that was when it was Gore and Bush. And the need for same sex couples to have the same rights as married hetero couples keeps speaking to me. It makes me think of family, friends and co-workers throughout my life. Why shouldn't they have the same rights as me?

However, Obama’s speaking off the cuff in Roanoke in July 2012 about small business owners who didn’t build it does give me pause. It proved he can’t speak off the cuff but as President, I think he needs that skill. But I also want to be a future small business owner some day of a book store. However, if I get to be a small business owner, it's going to be years from now, long after Obama's influence will have long faded. “...if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”  

Take your foot out of your mouth, Mr. President. But why does this bother me so much right now? I think it makes Obama look out of touch with the common, small business owner in small town America.

"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me because they want to give something back,” the President said. “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.” No one is saying there aren’t hardworking people out there. This would have been so much of a better way of stating it, if he could have just left the “You didn’t build that part,” out.

 The other two items on the ballot are the eminent domain amendment and the legislative amendment. I always think these amendment items are worded so shadily, like the writers are trying to trip up the voters.

"Question 1, as the proposal is known, would add to the state constitution some of the country’s most restrictive language on eminent domain – government’s power to force property owners to sell their land. The measure essentially strengthens Virginia’s 2007 eminent domain law, which set limits on the use of eminent domain for economic development and made it tougher for redevelopment authorities to declare large swaths of land blighted."

If I understand this right, we do not need more restrictive language for the government to have more power to force property owners to sell their land for public use. Eminent domain cases have been and are happening here in Norfolk and I think it's ridiculous. The government shouldn't have the right to say to a business owner, we want your property for something else; you need to move.

"Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2
"Shall Section 6 of Article IV (Legislature) of the Constitution of Virginia concerning legislative sessions be amended to allow the General Assembly to delay by no more than one week the fixed starting date for the reconvened or “veto” session when the General Assembly meets after a session to consider the bills returned to it by the Governor with vetoes or amendments?

"This proposed amendment would let state lawmakers reschedule when the General Assembly returns to Richmond to consider the governor’s proposed changes to legislation, including the budget bill, it previously passed."

I don't think the General Assembly should be allowed to delay the fixed starting date to reconvened or veto session. This is the job of the members of the General Assembly. If they can't do their jobs to learn about items being brought up at future sessions, claiming they need more time, there's a problem.

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