Posts by Mike Signer
The cup of adjectives runneth over to describe Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's sloppy, wasteful, elitist, self-indulgent, and special interest-driven fishing expedition against a UVA professor whose research Cuccinelli personally disagreed with. With last week's decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia to strike down Cuccinelli's subpoena once and for all, the question now is how Cuccinelli can reckon with the fact that he forced a great public university to spent $600,000 defending itself against his blundering ego machine.
At at time when government itself is under attack by a host of extremists in places like Richmond, it's even clearer that improving public education goes to the very core of the Democratic mission. Education is the most critical, sympathetic interaction many regular folks have with government. It's a key example of a core service. And history shows that Virginia Democrats win when they stay on the offense on education, whether Chuck Robb, Doug Wilder, or Mark Warner. But Virginia's K-12 system is falling short for too many of our students, particularly those in socioeconomically vulnerable categories and areas. NDPPAC took on this critical topic recently with a new Strategy Paper on K-12 reform titled "The Urgency of Excellence: Opportunity and Equity in Virginia's K-12 System." We recently released this Strategy Paper in conjunction with a powerful panel of Virginia experts discussing these ideas. The event was co-sponsored by the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Given the trouble Democrats have had in recent decades on the politics of national security, I'm incredibly happy to see how strongly President Obama is performing on security -- both in his results (from Osama bin Laden to Al Qaeda to Libya), and in the perceptions among the public of those results. And I believe that his successes on this front are going to prove key to his victory in Virginia this November -- a critical swing state with a large population of sophisticated voters on national security, foreign policy, and veterans issues. That's why I joined a press call this afternoon sponsored by the Truman National Security Project (on whose (c)(3) Board I sit) with two accomplished Virginia veterans -- retired Army captains (and my good friends) Jim Morin and Terron Sims.
For your viewing pleasure, here's the full video of our panel this week with Senator Barbara Favola, Senator John Edwards, and Dak Hardwick of the Harris Corporation. Enjoy!
February 21, 2012. Richmond, VA – The New Dominion Project PAC today hosted a panel discussion on innovation, job creation, and growth in Virginia featuring Mike Signer, Chair, NDPPAC, Sen. Barbara Favola, Sen. John Edwards, and Dak Hardwick of the Harris Corporation at the General Assembly Building. In a lively discussion that highlighted the power of fresh progressive ideas to overcome the gridlock and overreaching in Richmond today, the panelists and audience members, including leadership of major Virginia organizations such as Virginia 21 and the Business Council for Higher Education for Virginia, discussed a set of principles drawn from a new NDP Strategy Paper titled “The Engine for the Future: Taking Higher Ed to the Next Level in Virginia” that recommends five “Principles for Reform” (summarized below).
There's an extraordinary op-ed in today's New York Times on ProgressVA's report on the far-right group ALEC's legislative agenda in Virginia. It's very rare for a scrappy group like ProgressVA (run by the estimable Anna Scholl) to achieve publicity like this, but this shows the power of good analysis and the right issue. The Beltway-run ALEC is trampling all around our beloved Commonwealth like a bull (or an elephant) in a china shop, and great advocacy like this goes a long way toward calling out the extremists in Richmond for what they are: reckless, out-of-touch, and fundamentally unconcerned with the problems of everyday folks around their kitchen tables.
Great work by Senator McEachin and Delegate Toscano calling extremists in Richmond to task for their failure to work on the issues that matters to middle-class Virginians trying to figure out how to live their dreams. in Senator McEachin's words: "Republicans are so focused on divisive policies that they are hindering our efforts at progress, putting our kids' education at risk, and leaving them less prepared for the future. In the last four weeks, Senate and House Republicans have introduced hundreds of bills that target the poor, women, and immigrants, make it harder to vote, and discriminate against gays and lesbians. It's time for Republicans to put divisive ideology and raw partisanship aside.
I've been dismayed by how fecklessly President Obama's enemies are trotting out the old playbook of attacking a Democrat as weak on national security. Even taking for granted our current fact-free politics, these assaults are particularly egregious, ignoring the confident, precise, intensely patriotic nature of the President's foreign policy and national security. I have an op-ed out in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch drawing on some of my experience in national security as well as some of the facts about the President's proposed new Pentagon budget to argue that it's critics like Mitt Romney who really ought to be playing defense on defense. Here are a few grafs from the article -- you can check out the full version here.
Now we're turning our focus to fresh ideas on public education. As a Virginia public school and UVA Law graduate, a small businessman, and an educator at Virginia Tech, I firmly believe in the power of public education to build Virginia's future -- and give progressives an edge at the kitchen table. Here's what we're delivering in the coming weeks...
As a veteran of seven Virginia Democratic election protection programs and founder of the New Electoral Reform Alliance of Virginia, I'm familiar with the provisional ballot system we have. I fear the intentional chaos that will be unleashed under this new system. I've counseled many frustrated voters through the process of casting provisional ballots and have advised them on how to ensure they get counted -- usually, by taking a day off work to show up to the registrar's office the next day. (Virginia's system is already unusual in that the "canvass" of votes starts the day after voting -- in some states, the canvass starts a few days later, giving more time to a voter to arrange to travel).