March 13, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Chichester to retire from politics

State Sen. John Chichester, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, announced he will not run for reelection this year. His district includes Northumberland and Stafford counties. Del. Vince Callahan had made a similar announcement last week. See Roanoke Times. Chichester was considered Public Enemy #1 by the conservatives in the Republican Party, for his recent compromises with Democrats over budget issues. I've become increasingly wary of the right wing lately, but I still think that his insulting comment toward his conservative adversaries within the Republican Party last June -- "God, they're dumb as rocks!" -- was beyond the pale. Paradoxically, he was a moderate in terms of policy substance, but something of a hothead in terms of political style. From what I have observed, he did not serve to build consensus within the majority caucus, which is one reason why the GOP may not retain majorty status in the General Assembly next year. I hope that someone who is fiscally responsible emerges to take Sen. Chichester's place.

Kaine's road show

Meanwhile, Our Governor is taking his campaign to revise the Republican-passed Transportation bill "on the road," with stops in Northern Virginia and other congested areas. Today he announced he won't insist on a tax hike on vehicle purchases after all, a good sign that compromise may yet be possible. See Richmond Times Dispatch. For the record, I share Kaine's and Chichester's opposition in principle to the use of general fund revenues for transportation, but I can accept such a relatively small fiscal transgression as long as the overill bill is a step in the right direction. Thus far, I think it is.

Virginia blog carnival

Bad Rose did a very good job in hosting this week's Virginia blog carnival, even putting together a graphic montage of the respective bloggers' banner images. She kindly mentioned my submission, which was only my second one ever.