The Young Republican Federation of Virginia Convention on Saturday was no doubt exciting with the news of Sandy Liddy Bourne stepping aside to join Pat Mullins in his quest to become the next Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, but there were also other speakers who spoke.
Dan Mitchell of Cato Institute and author of Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It spoke about our current fiscal crisis with the bailouts and out-of-control spending by the Federal government. Mitchell emphasized that there is no way you can have a good tax system with massive government spending.
Speaker Bill Howell spoke to the YRs about the upcoming House races throughout the Commonwealth. He talked about the dynamic candidates who are running, along with several races to watch.
Budget was the topic of the Legislative Panel, which featured Del. Mark Cole and Sen. Ryan McDougle. Both Cole and McDougle discussed the smoking ban was also another issue that the media focused on this session, and mentioned that it was an intrusion on our liberties. Cole indicated that the strange thing about this year’s session was that there were very few, if any, proposals on transportation. When asked what were the strong points of the budget, the contentious points, and how the stimulus funds were used, both Cole and McDougle gave interesting perspectives.
Cole: The best thing about this budget is that it cuts spending. We cut $2 million dollars out of the budget. Last year, we had to create a two year budget, and this year, we edited the budget. Kaine is a political creature: politics first, work second. Cole voted for the budget, as it was a reduction in spending. Included limits on growth of support personnel within our schools, effort to do away with a reduction in the sales tax collections from businesses. Took the stimulus money. VA was given $4 billion in stimulus, and it was divided in two parts. It will be used in next year and the following year’s budgets. This would prevent cuts in first responders and teachers. We are in a depression, not a recession. Excessive spending and excessive debt.
McDougle: Budget was challenging. We went through this process. Revenue estimates. What we are projecting to collect, included increases in personal income growth (15% for the Commonwealth), we need to create new jobs or salaries have to go up. We can’t take more money than we take in. McDougle voted against the budget last year (July 1-June 30th Budget span).
After the legislative panel, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and former Attorney General Bob McDonnell gave insightful speeches about their campaigns. Bolling delivered his remarks first to get the crowd of YRs fired up. Bolling said we need to move forward, instead of looking back at past, unsuccessful elections. During his speech, Bolling mentioned that the united ticket with Bob McDonnell at the top of the ticket will provide the direction of how we can win again. Bolling also discussed how we need to focus on energy, protecting our status as a right to work state, and having fiscal integrity.
Bob McDonnell spoke next by touching upon his initiatives to bring more jobs to Virginia and working on a transportation proposal to help improve a problem that has plagued Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads for years. McDonnell also addressed how to improve education, and he mentioned that we need more charter schools and merit pay for teachers. While money is important, McDonnell said education needed to be about accountability and higher education standards.
Later in the afternoon, after the Attorney General’s Forum, the YRs heard from Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks, who gave a great grassroots activism training.
Overall, the 63rd Annual Young Republican Federation of Virginia Convention was a success, and we look forward to playing a key role in the 2009 elections.