Democrats rap Cuccinelli over federal law

Virginia Democrats slammed state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday for refusing to support reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act.

In a telephone press conference, Delegate Jennifer McClellan of Richmond and Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos criticized Cuccinelli for being one of three state attorneys general who did not sign a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the act.

“Virginians deserve to know what prevented Ken Cuccinelli from sticking up for the Violence Against Women Act, not a half-hearted excuse for sitting on his hands while Republicans killed the reauthorization,” McClellan said.

“As attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli is the chief law enforcement office in the Commonwealth, charged with doing whatever it takes to keep all Virginia safe from those who would do them harm.

“In light of that responsibility, and his desire to be our next governor, Virginians deserve to hear a real explanation from him as to why he would refuse to support the Violence Against Women Act.”

Cuccinelli’s spokesman said there is a simple explanation: By policy, the attorney general’s office does not sign letters of support for federal legislation that is still subject to amendment.

“It is beyond comprehension how anyone could seriously try to blame a single state attorney general because 535 members of the U.S. Congress didn’t pass a piece of legislation,” said Brian Gottstein, the attorney general’s director of communication.

He noted that Cuccinelli supports many programs against domestic abuse. For example, the attorney general operates the Address Confidentiality Program, a mail-forwarding service that keeps the addresses of domestic violence victims confidential. Cuccinelli’s office also collects cellphones to donate to Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program for victims in protective shelters.

In an interview, political commentator Bob Holsworth said he believes Democrats are attacking Cuccinelli on this issue to paint him in a bad light in this year’s gubernatorial race. “The Democrats are trying to position Cuccinelli as someone out of touch with the mainstream. Using social issues like this is a great way to do that,” said Holsworth, the founding director of the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

During the conference call, Stamos, who has been a prosecutor in Arlington County and Falls Church for more than two decades, said the Violence Against Women Act has helped law enforcement officials.

“The act has helped people in our office to deal with the very specific and specialized needs of domestic violence victims. It has provided the training and tools that we need at the local level to prosecute very difficult cases,” Stamos said.

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines and assistance for women who have escaped domestic abuse.

“It is a piece of federal legislation that works in the trenches at the local level,” Stamos said.
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Therapeutic healing


In a room labeled the garden room, a bright space with lavender-colored walls and pebble-gray chairs, art therapist Becky Jacobson might ask her patients to imagine a safe place, but she doesn’t ask them to describe it to her — she wants them to draw it.

The patients are free to draw whatever they envision, expressing themselves through their colored markers, a form of healing through art therapy.

“Some people might not feel safe anywhere because they have had hard things happening to them, and I have the background to help that person reground and feel safe in the group,” Jacobson said. > Read more.

Eight’s enough? Crowded race for 56th District develops


Following the retirement of Delegate Peter Farrell [R-56th District], a number of candidates have thrown their hats into the ring to vie for the open seat in the Virginia General Assembly district, which contains a portion of Henrico’s Far West End.

Democratic challengers include Lizzie Basch and Melissa Dart, while Republican contenders include George Goodwin, Matt Pinsker, Graven Craig, Surya Dhakar, Jay Prendergrast and John McGuire. In addition to a section of Henrico, the district also includes portions of Goochland and Spotsylvania County, as well as all of Louisa County. > Read more.

On the trail to Awareness


Twenty-five teams, composed of some 350 participants, gathered at Dorey Park in Varina April 8 for the Walk Like MADD 5k, to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving Virginia. The event raised more than $35,000, with more funds expected to come in through May 7. > Read more.

Leadership Metro Richmond honors St. Joseph’s Villa CEO


Leadership Metro Richmond honored St. Joseph's Villa CEO Kathleen Burke Barrett, a 2003 graduate of LMR, with its 2017 Ukrop Community Vision Award during its annual spring luncheon April 6.

The award honors a LMR member who demonstrates a purposeful vision, a sense of what needs to be done, clear articulation with concern and respect for others with demonstrated action and risk-taking. > Read more.

Glen Allen H.S. takes second in statewide economics competition

Glen Allen H.S. was among six top schools in the state to place in the 2017 Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance.

Taught by Patricia Adams, the Glen Allen H.S. team was runner-up in the Economics division, in which teams faced off in a Quiz Bowl. > Read more.

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Richmond Times-Dispatch author and photographer duo Bill Lohmann and Bob Brown will discuss their latest book “On the Back Roads Again: More People, Places and Pie from Around Virginia” from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Twin Hickory Library. For details, call 501-1920 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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