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Letter: Tax-Funded Political Recap?

To the Editor:

I recently received a two-page typewritten letter with an attachment on official Virginia seal stationary from Delegate Surovell titled “Delegate Scott A. Surovell’s General Assembly Session Recap.” This letter was paid by taxpayers at a cost of $4,107.75.

A recap should be a factual summary of the entire assembly actions or inactions regarding the 2,876 bills introduced with 1,616 passed, 326 carried over until the 2013 session, 934 bills that failed and the 2012-2014 budget deliberation about, for example, social services, education, transportation, public safety, involving $83.5 billion of revenue as introduced.

But instead, Delegate Surovell chose to briefly discuss bills he sponsored and selected bills he either disagreed or agreed with depending on his point of view and opinion about the particular chosen issue. For example, he discussed four bills out of 28 he sponsored, briefly discussed five bills on women’s issues, and six bills (private school tax credits, mandatory voter ID, ignition interlock mandate, repeal of one gun a month, repeal of Amazon sales tax exemption and eminent domain constitutional amendment) and how he voted on those six bills but didn’t mentioned his co-sponsorship of 77 bills that include, for example, raising taxes. The pick and choose system used by Delegate Surovell merely advances his political point of view in the most favorable light. If a similar “recap” of the General Assembly session was prepared by other elected members, the content and presentation would be different depending on the person’s point of view, opinion, political leaning and background. Thus, such “recap” is political.

Delegate Surovell’s official mailing went to less than a fourth of his constituents. That seems strange if Delegate Surovell was doing an official mailing to keep his constituents informed of what occurred during the 2012 General Assembly session.

It is a must for elected officials to keep their constituents informed. But, if the notification is political in nature, then any such mailing should not be made on official state seal stationary and paid by taxpayers’ funds. Instead, it should be paid from campaign funds or by the elected person’s political party. Hard working taxpayers’ funds should not be used to advance political agendas or careers of any elected persons.

I urge you to contact your state senator and delegate to ensure that taxpayer money is not used for political enhancement of an elected official regardless of political party affiliation.

Frank Medico

Mount Vernon