Actions over promises

Published 3:14 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Too often in political campaigns, some politician’s tell voters what they think voters want to hear.

Sometimes that does not match the positions they have taken while in office. They hope no one remembers those past actions. You, the voters, need to look closely at their records.

Consider Ralph Northam. In the last joint appearance with Ed Gillespie, he stated that, if elected, “I will stop the gerrymandering.”

That does not match up with his votes during the last redistricting in 2011 when he had a vote. Then he voted in support of the lines that the Democrats drew in House Bill 5001.

He voted for it not once, not twice, not three times, but four times — once in committee and three times in the full Senate.

It was redistricting that the Democrats forced through in an effort to maintain control of the Senate — all for political purposes. In Northern Virginia, districts were stretched out to give more power to Alexandria and Arlington to the detriment of the surrounding more conservative counties.

Likewise, the Democrat’s plan split Brunswick, Campbell, Danville, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Pittsylvania and Prince George to protect their Democrat districts.

When Northam was in the Senate, he had fellow senator, Emmett Hanger, removed from the Center for Rural Virginia.

The center is the one statewide organization that follows all the issues that affect the small towns and rural parts of Virginia.

As chairman, I looked forward to having bipartisan membership.

However, Northam never even attended a single meeting nor did he get involved with the Rural Caucus in the General Assembly. Therefore, it seems unlikely that he will have much interest in the issues that our rural communities face.

As Lieutenant Governor, Northam was automatically a member of the Rural Center.

In this case, he did attend one center event.

He attended one of the joint events we hold in Richmond during the legislative session with the Virginia Association of Counties.

This year, for the fourth year in a row, he had more important things to do than attend the Governor’s Summit on Rural Virginia.

This year’s excuse was that he had to be in Washington at a fundraiser. He was also fundraising out of state rather than joining a statewide Farm Bureau meeting.

This was a far different attitude than Gov. Terry McAuliffe. He has attended each summit of his four years in office as well as when he was running for office.

If Northam does not consider rural Virginia important during the campaign, can we count on him if he is elected?

The lieutenant governor likes to campaign as if he has been active in the Governor’s work to recruit economic development projects.

He refers to the McAuliffe-Northam “team.”

However, in the four years in office, he has been missing in action more often than part of any “team.”

As lieutenant governor, he took a very passive role in his position as a member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Because of poor attendance records, there are questions about how often he attended meetings, but at most — only half.

Considering issues during this period, it is sad that he was not more engaged.

If elected, should we expect him to be more engaged, or will he continue to just go through the motions?

You will need to decide in November.

Frank Ruff represents Charlotte County in the state Senate. His email address is