Last Tuesday (Oct. 2), Sen. Mark Obenshain came to Washington and gave an excellent presentation on a very important issue facing Virginia voters on Nov. 6.
On our ballots this year is an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia that would prohibit government from abusing its eminent domain authority. Currently, local government officials have the power to take your home or your land – against your will – for the sole purpose of handing it over to a commercial developer who promises to make “better economic use” of your property.
Question 1, as it will appear on our ballot, requires that government officials may only exercise eminent domain for valid “public uses” like school construction or utilities – not for commercial development projects that benefit corporate interests and enrich government officials with more tax revenue.
You may remember the high profile case in Connecticut seven years ago, where the local government forcibly removed a woman from her home, bulldozed it and gave her property to a pharmaceutical giant to develop into an office park. Since then, states across the country have taken serious measures to protect their citizens from such abuse.
Sen. Obenshain, who is running to be the next Attorney General of Virginia, should be commended for his hard work in getting Question 1 on the ballot, and for his tireless campaigning around the state for this much-needed – and long overdue – reform.
Finally, we Virginians have the chance to protect ourselves from eminent domain abuse! Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, independent or none of the above, you should vote yes on Question 1 this November.
J. Peyton Knight