By Noah Fleischman
The 13 candidates running for the Virginia executive mansion raised a total of over $11 million in three months, according to recently released finance reports.
The candidates had more than $18 million in cash on hand in the first quarter, according to finance report data reported by the Virginia Public Access Project. Cash on hand is tracked as accessible money and in-kind donations, which include non-cash gifts such as goods, services and expertise.
Four candidates running for governor each logged more than $2 million in cash on hand.
Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said it’s uncommon to have that many candidates with large amounts of money on hand.
“It’s rare to have that many people running for governor,” Farnsworth said. “And it’s even rarer still for there to be so many candidates with bank accounts at that level.”
Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe had the largest war chest of any candidate, clocking in with more than $8.5 million cash on hand. Republican candidates and businessmen Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder trailed McAuliffe with just over $3.6 million and $2.6 million cash on hand, respectively.
McAuliffe also led all candidates in the most money raised from January to March, bringing in more than $4.1 million. Reported loans and in-kind donations are not included in cash raised totals reported by Capital News Service.
“He’s the only candidate who has been governor previously,” Farnsworth said of the advantage McAuliffe has in the Democratic race. “He has experience in statewide elections, as well as with the national Democratic Party, which has created a lot of fundraising opportunities.”
Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Woodbridge, rounded out the top four candidates, with more than $2.3 million cash on hand. She trailed Youngkin and McAuliffe and ranked third in fundraising in the first quarter, logging more than $1.8 million. Carroll Foy edged out Snyder, who raised over $1.3 million.
Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, reported more than $321,000 cash on hand and Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, recorded just over $205,000. Cox ranked third in fundraising for Republicans, bringing in more than $376,000, while Chase logged more than $116,000 in donations.
Republican candidate Sergio de la Pena, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, checked in between Cox and Chase, raising more than $202,000.
Candidates serving in the General Assembly could not start fundraising until the session ended.
Farnsworth also said Democratic candidates have more cash on hand because the party is holding a primary, unlike the Republicans, who are using a convention to nominate a candidate.
“The Democrats are going with a primary, which involves a great deal of effort to connect with voters across the commonwealth,” Farnsworth said. “When you’re running in a convention, money may be less important.
Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, logged just over $100,000 cash on hand and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had just shy of $100,000. Carter raised more than $154,000 with over $93,000 of it from cash donations of $100 or less. Fairfax raised almost $27,000.
In the lieutenant governor race, Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, led the pack of 13 candidates with more than $960,000 cash on hand. Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, followed Rasoul with just north of $605,000 on hand.
Rasoul also edged out his Democrat opponents in fundraising with over $620,000, followed by Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan who brought in over $365,00.
Two former Republican delegates are vying for lieutenant governor and both started without cash on hand in January. Winsome Sears, a former Republican delegate from Winchester, outraised former Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, in the quarter, recording more than $160,000 in donations. Hugo brought in over $103,000.
Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat vying for his third term in the position, led the six candidates. He reported more than $1.3 million cash on hand. Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, recorded just over $1 million, second-most of the candidates.
Herring outraised Jones in the first quarter as well, logging more than $624,000, while Jones raised more than $456,000.
Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, logged the most of the four Republican attorney general candidates, with more than $429,000 cash on hand. Miyares raised more than $190,000 in the first quarter. He is trailed by Republican contender Jack White, who raised over $153,00. White is an ordained minister and Army veteran.
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Greater Richmond Convention Center marks 20 years serving region
Since 2003, the complex has hosted a total of 7,034 conventions, consumer shows, sports tournaments, and other events, bringing millions of people and dollars to the region.
Virginia’s largest meeting and exhibition venue celebrates two decades of welcoming events and visitors to the Richmond Region this year. The Greater Richmond Convention Center officially opened on February 28, 2003, as cheerleaders from across the country flipped in the American National Cheer and Dance Championships in the building’s exhibit hall.
Since then, the GRCC has hosted a total of 7,034 conventions, consumer shows, sports tournaments and other events bringing millions of people and dollars to the region.
The GRCC replaced the 62,000-square-foot Richmond Center, which opened in 1986. Stretching across a six-block area, the 700,000 square-foot GRCC incorporates some of the steel and pillars from the original facility.
Construction for the project began in 1999 and was supported by a $10 million investment from former Governor George Allen and the regionwide transient lodging tax.
“It is the best example of regional cooperation in the history of this whole area,” said late Lt. Gov. John H. Hager during a 2002 press conference.
The Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority – a political subdivision of Virginia with representation from the city of Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties – oversaw the financing, development and construction of the GRCC. The Authority’s 25th anniversary is this year.
We’re immensely proud of the legacy and the positive impact the Greater Richmond Convention Center has had on tourism,” said Lincoln Saunders, City of Richmond Chief Administrative Officer and Chair of the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority. “Millions of people are introduced to the Richmond Region through events and competitions that are hosted at the facility every year. These visitors support our economy by shopping at our small businesses, eating at restaurants and visiting attractions.”
To examine the viability of the GRCC, regional leaders commissioned a feasibility study by C.H. Johnson Consulting in 1999. The researchers projected hotel tax collections to reach $30 million by fiscal year 2020. Hotel tax collection revenues reached $30 million by fiscal year 2019.
Throughout the GRCC expansion phases, groups were welcomed to the region to use completed portions of the building. About 1,200 women from the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were the first to use the facility’s new ballroom during a three-day conference in May 2001.
When the GRCC was officially completed in 2003, Richmond Region Tourism had booked 18 conventions through 2008.
Interest and bookings have experienced a dramatic uptick over the years. During its last fiscal year, the GRCC hosted over 180 events.
From USA Fencing tournaments and ice dancing competitions to offshore wind conferences and comic conventions, the GRCC has hosted various large-scale events since it opened.
“The convention center is a shining example of regional collaboration,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “The success of the convention center demonstrates how investing in tourism results in positive economic development for our entire region. Richmond Region Tourism and its partners are committed to working alongside our community to continue tourism’s positive momentum.”
The GRCC went through extensive upgrades to modernize the facility in 2020.
GRCC’s technological and cosmetic improvements include new LED lighting and RGB color lighting, monitors, digital signage, and a new digital sound system. Its interior spaces were updated with new tile, accents, paint scheme, and pub-style tables and seating. The facility also features a new executive lounge and a renovated food court and service desk.
Today the GRCC features 178,159 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a 30,550 square foot grand ballroom, and 50,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting room space.
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Animal welfare advocates disappointed bill to declaw cats failed
House Bill 1382 would have made the declawing of cats a $500 civil penalty for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation and $2,500 for the third or any subsequent violation. The bill failed to advance when it was tabled by a 6-4 vote in a House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources subcommittee.
By Cassandra Loper
A proposal to outlaw the declawing of cats, a procedure that animal rights advocates call cruel and unnecessary, failed to advance from a House subcommittee last month.
House Bill 1382 would have made cat declawing a $500 civil penalty for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation and $2,500 for the third or any subsequent violation. The bill was tabled by a 6-4 vote in a House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources subcommittee.
The bill is important because cats’ claws are natural and used for stretching, marking territory, balance and more, according to Molly Armus, Virginia state director of the Humane Society of the United States.
Declawing cats is actually an “incredibly painful procedure,” according to Armus.
“I think it’s up to us, as people who are taking these cats into our homes, to learn more humane and less invasive ways to manage scratching,” Armus said.
An onychectomy, or declawing, is a surgery that includes 10 separate amputations, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world, according to its website.
Declawing is typically performed for convenience, according to the Animal League Defense Fund. Many people declaw their cats to prevent scratching, its website states.
“Localities around the nation, a couple of states, including our neighbor Maryland, have passed a declawing ban,” said bill sponsor Del. Gwendolyn Gooditis, D-Clarke, in the committee meeting.
New York and Maryland are the only U.S. states that have outlawed declawing. Multiple U.S. cities have passed declawing laws, with the most located in California, according to PETA.
“Declawing cats means, look at your hands, it would be the equivalent of your fingers and your toes being chopped off at the first knuckle,” Gooditis said.
The procedure can cause impaired balance, as much as a person would after losing his or her toes, according to PETA. Declawed cats may have to relearn how to walk.
“It’s a removal of that last bone,” Gooditis said.
Susan Seward, a lobbyist for the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, or VVMA, testified against the bill in the committee meeting. The VVMA strongly opposed the bill, Seward said.
“I think one of the unintended consequences would be setting up a really unpleasant and adversarial relationship between animal control and veterinarians, and that is certainly not a relationship we want to diminish,” Seward said to the committee panel.
Alice Burton, program director for nonprofit animal welfare organization Alley Cat Allies, said the organization was disappointed the bill failed.
Alley Cat Allies mission is to protect and improve the lives of cats. according to its website. The organization operates a trap-neuter-return program to help stabilize the cat population. A cat is transported to a veterinarian, spayed and returned to its original location.
It’s an act of cruelty to declaw cats, according to Burton, who was an animal control officer for 15 years.
“They no longer have their nails as a defense, so their first instinct is to bite,” Burton said. “So all of a sudden they’ve got these bites on their record, which obviously does not bode well for them.”
Declawed cats also struggle to use the litter box because the litter hurts their paws, she said. Many cats who have been declawed will stop using the litter box and soil where they aren’t supposed to, Burton said.
“I would say most of the time these negative effects lead to these cats being surrendered to the shelters or rescue groups,” Burton said. “They would, in most cases, be deemed unadoptable and they would be euthanized.”
There are many other humane options out there, according to Burton.
Humane alternatives to declawing include trimming a cat’s claws regularly, using deterrents such as double-sided tape on furniture, rubber caps for the nails and providing a variety of scratching options, according to Alley Cat Allies.
“We’re not giving up,” Burton said. “We’re going to come back and keep fighting.”
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Editors of the Library’s Dictionary of Virginia Biography joined this project in 2011 in collaboration with the commonwealth’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission to research and write about the 92 African American men who served in the General Assembly from 1869 to 1890.
In honor of Black History Month and as part of its 200th anniversary activities, the Library of Virginia will present a panel discussion on Thursday, Feb. 23 to celebrate the completion of a signature project that documents the lives of Virginia’s first Black legislators. Titled “The First Civil Rights: Black Political Activism After Claiming Freedom,” the free panel discussion, offered in partnership with Virginia Humanities, will be held 6-7:30 p.m. in the Library’s Lecture Hall. Advance registration is required at https://lva-virginia.libcal.com/event/10200777.
Editors of the Library’s Dictionary of Virginia Biography joined this project in 2011 in collaboration with the commonwealth’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission to research and write about the 92 African American men who served in the General Assembly from 1869 to 1890. Their stories are now available online as part of Virginia’s collective digital story thanks to a collaboration with Encyclopedia Virginia, a rich online resource sponsored by Virginia Humanities.
“We’re proud to celebrate such a meaningful project to document early African American representation in our commonwealth’s legislature,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway. “We encourage the public to join us at what will be a very insightful discussion examining the contributions of early Black legislators and their enduring legacy today.”
Panelists for the program, moderated by Virginia Humanities executive director Matthew Gibson, will include the Honorable Viola Baskerville, one of the founders of the project; Lauranett Lee, public historian and University of Richmond adjunct assistant professor; Ajena Rogers, supervisory park ranger at the National Park Service’s Maggie L. Walker Historic Site and a descendant of Black legislator James A. Fields; and historian and author Brent Tarter, a retired editor with the Library of Virginia.