Friday, October 23, 2015

A look at Mason's votes (part 1)

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I've resisted being overly vocal in this year's 93rd House of Delegates race.  We've got a strong challenger with a passion for the district she's called home all of her life.  And, she'll need some of the votes I didn't get two years ago thus my meddling should be limited.  As a citizen of this district however, and through my work with the Business Development Caucus, I've paid close attention and have an obligation to speak up on key issues.  After seeing the bizarre ads from Monty Mason and his inexplicable attacks on his opponent, it's clear he's hoping to divert your focus from his ineffectiveness and the glaring divergence from his campaign rhetoric to the votes he cast. You're aware of his inability to garner a single legislative deal despite having both a Democrat Senate and Governor during half his time in Richmond. This speaks volumes to his negotiation skills.  His votes unfortunately, say even more. Let's take a look. 


For nearly 8 years, jobs and the economy have been at the forefront of voter's minds and every candidate claims to be pro-business, Mason is no exception.  His mailers promised that he'd work to "cut regulations on Virginia's employers" and to "make Virginia the best state for business".  Also you may remember his TV ad, "I'll make sure that Virginia's small businesses get first crack at state contracts".  Did you see the bill he drafted to do this?  Neither did anyone else.  In two years, this Delegate failed to introduce or support one bill that would help Virginia's small businesses earn state contracts.  But he voted twice to prohibit most of Virginia's small businesses from even bidding on them.  


Whenever a locality or state agency has a 'prevailing wage' mandate in a contract, bidders are required to affirm they will pay each employee a wage that far exceeds state or federal requirements. In Fredericksburg for example, such a mandate requires that an electrician be paid $42.80 per hour with at least $15.33 in benefits, that's $121,000.00 per year per electrician (  Think about a small business in your hometown that would like to do this work. Can they afford this mandate? Although they have paid the taxes that help fund these projects, they are effectively prohibited from bidding on them.  HB1608 and HB2395 would have stopped taxpayer funded projects from mandating wages that exceed State or Federal law. They sought to save taxpayers money while opening opportunities for Virginia's small businesses.  These bills passed the House and Senate with bi-partisan support.  But Monty didn't make it happen – he voted against both


We've seen where federal agencies have mandated excessive and punitive regulations that have prevented businesses from expanding or adding employees, sometimes closing them down altogether.  This can happen with state agencies as well.  Two pieces of legislation, HJ515 and SB1365, were introduced to monitor and potentially restrain this result by allowing some oversight by the General Assembly.  These were strongly supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Virginia's small businesses – Mason voted against both


Virginia's economy has historically fared better than our neighbors to the north due, in large part, to our Right to Work status meaning, "the right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union".  Despite its protection of all Virginia workers, bills are introduced every year to tear it down.  We've seen for example, attempts to eliminate secret ballots (card check) on union votes, to release personal employee information to organizers, and to require non-union employees to pay union dues.  Fortunately, they've been rejected by a vast majority of legislators, but they'll be back.  This year HJ490 was introduced by Delegate Dickie Bell to constitutionally preserve Virginia's Right to Work status.  It passed the House and the Senate with bi-partisan support but our Constitution requires that it be passed again by the next General Assembly.  Monty Mason voted against protecting Virginia's employers and employees this year and if he goes back, he'll vote against it again.    


Folks, with 95 million adults out of work in the U.S., jobs are still on the forefront of voter's minds.  These are just five examples of Mason's anti-business, anti-job votes.  These and many others will be back next year that can help or hurt your job and our region's economy as a whole.  You can determine how your Delegate votes – on November 3rd.


In a few days, we'll look at other votes from the last two years but be warned.  If you're thinking Mason was looking out for your children's best interest or might help your family with its financial struggle, you'll be terribly disappointed.  If you question any of this information, call his office and ask (757) 229-9310.


In the meantime, if you're in the district, please share this information with your neighbors.  If you live outside of the 93rd, consider forwarding this email to your 93rd District friends.  Either way, please share it on Facebook and Twitter.  We need an effective representative, one who puts our community first.  Today, the 93rd District has neither.   




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