Posts by Marshall Kirby
The federal debate over increasing the debt ceiling raged for months. For years, especially during the Bush Administration, politicians were allowed to give simple up and down votes for raising the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, in this hot political climate, GOP leaders have forsaken their jobs of leadership and governance. Instead they opted to hold the United States credit rating and government operations hostage.
The labor movement for blue collar manufacturing workers had a big win this past week in Danville, Virginia. Danville was selected as a site for a plant by Swedish retailer IKEA in 2006. Everyone seemed to think the deal would be mutually beneficial for all parties. Danville had a reputation of being a hard-working blue collar town, and IKEA had a reputation of corporate social responsibility. However, it did not take long for cracks to appear.
Given the current economic climate, it's no secret that our legislators face tough decisions regarding budgets. The government of the Commonwealth provides a number of important services to residents, and with declining revenues there's no doubt popular programs and services will continue to be cut. This weekend, The Virginian-Pilot covered the story of the existing shortage of state troopers. Budget cuts closed all academy classes in 2009, and allowed only one academy class in 2010.
Virginia’s Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, and the Secretary of Technology, Jim Duffey, recently announced the release of a comprehensive map of broadband Internet availability. The map and the corresponding study attempt to outline local areas of the Commonwealth which have access to both wired and wireless sources.
If you've ever traveled in Northern Virginia, you're familiar with overcrowded roadways and intense congestion. During the summer months, millions of additional vacationers from across the country drive on major highways in Virginia like 95, 81, and 64. Tourism brings additional revenue to our Commonwealth’s restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and other destinations. However, the traffic situation worsens with slow travel speeds and additional travel times.
We know that during recessions, revenue at the state and local level falls. Elected officials and policymakers scramble to find ways to close the budget shortfall, and they look for programs and areas to cut. Community leaders fight for education and social spending, and they are correct when they tell how cuts affect future generations and the disadvantaged.
Commonwealth residents have come to know Delegate Bob Marshall (R – Prince William County) as a right-wing legislator with known prejudices against homosexuals. Over the past few months, Delegate Marshall has tried to ban gays from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard, among other anti-gay declarations. This month, Delegate Marshall has taken up a new crusade against Virginia residents.
If you follow the economics of Virginia’s communities, then you probably know that Martinsville and Henry County are among the Commonwealth’s most struggling areas most in need of economic development. The New College Institute (NCI), a state-funded local degree completion institution which provides local students access to higher education, is aiming to change that, and there are recent encouraging signs that NCI could become a new four-year college, with the help of another major Virginia public university.
The Dulles Greenway, a private road in Loudoun County, raised $226,354 on their May 19th Drive for Charity event which saw local non-profits as the beneficiaries. The Greenway chose May 19th for the event because the last few years have seen May as the most heavily travelled day of the year. 2011 was no exception, with the largest amount collected to date for the charity drive.
Governor Bob McDonnell recently departed for an 11 day tour of Asia promoting trade and investment in the Commonwealth. His trip included stops in South Korea, China, and Japan – the three largest economies in East Asia. The trip was announced at a total cost of $278,000. This is the second foreign trade visit overseas for Governor McDonnell; in July 2010, he completed a similar mission to Europe.