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Democratic Committee Meeting

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy Amherst Democrats Have a Great Candidate, Ellen M Arthur

This meeting took place April 16th at 7 pm and a lot of Democrats showed up to meet Ellen M. Arthur.    Ellen is our candidate for Delegate from the fighting 24th district that encompasses Amherst County.

If you missed us this month keep reading the AMHERST DEMOCRATIC NEWS for your next opportunity to meet and ask Ellen about the ways she can improve your life when she goes to Richmond or ask any of  Ellen's friends appearing in this and the other photos that are from the meeting.

You can also give Ned Kable a call and establish a way for us to contact you and we will send you a reminder of meeting dates, times and places.   Ned is the Amherst County Democratic Chairman, the phone number is 434-989-2846.    We would love to have you as a member and your help will be much appreciated.

That's Jackie, Center is Ellen M Arthur our candidate and Nancy (right).   Ask them about Ellen.

The gentleman on the far right shaking hands with Ellen is Rodney Taylor.    Rodney is a former Democratic Chairman and noted Amherst County Democrat.

Ask any of these ladies about Ellen.   ( Ellen is second lady from right in photo)

We're Happy Democrats because We Have a Great Candidate.

From Here on Photos Only.    Join us at the next get together, I'd like to get a photo of you for the site.  


Thanks for supporting your local Democratic party.     See you next meeting.

Amherst County Virginia Democratic News

Amherst Democratic News

Thank You,

Make Your Vote Count, Vote Ellen M. Arthur

Thursday, April 2, 2015

If You Missed Ellen at the Kickoff - Catch her on the 16th at the Madison Heights Library

That's Right, Ellen M. Arthur will be at the Madison Heights Library on the 16th of April (7 pm) ready to meet and greet and answer your questions and listen to your concerns.     Please join us then.    We need upgraded leadership in Richmond.     In short we need your help.    (We Need Ellen M. Arthur as our Delegate)

                          Candidate Ellen  and  Chairman Ned
                  Here's Ellen Announcing her candidacy

         Ellen is a Great Speaker and equipped with good ideas and a desire to serve the voters

       Ellen took questions one on one after the announcement

       Ellen meets Magnolia Braxton.    Magnolia is a local legend due to her tireless work during President Obama's re-election.

       Former Supervisor ( and just about every job in local government) Leon Parrish chats with Ned Kabel (Democratic Chairman) while in the background on the left Nicole Steenburgh (reporter at NewsAdvance interviews Ellen M, Arthur.    The tallest man in the photo (actually standing up hill directly behind Ned) Is Steve Martin, hard working democrat.

   On this windy day, with your help and support, the winds of change will send Ellen M. Arthur off to Richmond to give us something we haven't had in a long time.     A representative in Richmond looking out for the needs of local voters.

    It is this gentlemen's 90th birthday Ellen finds out as she chats with him.    Thank you for celebrating your birthday with us.    He was a fierce democrat and participated loudly in the cheering and questioning during the announcement.    

  This was a wonderful get together and now we move in unison to create that more perfect union that will represent the citizens of Virginia's 24th District.    Please join us on April 16th at 7 pm at the Madison Heights Library in the River James Shopping Center,  on the Lynchburg side of the Lowes Store.

Here are some more photos, see if you recognize the people.


The Court Ruling That Changed Everything

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote to gut a century of campaign finance law, he assured the public that the unlimited corporate spending he was ushering in would  “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”    Because those authorized to give and spend unlimited amounts were legally required to remain independent of the politicians themselves, Kennedy reasoned, there was no cause for concern.    Has anyone ever been more wrong that Justice Kennedy?

Just five years later, in a development that may be surprising only to Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision is reshaping how, how much and to whom money flows in Washington.

How the flood of money released by Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has changed elections has been the subject of much discussion, but the decision’s role in allowing that same money to soak the legislative process has largely gone unreported.    According to an extensive review of public documents held by the FEC, the U.S. Senate and the Internal Revenue Service, as well as interviews with lobbyists and policymakers, Kennedy's allegedly independent spending has become increasingly intertwined with lobbying and legislation -- the precise appearance of corruption campaign finance laws were meant to curb.

Politically active nonprofits, known as  "dark money"  groups for their ability to shield the identity of donors, and super PACs, which take unlimited sums of money but must disclose donors, have become dominated by lobbyists and other political operatives with close ties to leaders in Congress.    Meanwhile, businesses with issues before Congress are pumping increasingly more money into the lobbyist-connected organizations.

The Supreme Court initially established a narrow definition of corruption in the 1970s, but Citizens United used it to blow open the gates that had been holding back corporate money.    The 2010 decision came as the U.S. legislative system had evolved into a near parliamentary system of party-line voting and expansive party networks extending seamlessly from the Capitol to party headquarters to lobbying firms to outside political groups.    Most top congressional legislators now have  "leadership teams"  -- informal but internally recognized groups of aides-turned-lobbyists who help raise funds.

To the lobbyists working in the system he helped create, Kennedy’s vision of political spending is unrecognizable.    "I think Justice Kennedy's view on this was naive at best,"  one lobbyist told The Huffington Post, reflecting a rare bipartisan consensus.    "People are going to do what's allowed under the law."    Now that Justice kennedy has totally messed up the political system in this country wouldn't it be nice if he at least apoligized for his dumb decision.    Can the people trust this man with the lifetime job and declining ability to reason to do the things this country needs done?

The Supreme Court majority’s casual dismissal of the possibility that the Citizens United ruling could lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption was necessary from a judicial perspective.    Citizens United and a subsequent lower court ruling essentially hold that the First Amendment prevents the government from restricting political spending independent of the candidates and parties.    Yet the courts had long recognized Congress’ authority to regulate the financing of campaigns and the lobbying process in order to maintain the citizens’ trust in a democratic government.    Where the choice had been between the sanctity of elections on the one hand and an unfettered interpretation of the First Amendment on the other, the courts chose to protect elections -- because without a trusted government, there is no First Amendment to speak of.

Kennedy and the other four justices, therefore, had to insist that independent political spending could not lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption -- no threat of corruption meant no congressional authority to regulate that spending.

It is difficult, however, to look closely at the way laws are being made today without acknowledging at least an appearance of corruption.

 Congressional aides we asked all said that their own members of Congress were certainly not influenced in an untoward way by the corporate funds pumped into efforts to re-elect them, but that it was easy to see why the public might assume that to be the case.    Five years later, the judicial logic of Citizens United has unraveled.

Political advisers closely associated with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) serve as both operatives on their behalf and lobbyists for corporate clients with business before Congress. The clients are encouraged to give generously to super PACs associated with the respective lawmakers, according to lobbyists familiar with the widespread strategy.

Trevor Potter, one of the top election lawyers in the country whose clients include Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and comedian Stephen Colbert, warns that this arrangement creates exactly the appearance of corruption that courts have used to justify campaign finance limits.

It does make a significant difference to have lobbyists involved because then you have the very lobbyists who seek official action from the members being the conduits to the money,”  Potter said.    “It makes them valuable to their clients because they have a good relationship with the member, and they have a tight relationship with the member because they have access to the money from their clients.”

They're making use of the opportunity.    A connected super PAC and nonprofit manned by lobbyists tied to Boehner have collectively received millions from interests in the insurance, drug, energy and other industries.    Big-money groups associated with McConnell have been funded by coal companies, insurers and hospitals. Mining and gambling businesses have given directly to the super PAC associated with Reid, which is staffed by two Reid confidantes, one of whom advises the lobby shop that represents those companies while she also prepares to run the senator's 2016 re-election bid.    All these companies have hired lobbyists who are connected to those same lawmakers as well as to the big-money groups and who are also working on issues over which Congress has much sway.   The groups they fund have spent big to put and keep Boehner, McConnell and Reid in the driver’s seat.

Tony Podesta, a Democratic super lobbyist with the Podesta Group, said that he has encouraged his corporate clients to give to super PACs and dark money nonprofits.    “It’s unfortunate that we have the decision Citizens United, but as long as that’s the law of the land, then Democrats and Republicans are both active in these kinds of endeavors,”  he said.

It seems 9 monkeys flipping a coin and counting the heads and tails to make the decision could give the Supreme Court a run for their money when it comes to reasoning.

Amherst County Virginia Democratic News


Amherst Democratic News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ellen M Arthur Democratic Candidate for State Delegate 24th District

Ellen M Arthur Democratic Candidate for State Delegate 24th District will be at the Madison Heights Library on the 16th of April (7 pm) ready to meet and greet and answer your questions and listen to your concerns.     Please join us then.    We need upgraded leadership in Richmond.  

Come Meet Ellen M. Arthur, Candidate for State Delegate in the 24th District.

ELLEN M. ARTHUR, Our Democratic Candidate for STATE DELEGATE from the 24th District will Meet and Greet voters and citizens.

Come and hear what she can do to help Amherst County.

Ellen practices law in Lexington VA. and has worked with the Legal Aid Society helping protect peoples rights and also with the SPCA in Rockbridge County. 

Ellen Arthur, a recently retired attorney in Lexington, is planning to run for the region’s seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Arthur said Wednesday that she will seek the Democratic nomination in the 24th District, which includes the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, Bath and Rockbridge counties, and parts of Amherst and Augusta counties.

Arthur said she had been approached by Democratic Party officials in the past about running for the seat, but had been too busy with her solo law practice.

Now that she’s retired, Arthur said,  “It’s time for me to give back a little.”

Arthur is the only declared candidate for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided at a May 23 caucus.    It will be her first bid for elected office.

“I’m the non-politician running against a career politician,” she said.  “I’m coming in to this very fresh and hoping to make connections with everyday people.”

A 1979 graduate of the law school at Washington and Lee University, Arthur began her law practice in Staunton.    In 1981, she returned to Lexington, where she worked for and later managed the area’s legal aid office.    She started her private practice in 1988, concentrating on family law.

The public is invited to the kickoff.

Here are some thoughts from Ellen M Arthur.

“Although I’ve never run for political office before, I am very concerned about the direction that politics have taken in Virginia, especially in the General Assembly,” Ms. Arthur said. “Too many legislators are more concerned about pleasing well-funded interests and getting reelected than they are in serving the needs of their constituents.

“I am concerned about the future of Virginia and am running for office to do my part to build a better Virginia for our children and grandchildren.

“I’m especially troubled by Delegate Cline’s strenuous opposition to the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion, which is being implemented even by Republican-controlled legislatures in other states, would allow up to 400,000 working Virginians, including thousands of hard-working people in the 24th District, to obtain health insurance. Virginians currently are paying federal taxes to fund Medicaid expansion and getting nothing in return.   Medicaid expansion would pay for itself.   Virginians currently pays for services to people who lack health insurance from the state general fund, as do all of us in higher health care expenses. Expanding Medicaid would allow Virginia to use the federal dollars and reduce the state’s costs.

“I’m also concerned about the cozy relationship between too many of our state’s legislators and Dominion Virginia Power.   Landowners in southern Augusta County face having their land taken for the construction of a natural gas pipeline by Dominion. Gas pipelines are inherently dangerous to both landowners and the environment.   Building pipelines to transport fossil fuels is an investment in obsolete and dwindling energy sources.   We should be using that money to create well-paying jobs harnessing other energy sources such as solar and wind power.”

Ms. Arthur is committed to equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage to allow working families to support themselves without public assistance, and the expansion of high-speed internet to rural areas to encourage the growth of clean high-tech industries which rely on modern communications.

Ms. Arthur has worked as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of the Roanoke Valley and has conducted a practicum course for the Washington and Lee Law School. She has, for most of her career, had a solo practice focused on family law and is legal counsel for the Rockbridge County SPCA, also serving on the organization’s board.   She lives on a 13-acre farm in Rockbridge County which she maintains herself, and keeps two horses, three dogs and two cats.   She has been a resident of the 24th District for 39 years.

Ms. Arthur, 68, the daughter of a factory worker, has two sons and five grandchildren.   Ellen is just the change the 24th District needs, a honest and hard working person to represent us in Richmond.

Please join her as she announces her candidancy.    She welcomes the opportunity to meet you and answer any questions you may have.

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