The Score: Ben Cline, Tom Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Corey Stewart, plus plus

This week on The Score – Ben Cline gets the nod for Congress; Tom Garrett announces he’s really seeking re-election; the General Assembly tries to pass a budget; and Corey Stewart talks about transportation and his appeal to the base. Plus there’s more.


Ben Cline candidate Virginia congressLast Saturday in Harrisonburg, more than two thousand Republicans gathered in a convention to nominate a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives to succeed Bob Goodlatte, who is retiring after 26 years representing Virginia’s sixth congressional district.

Despite fears that a fractious convention would lead to multiple ballots, Delegate Ben Cline was selected on the first ballot with more than fifty-two percent of the votes cast.

I asked Ben Cline the first question in his first engagement with the news media after learning about his nomination. His reply was delivered with a broad smile, as you can see from the accompanying photograph.

A few days after Sixth District Republican convention, rumors began circulating in Washington and Richmond that first-term Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia’s Fifth District was going to resign prematurely and not seek reelection.

Garrett called a press conference to address the rumors. You probably know that he announced he was, in fact, going to run for re-election. Garrett faces Democrat Leslie Cockburn in November but his press conference focused on constituents he has helped in his year and a half in office.

Specifically, Congressman Garrett wanted to bring attention to the plight of former University of Virginia basketball coach Joanne Boyle, who has been battling with U.S. immigration agencies to bring her adopted daughter home to Charlottesville from Senegal, in West Africa.

I asked the congressman two questions about the Boyle adoption case, and U.S. policy toward adopted children from abroad.

Back in Harrisonburg at the Sixth Congressional District GOP convention, I asked Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who is retiring, about the farm bill that recently failed in the U.S. House of Representatives. He explained that the vote was tied up with immigration, and he touted his own immigration reform legislation. Goodlatte is the former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and the district he represents is largely rural and its economy is farm-based.

Meanwhile in Richmond, the General Assembly has been struggling to find a solution to the budget impasse. I recently talked to three members of the Virginia legislature about the budget, and specifically about Medicaid expansion.

Virginia State Senator Mark Obenshain HarrisonburgFirst, state Senator Mark Obenshain. I also asked him about his political future, in the context of that Sixth District Republican convention.

State senator Bryce Reeves was at Congressman Tom Garrett’s press conference, so I asked him about the budget and Medicaid, and also whether he thinks it’s easier to work with Governor Ralph Northam, who was a state senator before he ran for governor, than with his predecessor, who was not a legislator. Reeves is not pleased with Northam’s performance so far.

Finally, Delegate Steve Landes talked to me in Harrisonburg about the budget and Medicaid from the perspective of the lower House of the General Assembly. Here’s Steve Landes.

The three candidates for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate were all in Harrisonburg to address the sixth district delegates. Nick Freitas and E.W. Jackson spoke, and so did Corey Stewart.

I cornered Corey Stewart in the hallway of the James Madison University Convocation Center during a lull in the convention proceedings. I wanted to learn about his ideas for transportation, especially in the I-81 corridor, which is an important East Coast artery. Among other things, Corey Stewart says we can look forward to flying cars.

Flint Engleman of Americans for Prosperity was at the Sixth District Republican Convention to recruit new volunteers and talk about issues. I asked Flint about the Virginia state budget and Medicaid expansion, and what AFP is doing during this election year.

As promised, this week on The Score we have the last of three excerpts from my lengthy interview with former Fifth District Republican chairman Randolph Byrd. Last week and the week before, Randolph and I looked at the past. This week, Randolph makes his predictions for the future.

Last week we heard from Casey Given of Young Voices. He explained what Young Voices is and what is its mission. This week, he talks about some issues that he is following, including Net Neutrality and immigration. I spoke to Casey in his office in Washington, D.C.

Frank Kameny astronomer civil rights veteranIn honor of Memorial Day, this week’s “From the Archives” segment features an excerpt from a lengthy interview with the late civil rights activist, Frank Kameny, which I conducted at the National Press Club in May 2010, about a year and a half before he died.

Dr. Kameny was an astronomer who was fired by the federal government in 1957 because he was gay. In this interview, he mentions the Eisenhower administration’s Executive Order 10450 to rid the government of all its gay and lesbian employees, which I also discussed several weeks ago on The Score with Professor William Hitchcock of the University of Virginia, author of The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s.

What’s the Memorial Day connection? Frank Kameny was a combat veteran of World War II. He volunteered for military service when he was 17 years old. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge against the Nazis and later fought our own government in obtaining equal rights for lesbian and gay citizens. In this excerpt, he talks about the military gay ban – lifted since this recording was made – and gay marriage, which was then legal in only a handful of states.

Come back to The Score next week, when we will hear from author Jonathan Rauch about his new book, The Happiness Curve, and how life gets better after age 50, and with Berin Szóka, president of the D.C.-based advocacy organization, TechFreedom.

Until then, enjoy the Memorial Day holiday weekend and remember those who gave their lives for the Constitution and our freedom. We’ll be waiting for you next week on The Score, so keep the conversation going.

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