Oct 27, 2009

Reevaluating Shannon Valentine

by Mitchell Malcheff

Voting Records
Note: this is in no way intended to be an exhaustive review of a voting record, but rather a record of certain key issues that the Champion staff feels are important to the Liberty community.

In many ways, Valentine’s voting record is a study in contrast. She voted for an amendment prohibiting the use of state funds for abortion in 2006 (HB 5002, Amd. Item 4-5.04-2h). However, in 2007, Valentine voted against a bill requiring all abortion clinics in which 25 or more first trimester abortions are performed in any 12-month period to be licensed and meet nearly all requirements for ambulatory surgery centers, according to the Project Vote Smart Web site. The bill (HB 1883) passed 60-35. She also cast a no vote on a bill (HB 5002) prohibiting state funding for research involving the use of embryonic stem cells and fetal tissue.

Valentine voted for a bill (HJ 41) proposing a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as only a union between one man and one woman in January 2006. Two months later, she opposed a senate bill (SB 526) that would have done the same.

In 2006, Valentine voted yes on a bill that would have overriden a veto of an earlier bill (HB 493) that allowed school administrators to regulate the use of prayer in high-school baccalaureate services. Valentine also voted no on HB 262, which that would have prevented undocumented illegal immigrants from enrolling in any public Virginia college or university.

Synopsis
Valentine seems intent on being all things to all people. For example, Valentine voted yes on HB 2315, a 2007 referendum that would have increased the meals tax across the state. The meals tax in Lynchburg is already 11.5 percent. The fine print on the bottom of the voting record says that Valentine voted as yea yet intended to vote as no. Which is it, Delegate?

Valentine champions her endorsement from Democrats for Life, yet her voting record is a clear indication of a wanton disregard for the sanctity of life. Though she opposed the use of state funds for abortions, she registered a vote against the licensure of abortion clinics. Valentine also voted for the state funding of embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life in word, but not in deed, may be a truer political slogan than the words plastered across her campaign flyers.

She also claims that she is a strong supporter of Tuition Assistance Grants for Liberty students. Apparently that support does not extend to all students, though. In 2006, Valentine voted no on budget amendment HB 5002 135 #4h, which would have extended TAG for disabled high school, junior high, and elementary students, providing them the same funding to attend a qualified private school better able to assist those with special needs. And though Valentine claims to have voted to protect students’ rights to express their faith in the classroom, she said yes to a school’s right to establish guidelines regulating the use of prayer in high-school graduation services.

Finally, Valentine voted yes for SB 6009, which aimed to raise the gasoline tax from its current rate of 17.5 cents per gallon beginning in 2009 for six straight years until the tax reaches 23.5 cents per gallon in 2014. That equals six cents per gallon and nearly an extra dollar per 15 gallons of gas.

Final Analysis
Though Valentine would like voters to believe she is a conservative, her voting record is reflective of an old-school Democrat — higher taxes and a progressive social agenda.
Furthermore, after an earlier version of this article ran in the Oct. 20 issue of the Champion, Valentine publicly disparaged the Champion editorial staff, claiming her faith and integrity had been called into question. She also claimed her voting record was misrepresented and said that the source used for this story, Project Vote Smart, was not credible. After checking every voting record against the official bills and accompanying voting record from the Virginia House of Delegates, last week’s story and the voting record recorded above is 100 percent accurate. We did not mean to question her personal integrity and faith, only the integrity of her voting record.

There are more bills that further reflect her liberal agenda, like 2007’s HB 2797 that would have defined life as beginning at conception. She voted no. Is this who we want to be Liberty’s champion in the House? Again, it is important to stress that this is solely the opinion of the Champion editorial staff. The purpose of the Champion’s coverage of Delegate Valentine has always been to inform students of the role they play in politics rather than a campaign to discredit any individual candidate. Concerned voters must check voting records for themselves rather than relying on political advertising. All of the above voting records are available at Project Vote Smart and the Virginia House of Delegates. To see where Valentine and Dr. T. Scott Garrett stand on this election’s important issues, see the Family Foundation voter guide above.

Contact Mitchell Malcheff at
mjmalcheff@liberty.edu.


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