Who’s Watching the Traffic Camera Companies?

Red light and traffic cameras have been pitched to the public as a way to more accurately police intersections, improve public safety, and save money. While this may still possibly be true, a couple of camera companies look like they might be running into issues here in the commonwealth.

Delegate Nick Freitas

Del. Nick Freitas wants to be the Republican nominee to face Senator Tim Kaine. He explains how he can win – both elections.

State Senator Ryan McDougle

Virginia Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan McDougle talks about a whole array of things related to the long session of the General Assembly.

Buffalo Soldiers Honored by Senate

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia was one of several U.S. Senators to applaud the heroism of the “Buffalo Soldiers” in honor of Black History Month:

In celebration of the achievements and contributions that African-Americans have made as part of Black History Month, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner cosponsored a bipartisan resolution to honor the “Buffalo Soldiers,” African-American soldiers who served in the United States Army following the Civil War and made invaluable contributions to the fabric of our nation’s history.

Following the conclusion of the Civil War, the United States Army allowed African-Americans to serve in segregated units. Two of these units, the 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry, produced the “Buffalo Soldiers.” The soldiers received their nickname from Native Americans as a testament to their fearlessness in battle. In spite of being allocated inadequate resources and facing prejudice, the Buffalo Soldiers earned more Congressional Medals of Honor and had the lowest desertion rate of any unit in the Army. Five of those Medal of Honor recipients hailed from Virginia – Isaiah Mays (Carters Bridge, Va), Fitz Lee (Dinwiddie County, Va), Henry Johnson (Boydton, Va), Clinton Greaves (Madison County, Va), and Benjamin Brown (Spotsylvania County, Va).

“These brave Americans were among the first to answer the call to service at a time when African-Americans frankly weren’t treated as full members of our society,” said Warner. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Buffalo Soldiers, and this resolution is an important way to honor their service to the United States.”

We certainly live in a unique time, not a month ago Warner wrote this, along with Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Rob Wittman with relevance to the newly recognized Virginia tribes:

“While these six Virginia Indian tribes were formally recognized by the British and the Commonwealth of Virginia, they were not able to attain formal recognition status by the United States government for decades. Many of the tribes’ official documents were destroyed in the burning of Virginia’s courthouses during the Civil War, and the remnants of their records were lost through the passage of a Virginia law, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which almost erased the identities of these tribes. Now, after many years, these individuals have the opportunity to fully reclaim their heritage and take advantage of a designation that has been withheld from them for far too long.”

Both actions deserving, but a bit ironic how far times have come since the bloody battles of the past.

Michael Thompson on Health Care, Energy, and Cigarettes

Michael Thompson of the Thomas Jefferson Institue for Public Policy stops by the podcast to talk about the current state of conservative policy and discourse in the commonwealth.

Dr. Klaus Moeltner, Virginia Tech, on the Economics of Electricity

This week, my guest is Dr. Klaus Moeltner of Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech University. He has been researching the effects of power outages and consumers’ willingness to pay for grid improvements and uninterrupted electricity supply.

Interesting and important research, given the context of recent wintry weather in the Mid-Atlantic, a spike in natural gas prices due to the cold snap, and the debate over rate caps and reinvestment with Appalachian Power and Dominion Energy.

Over the course of our conversation, we discuss the impacts of weather and climate change on electrical distribution, differences in preference due to regional or geographic location (urban, suburban, rural), preferences due to age, gender, education, and a myriad of other factors. We also talk about the importance of electricity in the delivery of critical infrastructure services, like banking, communication, medical, transportation, sanitation, wastewater management, and food distribution services.

Key point: “From a public policy perspective, our findings are perhaps best interpreted as strong evidence that a widespread loss of power harms residential customers through more than just the interruption of front-door service. Protecting vital elements of the public infrastructure may be just as important, if not more so, than assuring adequate power flow to the neighborhood grid.”

Links of note:
Shifting temperatures to alter household electricity expenses, researchers find
Effect of global warming on willingness to pay for uninterrupted electricity supply in European nations
Valuing electricity-dependent infrastructure: An essential-input approach
Governor Northam Statement on Rate Freeze Repeal Legislation
HB 1558 Electric utility regulation; grid modernization, energy efficiency programs.
Cold snap renews need for pipeline
Dr. Moeltner’s Bio

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Blacks Denied Conventional Mortgages More Often

This report should make blacks angry. But not the way I fear it might be construed.

Former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore of Cozen O’Connor

Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore talks about the law firm Cozen O’Connor and its role here in Virginia. The firm will help businesses navigate Virginia’s political and legislative process.

Congressman Wittman Reacts to the State of the Union Address, New National Security Strategy

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), who serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, joined the podcast to talk about the president’s State of the Union address, continuing resolutions, threats to our national security, Navy readiness and shipbuilding, offshore energy, and Virginia tribes.