2021 Crossover Update

February 3, 2021


This Friday marks crossover in the General Assembly.  This is the traditional midpoint of Session, marking the day that the House and Senate each begin addressing legislation originating from the other Chamber. 

The first half of Session this year has been dominated by more Democrat initiatives geared towards so called “social and environmental justice.”  These include the repeal of the death penalty, efforts to restore Virginia’s liberal and lenient system of parole, and eliminating all mandatory minimum sentences for crimes.  Over the past 20 years, Virginia has successfully reversed disturbing increases in the rate of violent crime and recidivism.  Virginia Democrats seem determined to reverse all of the policies that led to that success.  

The marijuana legalization efforts demonstrate Virginia Democrats’ detachment from the concerns of most Virginians, who are worried about getting the economy back on track, getting schools fully reopened, and getting the Covid-19 vaccine.  Instead, the Democrats have rolled out a premature and unworkable marijuana legalization plan. A plan rife with racial preferences, quotas and inconsistencies.  Incongruously, the plan would make it legal to possess marijuana but illegal to grow.  It provides for dispensary licenses, but preferences for those licenses will be given to persons convicted of drug offenses, who will also be receiving taxpayer funded grants and government loans.  While I know that many of my Libertarian-minded friends take a different view towards marijuana legalization than I, most of us will agree that if this is going to happen, this is not the way to do it.

Conspicuously absent from the Governor’s legislative agenda is any meaningful legislation addressing the COVID pandemic, vaccinations or the reopening of schools.  Virginians have been reminded at every turn that we are the only state in the nation with a physician as Governor.  Shamefully, however, Virginia’s rollout of the vaccine has been dismal at best.  The Commonwealth consistently has been in the back of the pack in the administration of vaccines.  In an article just published on, it was pointed out that our Doctor/Governor has willfully injected an overdose of politics and social justice into his vaccination program to the detriment of those most at risk of infection, hospitalization and death.

As for education, there is an increasing drumbeat from parents across Virginia to reopen schools; however, the Administration consistently has demonstrated slavish devotion to teachers unions, who seemingly come up with new excuses at every turn for keeping schools closed.  In Fairfax County, school employees were catapulted to the front of the vaccine line, irrespective of age or the absence of any underlying health problems.  This prioritization was presumably for the purpose of reopening schools, but since the administration of those vaccines, the teachers union has announced that it won’t support a return to school until after next fall!  We cannot allow Virginia’s schools to remain closed to in-person instruction for the better part of two years.  

On the COVID vaccine front, I was pleased to co-patron was SB 1445 which passed the Senate and House unanimously.  This bill would mandate VDH to use an “all hands on deck” approach to get Virginians vaccinated faster.  All qualified healthcare professionals would get training and could  begin to vaccinate citizens.  It would also make it easier for private sector entities to volunteer their open areas to be used as vaccination sites.  The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.  I’ll have more about my thoughts on the vaccine rollout in a separate email later this week.

SB 1303, patroned by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, would make in-person learning available to Virginia students by choice of the student’s parent or guardian.  The CDC has stated that schools can reopen safely if precautions are taken. This is a step in the right direction to get children back in school.  I voted for this bill which passed the Senate yesterday on a vote of 26-13 and now moves onto the House. 

It’s these priorities that make our elections this year so important. I was honored to start work this week as the Co-Chair for my good friend Pete Snyder’s Gubernatorial Campaign. Pete’s a rock solid Republican who’s ready to disrupt the liberal establishment in Richmond. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and check out his website and learn more about why he’s running for Governor. As you may know, we have 100 House of Delegates elections this year as well as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General races this fall. 

With the second half of Session approaching, the legislature is going to be working on fine tuning bills that have passed and weeding out the bad ideas.  As always, I am grateful for input from friends and constituents.  Do not hesitate to contact my office with comments, concerns or suggestions about pending legislation.  My legislative aides Jenni Aulgur and Connor Smith can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] or by calling my district office in Harrisonburg at 540-437-1451.

Until my next update, stay safe and healthy!

Best regards,

Mark Obenshain

2021 Pre-Session Update

January 13, 2021


It seems like the 2020 Session of the General Assembly just ended and here it is January and today the 2021 Session convenes in Richmond.  Last year we were supposed to meet for 45 days in a regular session that ended just as the COVID-19 pandemic was heating up.  As we left Richmond in March, it was clear that we would have to return to address COVID related budget issues, but just before the Governor called us back to Richmond, George Floyd died at the hands of rogue police officers in Minneapolis and riots rocked the nation.  Seizing upon that as a political opportunity, the Governor convened the Special Session to address “social justice and criminal justice reform.”  This gave Democrats in Richmond, who now control both Chambers of the General Assembly as well as the Governor’s Mansion, a blank check to pursue all manner of liberal priorities. 

Between the regular Session in 2020, and the Special Session, Democrats in Richmond rolled back many of the criminal justice reforms of the past 20 years that have successfully reduced the violent crime and recidivism.  Similarly, apparently not satisfied with Virginia’s consistent ranking as one of the top five states in America in which to do business, they imposed all manner of new regulations, sought to repeal our right to work laws and allow public employee collective bargaining.  Finally, seeking to emulate Bernie Sanders and AOC, they passed Virginia’s version of the Green New Deal, which set us on a pace to see electric bills for households and businesses to increase by as much as one third.

Needless to say, they accomplished a whole lot in 2020.  Here we are back in Richmond meeting in temporary quarters that are off-limits to constituents.  The Governor has already said that there’s so much on his progressive agenda that we can’t possibly accomplish it all during the 30 days constitutionally allocated for the regular Session and he’s already promised to call a special session that will begin immediately upon adjournment that he wants to use to continue his efforts to turn Virginia into a northeastern state. 

Sadly, we are going to be missing one Republican Senate colleague during this Session.  Senator Ben Chafin, my friend who represented a large portion of Southwest Virginia, died on New Year’s Day.  He was an outstanding representative who cared deeply for the people of Southwest Virginia and tirelessly fought to protect their interest in Richmond.  Inexplicably, the Governor waited until yesterday to announce that he’s calling a special election to fill Senator Chafin’s seat, however, the election isn’t going to take place until March, after the regular Session and perhaps the Special Session as well, are over.  The timing leaves a large portion of Southwest Virginia completely unrepresented in the Senate and the Republicans down one critical vote.  The timing of the special election to fill Senator Chafin’s seat stands in contrast to how the Governor handled the resignation of former Delegate Jennifer Carrol Foy, who resigned in December in order to launch her campaign for Governor.  The Governor announced the special election the same day Delegate Jennifer Carrol Foy resigned and the election was held less than 30 days later.

Notwithstanding these challenges, I remain committed to fighting for common sense Virginia values in Richmond.  I will continue to stand for the protection of our 2nd Amendment rights against renewed efforts to ban most semi-automatic firearms and so-called “high capacity” magazines.  I will fight the announced efforts of Democrats to raise Virginia’s income tax rate.  I will fight for economic freedom and to resist efforts to roll back hard won laws that protect innocent human life. 

Even though I can’t host visitors in Richmond, my office is going to be open for business.  We need to hear from you about legislation that is important to you.  I count on constituents to alert me to their concerns about legislation that may impact their businesses, communities or families.  While you may not be able to knock on my door during session, my legislative team is experienced and they will be answering the phones and your emails.  Jenni Aulgur and Connor Smith have worked in my office for several years.  Jenni will be working out of my district office in Harrisonburg and Connor will be working in Richmond.  You can contact them at [email protected] and [email protected].  As always, I value your input, thoughts and concerns.  Please call 540-437-1451 or email me at [email protected]

It is a continuing privilege for me to be allowed to represent the citizens of the 26th District in the Senate of Virginia!

Best regards,

Mark Obenshain

NEWSLETTER: More updates on Virginia reopening, local elections, and parole

May 4, 2020

Dear Friend,

Last week, the Governor unveiled his partial plan for reopening Virginia as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially Northam’s Health Commissioner was quoted as saying that the first phase of this plan would last two years with measures such as continued use of face coverings, teleworking and only some businesses reopening.

I wanted to see what Virginians’ opinions were of that so I ran a poll on my Facebook page asking people to react to the claim that we would be in phase one for potentially two years. In 48 hours, over 5,700 people responded with 95% saying they thought two years was too long.

Apparently, the Governor’s office received feedback. Since then, they walked back their two-year projection and have announced that as of today, the ban on non-emergency/elective medical procedures will be lifted.

Earlier this week, I along with the rest of the Republican Senate Caucus leadership team sent a letter to Governor Northam demanding further answers and clarity on his plan to reopen Virginia. You can read that HERE. Stay tuned on if he responds and what his answer will be.

Election Update

I’ve sent emails in the past regarding the Governor’s attempts to completely circumvent local autonomy by moving all May local elections to line up with Presidential, U.S. Senate and Congressional elections in November. Thankfully, in last week’s reconvened session, the Senate defeated that measure on a strong bipartisan vote.

Integrity of local elections saved.

The Governor has since used his executive authority to move the date of the elections back to weeks from May 5 to May 19 and those with health concerns can safely cast absentee ballots.


A few weeks ago, I wrote on Facebook about the Virginia Parole Board’s decision to release Vincent Martin, a convicted murderer who killed a Richmond police officer in 1979. You can read the article covering the Parole Board’s decision by clicking HERE.

I wish I could say that this was the only decision by the Virginia Parole Board in recent weeks that caught my eye. Sadly, this is not the case.

In 2012, Debra Scribner was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a murder in connection with the shooting death of her son-in-law in Halifax County. She had barely served a third of her sentence and the parole board did not even follow proper procedures in coming to the decision to release her. Read more coverage of the Scribner release by clicking HERE.

Thirdly, it was recently reported that Tyson Xavier Golden was granted release in January with certification coming March 30. He was one of three men charged after a string of violent home invasions in Roanoke that culminated in the beating to death of 91-year-old Larry White. Three blows from the butt of a pistol fractured White’s skull. Read more about that case by clicking HERE.

Finally, there is inmate Robert Clark who is serving multiple life sentences for capital murder, robbery and two counts of use of a firearm from a 1994 conviction in Halifax County.  The Parole Board granted him parole on April 10 and his release back into the community is scheduled for May 4.

There was reporting in three of the aforementioned instances of the Parole Board not following proper procedures in notifying the Commonwealth’s Attorney in the county or city in which the crime occurred (required by VA Code section 53.1-136).

Further, the Governor is reportedly now trying to give people the impression that the only prisoners being released these days are nonviolent offenders. That could not be farther from the truth. The Governor proposed language purportedly aimed at reducing prison populations to address the COVID-19 crisis. That language,  granted authority to the Department of Corrections to immediately release to any prisoner with less than one year remaining on his sentence prisoners, except those convicted of a class 1 felony or a sexually violent offense, .  The only class 1 felony in Virginia is capital murder. On a party line vote in the Senate, Democrats approved this language amendment. That means that people convicted of first degree or second-degree murder, armed robbery, drug distribution and malicious wounding, among many others are immediately eligible for release.

The policy implications of the Governor’s budget amendments coupled with the decisions by his parole board to release dangerous murderers back onto Virginia’s streets is appalling. I will be doing everything in my power to prevent the parole or early release of violent and dangerous felons.

Since the abolition of Virginia’s liberal and lenient system of parole in the 1990s, communities across Virginia have been safer. When juries have given a convicted murderer a life sentence, they have done so with confidence that life means life. We can’t return to that old and broken system.


Mark Obenshain

New fund hoping to help small businesses across Virginia

April 28, 2020

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — As small businesses continue struggling because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Virginia 30 Day Fund is hoping to help them get through the pandemic by offering financial assistance.

As small businesses are still struggling because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Virginia 30 Day Fund is hoping to help them get through the pandemic by offering financial assistance. | Credit: WHSV

Pete Snyder is the co-founder of the organization. As a business owner himself, Snyder said he knew what needed to be done to help out businesses in need during this time.

“We knew that so many would be dying on the vine if they didn’t have help, so this is our way of providing a lifeline out there,” Snyder said.

Virginian-owned small businesses are able to apply for money, which is funded by donations. Businesses don’t have to re-pay the loans if they get one. Senator Mark Obenshain is on the advisory board for the Virginia 30 Day Fund, which he said is a huge help for local businesses.

“If those businesses die and go away, it’s going to be irreparable harm to our economy,” Obenshain said. “So we’ve got to take important steps to make sure they are protected.”

So far, Snyder said the fund has helped over 100 Virginia businesses, including several here in the Shenandoah Valley. If you’d like more information about how to apply or how to donate, you can find that on their website.

General Assembly rejects Gov. Northam’s proposal to delay May elections

April 23, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — As the Virginia General Assembly convened with abnormal accomodations due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, lawmakers considered hundreds of amendments to legislation and the state budget that had been proposed by Governor Ralph Northam.

Photo: WHSV

One of the biggest topics was an amendment that the governor announced in one of his COVID-19 briefings earlier this month. On April 8, Northam announced that he was postponing Virginia’s June primaries by two weeks and recommending that the local elections scheduled in May be delayed until the same time as November general elections.

“As other states have shown, conducting an election in the middle of this global pandemic would bring unprecedented challenges and potential risk to voters and those who work at polling places across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “Making these decisions now will help election officials prepare and implement the necessary changes. This is about protecting the health and safety of Virginians during this pandemic and ensuring our citizens can make their voices heard in a safe, fair, and uniform manner. I urge the General Assembly to do their part and take action to move our upcoming elections.”

The governor’s recommendation proposed a plan for one ballot in November that would have included both national elections and the local elections that would have been held in May. Local officials’ terms would have been extended by several months.

Northam said his recommendations were made after discussing the changes with Virginia’s congressional delegation, as well as leaders in the state House and Senate.

But on Wednesday, lawmakers did not pass the measure.

Initially, the House of Delegates voted along a slim majority not to adopt the amendment. After debate, confusion and technicalities, the amendment passed with two votes. The Senate, which accepted most budget recommendations, simply did not vote on moving May elections.

Delegate Mark Levine, who voted to accept the amendment, said this means elections will be held in May, despite public health concerns. He suggested that since the Senate did not vote to move the elections, the senators should man the polls.

Many Republican lawmakers, who became the minority party this past year, but by a closer margin in the Senate, disagreed with the local election proposal from the time of its announcement.

“We sincerely hope the Governor will reconsider his proposal,” Sen. Mark Obenshain said at the time. “There is an option that keeps Virginians safe and healthy, keeps local self-determination in place, does not subordinate local issues to the furor and din of a Presidential election, and maintains the high level of integrity that our electoral system requires and that our citizens expect.”

Obenshain said the reason for holding local elections at a separate time from November is to “avoid the hyper partisan rhetoric that overshadows all November elections – especially in a Presidential election year.”

Obenshain and other Shenandoah Valley General Assembly members said they thought a better option would have been to move local elections to June 23, the same date to which Northam moved statewide primary elections

But since the Senate took no vote on the governor’s recommendation to move May elections, they will remain as scheduled.

RELEASE: Senator Obenshain Joins Advisory Board of VA 30 Day Fund

April 23, 2020

Senator and Mrs. Obenshain Join Advisory Board of VA 30 Day Fund

Fund Helps Small Businesses with Grants


CONTACT: Jennifer Aulgur

PHONE: (804) 833-1081

EMAIL: [email protected]

HARRISONBURG – Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following comment following the announcement that he and his wife, Suzanne, have joined the Advisory Board of the VA 30 Day Fund:

Suzanne and I are honored to be joining the Advisory Board of the VA 30 Day Fund.  Small business is the backbone of our economy in the Commonwealth. During this COVID-19 crisis, so many small businesses are struggling to maintain an income and keep their employees on payroll.  We commend Pete and Burson Snyder for launching this fund as a way help Virginia small businesses stay afloat through this crisis. It is great to be working alongside the Snyder’s and the other board members in this important endeavor.

The VA 30 Day Fund is a non-profit that provides quick and easy forgivable loans for Virginia-based small businesses.  The loans are intended to provide immediate financial assistance to meet payroll, preserve healthcare coverage and employees and save jobs while they await recently approved federal funding.

To see the list of the Advisory Board of the VA 30 Day Fund click here.

For more information about the VA Day Fund click here.

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Senate of Virginia. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).  He is a member of the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee; Senate Committee on the Judiciary; Senate Transportation and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.


 Release from VA 30 Day Fund: 

Here at the Virginia 30 Day Fund we are working each and every day to provide the help that small businesses need now across the Commonwealth. In a little more than two weeks, thanks to your support we have been able to fully-fund over 90 Virginia small businesses. That said, open applications (i.e. DEMAND) outpace funds ten-fold. WE NEED TO DO MORE TO HELP MORE.

This is why we’re proud to announce that Suzanne and Virginia State Senator Mark Obenshain are joining the Advisory Board of the Virginia 30 Day Fund. Mark, Suzanne and their family are among the Commonwealth’s greatest champions and public servants. While Mark and Suzanne raised their family in Harrisonburg and have made it their civic mission to advocate for the hardworking families of The Valley, their roots and impact runs deep across every corner of our Commonwealth. The Obenshains understand the pain Virginia businesses are experiencing due to the COVID-19 crisis and are doing everything they can to help.

Mark and Suzanne join a dedicated group of Virginia entrepreneurs, public servants and philanthropic partners – working to save small businesses by serving on the board of the Virginia 30 Day Fund:

· Bobbie Kilberg

· Curtis Gordinier, Managing Member, Maltese Capital

· Jim Cheng, former Virginia Secretary of Commerce

· Mark Kimsey, Board Member, Kimsey Foundation

· Sharon and Virginia State Senator Chap Peterson

· Suzanne Clark, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President

· Todd Stottlemyer, former Rector of the College of William & Mary and CEO of CNSI

· Will Payne, Managing Partner, Coalfield Strategies

We need your help, too. 

We need your help, too. 

· Tell a Virginia small business in your life to apply for a forgivable loan for their small business.

· Follow and share our posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help spread the word.

· Donate to fund a small business in need. 

TOGETHER, we will pull through this and help hundreds of small businesses and save many, many more jobs along the way.

Stay Strong,

Pete and Burson Snyder
Co-Founders of the Virginia 30 Day Fund

NEWSLETTER: What’s Bad in January Won’t be Better In May

April 21, 2020

Dear Friend,

In January and February, Virginia Democrats passed a staggering array of legislation that will do long-term damage to Virginia’s economy and business environment.  These included a statewide “Seattle style” increase in the minimum wage, collective bargaining for public employees, prevailing wage legislation, requiring government contractors to pay inflated union wages to employees (really opening the door for expensive out of state union contractors to take business away from Virginia companies and workers.  Touting the robust Virginia economy and low unemployment, The Governor and Democrats in the General Assembly scoffed at the notion that this legislation will be bad for workers and business in Virginia.

That was then, this is now.  

Virginia is in the midst of a 90 day shut-down of its economy, businesses and individuals are in mass default on their obligations, and unemployment claims are skyrocketing.  Most of us want Virginia’s economy to come out of this coronavirus epidemic in a condition strong enough to bring back some, most or all of the employees they have had to furlough or lay off. 

Virginia’s business community begged the governor to veto the legislation, or at a minimum, delay its implementation by a year and require the General Assembly to reenact it next year before becoming effective.  Instead, all the Governor did was offer an amendment to these bills simply delaying their implementation by 120 days.  This does nothing to help Virginia business.  It provides no meaningful relief.  And I, for one, won’t vote for it.  I voted against the legislation originally, and I’m going to vote against it again in the Veto Session. 

I won’t be taken in by the false hope offered by the Governor that somehow everything will be ok if we delay the implementation of this disastrous legislation by a couple of months.  

It won’t be.


Mark Obenshain

NEWSLETTER: Free, open and (un)fair elections

April 15, 2020

Dear Friend,

Once upon a time in Virginia, we had free, open and fair elections. This year, the Governor and the liberals running the General Assembly unilaterally decided to be drop “fair” from the equation.

Particularly troubling was the bill signed last week by the Governor repealing Virginia’s photo ID requirement. In recent years, Democrats have tried to convince voters that photo ID was part of an effort by conservatives to suppress the vote by traditional Democrat voters. Notwithstanding this empty rhetoric and years of efforts to prove that photo ID really does suppress votes, Democrats have come up completely empty. There is no evidence that photo ID ever suppressed a single vote – except perhaps fraudulent ones.

In reality, photo ID first gained serious traction in 2005 when none other than President Jimmy Carter championed it. President Carter served as co-chair of the Carter Baker Commission convened after voter confidence in the integrity of our system of elections crashed after the debacle of the 2000 Presidential election. You see, a mere 15 years ago, when the Democrats were on the losing side of a close election, they protested that the very survival of the United States faced this existential threat – voters who had lost faith in the integrity of our elections.  

It’s apparent that the concerns of 2000 era Democrats have been discarded in favor of stacking the deck and dismissing the cries of “foul” by Republicans. Who knows whether voter fraud will run rampant with the repeal of the photo ID requirement? I think it is a very real risk and so do many other voters – Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

To me, the fact that there are no reports of epidemic voter fraud should be viewed as a good thing. It certainly should not serve as an invitation to throw the doors open to unscrupulous political organizers or operatives on either side who would undermine the integrity of our elections. Remember, every fraudulent vote case dilutes the value of every other vote.

In addition to the repeal of photo ID, the Governor signed a bill to make Election Day a state holiday. To offset this change, the bill removes Lee-Jackson Day as a state holiday. Setting aside my concerns with the rewrite of history, a majority of Virginians who get a state holiday off are unionized employees. And who do unionized employees vote for in large blocs?

Yep, you guessed it – Democrats.

The political motivation that the Governor tries to hide behind civic motivations to increase voter turnout is not lost on me or on other Virginians.

Lastly — and perhaps most outrageous — is a bill to allow for same day registration and voting. This law allows anyone to visit a polling place on Election Day, register to vote that day and vote in that election. It is truly a “vote early and often” law that would have made even Boss Tweed blush. With polls now open from 6am until 8pm, predominately older and retired poll workers and no money to upgrade our technology and a demonstrated lack of interest in removing dead or out of state voters from our voting rolls, Virginia is not equipped to deal with same day registration.

In order for Virginians to have confidence in the integrity of our elections, we know that they expect them to be free, open and fair. By signing these bills, the Governor has significantly undermined these principles that should be embraced by every American.

And just as a quick update on the email blast I sent last week regarding Governor Northam’s proclamation of his intent to move local elections from May to November, it looks like he is following through on that plan. Unbelievably, to do this he actually slid that plan into his amendments to the Commonwealth’s budget.

He released his amendments this week to House Bill 29. This is what we call the “caboose bill”…the budget bill that funds the state government from now until the end of the fiscal year – June 30.

One of the amendments to this bill is adding language to not only move local elections to November but also to throw out tens of thousands of  ballots already cast across Virginia in these local elections that are now supposed to be less than 3 weeks away! His plan will also reopen the field in all of these local elections, thereby completely changing the rules and the playing field literally as time was running out in these important contests. It goes without saying that his decision to propose throwing out ballots that hardworking Virginians have already taken the time to fill out and cast is astounding and just plain wrong.


Mark Obenshain

Local Republican lawmakers respond to Virginia governor’s proposal to postpone elections

April 10, 2020

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Republican politicians in the Shenandoah Valley are opposing Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s decision to try and postpone municipal elections scheduled for May to November.

Governor Ralph Northam announced earlier this week, intentions to postpone May’s scheduled municipal elections to November.

in an official statement by Virginia State Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), Obenshain, along with fellow Shenandoah Valley delegates John Avoli (R-Staunton), Ronnie Campbell (R-Fairfield), Chris Runion (R-Bridgewater) and Tony Wilt (R-Harrisonburg), responded to Northam.

Obenshain told WHSV on Friday that he does not think the election needs to be moved to November, but supports postponing it a few months and taking social distancing precautions that are needed.

“We shouldn’t move it to November. There’s absolutely no reason we can’t move it back to late June, July, August, September and achieve those ends,” Obenshain said. “Protect the integrity of the ballots that have already been cast and protect that right of self determination that we’ve given to local governments across the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Obenshain also that absentee ballots that are already cast should be counted.

RELEASE: Shenandoah Valley Legislators Respond to Proposed Election Date Change

April 10, 2020

Shenandoah Valley Legislators Respond to Governor’s Proposal to Move Municipal Elections from May to November

General Assembly Members Oppose Governor’s Plan to Move Municipal Elections to November


CONTACT: Jennifer Aulgur

PHONE: (804) 833-1081

EMAIL: [email protected]

HARRISONBURG, VA  – Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), along with fellow Shenandoah Valley Delegates  John Avoli (R-Staunton), Ronnie Campbell (R-Fairfield), Chris Runion (R-Bridgewater) and Tony Wilt (R-Harrisonburg), issued the following joint statement in response to Governor Northam’s announcement earlier this week to move the municipal elections scheduled for May to November.

“I support delaying the election until June, to be held at the same time as the Primary elections. I also hope the Governor will not order absentee votes already cast to be discarded,”  said Delegate Avoli. 

Delegate Campbell added, “There are fair and reasonable concerns that Virginia could be hitting the peak of its COVID-19 curve around May 5, and that we should therefore follow social distancing and other containment methods urged by the CDC and Virginia Coronavirus Taskforce. I support postponing the May 5 date –but not to November.” 

“The Governor has suggested that absentee ballots already cast for the May election be thrown out.  This is not the best solution to this problem. Our voter registrars are more than capable at ensuring these ballots are kept safe and are counted at the appropriate time,” said Delegate Runion.    

Delegate Tony Wilt added, “The Governor has already moved the June 9 primary date to June 23, and there is no reason why municipal elections could not also take place on that same day.”

Senator Obenshain concluded, “We sincerely hope the Governor will reconsider his proposal.  There is an option that keeps Virginians safe and healthy, keeps local self-determination in place, does not subordinate local issues to the furor and din of a Presidential election, and maintains the high level of integrity that our electoral system requires and that our citizens expect.”

You can read the Governor’s full news release here.

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Senate of Virginia. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).

Delegate Avoli represents the twentieth district in the Virginia House of Delegates.  The district includes the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro and the counties of Augusta (part), Highland and Nelson (part).

Delegate Campbell represents the twenty-fourth district in the Virginia House of Delegates.  The district includes the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington and the counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), Bath and Rockbridge.

Delegate Runion represents the twenty-fifth district in the Virginia House of Delegates.  The district includes the counties of Albermarle (part), Augusta (part), and Rockingham (part).

Delegate Wilt represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia House of Delegates.  The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the county of Rockingham (part.)