In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Josh Ludwig. Josh is running for the Board of Supervisors in the Shawnee District, Frederick County.
Josh says he chose to run because as a local citizen it seems that the current leadership has strayed from that focus. He feels we need to support our local economy, small business owners, and schools.
Josh says, “This he says can best be achieved when we present our citizens whom we serve with as much information as possible. For too long we have allowed budgets to become vague in details, raised property taxes either by rate increase or assessment and increased taxes on meals as a way to supplement our spending. We need a more analyzed approach instead of the same old raise taxes approach. I’m committed to budget transparency, lower taxes, and our individual rights as citizens, community members, and business owners.”
On May 15, 2021, there will be a Firehouse Primary (Republican Party Canvas) at the Millwood Banquet Hall, 252 Costello Drive, Winchester, VA 22602. If you live in the Shawnee District in Frederick County you are urged to vote for your next Republican Supervisors. This election will determine the Republican candidate who will be on the ballot in November.
For more information and to contact Josh, go to his website at www.JoshELudwig.com
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
Youngkin announces plan to invest in all Virginians
On July 29, 2021, political outsider, successful business leader, and Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin delivered remarks outlining his plan for the Virginia budget surplus and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Glenn outlined his plan in Richmond at the L. Douglas Wilder Library at Virginia Union University, stating:
“It’s going to take a new kind of leader to pave the way for a new day in Virginia. So today I’m offering my priorities for investing in all Virginians by using the surplus and the American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide Virginians tax relief, reinvigorate our job machine, reestablish excellence and empower parents in Virginia’s classrooms, and rescue public safety and our mental health system.”
“I’d like to see a meaningful amount of these dollars go directly into the pockets of Virginians. Under Democratic rule, the general fund revenues, which are taxes and fees, have increased at two times the rate of GDP growth.”
“The McAuliffe-Northam regime has had their chance and failed to deliver. They’ve had 8 years to make your lives better, but they live by the philosophy that government should decide all things; which businesses will win and which ones will lose, especially penalizing small businesses and more rural parts of this great Commonwealth. They tell us what’s best for our kids in schools, giving parents no voice, and no choice. And they think they know best how to keep us safe, by underfunding law enforcement and our mental health system. They govern by the belief that they know best how to spend Virginians’ money, these tax dollars. Terry McAuliffe thinks it’s his money.”
“My vision for Virginia is one day, we will lead the nation in job creation because taxes are low and regulations are reasonable, because small business can access capital, can hire who they need to hire, and expand because every graduate is either college-ready or career-ready with the skill that will put them on the pathway to a more prosperous future. To reinvigorate our job machine, we will take several important steps.”
“My vision is a Virginia with safe neighborhoods, where our children can play without worry, where the elderly can take a walk without fear, with police partnering with communities to patrol and keep everyone safe. These are my investment priorities. This is a moment for transformational investment. This $5.8 billion plan includes over $2 billion that goes directly to Virginians in the form of tax relief and educational recovery assistance. It invests $2.6 billion to reinvigorate our job machine, $1.2 billion to reestablish excellence in education, and $500 million to rescue public safety and our mental health system. Make no mistake, with the Youngkin Administration, this is the Virginia that you can expect. When I’m your Governor, we will get things done.”
Glenn listened to the concerns of parents and small businesses owners when formulating a plan to reinvest in our schools & economy. Mother Michelle Williams and small business owner Hayden Fischer joined Glenn to share their personal experiences and demonstrate their support for his plan to invest in Virginians:
“As a mother of five children who have and is currently attending public school in Virginia, I am concerned today. We’ve seen a lurch to the left in the name of indoctrination and lowering of academic standards, prioritizing unions and bureaucracy over education. I trust Glenn Youngkin to go to work for our children and get our education system back on track. Our children deserve higher standards of education. As parents, we should be empowered to choose the best educational opportunities for our students. The education refund Glenn’s proposing will be a huge help to parents like me. I’m with Glenn because he’ll improve educational outcomes for all Virginian students—that’s what matters,” said Michelle Williams.
“My name is Hayden Fisher, I’m a local attorney and entrepreneur, and small business owner. And as we all know, the past eight years we’ve seen an increasingly anti-business climate. A climate particularly anti-business towards small businesses. And that doesn’t take the form just in increased regulations, and higher taxes, it really takes the form in a lack of empathy for small businesses in particular. And that’s why we need someone like Glenn Youngkin who understands every big business starts as a small business. And never was that more apparent than last year when the pandemic hit. As y’all know in a time of crisis we need leadership, we needed Glenn Youngkin to lead us through a time like that.
Instead, McAuliffe Northam administration provided nothing by way of guidance and help for small businesses. And I’ll tell you, in particular, that was present when you talk about the essential vs non-essentials categories of business. If you were big buys grocery store or if you were a gas station, you were essentially you were open. If you’re an innovative new business, that sold similar products or services, especially products and goods in the retail sector, you were non-essential even though you had a business model, that was a new business model, that didn’t fit into a neat government category. And as we started to reopen, the biggest frustration I heard from clients that I advise, I consult with a lot of small business clients, and other small business owners is there was no process. Like, what if my business does, can safely reopen? I don’t fit into a neat category. Why can’t I apply? There’s no process to try and say hey my business can also safely reopen. In fact, the only option was to potentially think about filing a lawsuit. Can you imagine having to file a lawsuit to reopen a business you put your heart and soul into? And not only that, but your concern was not winning, but being retaliated against for even having the audacity to file that lawsuit. That’s a complete lack of empathy for local business and for small business and with Glenn Youngkin, I can assure you there would be a process in place where he can bring every business back that can safely reopen back open as quickly as possible. And that’s why I and many small business owners support Glenn Youngkin for governor,” said small business owner Hayden Fisher.
Youngkin’s Plan to Invest in Virginians will focus on:
• Providing Relief for Taxpayers and Families:
o Immediately return the $1.5 billion in available taxpayer surplus to offset Virginian’s mounting tax burden
o Help working families by suspending the state gas tax hikes passed by Democrats for one year
• Reestablishing Excellence in Education:
o Empower parents with educational choice by piloting 20 new “Innovation Schools”
o Provide $500 per public school student in refunds to parents to invest in student educational recovery
• Reinvigorating the Job Machine:
o Protect employees and small businesses from a cataclysmic payroll tax increase of $270 per employee
o Invest $700 million to bridge the digital divide
o Provide a tax holiday for small businesses
o Invest in initiatives to grow jobs and address environmental challenges
• Rescuing Public Safety and Mental Health:
o Stop the exodus of our law enforcement heroes from the force with a $5,000 retention bonus
o Keep first responders safe with significant investments in critical equipment and continued legal protection
o Fund Virginia’s mental health care crisis plan
Warren County Republicans hold forum for upcoming School Board seats
On July 29, 2021, the Warren County Republican Committee (WCRC) held a candidate forum for the upcoming Warren County School Boards seats in the Happy Creek, North River, and Fork Districts.
The candidates vying for an endorsement from the Warren County Republican Committee are Antoinette Funk and Stephanie Short (Happy Creek), Melanie Salins (North River), Andrea Lo, and Al Gunn (Fork). Andrea Lo was not in attendance at the forum.
As event moderator and former Committee Chairman Steve Kurtz noted that the committee can only endorse, not nominate. That has essentially been legally interpreted to mean that a candidate cannot carry a political party designation by their name on an election ballot. That does not prevent them from carrying one on sample ballots handed out by political committees outside polling places to reflect a Party’s endorsement.
The Royal Examiner will be having each candidate on an upcoming “Meet the Candidate” Town Talk in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
After the forum, the WCRC voted and choose to endorse Antoinette Funk, Happy Creek District, Melanie Salins, North River District, and Al Gunn, Fork District. Al Gunn is the only candidate that is a write-in candidate. The others names are on the ballot in the upcoming November election.
Youngkin, Sears, Miyares release assessment of Virginia’s economy
Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor Winsome Sears, and Republican nominee for attorney general Jason Miyares released the following assessment and statements on July 14, 2021, regarding Virginia’s economy following CNBC’s report. While business accolades are good for the Commonwealth, Virginia is not performing like the top state for business, and disappointingly, Virginia ranks among the worst states for the cost of living (#32) and cost of doing business (#26), and in the middle of the country for infrastructure (#24).
Youngkin’s top priority is making Virginia the best place in America to live and work and raise a family, and as governor, he will be laser-focused on delivering real results for all Virginians.
“The status quo is failing Virginia families and workers,” said Youngkin, Sears, and Miyares. “Under Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam, our Commonwealth has fallen behind our competitor states and is growing slower and providing fewer opportunities. That may be acceptable to our opponents, but we think Virginians deserve better. If we are given the privilege of serving Virginia, we will wake up every day focused on improving the lives of everyone who calls our Commonwealth home and making sure they are empowered to earn a bigger paycheck, work hard, get ahead, and pursue their dreams. By working together, we can and will bring a brighter day to Virginia.”
Youngkin spoke with reporters in Richmond Tuesday, telling NBC 12, “Unfortunately, Virginia hasn’t performed like the number one state to do business in, and we’ve watched our cost of living and our cost of doing business be ranked literally in the bottom half.”
This is the reality in Virginia:
• There are roughly 200,000 fewer Virginians in the workforce than there were in March 2020.
• Virginia’s labor force participation rate is at the lowest level in recorded history.
• While Terry McAuliffe brags about Virginia adding 200,000 jobs when he was governor, if Virginia had grown as fast as our competitor states during that time, Virginia would have added 380,000 jobs.
• While Terry McAuliffe was governor, states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Colorado added 200,000 or more jobs, North Carolina added 350,000 jobs, and competitor states such as Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina grew at least 90% faster during that time.
• In terms of economic growth, since McAuliffe became governor, Virginia’s GDP has grown slower than its competitor states, including Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas.
• According to a 2021 analysis by The Blueprint, Virginia ranks 49th in the country when it comes to the best state to start a small business.
• Since McAuliffe became governor, Virginia has had negligible net firm formation, adding less than 4,000 firms. Competitor states on average grew at a rate greater than twice Virginia’s.
• Virginia’s cost of living is higher than the national average and higher than competitor states North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, according to Council for Community and Economic Research.
• People are voting with their feet. Over the last few years, more Virginians are moving away from Virginia than are moving to Virginia from the other 49 states.
Even by CNBC’s flawed 2021 methodology, North Carolina bested Virginia in 7 out of 10 categories, including on the economy, business friendliness, and cost of living.
By a large margin, Virginia did outpace the top six states in CNBC’s brand-new category that prizes the McAuliffe-Northam critical race theory agenda and penalizes states that require a photo ID to vote:
Youngkin announces confirmed participation in three Gubernatorial Debates
Political outsider, successful business leader, and Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin’s campaign announced on July 12, 2021, that Youngkin has confirmed his participation in three gubernatorial debates:
1 – Hampton University, Liberty University, and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce in late August
2 – The Appalachian School of Law in Grundy on September 16
3 – A to-be-determined host and location in mid-October
“Glenn Youngkin looks forward to debating career politician and Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe, and hearing him explain his poor performance as governor,” said Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter. “We’re glad we were able to settle on a date with the Appalachian School of Law and the McAuliffe campaign, and we hope McAuliffe accepts the opportunity offered by Hampton University and Liberty University. We are in discussions with several entities to finalize the third debate in mid-October.”
Unlike McAuliffe, Youngkin committed in March to the debate at the Appalachian School of Law.
The Youngkin campaign expressed disappointment that the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) refused to correct several problems with its proposed debate, including the lack of a dedicated portion to economic issues and jobs, and its unilateral selection of Clinton Foundation donor Judy Woodruff as moderator.
“Unfortunately, the VBA refused to dedicate a portion of the debate to a discussion on Virginia’s economy and jobs, which proved to be an insurmountable barrier in our negotiations,” said Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter. “It would also be a conflict of interest to have former Clinton Foundation board member Terry McAuliffe being ‘questioned’ by a Clinton Foundation donor.”
Glenn Youngkin unveils plan to restore Academic Standard of Excellence in Virginia Schools
On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, political outsider, successful business leader, and Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin delivered remarks outlining the first part of his comprehensive education plan.
“This campaign is about making Virginia the best state, the best place to live and work and raise a family, and there is nothing more critical to Virginia’s future than education. Education has the power to lift people up, to lift people out, to provide opportunities that they can only dream about, to realize the most vivid dreams. It gives every child a chance – every child – and when I’m governor, we will all be about giving every child a chance, to learn, to grow, to succeed, to believe. That’s what Virginia is all about,” said Youngkin.
Detailing the first part of his education plan, Youngkin said, “We must have the courage to set high standards. We must have the courage to invest in our students, in our teachers, in our facilities, and then we must demand results from our schools. As part of the first phase of my plan to restore excellence in Virginia schools, we’re going to raise standards. We’re going to absolutely create transparency, and we’re going to demand school accountability, and we are going to raise our sights on student achievement because student success should not merely be a talking point in Richmond. It is the pathway to unlimited success, and every Virginia child should be on that pathway.”
“On day one, I will sign an executive order returning Virginia’s schools to pre-McAuliffe standards. No longer will Virginia race to the bottom when it comes to expectations. We are setting high standards. Second, I will direct the Virginia Department of Education to protect advanced math classes and the use of advanced diplomas. We all know that our students need proficiency in subjects like math, to be fluent in the economy of the future. Third, we will refocus on the fundamentals of reading, writing, and math.”
“I’m tired of politicians lowering standards, lowering standards and yet calling it a success, setting our sights on the lowest common denominator instead of the highest hopes of our children. So here’s a simple fact: when he was governor, Terry McAuliffe and his political appointees lowered standards, and he dragged our children’s performance down with those diminished expectations.”
“I have a vision for the children of Virginia, that they would not just survive, but they would thrive in Virginia’s classrooms, that they would be challenged to reach their full potential, that they would have a rigorous curriculum that would prepare them for the workplace of the future, for the college opportunity of the future, and that all of our children will see their dream opportunity here in Virginia.”
The first part of Youngkin’s education plan will focus on Schools, Students, and Studies, and identifies key actions that can be taken to restore excellence in Virginia’s schools, including:
o Restore the standards by which our schools are measured to actual standards of excellence.
o Improve school measurement metrics so we can all see how our schools are doing and where help is most needed.
o Increase the number of Academic-Year governor’s Schools, like the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, with a variety of subject areas.
o Ensure schools are never again closed unnecessarily for extended periods of time.
o Ensure all children can read, write, and understand math by third grade.
o Equip our students to be the top-performing students in the country.
o Ensure students with disabilities receive all the services, support, and procedural protections they are entitled to – and listen to parents and students.
o Put the power back in the hands of parents by providing them with the information they need to make the best decisions for their children.
o Offer more advanced math opportunities instead of holding students back from achievement.
o Direct the Department of Education to preserve advanced math classes and the use of advanced diplomas.
o Teach kids how to think, not what to think. Encourage critical thinking instead of Critical Race Theory.
o Remove politics from the classroom and teach all U.S. history — the good and the bad.
Town Talk: A conversation with Jay Butler, candidate for Supervisor in Warren County, Happy Creek District
In this Meet the Candidates session, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Jay Butler. Jay is running for the Board of Supervisors in the Happy Creek District in Warren County. A few points of his platform are:
- Ensure that similar incidents like the recent EDA scandal do not occur again in Warren County by critical inquiry and scrutiny of budgets
- Support our First Responders
- Scrutinize our School Board budgets to ensure funds are used for the best outcomes for our students
For more information, visit his campaign Facebook page.
Meet the Candidates is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will sit down with each candidate in our local election and discuss issues that are important to all of us. All local candidates are invited to participate in this ‘Meet the Candidate’ series.