David Poole, Executive Director, Virginia Public Access Project

Happy New Year! To start 2018, J.R. interviews David Poole, executive director of the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). David describes VPAP and how they have grown into the central source for political data in Virginia. He also talks about some of the unique ways they help users visualize political information, and what they have in store for politicos in 2018.

In this podcast, J.R. asks about VPAP’s goals and challenges, why it’s necessary and what makes it special, the problems VPAP is trying to solve, the changes in access to Virginia political information and transparency over the past twenty years, and more!

Links of note:
VPAP
State Board of Elections
VPAP Election Results
Voter Retention from Presidential to Governors Election
Open Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics)

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Santa Claus

Joining J.R. for a very special holiday episode to close out 2017 is our good friend, Santa Claus!

Santa gives us straight answers about what’s going on at the North Pole with the elves, reindeer, how he prepares for the big day, if husbands should worry about him kissing their wives, working with North American Air Defense, and more!

Santa also gives us a glimpse as to who’s been naughty or nice in Virginia politics, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring, Senators Warner and Kaine, and others.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Links of Note:

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Dr. Alice Louise Kassens on the Health of the Virginia Economy

As Christmas quickly approaches the question on everyone’s mind is obviously the state of the Virginia economy!

Ok…maybe not. Perhaps that’s just me. But making the dismal science a little less dismal is Dr. Alice Louise Kassens, senior analyst for the Institue for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College.

In this podcast, Kassens explains not only the important elements of Virginia’s economy, which includes consumer sentiment and the real estate markets, but we also discuss the labor market and consumer price index. However, the big question is whether or not consumer spending is going to increase this holiday season? I also ask her why this is important.

Additionally, and this shouldn’t be a big surprise, but consumer behavior is actually tied to politics. Kassens explains why and how it’s been tracking.

I also ask her about the federal tax cut legislation and whether the concern should be about increasing debt or growing the country’s GDP.

That said, it’s not just all about the economy. Kassens describes her interest in economics, the path she took to becoming a professor, the growth of studying the social sciences in Virginia, and her enjoyment of running and blogging. And we try to answer the incredibly pressing question of whether the subject is pronounced “ee-conomics” or “eh-conomics”.

Links of Note:
The Running Economist
RC Poll: Consumer Sentiment reverses year long slide
University of Michigan Survey of Consumers
RC Poll: Real Estate Markets Continue Retreat, Inventories Continue to Fall
Virginia Economy at a Glance (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Consumer Price Index
TNSTAAFL

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

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Listening to a Podcast:

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Patrick Wilson, political reporter, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, talks with J.R. about growing up in Michigan and becoming interested in journalism, becoming a journalist, his transition to being a political reporter in Virginia, his relationship with sources and the new media, how to tell a good pitch from a bad one, what a typical day is like for a political journalist, the importance of building good and trustworthy sources, the tools he uses to do his job, the current state of political reporting in Virginia, and the story of 2017 (beyond the election) that had the greatest impact and his thoughts on the most important issues heading into 2018.

Follow Patrick:
Patrick Wilson, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Twitter, and Facebook

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

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2) Go to iTunes or Stitcher and subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. Listen to the shows through your iTunes or Stitcher app. (How to from iTunes and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth or USB to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through iTunes/Stitcher.

John Whitbeck on the state of the Virginia GOP

John Whitbeck, chairman of The Republican Party of Virginia, chats with J.R. about the clear message voters sent November 8 when they delivered a resounding defeat to the GOP. Republican candidates have lost ten straight statewide contests since 2012, and Whitbeck explains how the GOP needs to change. That said, he also mentions how Washington DC disproportionately affects Virginia’s politics and how the state electorate tends to nationalize our politics differently than other states. Regarding that messaging, he says that calls to “Drain the Swamp” are unlikely to be effective in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. However, that doesn’t mean candidates should abandon conservative principle; rather, they need to work on finding the right tone that reflects the Virginia Republican creed for new and diverse voters.

Whitbeck also addresses Corey Stewart’s call for Whitbeck to be replaced. He says that this was a “media stunt” and “garbage” because, despite the recent drubbing, the party as an organization is very healthy financially, has growing field and grassroots operations, significant digital/online activism, and excellent relationships with affiliated organizations. He recognizes the concern and knows that winning elections will go a long way to unifying the party. He says it’s his job to roll with the punches and ensure fairness in the nomination process.

Ultimately, Whitbeck says the party is far from dead and has no intention of rolling over going into 2018 and 2019.

Links of Note:

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2) Go to iTunes or Stitcher and subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. Listen to the shows through your iTunes or Stitcher app. (How to from iTunes and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth or USB to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through iTunes/Stitcher.

Mary Jones, Republican Candidate for Congress, VA-2

In this episode, Mary Jones, a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, joins J.R. to talk about her background and candidacy. Jones is challenging freshman Congressman Scott Taylor for the nomination.

She is a two-term member of the James City County Board of Supervisors where she served as chairman. She talks about some of her experiences and achievements, including being the lone voice to change how I-64 expansion through the peninsula was planned and how she regularly opposed tax increases.

Also on the podcast, she details why she is challenging Taylor and it pretty much boils down to one reason: She feels Taylor does not support President Trump. Republicans, she says, despite being in the majority in Congress, are unable to get major legislation enacted that was promised during the last campaign and she explains why she holds Taylor accountable. She feels Taylor is not being a strong advocate for conservatives or the district.

Jones also describes the top issues motivating her to run for office, including the repeal of Obamacare, immigration reform, the economy, jobs, and taxes, and national defense.

Links of Note:

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

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Listening to a Podcast:

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2) Go to iTunes or Stitcher and subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. Listen to the shows through your iTunes or Stitcher app. (How to from iTunes and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth or USB to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through iTunes/Stitcher.

Advancing Technology in Virginia with Gabe Venturi and Wayne Ozmore

From artificial intelligence to drones, broadband to wifi, workforce development to public safety, and much more, Gabe Venturi and Wayne Ozmore come on the show to talk about the current state of technology in Virginia, how it’s advancing, and some things to consider.

Ozmore is a technology advocate, futurist, and Navy Vet. Venturi is the chief commercial officer of Inmarsat Government and has spent about twenty consecutive years working for technology and telecommunication companies in Virginia.

Technology is such a huge topic, but we wanted to get the conversation started. Here are just some of the topics we cover this podcast:

  • What do we need to do to be leaders in technology development? “We’ve been at this for decades,” says Venturi and he goes further to discuss the current state of Virginia technology and the opportunities for growth.
  • As technology advances with the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, neural programming, drones – is Virginia’s law enforcement, education, government, and business community keeping pace with the developments? Are these communities not only understanding the benefits of implementing the technology in their organizations but how their organizations will also evolve (like teaching technology, enforcing cybersecurity, maintaining rights and privacy, etc.)?
  • What is going on with “The Skills Gap” where we have many technical jobs available, but certification levels are low? How is that remedied? Will soft skills remain important in the new economy? What is happening with workforce development in Virginia and who is leading the charge?
  • What is the Internet of Things? Is there value of objects being connected or connected to the Internet?
  • What is the importance of the connectivity and what is the likelihood that broadband will expand to rural Virginia? What about the lack of a wireless signal in certain pockets of Virginia? “Unless we have leadership, it isn’t going to happen,” said Ozmore. The Tobacco Commission, Del. Danny Marshall, and Senator Frank Ruff are expected to play key roles.
  • Is there politics associated with broadband expansion? What does it mean to be technology agnostic?
  • What should be our concerns regarding personally identifiable information (PII) and what things can we individually do to protect our identity?
  • How is drone technology advancing in Virginia? How is Virginia leading in workforce development at repair and manufacturing of drones and what is the “highways in the sky” program?
  • What types of drones are out there and where are they being built? What are some of their functions? How will humans possibly use them for transportation? Will there be something like a taxi service?
  • Also, what about drone piloting and licensure schools?
  • Finally, Gabe and Wayne also make some predictions for what might be in store for us by 2025.

Links of note:

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

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Listening to a Podcast:

1) Click the player above and listen to it via your device
2) Go to iTunes or Stitcher and subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. Listen to the shows through your iTunes or Stitcher app. (How to from iTunes and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth or USB to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through iTunes/Stitcher.

2017 Virginia Election Recap with Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director, CNU Wason Center

Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director of the Judy Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, enjoyed this post-election interview knowing that his center’s polling was spot-on when it came to predicting Ed Gillespie’s final total.

Kidd explained that he noticed a trend among voters called the “shy Tory” (h/t Garren Shipley) that he incorporated into CNU’s polling beginning in 2016. To account for them, he asked questions to draw them out so that Republicans would not be under-sampled. Also in this podcast, Kidd describes how Ed Gillespie was perceived by the electorate, the Trump effect, the mood of the voters to create a wave election, how northern Virginia is changing Virginia politics, whether issues had anything to do with the results, how the down-ticket races were perceived, how parties should communicate with the electorate, and what all this means going forward to the as of yet undetermined General Assembly.

Links of note:

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

Subscribe on Android

Listening to a Podcast:

1) Click the player above and listen to it via your device
2) Go to iTunes or Stitcher and subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. Listen to the shows through your iTunes or Stitcher app. (How to from iTunes and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth or USB to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through iTunes/Stitcher.

2017 Virginia Election Preview with Gov. Jim Gilmore and Norman Leahy

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, also elected as Virginia’s attorney general, and president of American Opportunity along with Norman Leahy, columnist at The Washington Post and reporter for Real Clear Investigations, joins J.R. to preview and predict the 2017 Virginia General Election. We take a look back at the key moments for each campaign – governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and Virginia House of Delegates – and also analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Gov. Gilmore also looks back on his campaigns and offers insights on how elections have evolved. We also discuss some other political heavy-weights, like former Gov. Doug Wilder and U.S. Senator John Warner and their role this election cycle. And, Gov. Gilmore reflects on redistricting (some very interesting thoughts).

Links of note:

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Rev. Mark Nieting on the Reformation and Luther’s Legacy

Reverend Mark Nieting has been a Lutheran educator and pastor for four decades. He joins J.R. to explain the importance of Martin Luther and the ideas and reforms put into motion 500 years ago.

On Oct. 31, 1517, Luther posted a series of discussion points on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg just prior to the major festival of All Saints Day – and not by chance. Luther did this for maximum exposure, knowing that many people would be coming to church the next day.

Luther’s ideas, while clearly spiritual, played a profound and lasting role that can still be felt to this day in government, education and literacy, economic freedom, and personal responsibility – which is exactly why we’re talking about it on a show known for its politics!

Rev. Nieting talks about who Luther was and his lifelong quest of trying to “find peace with God.”

This pursuit led the reformer to not only find his answer in scripture but unleash ideas that would bring about societal change, particularly those ideas which gradually eroded the Medieval feudal systems that were in place.

Through the good fortune of provincial protection, a strong network of allies, the arrival of the printing press, and time to devote to his translation of the Bible from Latin to German, Luther’s lasting legacy is not only evident in Protestant Christianity across the world, but in our systems of government.

Links of note:

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!