Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cuccinelli reaches out to grass roots.

If you had asked me about a month ago who I was supporting for the VA Attorney General race, I would have said Ken Cuccinelli, but then the "Trigger Man" vote came up in the VA Senate and Sen. Cuccinelli was the lone Republican vote against changing this. The Senators vote gave me great concern on this very important issue and I couldn't for the life of me guess why he would take this type of stand when he normally comes across as such a conservative on issues. If your not familiar with the "Trigger Man" law, the basics are fairly straightforward, the law in it's current form states that only the person who pulled the trigger in a crime involving death by firearm can be sentenced to death regardless of how many co-conspirator that "trigger man" had in the crime. I thought maybe it was a Christian view and some Christians will not support war or capital punishment because they believe that the Bible teaches them that death is not a punishment for man to dole out. I also considered that there were components of the Bill that I was quite frankly ignorant of and didn't have all the facts.

I contacted the Cuccinelli For Attorney General campaign and inquired as to why the Senator voted the way he did and further stated as a previous supporter of his I was deeply concerned. The Senators campaign is the first and only campaign that I've ever given a financial contribution to, I've given my time to many but his was that first that reached into my "back pocket" for.

This morning at about 10:30, the wife and I were watching the Saturday Business Block on Fox News and the phone rings, caller ID showed a 703 area code which likely meant NOVA. We both looked at the phone and commented "I wonder which PAC wants money now?". I answered the phone and caller asked for Jason, I enthusiastically stated "speaking" and waited for the sales pitch. The caller said Hi Jason, it's Ken Cuccinelli and I understand that your concerned about my vote on "Trigger Man" and further stated that he had my email in front of him. Spend any amount of time in political activism and you get used to impersonal bordering on insulting "form letters" sent from some low level staffer who doesn't know you or care about your issue stating that "fill in name and or title" is deeply concerned and then misquote your concern. If you've had this experience yourself then you know exactly what I'm talking about, so I 'm sure you can understand my pleasant surprise when the Senator personally contacted me on this issue.

He mentioned some issues that I had brought to his attention at a public appearance some time ago and remembered what I do for a living. I don't know if he takes notes or just has that good a of a memory, but in either event that impressed me. We then started to discuss the "Trigger Man" vote and why he voted the way that he did. The Senator told me that there has been a lot of "misinformation and bad information" put out about his choice and freely discussed that with me. I asked him why he was the only Republican who opposed changing this law? He told me that was not true and further stated that Delegate Chris Saxman of Augusta also shared his view. I then asked him if he had religious issues with capital punishment? The Senator told me that he does believe, that in the appropriate circumstances he does support capital punishment and his voting record supports that view. I then asked him the golden question, which is why he voted the way he did? The Senator told me that to answer that question he would have to correct some additional misinformation. The Senator told me once again that he is not opposed to capital punishment under the appropriate circumstances and stated that they are 3 specific exceptions to "Trigger Man" that allow for persons other that the one who "pulled the trigger" to be given capital punishment sentences. The Senator told me that the three are as follows: Terrorism, Gangs / Criminal Enterprise, and Murder for hire. The Senator told me he feels that these exceptions to the law provide an adequate method to deal with these cases. The Senator then told me that to open it any further could in his opinion provide a situation where sentences may not be equatable to the crime committed and held great concern about that. The Senator once again stated to me that he was not opposed to the death penalty when appropriate, but felt with the exceptions listed, there was still a safe guard in place that he agreed with.

I believe that the Senator truly listened to my concerns and wanted to know how I felt on this issue. I don't know that I completely agree with him on this matter, however any politician especially one seeking state office who will take his of her time to personally contact a voter gets big points in my book. I don't believe that a perfect candidate exists for any elected office and got over the fairytale that one did quite some time ago. At this point I look at the candidates that are running and pick the one whose platform and voting record (if they have one) most closely mirrors my views on the issues.

Your city or county Mass Meeting may have already occurred or will occur soon and then you'll be eligible to be a Delegate to the 2009 Convention for the Republican Party of Virginia where we will choose our Republican candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. Big Decisions will have to be made and then we work to turn VA red once more.

We must take our country back, one issue at a time if need be!