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Sun Gazette: Progressive Legislators Disdainful of Current Direction in Richmond Print


Created:  Friday, February 17, 2012

Consistency isn't seen as a virtue by members of the Progressive Caucus of the General Assembly, at least when it comes to the performance of the legislature during the first month of the 2012 session.

The caucus gave across-the-board "F" grades in 10 different subject areas in a report card tallying legislative progress during the first half of the session.

Del. Patrick Hope, who co-chairs the caucus with state Sen. Adam Ebbin, said the "radical right-wing agenda" of Republicans in Richmond is getting in the way of addressing a host of issues.

"It's time to put partisanship and ideology aside to work toward real solutions that grow our economy, repair Virginia's crumbling infrastructure and invest in a world-class education," Hope (D-47th) said in a statement.

"F" grades were given in areas that included job creation, education, health care, the environment, voting rights, transportation, workers' rights, immigrants' rights, gay rights and women's reproductive rights.

Ebbin (D-30th) said the Republican majority's focus on social issues was giving the commonwealth a national reputation, and not in a good way.

"It's embarrassing," he said. "The actions of the General Assembly will have consequences. People don't want to come here, businesses don't want to do business here."

The Progressive Caucus, founded last year, includes four state senators and 19 members of the House of Delegates, according to its Web site. Its membership includes all of the Arlington delegation except state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd).

While the caucus may be seen as little more than a curiosity in the corridors of power in Richmond, its members say they will stay the course in pressing their agenda.

"We're not going to shut up," Hope told the Sun Gazette.

Republicans, he said, "are making Virginia a national laughingstock."