Oct 27, 2009

To the Desk: Clearing the record

by Delegate Kathy Bryon

During election season, wading through campaign rhetoric in search of the truth can be difficult. When candidates or elected officials employ evasion and obfuscation to avoid fully informing voters of their positions or record on important issues, the task of finding the truth becomes nearly impossible. Regrettably, the campaign of Delegate Shannon Valentine has employed rhetoric that inhibits the ability of voters to learn the truth.
I’d like to clear the record.

As a Christian conservative legislator who has fought for pro-life, pro-family issues in Virginia’s General Assembly for 12 years, I am proud of my record. I sponsored one of the Marriage Amendment bills in 2005. I received the Family Foundation Legislator of the Year award in 2007. I do everything I can to ensure the voters who elect me know what I am doing and how I am voting in Richmond.

In this campaign, Valentine is working very hard to claim she supports the values shared by a majority of the people of Lynchburg. Her voting record in the General Assembly clearly contradicts that claim. On nearly every occasion she has had to vote on the values issues that matter to us, she has failed to support our values.

In 2006, when more than two-thirds of the General Assembly, and a large majority of Virginians, voted to protect the definition of marriage in the state Constitution, Valentine joined the extreme left wing of her party and voted against the amendment.

The duplicity of her campaign rhetoric is particularly evident on the issue of abortion. Earlier this year, when given the opportunity to vote to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, the largest private provider of abortions in the United States, Shannon Valentine voted “no”, once again joining the extreme left wing of her party. Directly contradicting her campaign rhetoric claiming that she wants to see fewer abortions, she voted against reducing the number of taxpayer-funded Medicaid abortions, effectively supporting continued funding for elective abortions. Valentine has even gone so far as to vote against reasonable safety requirements for Virginia’s abortion centers that would have protected the health of women in a crisis pregnancy.

Holding these positions and casting votes that go against the traditional values, pro-family agenda is not the most objectionable aspect of this situation. Valentine’s campaign’s attempt to conceal her record, failing to acknowledge the true nature of the votes she has cast, is far more egregious.

Our electoral process works best when candidates are forthright with the voters. Be honest with the public. Students are very bright and can handle the truth. They also know when a politician is not answering their questions but instead deceiving them with rhetoric.

No matter what the words say on her Web site or campaign material, voters need to look at Shannon Valentine’s voting record. That record makes it very clear that she doesn’t represent our values.

Delegate Kathy Byron
22nd District

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