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Press Office of Benjamin Thomas (I-VA)

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The official press office of Senator Benjamin Thomas of Virginia.

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Ben Thomas Introduces the Endangered and Missing Communications Acts of 2017

 

 

Today, Independent Senator of Virginia Benjamin Thomas introduced into the Hopper of the United States Senate the Endangered and Missing Communications Act of 2017 which would serve to establish a streamlined communications network of every level from the local to the national for qualifying cases as well as a National Coordinator within the Department of Justice to ensure free flowing information in such cases (with a particular focus on strengthening the connections within the AMBER Alert Network). He released the following statement regarding this legislation:

 

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"To me, the idea of a missing loved one is the scariest thing imaginable. Knowing the sheer degree of unsolved missing persons cases, or in particular those which were solved all too late, just furthers this burden for any family in this nation who have come face to face with this ghastly curse of human existence. As a man who has spent most of my life in the City of Roanoke, which despite a steady decline in recent years was for a long time often known as one of the top 5 most violent and crime ridden cities in Virginia disproportionate to our actual size of just under 100,000 people, as well as somebody whose familial background in almost entirely based in our western coal country, it is not lost on me that two of the most common neighborhood types are the largely economically-abandoned rural and ethically diverse urban areas where education rates and continued mental health treatment suffer the most. That is why I am proud to sponsor this bill in the United States Senates, to fight for the common sense and Godly ideal that our children and loved ones should always receive the absolute extent of our efforts to be found in an already all-too-uncertain world. "

 

 

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Ben Thomas Statement on Baudin Nomination

 

 

Upon the naming of Senator Marc Baudin of Ohio by President LeClavers to be the next Vice President upon Congressional confirmation, Senator Benjamin Thomas of Virginia has released the following statement making clear that there are still a number of questions that he would like clarified before he is willing to back Mr. Baudin and urges his colleagues to fully utilize the Senate hearing process in the coming weeks:

 

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"Unlike some of my  colleagues who have outright declared their intention to confirm Senator Baudin before a hearing has even begun, I am much more interested at this time to learn more about Vice Presidential nominee through the hearing process as very little is documented about his political views beyond his pro-life stances and there isn't much in the way of major legislation or a deep voting record to help define that. I will be paying close attention to how the hearings unfold, and plan to participate as vigorously as possible to get a better understanding of Marc Baudin as both a man and as an aspiring Second in Command of our great nation before I make my decision as I would urge all my colleagues across all the political and ideological spectrum to do as well."

 

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Benjamin Thomas Announces Formation of Senate Appalachian Caucus 

 

 

Today, Senator Benjamin Thomas of Virginia who is a proud lifelong resident of the City of Roanoke nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge region of the Appalachian Mountain range announced the formation of the nonpartisan working group dubbed the Senate Appalachian Caucus. The mission of the Senate Appalachian Caucus, or SAC, is simply to bring together members of any party or ideological group who represents a state from Maine down to Georgia and in between that contain the broad communities that make up "Appalachia" to come together and craft consensus-based legislation (and amendments) to support the core needs of these communities. He gave the following statement regarding the formation of the SAC.


 

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"It is by the grace of the creator that I had the good fortune to spend an entire lifetime in the Blue Ridge Mountains and as proud member of the broader Appalachian community. By and large, the Appalachian people not only of my state by any I've met from without our broad trail of often likeminded mountain people from extreme north to sweltering south, are best defined as a good and kind people who embrace a heritage of independence and self-reliance who will give their last shirt off their own back but never ask for a handout of any kind. However, they are a people increasingly facing the pressures and blowback of a changing set of priorities in DC. From a continued increasingly endangered coal industry and dying field of industrial production as a whole, to being one of the most massively impacted groups by the growing epidemic of volatile opioid addiction across the country, to the most basics of economic priories such as unique agricultural focuses and tourism needs, I believe that a nonpartisan working group to represent these specific needs is just what the doctor ordered to ensure these voices are heard.

 

Let me be clear. The Senate Appalachian Caucus has only one requirement for membership: representation as a Senator of the broad Appalachian region and community and a willingness to find unique consensus solutions for them rather than politicking or petty squabbling. We will accept all ideologies and party affiliations , will never explicitly endorse any candidate or party, nor will ever force any part our membership into a position or vote they are uncomfortable with. Disagreements and discussion are the very point, finding a common ground to do the right thing for an underrepresented people in federal government, and I hope to welcome any and every interested Appalachian Senator into the our fold in the coming weeks." 

 

 

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Sen. Thomas Appears on NINC To Discuss Homestead-Miami Speedway and Federal Racing Facility Funding

 

 

When asked by news network NINC to comment on the breaking news on the financial difficulties regarding Homestead-Miami Speedway, which is a sister track of sorts to Virginia's own Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway, due to the budget slashing regarding auto racing tracks in the 2014 federal budget, Ben Thomas gave the following statement about the value of auto racing facilities for more than simply racing, his lingering anger over this cut and many of those that negatively effected the workforce all throughout Appalachia in the aforementioned budget, and his plans to help take the lead in finding a fix to the issue before the damage becomes even more widespread across the nation:

 

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"The cuts for auto racing venues in the 2014 budget were just one of many foolhardy decisions that budget contained because sounding good on paper for the next 2 years is all a lot of partisans care about. Auto racing venues are known to be economic and tourist boons in the majority of the states in the US, not just for their intended purpose but also as valuable venues for festivals, concerts, conventions, popular touring entertainment such as car shows and Monster Truck rallies, and so much more. The Homestead-Miami Speedway is a shining example of what a racetrack can be, a beautiful facility with countless purposes that are an economic blessing to Miami-Dade County, put into jeopardy because of pure ignorance by the crafters of that budget and sadly will likely not be the last.

Already, given my particular knowledge on the subject of auto racing as a former local driver myself as well as a sponsor and engine builder off and on over a period of decades, I had been in the early planning stages to try and roll back these cuts as now I'm technically in the majority caucus I felt there was a chance at sucess. Given this news, it goes without saying that timetable has sped up and I've already reached out upon the earlier WSJ murmurs to other Senators with notable prominent tracks operated by ISC like Homestead-Miami and Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway in my homestate of Virginia as well as those with venues operated by SMI with some interest in tackling these issues thankfully having been expressed."

 

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Senator Benjamin Thomas To Vote Against Baudin VP Nomination

 

 

As member of the Senate Committee on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary considering the nomination of Ohio Senator Marc Baudin, Independent Senator of Benjamin Thomas who sits as a member of the majority on the committee, has released the following statement:

 

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During my questioning of Senator Baudin during his Vice Presidential nomination hearing, I explicitly asked about his total lack of significant legislative accomplishments (or even major legislation sponsorship) partway into his second term and to define as to how he is qualified beyond what we know. He largely evaded the questions. When Republican Senator Donnelly of Tennessee asked a question of a similar nature, Senator Baudin again offered talking points and feel-good platitudes but nothing that really answers the question of why he is the best qualified of any number of candidates to become our Vice President. 

 

During my questioning, I asked him a very specific question of whether beyond ceremonial roles and emergency situations, he felt it would be appropriate to use his power as the President of the Senate to seize the gavel from President Pro Tempore Storm and Deputy PPT Nikolao who have been his most vocal critics within his own party with the former duly elected by the majority caucus. Again, he largely ignored the substance of what was a very wide ranging substance on the basis of not answering "hypotheticals". 

 

When I asked one of the most pressing questions on the minds of voters across the ideological spectrum,  regarding the President's extremely spotty record of acting in a timely matter and communicating regularly with the people who trusted him with a full term in office and what changes (if any) needed to be made, Vice President Baudin also entirely ducked the issue beyond assuring that he is a "pretty active man" 

 

In watching my colleagues take their turns in questioning Mr. Baudin, many based on specific political issues, it seemed like the only time he was willing to be definite and detailed was when a Republican colleague asked if he would run for for President in 2020 and he stated that he definitively would not. As stated during the injustice dealt to Judge Kelly, the only thing that should tip balance in the end of the Aye or Nay vote for a Presidential nominee is if that nominee is qualified for hold the position for which they were nominated. At the beginning of the process, I was quite vocal in having many lingering questions in this regard with Vice President-designate Baudin. Ideologically, from the drips and drabs we learned through the hearing process it became clear to me that on many issues he and I are not far apart as fellow moderate/centrist legislators who believe in nuance rather than demagoguery when it comes to matters of social conscience. However, not only were my (as well as those of others) issues regarding whether the Vice Presidential designate was actually qualified rather than politically convenient for his position not answered, but at times he almost seemed as confused if he was as anybody else. 

 

Because of these reasons I have outlined, I have decided in my position as a member of the Senate ASFAJ Committee not to recommend the nomination of Senator of Marc Baudin of Ohio to be our next Vice President, and I do not plan to vote for him when he inevitably comes to a full Senate vote as well. It is with no pleasure or degree of personal satisfaction that I make this announcement, and should my colleagues choose differently which most indications imply will happen, nothing would make me happier than to be incorrect.

 

 

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Ben Thomas Comments on SCOTUS Marriage Ruling

 

 

Upon the ruling by the United States Supreme Court to legalize the right of same-sex marriages, Senator Benjamin Thomas of Virginia offered the following statement in support of the ruling and speaking on the importance of embracing one's faith while also maintaining the vital right of equal protection under the law:

 

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In so much of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a large part of our cultural identity is tied into religious faith. In the Southwestern region where I was born and raised, we have the unique distinction of being the home of Liberty University and the Falwell family in Lynchburg, and just 45 minutes down the road in my home city of Roanoke we elected the first ever Islamic member of the Virginia General Assembly in Delegate Sam Rasoul. In our great state, deep religious faith of all colors has driven great men and women to strive towards goodness and make tough stands, such as our former Republican Governor Linwood Holton when he often cited his faith in taking a firm stand in favor of racial integration during an era where the notorious Byrd Organization still ran much of Virginia. However, while I believe strongly that while religion informing political beliefs can absolutely be a strong force for good, when it comes to the basic rights of a people and those who might want to deny them a line must be drawn. 

 

As such I commend the Supreme Court for making what I believe is fundamentally the just decision in no longer denying the rights of loving couples regardless of gender or orientation to make lifelong commitments to one another just like every other law abiding American. Religious freedom is one of our founding ideals in this nation and always will remain so, and I know good people who fall on every side of this issue and many nuanced pocket in between, but in the 21st Century I believe its about time that we stand up for the concept of love between two responsible adults regardless of how it may differ from our own ideas on the matter. In your church, mosque, synagogue, or home nobody is going to force you to violate your beliefs on the subject of marriage, but our federal government has finally joined many of our states in learning the lesson that separate is inherently not equal, and we are all the better as a nation for it. I congratulate the many happy partners today who have or will take the next step in their lives.

 

 

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