Sunday, June 8, 2014

Make Sure Your Voice is Heard: Virginia’s 11 Federal Congressional Seats and 1 of 2 Senate Seats are up for Grabs in 2014!


Tuesday’s Primary Winners are:
  • Incumbent Rob Wittman-              Republican nominee for 1st District of Virginia
  • Dr. David Brat-                                 Republican nominee for 7th District of Virginia
  • Donald Beyer Jr. -                            Democratic nominee for 8th District of Virginia
Don Beyer wins VA-08 primary, June 10, 2014
Don Beyer scores strong victory in congressional primary, June 10, 2014
Former lieutenant governor heads to general election as big favorite to succeed Moran
US Rep. Rob Wittman Wins GOP Primary in Virginia, June 10, 2014
The biggest surprise was the upset for current Congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 7th District . 
Eric Cantor, No. 2 House Republican, loses primary in big upset, June 11, 2014
'Richmond Hubris' Drove Eric Cantor's War With Grassroots, Led To His Demise, June 11, 2014
Tea Party activist who defeated Cantor focused on budget, immigration, June 11, 2014
GOP leader Eric Cantor loses in shock Tea Party upset, June 10, 2014
Stunner: Cantor Upset Changes Everything, June 10, 2014
GOP strategists try to assess impact of Cantor loss on other primaries, June 10, 2014

Original Post:

There are 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (Congress) and 100 members of the U.S. Senate. 

November 2014 is not an election year for any of the 140 State Representative seats in Virginia, or the Governor or the Attorney General but it is a year for almost all of our Federal Representatives in Washington D.C. 

Virginia has a total of 11 Congressional Districts/Seats and one of them represents you! Virginia also has 2 Senate Districts/Seats in Washington D.C. and they both represent you! 

Do you know who your Congress Member is? (Look them up, they’ll be the last one on the page).   

Members of Congress run for re-election every two years and members of the U.S. Senate run every 6 years. 

For 2014 there are two Virginia Congressional Representatives retiring:  
  1.  James Moran-D               the 8th District of Virginia
  2.  Frank Wolf-R                   the 10th District of Virginia
Without an incumbent running in either of these districts there could be a switch in the political party, or it could remain the same.

The race for the 8th District has the most candidates looking to be the Democratic representative this November and you could help select them if you are a registered voter in the 8th District because this Tuesday June 10th  is Primary Day in Virginia. 

The remaining Virginia Congressional Representatives all running for re-election this November are:
1.       Robert Wittman-R           the 1st District of Virginia
2.      Scott Rigell-R                    the 2nd District of Virginia
3.      Bobby Scott-D                   the 3rd District of Virginia
4.      J. Randy Forbes-R           the 4th District of Virginia
5.      Robert Hurt-R                 the 5th District of Virginia
6.      Bob Goodlatte-R              the 6th District of Virginia
7.       Eric Cantor-R                   the 7th District of Virginia
8.      Morgan Griffith -R          the 9th District of Virginia
9.      Gerry Connolly-D            the 11th District of Virginia 

Of our two U.S. Senators only Mark Warner-D is running for re-election in 2014, Tim Kaine-D only became a U.S. Senator in January 2013 so he doesn’t run again until 2016.

As of yesterdays Virginia Republican (GOP) Convention in Roanoke we know the Republican nominee to run against Senator Warner is Ed Gillespie. 

The bigger deal from this weekends GOP convention was 4 candidates fighting for the 7th District Republican nomination to be on this Tuesday Primary ballot to run against current incumbent Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, Tea Party favorite Dave Brat won 

One other GOP battle on Tuesday’s Primary ballot fighting for the 1st District is Republican incumbent Robert Whittman against challenger Anthony Riedel. 

As for the 10th District Republican nominee that was decided back on April 26, 2014 at a different Virginia Republican Convention they selected a November candidate, current State Delegate Barbara Comstock. Also on April 26th for the 8th District the GOP selected a November candidate, Micah Edmond. 

I don’t really understand why the nominees for these two districts were chosen in April but then a June 7th convention picks a Tea Party Republican to run against Cantor and the nominee to run for the U.S. Senate seat.

Then the voters get to pick between Cantor and Brat on Tuesday. Nothing about this process is easy to follow. 

So why have I posted about the nominees for Tuesdays Primary?  

Why should you care who runs in November and may represent you in Washington D.C. this coming January? 

A few past Federal laws that created, included or affected Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) in the U.S. include:
  • The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act 1994
  • Megan’s Law 1996, The Pam Lychner Sex Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996
  • The Jacob Wetterling Improvements Act of 1997
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act 1998
  • The Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act 2000
  • The PROTECT Act 2003
  • Adam Walsh Act 2006 (AWA) also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). 
In the last 7 years Federal legislation has prohibited RSO's from:
1.       Accessing HUD Housing
2.      Being included (excluded from receiving) in the emergency extension of unemployment benefits back in 2010
3.      Obtaining earned Veterans benefits including burial rights
4.      Obtaining small business loans
5.      Obtaining SNAP benefits/Food Stamps for convictions as of 2014 or later H.R. 2642

Plus mandated background checks/ prohibiting numerous convictions (not all sexual) from securing employment. 

And still pending in D.C. as of today is:
1.       International Travel tracking, notification and denied entry H.R. 4573
2.      Prohibited from owning a firearm for a Misdemeanor Sexual Conviction H.R. 619

Let’s not forget the pending legislation that excludes RSO’s:
  • H.R. 2656:           Public Safety Enhancement Act of 2013
  • S. 1783:                 Federal Prison Reform Act of 2013
  • H.R. 803:             SKILLS Act
  • H.R. 3465:           Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013
  • H.R. 3382:           Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013
  • S. 1690:                Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013
So if you live in the 1st District, 7th District or the 8th District go vote on Tuesday! 

If you don’t start learning about the candidates in your District so when you vote in November you are educated about their platforms. Contact the candidates, introduce yourself, ask them what they think about our current Sex Offender Registry. 

Are you a registered voter?  If you aren’t, you should be. 

Were you convicted of a felony in Virginia and lost your voting rights?  

If you qualify to get your rights restored and you haven’t tried, you should. 

Before you begin you must first meet these requirements. 

An applicant who has been convicted of a non-violent felony in a Virginia court or a U.S. District Court must: 
  • Have completed serving the prison sentence and been released from probation or parole
  • Have paid all court costs, fines to the Commonwealth and restitution to the victims, satisfied all court-ordered conditions, and have no pending felony charges.
An applicant who has been convicted of a violent felony or more serious felony in a Virginia court or a U.S. District Court must:
  • Be free from any sentence served and/or supervised probation and parole for a minimum of three years.
  • Not have any misdemeanor convictions and/or pending criminal charges in the three years immediately preceding the application.
  • Not have had a DWI or DUI in the three years immediately preceding the application. 
  • Have paid all court costs, fines, penalties and restitution and have no felony or misdemeanor charges pending.  
The restoration of civil rights:
  • Does not restore the right to possess a firearm
To regain state firearms privileges, a convicted felon must apply to the circuit court of his or her jurisdiction of residence for a permit to possess or carry a firearm. Circuit courts may consider the restoration of firearms privileges only after civil rights are restored. (Va. Code §18.2-308.2)
·          Will not expunge or remove a criminal conviction

(Virginia does not have an expungement process for felony or misdemeanor convictions. Va. Code §19.2-392.2)
  • Is not a pardon.
  • Restoration of rights is only necessary following felony convictions.  Misdemeanor convictions and juvenile convictions do not result in the loss of civil rights.
  • A person who has been convicted of a felony must first have his or her rights restored in order to petition for a pardon.  For more information on how to request a pardon, please click here.
There is a process through the Secretary of Virginia to get your rights restored and recently it has been streamlined to be quicker and easier. 

If you are thinking no Registered Sex Offender will be allowed to have their rights restored in the Commonwealth, you would be wrong. There are RSO’s who have had their rights restored, some succeeded after the first time they applied and other succeeded the second time they applied. 

There are non-profits throughout Virginia that will assist citizens in the process of having their rights restored if you feel it’s too complicated. 

Here are a few:
If you previously applied for your rights and were denied, you should try again! 

Be sure that your voice is heard in 2014!

Mary Devoy