Oct 27, 2009

To the Desk: Shannon Valentine: leading by example

by Joel Krautter

Joel Krautter
College Democrats

Today you often hear politicians talk about how, if elected to office, they will “make the world a better place.” However, few of these leaders actually put their words into action through their own lives in their community. One person who does lead through her actions and not just her words is Delegate Shannon Valentine.

Valentine is known throughout the Lynchburg community for her volunteer work to help better the lives of those around her. Before becoming Lynchburg’s and Liberty’s voice in Richmond — at the General Assembly — she worked to improve our inner city by tutoring children and providing safe and decent housing for families through Habitat for Humanity and the Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation.

Valentine’s common-sense, fiscally sound approach to government is good for a struggling college student’s budget. She voted to remove the food tax from a Senate transportation bill that saved $70 million. She has supported 13 tax breaks for families, including breaks for military families, the elderly, and the disabled. She has championed tuition assistance grants, money that is needed by many of our fellow classmates. She fought to keep over $800,000 in the budget for graduate students in health careers, including students in Liberty’s very well known nursing program. She is also an advocate for our crosswalks on Wards Road, and is in discussions with Amtrak about a student rate on the new train she brought here to Lynchburg

Since I have known Valentine, I have also come to know that she shares the values and convictions that Liberty students look for in a candidate. She is a mother of three and even while serving our district at the General Assembly, she takes the time to keep her family at the center of her life. She understands the responsibilities that come with a family and understands that the votes she casts must reflect her family values. She patroned legislation to help families with children with autism so that they can lead better lives and save money through early diagnosis and treatment.

While I heard Valentine say that she believes in the sanctity of life, I still did some homework to check her voting record, to see if her actions matched her words. I went to votesmart.org — a non-partisan organization with information about candidates — and looked up her voting history. I found she had voted in favor of House Bill 1665 — a bill to amend the Virginia Code by adding a section that would place a penalty in the case of a forced or coerced abortion. She has also been endorsed by the pro-life organization, Democrats for Life. She believes in the sanctity of marriage, and voted for an amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

I was with Delegate Valentine recently when she attended an on-campus meeting led by Liberty’s own Invisible Children group. I was not surprised that she took time to attend, or to express interest in their efforts here on our campus. She cares deeply about those whose lives are marred with war, poverty and violence. That is why she led the effort and joined with people of faith across Virginia to confront genocide in Darfur. During the 2009 Legislative Session, she introduced legislation based on the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President Bush in December 2007.

Throughout all of this, I hope you can see that Valentine does indeed lead through her actions. Sadly, this quality of public service appears to be on the decline in America and that is why it is so exciting to vote for someone like Valentine. She still understands the importance of being consistent in what you believe in and lives these convictions every day. Politics can use more compassionate and conscientious people like Valentine and I hope you will join me in supporting Delegate Shannon Valentine Nov. 3.

Contact Joel Krautter at jgkrautter@liberty.edu.
 


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