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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/19/15

Taking on the Man Who Would Be Virginia's Scott Walker

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April Moore
April Moore
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It is reasonable to believe that the state senator in our part of Virginia is being groomed to do for Virginia--or I should say do to Virginia--what Scott Walker has been doing to Wisconsin. This state senator's name is Mark Obenshain. In the election of 2013 he came within a hair of winning statewide office as Virginia's Attorney General. Now there is much expectation that in 2017 he will try to become governor.

Here is an important clue regarding what it would mean for him to succeed in fulfilling that ambition: in his Attorney General race, Mr. Obenshain was helped by a $60,000 donation from the Koch Brothers.

Whatever else one might want to say about the Koch Brothers -- and there is plenty worth saying -- one has to acknowledge that when it comes to buying the government, the Koch Brothers know what they are doing. If anyone in the history of the United States has been so adept at they in parlaying private wealth into political power, I don't know about it.

We can conclude, therefore, that they have good reason to expect that Mark Obenshain will serve their agenda with whatever power they can help him get, including the governorship of the Old Dominion.

Another of the Koch Brothers' boys -- Scott Walker in Wisconsin -- has already shown clearly what that agenda looks like: taking power and wealth from average citizens to give to the wealthy and to the corporate system, dividing groups of citizens against each other, undermining the basic structures of fairness and decency and enlightenment of which that once-great state was justifiably proud.

All this is to say that there are good reasons why people who care about the future not only of Virginia, but also of America, might take an interest in the decision my intrepid wife, April Moore, has made to challenge Mark Obenshain in his bid to be re-elected to the state senate.

April has never run for public office, and she does so now for all the right reasons: not out of political ambition for herself but because she cares. She cares about preserving our democracy from the ongoing takeover by Big Money, and she cares about our acting responsibly to protect our children and grandchildren from potential disaster if we keep destabilizing the climate of the only planet we've got.

Below is the speech -- in text and in video -- with which she has launched her campaign this week at a press conference in Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Not at all long ago, I'd have been astonished to think I'd be here announcing my candidacy for public office. But here I am.

The story behind this surprising development begins last year, when I became a grandmother for the first time. And then again for the second time.

I was already concerned about what the scientists have been telling us about climate change-that it is real and that it is urgent that we act now to address it.

But now I've got these two adorable little ones in my life, and it feels especially urgent. Because the scientists tell us that -- if we don't act responsibly -- the consequences for them, and for all our children and grandchildren, could be terrible.

I can't bear the thought of these innocents suffering because we were too blind, or too busy, or too corrupt to care.

I decided to look more closely at how our state of Virginia is dealing with this challenge. I was appalled by what I found. And what I found goes a lot deeper than our state's failure to respond to the challenge of climate change. That failure is part of a larger picture: too many of our elected representatives are sacrificing the people to serve big powerful interests.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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