Representative Ben Cline (VA-06) announced that he will support objections to the Electoral College certification process on Wednesday, January 6. He released the following statement:
On January 6, 2021, the U.S. House and Senate will convene in a joint session to open the electoral votes submitted by state government officials, certify their validity, count them, and declare the official result of the election. As the representative of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and this is a duty that I do not take lightly or without thoughtful consideration and deliberation.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution provides that each state shall appoint its electors for president, “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Fortunately, all Legislatures have decided to choose electors through statewide elections, and most appoint all electors to the winner of the statewide popular vote. In addition, the state Legislatures have enacted laws with detailed election rules and procedures by which voters are to choose their presidential electors.
But in the months preceding the 2020 election, those rules and procedures established by the state Legislatures were deliberately changed by a number of individuals, including governors, secretaries of state, elections officials, judges, and private parties. These changes are in direct violation of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution. That usurpation of the Legislatures’ constitutional authority was a primary reason why the 2020 election became riddled with an unprecedented number of allegations of irregularities and improprieties. As a result, prior to the vote last month of the Electoral College, I joined 125 other Members of Congress in urging the Supreme Court to resolve the question surrounding the constitutionality of these slates of electors. Unfortunately, that case was rejected on the basis of insufficient standing. It was not resolved on the merits.
Therefore, because I continue to have serious concerns regarding the constitutionality of these electors, I will vote to uphold objections to their certification on January 6.
Some have cited the Twelfth Amendment in suggesting that our role on January 6 is limited to counting the electoral votes. However, that argument is only relevant if Congress first confirms that the electors were chosen in compliance with Article II, Section 1. Clearly, the electors in these states were not. The authority of the Legislatures in these states was unconstitutionally appropriated by others.
In my office in Washington, I use my chair from the Virginia House of Delegates that I bought when both chambers were renovated back in 2008. It’s old, and the springs are shot, but it reminds me that in our system of government, the states are the alpha and omega. It was the states that created the Federal government, and it was the states that created our local governments as well. Our founders set up a system of, by, and for the people that placed the state Legislatures at its very heart, and that heart still beats strongly today.
It has been my great honor to represent the citizens of the Sixth Congressional District in the House of Representatives over the last two years, and I am grateful to them for re-electing me to another two years last November. But it was my sixteen years in the Virginia House of Delegates, sitting in the Capitol built by Thomas Jefferson to house the oldest elected Legislature in the Western Hemisphere, that shaped my opinions about the roles and responsibilities of all levels and all branches of government. As I stand in defense of our Constitution and the principles enshrined within it, I also stand in defense of the authority of state Legislatures across this great Nation, the citizens they represent, and the great democratic experiment that has endured for centuries. May it continue to endure for many more, and may God continue to Bless these United States of America.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit assists in arrest after driver flees vehicle
On February 22, 2021, at approximately 06:41 PM, members of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Special Problems and Drug Enforcement Unit attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding on Stonewall Jackson Highway. The suspect vehicle failed to yield leading to a pursuit that was terminated on Gooney Manor Loop. After the pursuit was terminated, the suspect vehicle continued to drive recklessly, striking a Sheriff’s Office vehicle.
Due to the reckless and dangerous disregard for persons and property, the pursuit was then reinitiated continuing onto Bentonville Road, where the suspect lost control and wrecked at 07:02 PM. The driver fled the vehicle on foot and the passenger was apprehended at the scene. Warren County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit consisting of Master Deputy C. Anderson and M. Griffith, along with their canine partners Rooster and Gator, apprehended the driver after a short track where the driver was found hiding in a nearby creek.
The driver, Garland Turner Jr., age 28 was charged with Possession of Schedule I/II, felony eluding, felony hit and run, assault on a law enforcement officer, and driving suspended.
The vehicle owner and passenger, Alicia Knott, age 21 was charged with Possession of Schedule I/II and obstruction of justice.
No one was injured during the incident.
Virginia State Police investigating plane crash in Frederick County
Virginia State Police Senior Trooper R. Riggs responded to a report of a plane crash in Frederick County. The crash occurred Wednesday, February 24, at 2:22 p.m. near the intersection of Back Mountain Road and Fishel Road.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a Single Engine Cessna Aircraft suffered engine failure shortly after taking off from Winchester Regional Airport. The aircraft attempted to make an emergency landing in a field and impacted the ground which caused it to overturn.
The pilot, Jonathan D. Behnke, 42, of Mount Airy, MD, suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Winchester Medical Center for treatment.
No one on the ground was injured as a result of the crash.
The FAA and NTSB were notified of the crash.
The crash remains under investigation.
New People Inc. service helps the community access internet
People Incorporated is helping community members who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic access internet service. The agency will set up accounts and pay for six months of internet service for clients who qualify.
Clients can qualify for this service if they have been impacted by the pandemic in some way – through the loss of a job, reduction in hours, the need to school children from home or another impact. Clients must also meet income eligibility, documentation requirements and show a need for internet service.
“Access to the internet is a necessity,” said Angie Groseclose, vice president and chief operating officer at People Inc. “It’s necessary for telehealth appointments, searching for a job and for kids to attend school, and it’s an extra expense that may not be in everyone’s budget. We want to make internet service more accessible for those who need it.”
This service is funded by emergency CARES Act funding and is available to residents in Clarke County, Frederick County, Page County, Shenandoah County and Warren County.
Interested residents can call People Inc. toll-free at 833-962-2039 for more information and to verify eligibility.
Humane Society’s ‘Polar Plunge’ rescheduled to Saturday, March 13
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a “Polar Plunge” because it’ll still be winter then, though hopefully for the plungers with a continuation of the current turn toward spring-like 60 degree temperatures! In its inaugural year of 2020, the event became a popular fundraiser supporting the Humane Society’s efforts on behalf of the local animal community and the HSWC’s Julia Wagner Animal Shelter.
As reported in the original press release on the event: this year’s “plunge” is made possible through the sponsorship of City National Bank, Cool Techs Heating and Air, Ellen Aders State Farm, AirPac, MDUB Chauffeur Services and Cavalier Kennels. This year’s event is expected to help raise as much as $12,000 for the Humane Society.
There were 35 plungers initially signed up to take a dip in the icy water, each working to help raise much-needed funds for homeless animals in Warren County. There are 15 new plungers, and 20 returning plungers who will all run into the Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center, followed by a warm-up at the fire pit.
The event team will be ensuring that all CDC Covid-19 guidelines are followed, and masks will be required at this outdoor event.
In 2020, pre-pandemic, the top fundraiser was Molly Llewellyn, who raised over $1,000 for the shelter. There was also an award for best dressed. Both of these awards will be returning for the 2021 event.
The Humane Society of Warren County is a non-profit animal shelter that houses homeless, neglected, abused and unwanted animals. While primarily dealing with cats and dogs, the shelter has also been home to livestock, birds, reptiles and more.
Executive Director Meghan Bowers avoided taking the plunge last year, but is leading the charge into the water in 2021 dressed as a shark, so far raising about $467 from friends and family.
Hot drinks, Strites Donuts and music will keep participants warm during the run up and aftermath of the short but stimulating plunge.
For more information on this event or others, please visit HSWC Events Page.
Governor Northam increases capacity limits for outdoor sports and entertainment venues
On February 24, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced that as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise in Virginia, certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.
“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all Virginians, hospitalization and positivity rates across the Commonwealth are the lowest they have been in nearly three months,” said Governor Northam. “As key health metrics show encouraging trends, and we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, we can begin to gradually resume certain recreational activities and further reopen sectors of our economy. Even as we take steps to safely ease public health guidelines, we must all remain vigilant, so we can maintain our progress—the more we stay home, mask up, and practice social distancing, the more lives we will save from this dangerous virus.”
The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued strict health and safety protocols including physical distancing, mask-wearing requirements, gathering limits, and business capacity restrictions. The current modified Stay at Home order will expire on February 28, 2021.
Governor Northam is beginning to ease public health restrictions by taking steps to increase capacity limits in outdoor settings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower. The key changes in the Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:
• Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
• Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
• Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
• Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.
The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.