Local Commentary

News from the Coffin Corner: Delegate Hull’s Richmond Report




Hard Times

Having lived through the Great Depression, Studs would certainly have recognized the current state of our economy.

Times are tough and they are going to get tougher for our households and for government services.

Current Virginia revenues are far below what we anticipated. We had been expecting a $2.5-$3 billion shortfall of revenue.

However, I have heard talk that the House Appropriations Committee is anticipating the shortfall to be as high as $4 billion.

That is a lot to cut from a state budget that we have already reduced substantially. In that case, almost every program may be reduced.

We are going to have to do all that we possibly can to protect school funding, which is our largest single item of funding.

We will learn more on December 17 when Governor Tim Kaine addresses the General Assembly money committees.

That is when he will propose changes to our two-year budget. We will then find out how hard the times are in Virginia.

Excitement on the Ballot

What a marvelous feeling it was on election night to learn that Barack Obama was elected president.

Originally a John Edwards supporter, I went for Obama when Edwards dropped out of the presidential race on January 30.

Soon after, several of my colleagues and I announced our support for Obama at a Richmond press conference.

I do not know that any of us foresaw the tremendous excitement for Senator Obama or his strong victory on election night.

A week before the election, I traveled to an Obama rally at the Richmond Colosium. The crowd chanted and hollered as they waited for him.

The crowd was fired up and ready to go after Governor Tim Kaine and Senate candidate Mark Warner warmed them up.

But, when Senator Obama came out, the crowd went wild. I cannot remember such enthusiasm for a presidential candidate.

Of course, he will soon be President Obama and, God willing, he will be a great president.

In the Footsteps of Greatness

There was another Senator from Illinois who became president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

Yesterday marked the 145th anniversary of the address he made at the new national cemetery on the grounds of the Battle of Gettysburg.

At a time when orators spoke for hours at a time, President Lincoln was able to hone down in 272 words what it meant to be an American.

His Gettysburg address is one of the greatest speeches in American history and I repeat it below.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But in a larger sense we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

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