Archive for February, 2015

It’s time for Ben Cline to go

Following the rules of the Democratic Party of Virginia, we have established a nominating committee in the event we have a Democratic candidate to run against incumbent Ben Cline (or, if Cline does not run, whoever the Republicans nominate). The committee comprises the chairs of the Democratic committees of Lexington and Buena Vista, the counties of Rockbridge, Bath and Amherst, and a designated Democrat in Augusta County.

In a conference call, Gene Zitver of Lexington was elected chair of the committee and Pam Grinder (chair of the Rockbridge County Dems) was elected secretary.

If we have only one Democratic candidate, no party-wide caucus is necessary, although it may be desirable. If we have more than one Democratic candidate, we will need to have a caucus to select the nominee.

–If you are considering being a candidate, or if you know of anyone who is considering it, there will be a two-day training course for potential candidates on Saturday March 7 and Sunday March 8 in conjunction with the state Democratic steering committee meeting in Henrico County. Details are here.

–We need to spread the word about how Ben Cline is not representing the best interests of the people of the 24th District. Not only do he and his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly oppose Medicaid expansion in Virginia under the Affordable Care Act, he spoke at a rally in Richmond against it. To understand how this affects hard-working but low-income Virginians, be sure to read Dan Casey’s article in Thursday’s Roanoke Times.

Cline is also one of the Republican majority on the House Commerce and Labor Committee, which last month voted against:

· A requirement that employers allow full-time workers to accrue paid sick days

· An increase in the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2017

· An increase in the penalties for employers who deny women equal pay for equal work

· A prohibition against employers disciplining workers for taking reasonable time off to recover from domestic violence or sexual assault.

Cline, however, has introduced a bill requiring testing for illegal drug use of recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, under threat of a cutoff of benefits. A similar law in Florida was struck down by a federal court last year. The New York Times reported:

From July through October 2011 — the four months when testing took place in Florida before a federal injunction — 2.6 percent of the state’s applicants for cash assistance, or 108 of 4,086, failed the drug test…

Because the Florida law required that applicants who passed the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This was more than would have been paid in benefits to the people who failed the test.

I wonder if Cline would agree to mandatory drug testing of all recipients of public funds in Virginia– including members of the General Assembly.

The point is: it’s time for Ben Cline to go.