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Primaries on, House Judiciary Committee hearing off at WCGC

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Democrat and Republican Primaries for U.S. House and Senate candidate nominations were held as scheduled on Tuesday, June 12, but a federal hearing slated to be held was not.

While the Democrat and Republican Primaries for U.S. House and Senate candidate nominations went off as scheduled on Tuesday, June 12 – including at the Warren County Government Center (WCGC) polling station – another federal level event slated for Tuesday morning at the seat of county government did not.

Sixth District U.S. House Republican Robert Goodlatte was supposed to chair a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the WCGC regarding a proposal to move the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) National Canine Division Training Center out of the county.

Front Royal and Warren County have a long and proud tradition of canine training dating back to World War II – here is Chips, class of 1943. K-9 photos online

What was originally the U.S. Customs Canine Training Center, later a merged Customs-Border Patrol Canine Training Center, has long been located in Harmony Hollow on Warren County north side not far from the Virginia 4-H Education Center. And as readers of Royal Examiner’s annual coverage of the Memorial Day event here know, Warren County has a proud tradition of canine training dating back to World War II.

It was not immediately clear if the referenced ATF canine training facility encompasses the customs-border patrol training center or is a separate entity. Goodlatte’s staff was still researching our question about the canine training center dynamics at publication.

Goodlatte Press Director Beth Breeding said the hearing was cancelled when some committee members discovered scheduling conflicts. Notice of the cancellation did not go out till shortly after 8 p.m. Monday evening.

According to the press release announcing the planned hearing, a proposal to move the canine training center from Warren County to Huntsville, Alabama where the National Center for Explosives Training and Research is located has been broached. It is a move forecast to cost taxpayers $40 million.

House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte appears to favor keeping the ATF canine training center in his Virginia Congressional District.

In the release announcing the planned hearing in Warren County Goodlatte stated, “For the past quarter century, ATF’s National Canine Division has had tremendous success in training dogs to detect explosives and traces of flammable liquid in order to prevent and solve crimes across the United States and the world. Just recently, ATF-trained dogs were instrumental in aiding the investigation into a series of bombings in Austin, Texas. The training facility in Front Royal provides the clean air and quiet location the dogs need in order to learn how to do their job, but there has been a proposal to move the facility to a place that could adversely impact the canines’ ability to detect explosives and keep the public safe.”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Robert Goodlatte at recent appearance before the Rotary Club of Front Royal – File Photo/Roger Bianchini

The Goodlatte office announcement of the planned hearing on the proposed canine training facility move explained, “The ATF is a law enforcement agency within the Department of Justice tasked with investigating crimes involving firearms, explosives, and arson in order to reduce crime, prevent terrorism, and keep the public safe. The ATF’s National Canine Division trains canines to be able to sniff out explosives and small traces of ignitable liquid accelerants. Since 1990, ATF has trained over 900 explosives detection canines and over 250 accelerant detection canines and have been used by federal, state, local, and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies.”

As for Goodlatte’s contention that the move to Alabama could “adversely impact the canines’ ability to detect explosives” could it perhaps be that at the Huntsville National Center for Explosives Training and Research the smell of explosives would be so prevalent that the dogs might think that’s just the way the world smells?

But alas, now we will have to wait awhile longer to get the rationale for the proposed $40-million move to Alabama and the Judiciary Committee Chair’s belief that move could negatively impact the explosive and volatile materials-detection training of the ATF dogs.

And by the way…

Oh, as for those primaries – former Trump campaign staffer and stylistic imitator Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination to run for one of Virginia’s two U.S. Senate seats in November. Stewart has promised “a vicious and ruthless” campaign” against Democratic incumbent and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine – we can hear it now, “Lock him up! Lock him up!! …”

Whoa now with the ‘stiff’ comments, Tim Kaine may have been thinking the day after Virginia primaries – File Photo/Roger Bianchini

Trump tweeted glee at Stewart’s nomination, adding a questionable personal and policy perspective of the Democratic incumbent – “Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning,” Trump tweeted.

Corey Stewart, former Trump Virginia state campaign staffer and four-term member of the Prince William Board of Supervisors – Photo/Wikipedia

One local Democrat wondered if Trump’s “weak on borders” appraisal means that Kaine does not support the administration policy of separating asylum-seeking children from their parents at the border and detaining them indefinitely away from family among other children of all ages in a prison setting. And they asserted the only taxes Kaine might like to “raise through the roof” would be those of Trump and his billionaire buddies who were the major beneficiaries of the much-ballyhooed 2017 Republican “tax reform” legislation.

Trump protégé Stewart (136,512 votes) defeated two opponents in the statewide primary, Nick Freitas (131,273) and E. W. Jackson (36,482) – OUCH, Freitas supporters might be saying Wednesday of Jackson’s impact on that race.

On the Democratic side, Jennifer Lewis won the nomination for the U.S. Sixth District House seat currently held by Goodlatte. Goodlatte announced his intention to retire shortly after the November 2017 State House election result.

Jennifer Lewis at the 6th District Democratic candidate forum in Front Royal on May 5 – File Photo/Roger Bianchini

Lewis (8,206 votes), a self-identified progressive Democrat, handily defeated three opponents, Peter Volosin (4,688), Charlotte Moore (3,185) and Sergio Coppola (1,160).

Lewis will face Ben Cline, selected at a somewhat raucous Republican Nominating Convention several weeks ago.

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