APPOMATTOX, VA - This weekend the Raiders of Appomattox High School continued making history by extending their win streak to 30 consecutive games - the longest active record in the Virginia High School League.
With a perfect record heading into Saturday's Virginia 2A State Championship game, Appomattox did not disappoint with a dominating 42-7 win to clinch it's second straight Virginia State Championship.
Following Saturday's win, Congressman-elect Tom Garrett issued the following congratulatory statement:
"I tip my hat to the tremendous effort of this amazing team. Capping back to back perfect seasons with a State Championship is something very few teams ever get to experience and there is no team more deserving than our Appomattox Raiders. I would also like to commend Head Coach Doug Smith for the State and National recognition he has earned this season - he has made the Commonwealth very proud. I look forward to seeing what else is in store for this group moving forward."
Appomattox is one of 21 counties with the cities of Charlottesville and Danville rounding out Virginia's Fifth Congressional District.
Photo courtesy of Jay Westcott of the News and Advance.Full Release
FARMVILLE, VA - This weekend the 22nd District Republican Committee hosted a convention at Hampden-Sydney College to nominate Congressman-elect Tom Garrett's successor in the Virginia Senate.
After a round of speeches from 2017 candidates including Ed Gillespie and Bryce Reeves, 22nd Senatorial District candidates Mark Peake and Ken Peterson took the stage to make their final pitch to delegates.
As results were finalized, Peake emerged as the victor. In an admirable and humble motion for party loyalty, Ken Peterson requested that the delegates nominate Mark Peake with unanimous consent.
Following Peake's victory, Congressman-elect Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
"Heading into this weekend, I was confident that the 22nd District would continue to have a conservative champion ready to best represent the interests of this amazing district. I have known Mark for years and wholeheartedly believe in his ability to lead and serve. I would like to take this opportunity to endorse Mark enthusiastically and I look forward to working with him in service to the people of Virginia. I would also like to commend Ken Peterson for both his record of conservative leadership in Goochland and his willingness to serve the 22nd District."
The special election for the 22nd seat will take place on January 10 with the Republican nominee favored by several points. Congressman-elect Garrett officially swears in on January 3.Full Release
In the past several days, we have seen thousands of acres of land ablaze throughout Central Virginia.
I commend State Officials and their efforts to coordinate help amongst local fire departments and the Virginia Department of Forestry and great progress is being made.
Photo courtesy of Emily Brown, The Nelson County Times.
We have been in contact with the local Emergency Services Coordinator throughout the week and continue to offer our support in whatever capacity is needed. The most pertinent information we just received and were advised to share is as follows:
In compliance with the Local Emergency declaration, the burn ban is still in place for open air outdoor burning until the area receives a "significant rainfall that decreases fire risk."
Further, "9-1-1" calls are for ACTIVE EMERGENCIES only. For non-emergencies or other questions, please reach out to the Nelson County Dispatch Center at 434-263-7050. For surrounding regions, they are able to direct you to other localities or departments pending your needs.
For other questions related to our office, please message Andrew@TomGarrettforCongress.com.
And lastly, we want to thank all of our firefighters, first responders, and law enforcement officials for the tremendous job they continue to do in keeping us safe.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - November 11 marks each year as a day of appreciation for Veterans across this great nation by recognizing those who have served in each branch of the Armed Forces.
As a Veteran of the United States Army where Congressman-Elect Tom Garrett served as a Combat Arms Officer for nearly 6 years, Veterans issues have been a priority for both his tenure in the Virginia Senate, and as a platform issue of his Congressional campaign.
On a day that honors those who have sacrificed so much for this nation, Congressman-Elect Garrett issued the following statement:
"Of the many holidays this nation has, Veterans Day holds the most significance to me personally. The greatest honor I have ever been blessed with was leading our soldiers overseas and those experiences are what molded me into the man and legislator I am today. I want to thank all of our service-members across this nation for the selfless commitment to America you have made. As your Representative in Congress, I will continue to advocate for Veterans and make it a priority that we take care of those who have put everything on the line for our security."
Garrett's campaign team was also comprised of several Veterans, Military Reservists, and future soldiers including his Chief of Staff Kevin Reynolds, Southside Field Director Matt Becker, Charlottesville Field Representatives Ryan Fowle and Tripp Grant, Campaign Consultant Carlyle Gregory, and countless volunteers and interns.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Surrounded by family, friends, and media outlets from across the Commonwealth, 5th District Republican Nominee Tom Garrett took the stage at Random Row Brewery to formally accept the election results.
Throughout the campaign, Senator Garrett touted his proven experience of job creation coupled with his military background and knowledge of emerging terrorist threats both domestically, and abroad.
As incoming vote tallies came in demonstrating a landslide win for the Republican Nominee, Garrett issued the following statement:
"First and foremost, I want to thank God and my family for their steadfast support. Similarly, I could not be more appreciative for the outpouring of support by volunteers, donors, and GOP units who have given so much during this election - it is truly humbling."
Garrett went on to say:
"This campaign has always been about jobs and the equality of opportunity. I look forward to working on rolling back the destructive regulatory burdens on our job creators and pursuing creative solutions to replace Obamacare with a more affordable, market-based system. Further our legislators need to focus on pushing resources and decision making away from Washington and back to our localities. I will also make it a priority to fight to secure our borders and protect our nation from threats at home and abroad."
The 115th Congress is slated to begin on January 3, 2017.Full Release
The past week has been packed with "get out the vote efforts" by way of phone-banking and door-knocking. Our team is cranking out nearly 11,000 calls per day and is leading every other campaign in the state in that capacity!
Even more exciting, we have been out-raising our opponent which has allowed us to dominate the airwaves to spread our message even further. Their campaign is clearly flustered and continues to make careless mistakes from bullying our interns online to frantic press releases and blatantly false advertising.
Since day one, our campaign has focused on job creation and economic growth. After partaking in 8 debates to allow voters the opportunity to compare and contrast our campaign vs. our opponent's, the numbers are showing that are message is resonating, while the Clinton-Dittmar agenda is flailing.
We are entering the final stretch and need all hands on deck to help not only our campaign, but Mr. Trump's as well. In fact, recent polling shows a competitive race for the White House.
For full newsletter including pictures from the campaign trail, news clips, and articles, please click here.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - With just under one week until the November elections, 5th District Republican Nominee Tom Garrett rolled out new endorsements from two former Virginia Governors - Bob McDonnell and Jim Gilmore.
In a release circulated Wednesday morning, former Governor Gilmore stated:
"I have had the opportunity to join Tom on the campaign trail throughout this election and am proud to support such a strong Conservative. We need Representatives in Washington who are not intimidated to stand up and make tough decisions. With our country reaching such a historic turning point, it is imperative we elect public servants like Tom Garrett to advocate on our behalf."
A separate release from former Governor McDonnell expressed similar sentiments by reflecting on their history that extends well over a decade by saying:
"It was my privilege to have Tom serve as an Assistant Attorney General in my administration. In the years since, he has been a strong voice for common sense and I am certain he will bring those same principles to help fix a broken system in Washington. Virginia's Fifth District will be well served by electing Tom Garrett to represent them in the 115th Congress."
Upon receiving news of these endorsements, Senator Garrett released the following statement:
"It is truly humbling to receive the support of two proven leaders who have worked tirelessly to improve the Commonwealth in recent years. I have great admiration for each of these men and enthusiastically accept their endorsements. Virginia's Fifth District is one of the most historic districts in this nation, being first represented by James Madison. If the people of Virginia Five choose to elect me as their next Congressman, I will represent their interests to the absolute best of my ability and keep in line with the tradition of doing the people's work."
Virginia Senator Tom Garrett has also been endorsed by the NRA, Susan B. Anthony's List, the National Right to Life, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the News and Advance. A full list of endorsements may be seen here.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - This weekend the Democratic Nominee for Virginia's Fifth District Jane Dittmar released yet another misleading ad claiming a "lifelong Republican" business owner was supporting her candidacy.
It was quickly brought to light that the Virginia Public Access Project shows a history of Mr. and Mrs. George Benford financially supporting only Democratic candidates - including Ms. Dittmar's bid for Board of Supervisors. In response, the Dittmar campaign released a statement in an attempt to paint Mr. Benford as a bipartisan activist.
Unfortunately for the Dittmar campaign, the far left views of Mr. Benford go far beyond what was initially revealed. He has consistently supported Climate Change initiatives, hosted Tom Perriello's 2010 election night watch party, claims to be an Independent on his own social media page, arranged tours for Tim Kaine's Senate campaign, and voted in 3 Democratic primaries (2015, 2013, and 2009) compared to just 1 Republican (2012) primary in recent years. It should be noted there was no Democratic challenger to President Obama in 2012 to vote for.
Upon the release of Ms. Dittmar's newest attempt to double down, Senator Garrett responded by stating:
"Initially I was convinced that a woman of Mrs. Dittmar's integrity wouldn't continue to air another ad that was so demonstrably false. Sadly, despite evidence that Mr. Benford has monetarily supported nearly a dozen Democrats and no Republicans, she has doubled down on the assertion he is a "lifelong Republican." Voters in the Fifth District deserve better. Voters in the Fifth District deserve the truth."
Garrett spokesman Andrew Griffin added:
"Hillary Clinton was President of Wellesley College Young Republicans years ago but it's safe to say she has about as many ties to Republicans as George Benford does at this point. What we are seeing is a pattern of false narratives by Ms. Dittmar's campaign in an attempt to win over voters in a last ditch effort to compete for this seat."
Garrett's initial release on this ad can be seen in full here.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - This week 5th District Democratic Nominee Jane Dittmar unveiled her latest media ad which shows a man purportedly claiming to be a lifelong Republican.
However, a quick search of the Virginia Public Access Project shows a history of donations to Democrats by Mr. and Mrs. Benford including Senator Creigh Deeds, Delegate David Toscano, Charlottesville City Council Member Kathy Galvin, Ms. Dittmar herself during her run for Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, and Melvin Grady - who ran for Charlottesville City Council after serving time in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Further, a screenshot of Mr. Benford's Facebook page (not posted in this release as it reveals personal contact information) claims he is an Independent.
Upon release of this ad, 5th District Republican Nominee Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
"I am sure based on my interactions with my opponent that she would never be dishonest enough to falsely claim that Mr. Benford was a Republican. That is why I am flummoxed by the fact that over the last fifteen years, he and his wife have given thousands in political contributions, entirely to Democrats. Shame on him for pulling the wool over Ms. Dittmar's eyes. Sadly, knowing what strong integrity she possesses, I am certain she will pull the false ad."
Garrett's Campaign Manager Zach Werrell added, "It makes sense perhaps that Ms. Dittmar's handlers had a script but had difficulty finding an actual Republican in the Fifth to read it. However, I am convinced that she would never condone nor continue to air such a blatantly dishonest ad."
The election to replace the retiring Rep. Robert Hurt in Congress will take place on November 8, 2016.Full Release
We are officially 13 days out until the election and we are going full speed!
These past two weeks have been chock-full of debates, small business and firehouse tours, and we have gotten back some very promising polling which gives our team an 11 point edge!
It is evident that our message of economic prosperity only being achieved by getting the government out of the private sector is resonating with our district. Further, people in the 5th are realizing that my opponent's attempt to combat ISIS with a PR campaign is not only ill-informed, it's downright dangerous. We need a more aggressive strategy to defeating terrorism where it lies and Jane Dittmar falls woefully of short of taking the necessary steps to do that.
The past several months have been grueling but we are asking for all hands on deck as we are so close to turning around the direction of this country. In our lifetime, there has not been a more important election and the Supreme Court, security of this nation, and basic Constitutional Rights hang in the balance like never before.
So over the next 13 days we ask that everyone continues to volunteer, contribute, and help however you are able with both our race and Mr. Trump. Everyone's help is welcomed and much appreciated!
For full newsletter including TV clips, pictures, and articles, please click here.Full Release
As the race for Virginia's Fifth Congressional district works it's way inside of two weeks until the November election, national advocacy organizations are beginning to stake positions on their candidate of choice.
After receiving endorsements from both the National Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List, 5th District GOP nominee and Virginia Senator Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
"I am honored to receive the support of these organizations who are so dedicated to the preservation of life. It is imperative that we continue to govern not just with moral conviction, but within the confines of our basic, inalienable rights, which include the right to life. This decades' long attack on the unborn by Democrats is unconscionable and I am proud to continue providing a voice for the most vulnerable among us."
In contrast, Democratic nominee Jane Dittmar has been endorsed by Emily's List while Senator Garrett received a 0% rating by NARAL - a pro-abortion group with a radical agenda that supports late term taxpayer-funded abortions while opposing parental consent to abortion for minors.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA- Today 5th District Democratic Nominee Jane Dittmar held a press conference outlining reasons as to why she deleted her social media accounts for nearly 12 hours just three weeks prior to the election.
In memos circulated to the press by her campaign, she specifically highlighted the reason behind her event was to "denounce Tom Garrett's refusal to condemn hateful, violent, and crude campaign rhetoric."
This comes just days after a GOP office was firebombed in North Carolina with graffiti telling "nazi Republicans" to "leave town or else" and in the midst of multiple incidents of vandalism to GOP signs in the 5th district.
To the surprise of everyone in attendance, 5th District Republican Nominee Tom Garrett showed up in a show of solidarity to condemn the use of threats and messages that distract from the debate on policy.
Upon conclusion of the rally, Garrett issued the following statement:
"To be clear, I wholly condemn threats of violence by supporters of either party. As someone who has been a public servant for over a decade, I have received death threats and have seen my share of rhetoric that has no place in public discourse. Every campaign receives its share of rude and obnoxious posts from people who disagree with candidates on a host of issues - but we do not encourage or perpetuate that."
Garrett's Chief of Staff in the General Assembly, Kevin Reynolds, echoed that sentiment by saying, "It is every American's right to register their support or opposition but there is no place to use foul or threatening language. We disagree with our opponent on a host of issues but we encourage everyone on both sides of the aisle to conduct themselves civilly."
The event took place at the Free Speech Wall on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, Virginia and was attended by roughly 30 local citizens.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - After a week ripe with controversy for the Dittmar campaign, new polling indicates the race for Virginia's Fifth Congressional District is continuing to widen significantly.
Polling conducted over the weekend by Meeting Street Research, a nationally recognized survey firm based in South Carolina, showed Garrett with a solid eleven-point lead over Dittmar (50%-39%). Polling by the same firm in September showed Garrett ahead by a similar margin (47% to 36%). Republicans are solidified behind Garrett (91%-0%) and Democrats are supporting Dittmar (90%-2%), but Independents are giving their votes to Garrett (52%-30%).
The 400 sample survey also showed Garrett ahead in favorable ratings, with a 30%-14% favorable/unfavorable rating, while Dittmar’s numbers were 22% favorable and 22% unfavorable. Garrett also leads in every region of the district.
“The problem for Dittmar is that there are more Republicans in this district than there are Democrats (Cooke rating R+5), and that the GOP is totally solid behind Garrett. Worse for her, Garrett is currently winning Independents as well,” said Meeting Street Research pollster Rob Autry.
With regard to the new polling data, Senator Garrett issued the following statement:
"We are up double digits and have been for months. I am particularly proud of the tremendous effort by our campaign regardless of the fact that this district tends to vote Republican. We take nothing for granted and are working around the clock to meet with as many voters and business owners heading into November 8."
It should be noted, this polling came prior to yesterday's breaking story questioning Jane Dittmar's intent to hide from public consumption an apparent DUI arrest in which minors were involved. Following the release of this information, the Dittmar campaign leveled false accusations in a desperate attempt to implicate the Garrett campaign in this story.
Garrett Campaign spokesman Andrew Griffin responded by saying:
"From the evidence we have seen, Jane Dittmar wrecked her car and was arrested for driving while intoxicated with a minor in the automobile. With regard to Ms. Dittmar's excuse that her arrest happened 'before the turn of the century,' I would say that during that same time frame, Senator Garrett was honorably serving in the United States Army. I cannot reason as to why she is attempting to change the narrative to "sleazy Republicans" rather than owning up to her poor choices. Fortunately, voters of the Fifth District have the opportunity to make the determination as to which candidate uses better judgment on November 8."
The Garrett campaign reiterated that they have not, and will not use this arrest for TV, radio, or print ads.Full Release
Today marks the 5 week window until election day and we need everyone's help to ensure a November victory!
This past week we saw more office spaces launch, two debates that outlined my jobs focused platform, and the airing of our first commercial to spread our message to the largest audience yet.
It is a very exciting time as Virginia has become a competitive state in the Presidential race and we are on track to keep Virginia red in November. Even more exciting is tonight's Vice-Presidential debate taking place right here in the 5th District!
Please click here to catch up on news updates from our debates this week and see pictures from the campaign trail!Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Today the Republican candidate for Virginia's Fifth Congressional seat, State Senator Tom Garrett, launches his first round of TV ads heading into the November election.
Leading into the release of the new ad, Garrett issued the following statement:
"Since day one, our campaign has focused on the most pressing issues to constituents in our district - namely job creation, national security, and enforcing the rule of law. I am particularly excited about our ad because we were able to highlight my experience of creating jobs during my tenure in the Virginia Senate, serving abroad in our nation's military, and prosecuting the worst criminals our society has to offer as Commonwealth's Attorney. The people of Virginia's Fifth District deserve a Representative with both the record and fortitude to advocate on their behalf - and this message demonstrates nothing less."
The full ad may be seen here.
Republican Tom Garrett and his Democratic opponent square off in their third general election debate tonight at the Batten School at UVA with doors opening at 5 PM. Event is open and free to the public.Full Release
These are exciting times for our campaign as we have a number of debates coming up. After decisively winning the first debate, I am looking forward to the opportunity to put my record of job creation and aggressive constituent service alongside Jane's record. I think for voters to see the contrast between a Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders style Democrat and a Conservative Republican will spell victory in November.
We have two DEBATES upcoming this week. Details of time and place are in the articles below. I hope you can make one or more of them.
I would also encourage you to see our press release on immigration and the recent terrorist attack below. In it, you will see a clip where my opponent says that 'the best way to beat ISIS is with a nice PR campaign.' II leave it to your judgement on whether or not we can sweet talk jihadists into better behavior.
For full newsletter, including videos, news clips, and pictures, please click HERE.
To donate, volunteer, or request a yard sign, please click here.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - This week the Department of Homeland Security admitted to mistakenly granting citizenship to 858 immigrants who had previously received orders for deportation or removal from the United States.
This report came directly following a weekend that saw bombings in both New Jersey and New York with a suspect of Afghani descent. Early reports indicate that he had previously been reported by his own father as a terrorist in 2014.
That attack followed another breaking story where a twice-deported El-Salvadorian was charged in a brutal Maryland murder, allegedly stabbing a victim some 40 times.
Another story emerging this weekend was that of a Somali-born refugee who stabbed 10 people in the name of Allah before being shot by an off-duty policeman. He was the 129th naturalized refugee to be charged with terror since 9/11; add in illegal immigrants and those on temporary visas and the number climbs to 148.
In response, 5th District GOP nominee Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
"Just last year, FBI Director James Comey stated the FBI was not capable of properly vetting refugees from war-torn countries, yet Democrats continue to welcome these individuals in mass numbers. Couple this with the influx of illegal immigrants pouring across our southern border and the potential threat to the homeland grows exponentially."
Garrett went on to say, "The left would have the American people believe that these issues do not put our national security at risk - but that is inherently false. As a Veteran of the U.S. Army, I can tell you that the key to defeating the enemy is first properly identifying them - something the Obama administration has failed to do for 7 years."
In 2015, 5th District Democratic nominee Jane Dittmar weighed in on the rise of ISIS by stating, "I think one of the things we are not doing well at all, is communicating the incredible generosity of Americans... I think what we need is a counter PR campaign."
The full clip of Ms. Dittmar's statement may be seen by clicking HERE.
Reacting to this statement, Senator Garrett stated, "Ms. Dittmar is completely out of touch if she truly believes a Public Relations campaign will halt the horrendous actions of a group hell-bent on instituting Sharia Law across the globe. We need Representatives who are willing to address these issues head on by making tough decisions, not taking a microphone to a gunfight."
Senator Garrett served six years as an Army Combat Arms Officer before being elected as Louisa County Commonwealths Attorney and subsequent election to the General Assembly as a Senator in Virginia's 22nd District.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - This week Jane Dittmar's floundering campaign for Congress hit a new low after pushing an attack ad that is so easily proven false that it is hard to believe a serious candidate would put their name on it.
Specifically, she made false claims about Senator Tom Garrett’s record by claiming that he supported uranium mining during his tenure in the General Assembly - a claim that a simple fact check clearly disputes.
In response, 5th District GOP nominee Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
"Citizens in Virginia Five espouse honesty and integrity. My opponent's ad has neither. I have never voted for uranium mining in Virginia. Ever. If the media follows through on their responsibility to report the truth, they will verify this."
One of the bills in question, HB 1790, merely establishes a Virginia Nuclear Consortium which aims to make Virginia a world leader in nuclear power - bringing jobs to thriving Virginia employers such as Babcock and Wilcox and Areva in the process.
When asked about this particular bill, Garrett stated, "My opponent has once again put hypocrisy and ignorance on full display. Not only does the aforementioned bill in her ad NOT live up to any of her charges, it received overwhelming bipartisan support with a 127-8 vote tally between the two chambers combined - an interesting thought considering how Ms. Dittmar campaigns on her ability to work across the aisle only to turn around and condemn meaningful legislation widely supported by both parties."
Garrett went on to say, "Voting records are fair game when you run for public office. However, it is a slap in the face to the voters to spend tens of thousands of dollars on deceitful and misleading negative ads. I would challenge Jane to pull her ad and run a retraction for the same amount of money for the same viewership she used to spread this lie."
Garrett currently represents the 22nd Senatorial District of Virginia in the General Assembly. He won the GOP nomination to succeed the retiring Representative Hurt at Nelson County High School on May 14.Full Release
The past 10 days have been the most exciting yet as our message and ground game continue to grow exponentially by the day!
One of the most exciting days for Virginia Conservatives took place just last weekend in Fauquier County at the Liberty Farm Festival right here in our district where leaders throughout the commonwealth gathered to tout their respective messages of small government and leading this nation in a new direction. Our next Vice-President Mike Pence even stopped by declaring that the Presidential race is in a dead heat both nationally, and in Virginia!
Aside from this, my opponent is appearing to switch gears on her approach by taking a note from our platform issue of bringing back jobs and boosting the economy. Suddenly, she appears to realize that free-internet is not the solution that we need. While we are happy to educate her campaign on the needs of the 5th district, it is imperative that we do not elect someone who is so out of touch with the needs of Virginia and specifically, our district.
Please see below to catch up on news articles and pictures from the campaign trail in the past 10 days.Full Release
The past week has been very exciting for our team as we rolled out several new offices including our Headquarters on Dale Avenue in Charlottesville, VA.
It was humbling to pack the house in both Danville and Charlottesville with local residents who are excited to get involved in such a pivotal election year. We were also grateful to the many different media outlets who took the time to come by and see the new offices.
What we are experiencing is a growing presence of conservatives throughout Virginia who are eager to help in whatever capacity they can. The crowds coming out for Team Garrett events are also increasing by the day which is very encouraging as we get closer to November.
Please see below for the rest of our weekly roundup and click here to sign up for our updates.
For full newsletter including all pictures, please click here.Full Release
Yesterday the Democratic Party of Virginia painted Senator Tom Garrett a racist for his desire to enforce immigration laws in the United States.
In a statement condemning the Democrats' cheap political posturing, Senator Garrett issued the following statement:
"I was disappointed to see a release by the Democratic Party of Virginia, which essentially labeled me as racist for suggesting that local law enforcement should be allowed to assist in enforcing Federal Immigration laws. I would ask my opponent, who I hold in high regard, to join me in condemning this sort of overblown rhetoric. A legitimate disagreement on policy is one thing. Leveling charges of racism over such things is exactly what voters in this nation and the Fifth Congressional District are sick and tired of."
This attack came in the wake of GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump formally sitting down with the President of Mexico over proposed immigration policies.
Garrett went on to say:
"This sort of hyperbole is equivalent to the little boy who cried wolf. I believe that Ms. Dittmar will agree that the Democratic Party of Virginia is wrong and will join me in condemning their ridiculous rhetoric. Leveling such charges where no animosity exists is dangerous and leads to a failure to recognize the real thing when it rears its ugly head. Dylan Roof is racist. Anyone who thinks black lives don't matter is racist. Anyone who doesn't think that all lives matter is racist. Suggesting that local law enforcement should help federal law enforcement to uphold the law is not racist."
After his service in the military, Garrett served as Commonwealths Attorney in Louisa County where he worked with the criminal justice system directly for years. His subsequent term in the Virginia Senate afforded him the opportunity to work at chipping away injustices and archaic state laws within the state of Virginia.
In closing, Garrett called on his opponent to rebuke the DPV's statement by saying, "While the Democrat party of Virginia may disagree with MY policy views, I do not think my opponent, a good and reasonable lady with whom I do not always agree, will feel that way. This is why I am calling on her to disavow this ridiculous accusation. There is enough incivility in politics without this sort of name calling."
This week our campaign continued to expand our operation while meeting with countless voters and small businesses across the district. As you see from this past week's media coverage, we are continuing to focus on creating and protecting local jobs. People from all over the district are saying they want less government regulation, more job creation, and a level playing field so more people can succeed in the market.
We also have VERY EXCITING NEWS to share! On Friday we are co-hosting a joint office opening in Southside Virginia with the Danville Republican Committee. That evening will be followed up with our official Headquarters launch on Saturday in Charlottesville - each opening has special guest speakers, food, and are free and open to all! We have already begun working out of offices in both cities but are pleased to host our supporters and provide an opportunity to spend some time with both Senator Garrett and other elected leaders throughout our communities. More details are forthcoming and invitations will go out via email and social media by mid-week.
Please see more from last week on the campaign trail including pictures, news articles, and more below!
To see this week’s full newsletter including all pictures and links, please click here.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Recent days have presented yet another scandal involving Hillary Clinton in a "pay for play" scheme during her tenure as Secretary of State.
As Judicial Watch pores through newly released State Department documents, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin has come under fire for providing expedited and special access to the former Secretary of State to high level donors of the Clinton Foundation.
In response to the newest scandal involving the Democratic party's Presidential nominee, 5th District GOP nominee Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
"The newest revelation of Hillary Clinton proves once again that she is unfit for the Presidency. Before this week we knew she mishandled classified information during her tenure as Secretary of State, thereby putting this nation in danger. She also boldly asked 'what difference does it make' with regard to the lives lost in Benghazi which, as a Veteran, is not something I want to hear from a potential Commander-in-Chief."
Garrett went on to say, "Abedin's emails now prove that Hillary Clinton, and whatever office she holds, is for sale. With so much at stake in the next four years, we need a President, not a lobbyist in the Oval Office."
As the week has unfolded, many are calling on a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation for any wrongdoing.
When asked specifically about the potential of a Special Prosecutor, Senator Garrett stated:
"As a ten-year prosecutor at the state and federal level, I would challenge anyone with interest in Mrs. Clinton's wrong-doing to study the Hobbs Act. This federal law, under which Bob McDonnell was wrongfully prosecuted, would clearly indicate Mrs. Clinton's pay-to-play for access behavior rises to the level of felony activity many times over. I long for the day when above-the-law national figures like Hillary Clinton are held to the same standards as our own governor. A special prosecutor is not only called for, but is necessary to demonstrate that Americans do not function under two sets of laws."
Garrett served 6 years as a Combat Arms officer in the U.S. Army before working as a federal prosecutor and subsequent Commonwealths Attorney in Louisa County. He is currently a Virginia Senator representing Virginia's 22nd district.
LA CROSSE, VIRGINIA - Today Virginia Senator and 5th District GOP nominee Tom Garrett will tour the American Buildings Company - a Nucor steel facility located in LaCrosse, Virginia. In anticipation of this visit, Senator Garrett issued the following statement:
"A strong manufacturing base remains critical to Virginia's economic stability. While I am a proponent of free trade, it is imperative we put Americans first when negotiating international trade deals."
Last year alone, the Commonwealth exported over $15 billion in manufactured goods, providing much needed jobs and stimulus to the local economies.
Garrett went on to say, "As a Congressional candidate in Virginia's largest district, I believe we can and should do more to promote the manufacturing industry, particularly here in the 5th district. For far too long, we have allowed China to manipulate currency, exploit labor, and abuse free markets with illegal trade practices."
Virginia Senator Frank Ruff, who represents a substantial portion of the 5th district, recently penned an op-ed highlighting the same dire situation in the South-side. Specifically, he noted that over 135,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Virginia since 2001, including 6,000 in the 5th district and 5,300 in the neighboring 4th district.
The past 10 days have been exciting as we have traveled to every corner of the district and triumphed in the first debate with our Democrat opponent. When each of us were asked about our number one priorities, we responded with jobs and economic growth. Jane responded with her desire to provide government funded internet as her primary platform agenda.
Building on our priority of job creation, we spent this week touring tobacco farms in the south-side, manufacturing plants in Bedford, and small businesses of all types throughout the Charlottesville region. We even managed to have some fun at the local fairs which are such amazing venues to bring communities together.
Below you will find media highlights from our travels this week as well as a mini gallery from some of the business tours we took. I want to especially thank Wally Hudson, Nate Boyer, and Elliott Harding for spending so much time introducing us to local businesses in your respective counties.
For full newsletter including all pictures and links, please click here.Full Release
This Weeks Debate
This week I had the opportunity to square off against my opponent in our first general election debate. It was hosted by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia on Wednesday and left standing room only with a crowd of over 200 people.
At the forum's conclusion, there was no mistaking that there is a stark difference between myself and Jane: I offer better jobs, and Jane offers better internet funding .
Sparring Over Jobs
As I shared ideas and legislation that would create jobs and spur economic growth, Jane Dittmar kept reverting back to her key issue of taxpayer-funded internet infrastructure. When questioned on whether or not taxpayer funds would be used for this, she said, "It's not tax dollars. It's your money parked in funds," thereby proving revenue would come via tax dollars.
One of the more controversial exchanges erupted over Deschutes Brewery opening in Roanoke after Jane Dittmar failed to secure their business during her tenure as Chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. I also noted when we had the same opportunity, we brought several breweries to our district which brought in revenue and countless jobs to Virginia's 22nd Senatorial District.
It is also vital to understand the regulatory climate has become so burdensome for small businesses that in the case of companies such as Lane Furniture, outsourcing component parts to Mexico or Canada to comply with federal regulations destroyed profit margins forcing them to close their doors after nearly 100 years in business.
To see more from this week's forum where economic ideas were presented including hemp growth, deregulation and capitalizing on emerging opportunities, please click here .
Disagreements on Our Exhausted Entitlement Programs
When asked about reforming entitlement programs, Dittmar stuck to platitudes of 'working across the aisle to find solutions,' while expressing her support of expanding an already bloated medicaid budget, among other things. I challenged her by answering the question and offered my plan of "Student Security" (please see 10 minutes, 20 seconds in).
Specifically, I said, "Social Security's viability is up for debate so what we have proposed is a program that will ensure that everyone who has earned their right to a retirement check will have nothing to worry about. The plan will also alleviate the student loan crisis and debt for young people who are putting off getting married, taking out mortgage loans, or buying cars."
The full proposal can be seen here .
As a veteran of the United States Army and someone who has continued to work to improve care for our veterans, I think the failures of the VA and the Obama administration to care for those who have worn the nation's uniform should be resolved immediately. In this debate, I stated that, "I believe we should have an overlay with the VA and existing hospital facilities because the cost of redundancy in healthcare drives prices through the roof." These are the kinds of solutions our representatives should be fighting for in Washington.
Please see video 2 minutes, 20 seconds in to hear my comments on fixing our broken Veterans Administration system.
To view the full debate
Please click here. Please note, the debate is broken down into 6 parts.Full Release
Yesterday, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) endorsed Virginia Senator Tom Garrett for Congress. The NFIB represents 1,497 members in the 5th District with many times more employees.
This endorsement comes just weeks after a report showing stagnant growth and high cost of living in Albemarle County during Jane Dittmar's tenure as Chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
NFIB Virginia State Director Nicole Riley said, “As a state senator, Tom Garrett has a proven record of standing up for small employers in Virginia. He has fought efforts to increase government spending and taxes in Richmond, and would bring this expertise to Washington. We are confident he'll continue to be a big voice for small business in the U.S. House."
Upon news of this endorsement, Senator Garrett issued the following statement:
"Small businesses are the number one job creator in the country, critical to the economy of the 5th district, and as such, their success stimulates economic prosperity for all. As a small business owner myself, I understand firsthand the challenges they face which is why I have dedicated my tenure in the Virginia Senate to defending them. I am humbled to receive the endorsement of NFIB, an organization that works tirelessly to enhance opportunity across the nation."
NFIB's full endorsement can be seen here.
The race for Virginia's 5th Congressional District heated up this week as my opponent took direct aim at my military service and questioned my committment to our veterans. Not only does she lack a track record of military service herself, she displayed her ignorance on the work my colleagues and I have done in the Virginia Assembly to improve healthcare quality for our veterans, among other things.
It is not surprising that she wanted to change the conversation after a recent economic report came out showing increasing unemployment and an ever-rising cost of living in Albemarle County under her watch as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
This Wednesday, the Senior Center in Charlottesville ( 1180 Pepsi Place, Charlottesville 22901) will host the first general election debate between Ms. Dittmar and myself at 1:30 PM. I am excited to use this platform as an opportunity to offer real solutions and not just the empty rhetoric that my opponent is offering to hide her failures.
For full newsletter, please click here.Full Release
In response to a recent statement by Jane Dittmar's campaign in which she attacked Senator Garrett's military service and commitment to veterans, retired Army Green Beret and Delegate to Virginia's 30th District Nick Freitas weighed in by saying:
"Of all the things to accuse Tom Garrett of, "cowardice" is perhaps the most absurd. I don't expect Ms. Dittmar to understand the significance of that word when delivered to a veteran. I'm sure to her it is simply a political smear to be bandied about when useful. But to veterans it is one of the most loathsome accusations you can have said about you.
The idea that Tom Garret needs any schooling from Jane Dittmar on the appropriate respect due to our veterans is laughable. Perhaps she should spend less of her time criticizing Tom and more time explaining her support for President Obama and Hillary Clinton's horrid treatment of both our veterans and active service members when it comes to the Obama VA and Benghazi.
Being that she desires to represent a state with one of the highest veteran populations in the country, I would recommend she apply some of that education she boasts of to understanding and perhaps moderating her hyperbolic rhetoric against a veteran and instead focus on issues that actually matter to veterans...namely how she would improve the abohhernt standard of care that our veterans receive at the hands of an administration that she has had nothing but glowing things to say."Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – A recent article by Charlottesville Tomorrow highlighted the dire economic issues in Albemarle County.
Specifically, it stated that Albemarle County has the lowest labor force participation rate of any of its peer counties. Further, the report showed that Albemarle County has the highest cost of living in comparison to it’s neighboring counties.
5th District GOP nominee Tom Garrett stated, “Albemarle is one of many counties in our district that is long overdue for economic growth. My opponent has stated numerous times that her priority is getting people back to work. However, her performance on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors drove the local economy in the opposite direction.”
One of the major issues lingering in the next Congress will be trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Similar deals including NAFTA have cost tens of thousands of jobs in the 5th district over the years. Senator Garrett said that, “while I am a proponent of free trade, too many trade deals put other nation’s interests ahead of our own, which has been detrimental to the American workforce.”
Specifically, Garrett cited Lane Furniture in Altavista by saying: “Lane closed their doors after nearly 100 years in business, not because of wage issues, but overregulation by the EPA and similar federal agencies that force small businesses to outsource work. To meet federal regulatory demands, Lane was forced to bring in component parts from Mexico and Canada which destroyed profit margins.”
Virginia Senator Frank Ruff, who represents a significant portion of the 5th district in the General Assembly, praised Senator Garrett’s work on SB637, and other job creating initiatives. “As the only co-patron of this legislation in the Virginia Senate, Tom was instrumental in providing a framework to disseminate information on emerging industries throughout Virginia. This advisory committee is vital to ensuring that our high schools and community colleges are aware of the gaps in the current market. This will allow schools to give our students the skills they need to find employment right here at home,” said Ruff.
Dittmar faces Virginia State Senator Tom Garrett for Virginia's Fifth Congressional District seat in November.Full Release
In a statement released yesterday, Jane Dittmar’s Campaign called Tom Garrett – a veteran of the US Army during Operation Joint Endeavor – dishonorable and a coward, while simultaneously questioning Tom Garrett’s commitment to veterans.
From their release: “[Dittmar’s campaign] also questioned Garrett’s support of veterans, noting a lot of rhetoric but not much follow through.”
Zachary Werrell, Campaign Manager for Tom Garrett, responded.
“As if Jane Dittmar’s campaign calling Tom Garrett – a decorated Army Veteran – a coward and dishonorable wasn’t enough, she accused Tom of not actually supporting Veterans. So, I will take this opportunity to educate her campaign, and the veterans and voters in the 5th District, about all the work Tom Garrett has done for Veterans while in the Virginia Senate. This page is a list of all of the bills that Tom Garrett has sponsored or cosponsored in the Virginia Senate.”
Bryce Reeves, Virginia Senator, Lieutenant Governor Candidate, and former Army Ranger also weighed in by saying:
"Jane Dittmar's campaign doesn't know what they are talking about. Senator Tom Garrett co-patroned Senate Bills SB-254 and SB-433 which provide additional claims agents for VA benefits, and makes sure that our unclaimed veterans' remains are given a dignified burial. In a time when military service should be honored and cherished, it's baseless attacks like these, from those who have never worn the cloth of our country and served, that do a disservice to our veterans."
Werrell added, “Just this past weekend, Tom Garrett attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new home to be occupied by a disabled Marine and his family in Albemarle County. The Dittmar Campaign was AWOL, despite charing Tom Garrett is all talk and no action on supporting our veterans.
Jane Dittmar is either being very dishonest or is horrifically misinformed. As a Senator, Tom Garrett represents a huge portion of the 5th Congressional District, and it is incomprehensible that she - or someone in her campaign - would make such outlandish statements.
Comments like this that indicate Jane Dittmar is woefully out of touch with reality and the District. Instead of having to defend Tom Garrett, a decorated Army Veteran, from her baseless, nonsensical invective designed to score political points, I would much rather Tom be having a conversation with the voters about jobs, the economy, ending illegal immigration, and preventing terrorism.
Instead, Jane Dittmar has decided to attempt to insert herself into the news cycle and attack the integrity, honor, and courage of an Army veteran for political gain and now we must set the record straight.
I renew my call that Jane Dittmar apologize to Tom Garrett and veterans throughout the district, and that she immediately terminate the party responsible for these patently false allegations.”
Today, the Dittmar campaign called Tom Garrett, a decorated Army veteran, a coward.
In response to the statement issued by Dittmar Campaign Manager Tom Vandever this afternoon, Senator Garrett's Campaign Manager Zach Werrell issued the following statement:
"Tom Garrett has expressed nothing but respect and admiration for CPT Khan and the Khan family, and offered nothing but his sincere condolences for their heroic son's death.
This pathetic attempt by Jane Dittmar and her campaign to put Donald Trump's words in Tom Garrett's mouth, not to mention calling a decorated veteran a coward, dishonors all of those who serve now, have served in the past, and will ever serve in the future.
Tom Garrett served with men who have literally given life and limb for this nation... and unlike Jane Dittmar or her campaign, Tom Garrett will NEVER invoke their names to score political points.
I call on Jane Dittmar to immediately apologize for the incendiary rhetoric coming from her campaign, and to terminate her campaign manager, Tom Vandever. I sincerely, hope those words were his own and not approved by Ms. Dittmar, nor anyone else in their campaign. Anything less dishonors a decorated veteran, and everyone else who has ever had the courage to don an American military uniform.
If Jane Dittmar wants to make this campaign about the candidates' respective military service, Tom wins. Period. His record alone and numerous commendations including the NATO Medal speak for themselves.
I know Tom holds Jane in high regard, and while she didn't wear a uniform, her record is far better than that of Hillary Clinton who refused to lift a finger to help Americans dying in Libya, and later said 'what difference does it make' with regard to the lives lost."
Kevin Reynolds, a former Army CPT and Chief of Staff to Senator Garrett in the Virginia Assembly, also weighed in by saying:
"I served with Tom Garrett. He was an exceptional Army leader. He continues to honor and serve our veterans and active duty military with great distinction."Full Release
A Great Week with 'Homes for our Troops,' Policy Meetings with Mr. Trump, and Touring Southside Factories!
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Today former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued her Presidential campaign in Northern Virginia.
Accompanying her was former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who now serves as a U.S. Senator and is rumored to be on the shortlist for Mrs. Clinton’s Vice-President.
Just over one week ago, the FBI Director slammed Clinton for being “extremely careless” with sensitive classified information, yet recommended no charges be sought. A recent Washington Post poll estimates 56% of Americans disapprove of the FBI’s recommendation not to charge the Democratic presumptive nominee for President.
Fifth District GOP nominee Tom Garrett issued the following statement with regard to today’s event:
“I am disappointed that Senator Kaine has opted to audition for Mrs. Clinton’s second rather than serve Virginia citizens. “Not for self, but country,” is a Navy motto that Clinton and Kaine should take to heart. I would submit she has exercised the utmost care in protecting her own secrets from all who oppose her at home to include the American military and American people. Mrs. Clinton has proven herself to be at best unqualified to be Commander-in-Chief and at worst a threat to our national security.”
Garrett went on to say, “As an Army veteran and a former prosecutor, I am disconcerted but no longer surprised by Mrs. Clinton’s behavior; as a Virginian and an advocate for open and transparent government, I am disappointed at the willingness of Tim Kaine to be her enabler.”
Garrett served over 5 years in the United States Army prior to his tenure as Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Assistant Attorney General and Special Federal Prosecutor. He currently serves as a Virginia Senator in the General Assembly.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Today the GOP nominee for Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, Tom Garrett, introduced a revolutionary proposal targeting the growing crisis of student loan repayment and Social Security solvency.
Originally crafted by Albemarle County Republican Committee Chairman Elliott Harding, the plan would provide the opportunity for people to accept an older age of retirement for immediate student loan forgiveness.
In a release explaining the details of his plan, Garrett said:
“I call it Student Security. This plan is effectively geared towards the most under-represented generation in this country. What we are seeing is kids finishing college so overwhelmed by student loan debt that they are unable to start families, buy mortgages, or properly invest in small business markets – which is alarming because this is one of the most innovative generations we have ever seen. The effects of this dilemma are widespread throughout the national economy.”
In contrast to Democratic Presidential nominee Bernie Sanders’ plan for free college, Garrett responded, “This isn’t free college, it’s a sacrifice. They can choose to eliminate their debt, but they’ll be giving up the right to receive more money in the long run. Unlike other plans, this isn’t a bailout or a handout.”
Student Security would ensure that for every $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, individuals would extend their Social Security retirement age between 1-2 years, with the program capping out at $100,000 – or a 15-year delay in entitlement benefits. Recent Social Security Administration figures average the annual benefits for individuals at $16,000 per year. By these numbers, the immediate and long-term savings by the government would increase exponentially across the board.
Further, this plan calls for fighting the ongoing tuition hikes while creating more accountability for the federal government’s overreaching prominence in the loan industry.
In terms of the Social Security crisis at hand, Garrett said, “We are looking at nearly 25% of the annual national budget spent on a flawed pay-as-you-go retirement system. With more people retiring than people we have in the workforce, we will be facing insolvency in a matter of years. This plan addresses that gap while assisting our younger workforce in the process.”
Garrett is currently a Representative on the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee.Full Release
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Last night in Dallas, Texas, five police officers were senselessly murdered with seven more wounded and hospitalized.
In response, Fifth Congressional District GOP nominee Tom Garrett issued the following statement:
“Last night’s shooting in Dallas displayed for all to see, the essence of evil. As a former prosecutor, I have witnessed the sacrifices made by our law enforcement community firsthand, which makes this shooting especially impactful on my heart. Law enforcement professionals are underpaid, underappreciated public servants who put on the uniform everyday to protect local communities without concern to their own well-being. In this situation, they were present to maintain order while allowing citizens to peacefully protest and exercise their Constitutional rights to free speech.”
Several police shootings in African American communities have sparked protests, riots, and police assassinations in recent years with last night serving as the largest loss of life in any one incident.
Garrett went on to say, “The taking of any life outside a situation presenting imminent foreseeable harm is unacceptable. Where police violate this tenant, they should be held accountable, but nothing justifies last night’s unprovoked violence in Dallas. I hope we are able to restore faith in a profession that I know to be filled with good men and women who want nothing more than to give back to their communities.”
Prior to his tenure in the Virginia Senate, Garrett served as Commonwealth’s Attorney for Louisa County where he worked closely with local law enforcement in the apprehension and subsequent prosecution of criminals.
By Jasmin Caldwell
NELSON COUNTY, Va (NEWSPLEX) -- Virginia State Senator Tom Garrett has won the 5th District GOP Convention in Nelson County Saturday night and is now the Republican nominee for the 5th Congressional District.
Garrett won by 58 percent in a third ballot vote over finalist Michael Del Rosso. Other candidates Joseph Whited and Jim Mckelvey were knocked out in the first and second rounds. CBS19 spoke to Garrett after his victory speech, he says the win isn't about him.Garrett will face off against Democrat Jane Dittmar in the November Election.
"We're proud of the team we put together," said Tom Garrett. "We're proud of what we've done but there is so much more going on here than one person. I want to tip my hat to the gentleman we ran against, they were good men. What we have here is an ideological debate over whether people make better decisions for themselves or whether the government makes better decisions for them."
Garrett says there's a lot of work to be done economically with infrastructure and development, as well as bringing jobs back part the state.
Garrett was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2011 to represent the 22nd District, which covers Fluvanna, Buckingham, Amherst, Cumberland, Goochland, Appomattox and Prince Edward counties as well as Lynchburg. The district also includes part of Louisa County.Full Release
LOVINGSTON — State Sen. Tom Garrett won an interparty endurance contest for the 5th Congressional District Republican nomination.
The decision came Saturday evening after a three-ballot battle of attrition that started at 11 a.m.
Charlottesville-area technology executive Michael Del Rosso was the last to fall at Nelson County High School, where 856 district Republicans elected their nominee by convention to face former Albemarle County Supervisor Jane Dittmar, a Democrat.
Rules requiring a majority to win and eliminating the lowest vote-getter on each ballot took Bedford-area developer Jim McKelvey out first, followed by former congressional security adviser Joseph Whited.
Garrett, who won the final ballot with 58 percent, said after his victory speech that being a second choice for many was important in outlasting three opponents.
“I just tried to treat everybody like I wanted to be treated the whole race. We felt like at a convention if you can’t be somebody’s first choice, it’s good to be their second choice,” Garrett said. “It’s neat because I feel like I made friends on this race with some of my opponents.”
A turning point in the electoral tournament came right after McKelvey learned he placed fourth and would not advance.
Del Rosso was slightly ahead the first round with 32 percent of the weighted vote compared with Garrett’s just less than 30 percent. Whited followed with 20 percent.
After only earning 17 percent in the first round, McKelvey took up a Garrett placard and walked around the room with the state senator presenting his endorsement. Fliers announcing the endorsement followed shortly.
In an interview while delegates cast second ballots, McKelvey said he supported Garrett because he believes he is the “most electable” and “a good staunch conservative.” McKelvey, who along with many candidates running for many offices has railed against Washington insiders, said he struck no deals ahead of the race.
“I don’t make deals with anybody. That’s part of the problem with politics. Everybody wants to make a deal with this side or the other. That’s gotta stop,” McKelvey said.
Del Rosso spokesman Gray Delany said after the convention closed that losing McKelvey’s support turned the momentum away from his candidate.
“That was major,” Delany said, saying that the campaign was “very disappointed” in McKelvey’s decision.
In an impassioned speech leading into the third ballot vote, Del Rosso fired at his final opponent, saying Garrett had attacked him throughout the race.
Local delegates reported hearing negative attacks aimed at both Del Rosso and Garrett during the election, including anonymous phone calls and online posts.
“He slandered me in Buckingham County, called me a liar … a snake oil salesman,” Del Rosso said, referring to Garrett.
After the convention had closed, Delany said his candidate “got frustrated because it’s been a long campaign against him.”
“We were disappointed by some of the tactics used against Michael,” Delany said. He said Del Rosso had left the convention at that time.
When asked to respond to Del Rosso’s charge, Garrett stayed positive.
“God bless Michael Del Rosso. He’s a good man. He loves his country and I’d love to listen to him on any subject matter he feels we need to know more about,” Garrett said. “We just did it easy, fun, and I got respect for him and the other folks in the field.”
Upon his departure from the race, Whited chose to endorse neither candidate.
“It’s their choice to pick who their congressman is, it’s not for me to tell them who they should vote for,” Whited said in an interview echoing his departure speech to delegates.
In his opening speech, Whited referred to negativity that came out in the race. The convention was mostly decided by recruiting pledged delegates to run at local mass meetings across a district the size of New Jersey and in personal conversations with undecided voters.
“Our campaign refused to be dragged into the mudslinging, and instead we remained focused on the things that mattered to our friends and neighbors,” Whited said in the speech.
After this departure from the race, Whited declined to clarify on the specifics of “mudslinging” or which candidates were involved.
The opening in the Republican-friendly district was created by three-term Rep. Robert Hurt’s decision to not seek re-election. Hurt, a Republican, spoke at the beginning of Saturday’s convention.
The 5th District includes the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Madison and Nelson counties.
Alex Rohr reports for The (Lynchburg) News & Advance.
Garrett chuckles his way to laughs at VPAP luncheon
State Sen. Tom Garrett's smooth-as-sandpaper delivery won lots of laughter Thurdsay, during the Virginia Public Access Project's annual fundraising luncheon.
Garrett, R-Hadensville, emcee'd the event, with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine serving as the keynote speaker. The event is sort of a mini-roast for the state's politicos.
Garrett said repeatedly that he wasn't VPAP's first choice, marking Del. Peter Farrell as an earlier preference. Then he pounced.
Farrell, whose father is Dominion Resources president and CEO Tom Farrell, told VPAP he couldn't attend the luncheon because of work, Garrett said.
"Work?" Garrett said. "You can hire somebody to count the money for you, Peter."
"Did Dad need the lawn cut? ... What came up, Peter, the Monte Carlo Yacht show?"
He noted the Farrell's Civil War movie.
"Peter had a cameo," Garrett said. "He played the Federal Reserve Bank."
Organizers also considered a cardboard cutout to host over Garrett, the senator said.
"But that fell through, too, because the lieutenant governor was not available."
Garrett giggled repeatedly at his own jokes, which the crowd found funny in its own right.
A few of his other lines:
On talk that Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney may run for mayor of Richmond: "I can't say who's behind this whisper campaign, but their name rhymes with Levar Stoney."
On state Sen. Ryan McDougle: "The incredible Hulk called, he wants his hairstyle back."
On U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine: "I don't know how you make fun of Sen. Tim Plain. ... I mean Plain."
Kaine got in a few good ones, too.
On the luncheon's theme, "lighten up, it's just politics": "And man, Tom Garrett is a guy, he just begs not to be taken seriously."
On not spending as much time in Richmond as he used to: "Thanks to the NSA data collection programs I still feel like I very much know what you guys are up to."
On traffic in Northern Virginia: "It's like Chris Christie's already been elected president."
On D.C. police ticketing people for marijuana possession: "And to really deter you, it's a Redskins ticket."
McAuliffe strikes deal with VA Republicans on gun reforms
RICHMOND (WSLS 10) – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday what he calls a historic step forward for the Commonwealth in gun reform.
He has struck a deal with several house republicans to pass two additional gun laws at the price of dropping the fight against concealed carry reciprocity agreements.
McAuliffe says it means that the two bills he has submitted to reform gun laws in the Commonwealth are going to pass.
In return, he’s assuring republicans concealed carry permits from all 50 states will continue to be honored in Virginia.
The first of McAuliffe’s bills would put state police at all gun shows, and give them more power.
“Right now, you go to a gun show, if you have a federal license, they can have a background check. If you don’t have a license, you cannot get a background check. Now, we will have state police who do background checks for everybody there,” said McAuliffe.
The second would take guns away from people with protective orders against them.
“My bill, which requires if you’re under a restraining order, you have to hand your firearm in within 24 hours,” said McAuliffe.
Not everyone is happy about the agreement.
State Senator Tom Garrett says the fight over gun laws is far from over.
Garrett originally opposed ending reciprocity agreements with other states.
He says he and several other legislators weren’t expecting this unprecedented move.
“What I’m doing right now is trying to figure out exactly what the Governor’s promising, whether or not he even has the capacity of forcing the Attorney General’s hand as it relates to the steps that he’s taken,” said Garrett.
Garrett currently has a bill waiting to be considered that would take the Attorney General’s power of deciding reciprocity agreements away and give it to the Legislature.
He says the Governor’s announcement doesn’t affect that fight at all.
“My bill is still alive, and my bill would still do that, and if we need to advance that bill based on inaction of changing of the terms by the Governor, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Garrett.
McAuliffe’s agreement still has to be voted on in the General Assembly.
Right now, the move to end reciprocity agreements for concealed carry permits with 25 other states has been delayed until March first until that vote occurs.Full Release
Sen. Garrett calls for shakeup in Senate leadership
State Sen. Thomas A. Garrett Jr. called for a shakeup in Senate leadership while speaking on a conservative talk radio show Monday morning.
He called Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. the “heir apparent” to the Finance Committee chair and said he should not hold that position and stay majority leader.
Garrett said “I hope so” when asked whether he wanted to see a change in Senate Republican leadership after the GOP maintained its 21-19 majority in last Tuesday’s elections, during which the entire General Assembly was up for reelection.
“I do hope if he chooses to pursue that finance chairmanship that he will step aside and let somebody else take that majority leader position,” Garrett said speaking on the John Fredericks Show.
Norment could not be reached for comment Monday.
Finance Committee co-chairs Sen. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, and Sen. Charles J. Colgan, D-Prince William, retire at the end of this term, leaving Norment, R-James City County, as the longest-tenured committee member.
Garrett, R-Buckingham, said holding both positions would be too much power for one individual.
“This is a democracy, or a republic. There’s a reason we have separation of powers. There’s a reason we have checks and balances, and this is that in micro,” Garrett’s 22nd District includes about half of Lynchburg as well as Amherst and Appomattox counties.
There is precedent for one person holding both powerful positions — former Sen. Hunter B. Andrews, D-Hampton, a legislative titan whom many describe as a political model for Norment.
“The historical precedent didn’t end well,” Garrett said, referencing a significant income tax increase passed in 1992.
During the interview, Garrett referenced a statement Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, made to The Richmond Times-Dispatch last week.
“I don’t think that can happen again,” Watkins had said.
Norment is the senior member of the committee. Next in line would be Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Augusta, a Shenandoah Valley moderate who ran afoul of party conservatives by supporting expansion of health coverage for uninsured Virginians but defeated two opponents in a GOP primary with 60 percent of the vote.
After Hanger, the next in line would be Sen. Stephen D. Newman, R-Lynchburg; Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Mecklenburg; Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach; and Sen. Ryan T. McDougle, R-Hanover, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.
Newman could not be reached for comment Monday.
“I think Emmett and Tommy are the most qualified for it,” said Watkins, who called the committee chairmanship “an extraordinarily complex job.”
Hanger, who heads the Health and Human Resources Subcommittee, said Friday it would be “premature for me to forecast where we’re going. It depends on the will of the caucus and also of Senator Norment’s goals as far as leadership.”
The Senate Republican Caucus will convene privately in Portsmouth during the Finance Committee retreat next week.
The Richmond Times Dispatch contributed.
Garrett Stands up for Transparency
Thursday, February 18, 2016
During this year’s session of the Virginia General Assembly, the press has gained another strong advocate, one who’s not afraid to stand up to the powers of his party to do what’s right — shedding light and bringing transparency to the operations of state government.
Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, recently stood up to Sen. Tommy Norment, the omnipotent Senate majority leader, who banned reporters from theSenate floor in mid-January, getting rid of the reporters’ tables and moving members of the media to the gallery, making it much harder for them to do their jobs.
Garrett saw that was wrong, and did something about it. He was the senator who stood up and proposed the idea of allowing reporters back on the Senate floor where they belong.
For Garrett’s leadership on working to bring transparency back to the Senate, every reporter and publication in the commonwealth should be thankful to him.
We certainly are.
We’re also thankful that he bucked his Republican comrades and Norment in a recent Senate subcommittee vote, which advanced a Senate bill that would hurt newspapers and citizens by removing full foreclosure notices and, instead, allow property foreclosure sales to be advertised at county courthouses and on the website of the court.
Garrett was the only Republican to vote against moving the bill — sponsored by Norment — from the subcommittee to the full Senate. The bill has since died.
“I will continue to fight, even when the fight is hard, to ensure transparency and appropriate access for the press corps,” Garrett said in a release.
Thank you, Sen. Garrett, for fighting for transparency, not only for the media, but for all Virginians.Full Release
Sen. Garrett Stands Up for the Public
When the Virginia General Assembly convened its 2016 session last Wednesday, the news media and reporters who cover the state’s legislature were in for a rude awakening.
For more than four decades, the clerk of the Senate has set up tables, just below the rostrum, for the press corps. The work space was spacious and afforded reporters almost instant access to senators and the ability to keep up with floor amendments to legislation in real time.
But last Wednesday, all that disappeared. Reporters were banned from the Senate floor and exiled to a far corner of the balconey ringing the chamber. There weren’t enough seats for the entire contingent nor enough electrical outlets for laptops, and acoustics are far from perfect.
Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr., a James City County Republican, had altered the operating rules for the 2016 session, ordering the news media off the floor. The Senate had adopted the rules on a straight, party-line vote of 21-19.
But the outcry from the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association, the editorial pages of the state’s newspapers and open government groups was swift and ferocious.
And into the breach stepped a lone Republican senator who has grown increasingly worried about the majority leader’s concentration of power in his office: Sen. Tom Garrett of Buckingham County.
Garrett, who represents a portion of the City of Lynchburg and is currently in his second term, vociferously opposed Norment last month when the majority leader tried to assume the additional title of chairman of the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee, one of the two most powerful panels in the Assembly. It would be too power concentrated in the hands of one legislator, Garrett argued. His stand forced Norment to accept a co-chairmanship with Republican Emmett Hanger.
Now, Garrett is working to overturn Norment’s banishment of the media. He’s introduced a resolution, still being discussed by his colleagues, that would do just that.
The major hurdle Garrett faces is the two-thirds majority needed to amend the rules. “If folks have to go on the record, I can’t fathom that we would have trouble getting two-thirds of the votes in favor of transparency and access for the media,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It’s not a partisan issue. It’s about accountability to the voters. We work for them, not the other way around.”
We strongly support Sen. Garrett’s efforts to overturn this ill-informed rule change. As he bluntly put it, this isn’t a partisan issuse, it’s not liberal vs. conservative or Democrat vs. Republican. It’s a matter of recognizing the fact that elected officials are servants of the people and answer to them.
The News & Advance is strongly committed to covering the Assembly, basing a reporter in Richmond for the entire session. Our mission is to inform our readers and cover issues important to Central Virginia; ultimately our access is your access. Call your senators and stress that fact to each and every one of them.
It’s time for Garrett’s colleagues to join with him and strike a blow for open government.
Lawmaker seeks to reverse rules on media access to Senate floor
RICHMOND — Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham County, will move Tuesday to return the working media to the floor of the Virginia Senate.
Garrett introduced a resolution Monday that would reverse a change in Senate rules last week that banned the news media from their customary place on the chamber floor.
He said he would seek to discharge the Committee on Rules, requiring approval by two-thirds of the Senate, to bring the resolution to amend the rules to a vote.
“If folks have to go on the record, I can’t fathom that we would have trouble getting two-thirds of the votes in favor of transparency and access for the media,” he said Monday. “It’s not a partisan issue. It’s about accountability to the voters. We work for them, not the other way around.”
Garrett said his proposed resolution would return the Senate to its operating rules from last year, before the Republican majority voted on Jan. 13 to move the news media from tables flanking the rostrum on the chamber floor to seats in the visitor’s gallery
“I think it’s the right thing to do, in conjunction with the transparency initiative, to let the Fourth Estate back on the floor,” he said in an interview after a news conference launching the Virginia Transparency Initiative.
Garrett will have the support of at least one colleague in the Senate Republican Caucus, freshman Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield County, a founding member of the transparency caucus.
“I would support it,” she said.
Chase, a conservative Republican, joined with freshman Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, to form the caucus so the public can see how the legislature handles legislation, especially in committees and their subcommittees.
“Even though Amanda and I are ideological opposites … we still strongly agree on open, transparent government,” Levine said.
The rules banning the media from the floor were adopted on the first day of the General Assembly session on a 21-19 party-line vote commandeered by Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment, R-James City County.
Chase said she supported the new rules initially because during her experience in working for Republican members of Congress the media did not have access to the floor of the House of Representatives and she understood the media still would have seats in the chamber gallery.
However, she said, “My personal opinion is I don’t have a problem with the press being on the floor again.
“There is a discussion going on now in caucus,” Chase said.
Garrett said he had been prepared to take up his proposed resolution on the Senate floor Monday but agreed to wait a day before proceeding.
Chase said she and other new members of the Senate have been assertive with their questions in the Republican caucus, which is why senators were five minutes late in arriving on the floor Monday.
No Republican senators were present when Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam gaveled the chamber into session promptly at noon as he promised last week. Norment told the Democratic lieutenant governor then that the majority would set its own schedule and keep him informed.
Republican senators began filling into the Senate chamber five minutes after the session began, missing the opening prayer and the introduction of some guests in the gallery. The prayer was given by the Rev. Mark Morrow of CrossWalk Community Church in Williamsburg, represented by Norment, who later introduced him.
Chase and Garrett said Monday that the delayed arrival was not aimed at Northam, but reflected heated discussions within the caucus.
“We went over today because we have questions,” she said.
Chase and Levine decided to form the transparency caucus because they want the public to know how the legislature votes on bills and why.
They said they would hold to a “gold standard” by video-recording committee and subcommittee action on bills and resolutions they introduce.
“One of the things I ran on was transparency,” said Chase, who defeated longtime Sen. Stephen Martin, R-Chesterfield County, in the Republican primary last June.
Sen. Tom Garrett wants to return the press to the Senate floor
Jan 18, 2016
Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham County, introduced an amendment Monday that would allow the press to again work from the state Senate floor.
"I was asked if I would not take that up for immediate consideration (Monday) and agreed to hold off on that for a day," said Garrett, a feisty former prosecutor who defended not just the First Amendment on Monday but gave an energetic speech for gun rights on the Senate floor.
Garrett's proposed rule change could mean good news for the public's right to know because it puts the issue under discussion by the Senate Republican Caucus.
Reporters and lawmakers in both parties were surprised Wednesday when they learned Senate Republican Leader Tommy Norment of James City County had decided to move the press off the Senate floor, where reporters had covered senators for decades, to the upper gallery. All 21 GOP senatorsvoted for the rules.
Norment refused to explain and came under criticism from journalism associations and Senate Democrats. Reporters can't see all the proceedings or hear as well from the gallery.
In addition to Garrett, GOP Sen. Amanda Chase of Chesterfield County told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she too wants to see reporters return to the floor.
Patrick Wilson, 804-697-1564, firstname.lastname@example.org
Va. Senate committee approves ‘Kim Davis’ religious freedom bill
A Virginia Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of their religious beliefs.
Members of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee by an 8-6 vote margin approved Senate Bill 40, which state Sen. Charles Carrico (R-Galax) introduced last month.
State Sens. Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham County), Thomas Norment (R-James City), Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover County), Richard Stuart (R-Stafford County), Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsvylvania County), Thomas Garrett (R-Buckingham County) and A. Benton Chafin (R-Russell County) voted for the measure. All six Democrats on the committee — state Sens. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax County), L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), John Edwards (D-Roanoke), A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico County), R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County — and one Republican, state Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-Richmond), opposed SB 40.
The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus in a press release it released after the vote described SB 40 as a “Kim Davis” bill, referring to the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“If public officials don’t want to carry out their prescribed duties, they should not seek election or appointment to those offices,” said McEachin in the press release. “What should never happen is for their prejudices to impose burdens or inequalities on Virginians who simply want to exercise their lawful rights. Public servants need to serve, and serve all Virginians — which is the opposite of what this bill proposes.”
Gays and lesbians have been able to legally marry in Virginia since 2014.
Carrico earlier this week compared homosexuality to cancer. The Galax Republican made the comment during a hearing on a bill that seeks to ban so-called conversion therapy in Virginia.Full Release
Senate joins House in backing 'Tebow Bill'
The Virginia Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed legislation that would allow home-schooled students to participate in public school sports.
Senate Bill 612 — the so-called Tebow Bill, named after famous home-schooled University of Florida football player Tim Tebow — cleared the chamber on a 22-17 vote.
Sens. Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk, and Lynwood W. Lewis Jr., D-Accomack, joined 20 Republicans in support. Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, did not vote.
Similar legislation, perennially introduced by Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle, has already cleared the House of Delegates, making it likely that one or both of the measures will win passage and advance to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The governor last year vetoed a version of the same bill.
Regarding the bill in the Senate, Sen. Thomas A. Garrett Jr., R-Buckingham, noted that the latest version gives each locality the option of implementation and has a sunset provision that would cause it to expire in 2021 without further action by the legislature.
He said a number of other extracurricular school programs are already open to home-schooled students.
“Let the kids play ball,” he said.
But critics said the measure creates an uneven playing field for public school athletes by allowing participation for home-schoolers who do not have to attend their school.
Sen. J. Chapman “Chap” Petersen, D-Fairfax City, recalled the sense of pride that came from playing varsity sports for Fairfax High School. “If you want to wear that jersey Friday night, you’ve got to be willing to walk into that classroom Monday morning,” he said.
“When you decide to home-school your children ... you have made a choice,” Petersen added. “And that’s an important choice, and you have to respect the consequences.”
Sen. Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, noted that parents of home-schooled students pay just as many taxes as parents of students who attend public school.
But Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax, dismissed the argument.
“Just because your taxes are paying for the B-1 bomber, you don’t get to fly it,” he said.
Crafted deal would give Virginia’s growing distillery industry more to pour
RICHMOND — After Mike Troxel and Josiah Tillett drank two ounces of Silverback Distillery spirits, they ordered another round.
But the Nelson County distillery denied them service, not because they were troublesome customers or overly intoxicated, but because they reached the limit Virginia distillers who craft bourbon, whiskey, vodka and gin may serve a person per day.
The Libertarian-minded Lynchburg-area activists inquired with owner and weekend barkeep Denver Riggleman, sparking a conversation about what they see as market-squeezing regulation on liquor not wrapped around craft brewers and vineyards down the road.
“They’re basically being forced to breathe through a straw,” Troxel said on a recent visit with Riggleman and Tillett to Richmond where they attempted to sway legislators to deregulate the growing industry.
As distillers carve their niche in the market, they’re also finding their way in the law, following vineyard owners, craft brewers and cider makers before them.
In Richmond, Riggleman, a spirited entrepreneur, ran into the will of an incremental democratic process, a tradition of regulating liquor and other alcohol separately, and the brawny alcohol lobby — beer and wine wholesalers, restaurants and other craft businesses.
Craft beverage producers compete face-to-face in concentrated pockets such as Nelson County’s Route 151, where Blue Mountain, Wild Wolf and Devils Backbone breweries stand on the same road as Silverback, five wineries and a cidery. The Virginia Distillery Company opened in the county in November.
They challenge restaurants and bars for a night out — and larger businesses such as Anheuser-Busch InBev for a night in. Beer and wine sales must pass from producer to store shelf by way of a middleman distributor.
Unlike distilleries, there are no per-drink limits on restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries. Restaurants and bars, however, must bring in 45 percent of their revenue from non-alcoholic items, and are prohibited from serving anyone who appears to have had too much alcohol.
“It’s a stunningly free-market issue,” Riggleman said of his mission to deregulate distilleries. “I don’t see that there’s any issue, but we ran into a buzz saw. … It just feels like I shouldn’t be fighting for something that, in a capitalist system, should be common sense.”
Since the General Assembly convened in mid-January, representatives of the alcohol industry have been negotiating with lawmakers in their offices and elsewhere. Like other lobbyists and advocates, they gather at the back of committee hearings prepared to testify and to help make sure their bills pass.
One result is matching bills working their way through the House of Delegates and Senate to allow distillery customers to buy another ounce per day, bringing the total to three.
Riggleman left the General Assembly salty after hoping for more sweeping changes.
The lobbyist representing Silverback and about nine other distilleries was content with the compromise for this round.
“If you think about it, it’s big business and everybody’s got their own piece of the pie they want to protect and advance. Whether it’s true or not, there are people in — like, for example, the beer and wine industry — who it may not be in their best interest for the spirits business to advance quite as fast,” said Curtis Coleburn, the Virginia Distillers Guild lobbyist and a 20-year legislative liaison for Virginia’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He retired as the ABC’s COO in 2014.
Currently, distilleries act as agents for the ABC as part of a system built during the transition out of Prohibition. When Silverback sells a bottle of booze it distills on premises, the business sends all proceeds to the ABC. At least a month later, the ABC returns about 46 percent of revenue.
A bill carried by Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, to undo this system died in subcommittee moments after the phrase “fiscal impact” was muttered. It would have cost ABC coffers $1 million in Fiscal Year 2017, according to the ABC. In the bill’s impact statement, the ABC said that loss could grow to $3.5 million per year by Fiscal Year 2022.
The three-ounce bill includes provisions allowing distillery tasting rooms to pour full-ounce pours, instead of just a half-ounce at a time.
“This allows us to give you a proper Bloody Mary or a proper Tom Collins,” Riggleman said.
Across the Capitol building, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, and Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, are co-patroning the three-ounce compromise. The bill recently passed the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services.
“The legislative process is a compromise. Everybody walks away with a little bit of what they want, and not everything. That’s what I think this compromise represents,” said Phil Boykin, lobbyist for the Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association. “I get it, they want it all yesterday.”
From 2010 to 2015, the number of licensed distilleries in Virginia grew from 14 to 35. The number of distillery stores rose from three to 14 in that time.
In late January, the ABC announced distilleries could host events, such as wedding receptions and parties. They must be conducted by a third party, so any alcohol sold by the distillery must be bought before closing for the event. The distiller may not sell from its store during the event.
Negotiations are expected to continue once the General Assembly session ends in preparation for next year.
“You make incremental steps. Alcohol is one of those things where the legislation kind of creeps along,” Coleburn said.
All the while, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and many Republican representatives in control of the legislature talk about building a new Virginia economy that does not rely so heavily on direct and indirect federal government spending.
The rural craft business clusters, such as Nelson County, are points of agritourism drawing people into the commonwealth and communities where they spend money at hotels, restaurants and gas stations. The craft beverage industry is “growing by leaps and bounds” in cities and rural areas, according to Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.
Impact is felt from farm to glass as many craft producers, such as Silverback, look to buy Virginia ingredients, Haymore said. Main components — such as wheat, rye, corn and barley — grow well in Virginia, as do natural sweeteners such as honey and strawberries, Haymore said. He said growers generally are expanding, not changing commodities.
“I view it as all encompassing. I want more people to visit our wineries, our distilleries, our cider makers, our craft beer makers. I want more sales in state. I want more sales out of state across the nation, and I want more sales in the global marketplace,” Haymore said.
“We want to be the preferred East Coast destination for craft beverages.”
It’s unclear whether any Virginia jurisdictions qualify as sanctuary cities, but the state legislature is determined to make sure none of them stray across the line, with Republican senators and delegates pushing to withhold money from those that refuse to cooperate — and even considering making them have to pay restitution to those harmed by illegal immigrants within their borders.
The House cleared a bill Monday that would require prisons and jails to honor all requests to transfer illegal immigrants to federal custody, as long as they aren’t asked to hold the aliens beyond the time they’d normally be released.
Senators meanwhile debated — but put off until later this week — votes on bills that would have allowed the state to strip grant money from sanctuaries, and that would have given private citizens hurt by illegal immigrants the chance to claim damages.
“This is very simple: We are either voting for rule of law or voting against it,” said Sen. Thomas A. Garrett, Buckingham Republican and sponsor of the bill to strip funding from sanctuaries.
Sanctuary cities have burst onto front pages nationwide after last summer’s slaying of Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old woman shot while walking the San Francisco waterfront with her father. Police charged an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times but had snuck back and was living in San Francisco, where officials just months earlier had refused to turn him over to federal immigration agents for deportation.
In Congress, Senate Democrats launched a filibuster to prevent the national government from stripping federal grant money from sanctuaries, forcing the fight back into the states, where local lawmakers, eager to win points with constituents, are taking up the challenge in about a dozen states.
The latest wrinkle is the push to hold sanctuaries liable for injuries or deaths resulting from their sanctuary policies.
The Virginia House bill, written by Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, would allow victims of sanctuary city policies to claim compensation from the state’s criminal injuries fund. That bill passed on a 68-29 vote, with three Democrats joining Republicans in approving the bill.
Meanwhile, one of the Senate bills would have gone further, requiring cities and counties to have to pay up if illegal immigrants within their jurisdiction hurt or kill someone or damage property. That bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, Loudoun Republican, saw preliminary debate in the Senate, but after repeated questions from Democrats, a vote was put off.
Virginia is one of the pioneers in liability, but it’s not the only one. Florida’s House cleared a bill last week allowing victims to claim damages from sanctuary cities.
One major sticking point in all of the debates is trying to figure out what qualifies as a sanctuary city.
One list maintained by the Center for Immigration Studies, which is based on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data, claims north of 300 cities and counties as sanctuaries, while another ICE list published last month by The Texas Tribune found more than 500 jurisdictions that refused to cooperate with federal authorities at least once in 2014 or 2015.
In Virginia, that Tribune document listed 11 counties and cities. Roanoke led the way, refusing nine requests to hold someone beyond their regular release point, the ICE data suggested. Virginia Beach, Montgomery County, Richmond, Pulaski County and Arlington County each declined at least two detainer requests.
Of the 11 jurisdictions, however, only Arlington was deemed to have a specific policy prohibiting or limiting cooperation, the ICE data said.
Arlington disputed that finding.
“We are a welcoming community, and we do cooperate fully with all law enforcement agencies, including federal,” said Diana Sun, a county spokeswoman.
Democrats feverishly attacked the GOP legislation on Monday, saying that requiring local authorities to cooperate with federal agents hurts trust between police and immigrant communities.
Several Senate Democrats doubted there were any sanctuary cities in the state and wondered why the GOP was pushing the bill.
“This is a measure looking for a problem to solve,” said Sen. John S. Edwards, Roanoke Democrat, who said the way the bill was written, the state could withhold money for kindergarten classes as punishment for lax illegal immigration policies.
But Sen. Richard Saslaw, Fairfax Democrat, argued the other extreme, saying that, in reality, every city and county in the state is a sanctuary but looks the other way when it suits their needs.
“All I can say is you better hope that all these undocumented people don’t go back to wherever they came from, because you’d have trouble getting any service at your hotel on the East or West Coast,” he said.
He also accused Republicans of being “hypocrites” when it came to coercion, saying GOP lawmakers supported a bill to grant county and city clerks a carve-out not to issue marriage licenses if they had a moral objection — but wanted to force law enforcement to comply with federal law even when they had a moral objection.
“That’s called hypocrisy, and there’s no shortage of it here,” he said.
Mr. Garrett, the GOP sponsor of the bill, said Democrats couldn’t have it both ways in claiming there were no sanctuary cities, then getting upset by legislation designed to punish them.
“Well, good, then we’re voting on whether or not we should enforce our laws that are already on our books,” he said.
His bill cleared on a party-line 21-19 vote, but minutes later the GOP asked for a do-over, then pushed the vote to later this week. Mr. Garrett’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the delay, but a Senate GOP aide said passage is still likely later this week.
Mr. Saslaw doubted the bills would earn Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s signature, even if they do clear the legislature.
In Maryland, Del. Patrick L. McDonough, Baltimore County Republican, has been pushing to cut off funding to areas of the state, notably Baltimore County and City, if they engage in sanctuary policies. His bill has still not been introduced, and Democrats, who control the legislaturein the state, have signaled they would defeat it.
Since I floated the name of Tom Garrett as a possible candidate for Governor many have asked, what do I know about him? I can say from a personal stand point he and I have been great friends for many years, he introduced me to then Attorney General Candidate Bob McDonnell .
Senator Garrett is one of the most reachable and available elected officials in the General Assembly followed by Rich Anderson and Scott Lingamfelter and one of the most honest and candid, I believe he will mount a very strong campaign for the Governor’s mansion, just from his determination and strong work ethic.
His professional career is perfectly outlined on the Republican Senate Caucus website:
Meet the Senator:
Senator Tom Garrett was elected in the 22nd Senate District in November, 2011. Raised in Louisa County, he earned his Bachelor and Law degrees from the University of Richmond, and served in the United States Army for six years. Tom was previously elected Louisa County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2007, defeating a two-term incumbent by an overwhelming margin and becoming the first Republican elected countywide in Louisa since Reconstruction. During his term as Commonwealth’s Attorney, Tom prosecuted cases at all levels and won record sentences for the most severe crimes. Today, Tom brings his law-and-order focus and conservative ideals to his work in the Virginia Senate, where he fights for the families of the 22nd District.
This is not an endorsement, but this is a statement that Senator Garrett would mount a much stronger campaign than Ed Gillespie’s last opponentFull Release
GOP to use Convention to pick 5th District Candidate
By The Daily Progress
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Republican leaders in Virginia’s 5th District will pick from among five candidates for their party nomination in this year’s congressional election.
The district’s Republican committee met in Albemarle County on Saturday to discuss whether this year’s nominee will be chosen by convention or an open primary.
After giving each of the five Republican candidates a few minutes to make their case for a convention or primary, the committee voted 19-16 in favor of a convention.
Five candidates have announced their intention to take over the congressional seat from Republican Rep. Robert Hurt, who has said he will retire from the post at the end of his term in January 2017.
On Thursday, Lynchburg resident Andrew Griffin announced that he would run, joining state Sen. Thomas A. Garrett Jr., R-Buckingham; businessman Jim McKelvey; technology executive Michael Del Rosso; and congressional intelligence adviser Joseph Whited.
Griffin and Whited had previously expressed support for an open primary, in which registered voters choose the party nominee.
Garrett, McKelvey and Del Rosso had called for a convention, in which party delegates vote on a nominee.
The committee typically chooses nominees by convention, although Hurt was selected in an open primary in 2010.
The convention is scheduled for May 14.
For Immediate Release:
Senator Tom Garrett Offers Valentines Day Utah Concealed Carry Permit Class for 22nd Senate District and 5th Congressional District Constituents
As gun rights and concealed carry reciprocity in the future hang in uncertainty, Senator Garrett takes steps to benefit gun owners immediately with no cost to constituents.
I Endorse Sen. Tom Garrett For Congress
I give my strongest endorsement to my senate colleague, Tom Garrett, for Congress in Virginia's 5th District.
Seeing how Tom Garrett works behind the scenes, I know he'll fight for conservative values even when no one is looking. He's not afraid to take on his own party if they go astray, and he's a strong leader.
We need Senator Garrett in Washington to fight for this great nation. Voters will never need to "hold his feet to the fire." Once Tom is elected to Congress he'll be leading the charge.
You can read Tom Garrett's announcement here. Senator Garrett said, "These are dangerous times. My background as a combat arms veteran, prosecutor, and pro-liberty legislator make me the best candidate to protect America from Islamic extremism abroad and fiscal imprudence at home."
We must coalesce around a true conservative like Senator Tom Garrett in order to make a difference in Washington. I encourage you to support Garrett for Congress. Together, we can change the course of this great nation.
Richard H. Black
Senator of Virginia, 13th District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From the Office of Senator Tom Garrett
Contact Kevin Reynolds with questions at (434) 944-7770
Buckingham, VA -- Senator Tom Garrett declares his candidacy for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
In a statement released today, State Senator Tom Garrett (R-Buckingham) stated that he will run for Virginia’s 5th Congressional seat.
“I am running for Congress in 2016.” he said. “Robert Hurt served The Commonwealth and nation honorably. Now, we must choose a new Congressman who will be a strong voice for Virginia’s 5th District. I will be that man.”
Earlier today incumbent Robert Hurt indicated that he would not seek re-election to Congress. Hurt was elected to the 5th Congressional district in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 and 2014.
“These are dangerous times. My background as a combat arms veteran, prosecutor, and pro liberty legislator make me the best candidate to protect America from Islamic extremism abroad and fiscal imprudence at home,” said Garrett.
Garrett added, “The last seven years President Obama has systemically sought to reduce America’s presence in the world while simultaneously engaging in a reckless pattern of deficit spending at home. I will be a tireless warrior in the fight for a balanced federal budget, a government limited by constitutional parameters, and restoring America to her role as a shining beacon of freedom to the world.”
Garrett was elected Louisa County Commonwealth’s attorney in 2005, and elected to the Virginia state senate in 2011 and 2015. In the 5th congressional district, Garrett currently represents Fluvanna, Buckingham, Cumberland, Appomattox and Prince Edward counties. Outside of the 5th, he represents Amherst, Goochland, and parts of Louisa as well as part of the City of Lynchburg.
In just four years in the Virginia Senate, Garrett received numerous recognitions and awards including the 2014 Virginia Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year, 2013 American Conservative Union Defender of Liberty Award, 2012 Virginia Chamber of Commerce Freshman Legislator of the Year Award, and is routinely rated highest by the NRA, Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Citizens Defense League, Virginia Association of Realtors, American Conservative Union, Family Foundation, and Virginia National Federation of Independent Business.