The Rapp for Jan. 13

Photo by Demaris Miller

Obenshain meets with local citizens

About 50 Rappahannock residents attended a town hall meeting hosted by Virginia Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-26th) Saturday at the Rappahannock County Library. Obenshain discussed several issues he is working on, including an amendment to the state constitution to eliminate eminent domain for economic development and the privatization of the sale of alcohol.

Issues raised by concerned citizens and discussed included Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) funding and state employee-defined benefit programs. Phil Irwin of Flint Hill raised the issue of spiraling fees imposed by the state and county, citing the example of the current annual fee of $285 to operate a bed and breakfast in the county (officially called a “tourist establishment permit fee”), which in the not-too-distant past was $10.

A lively discussion centered on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s lawsuit against the federal health care reform law and the resulting federally imposed fees upon the state. Also discussed was the state requirement that 40 percent of state contracts go to women- and minority-owned small businesses, with several pointing out that the program’s possible increase in costs to the Virginia taxpayers are not even measured.

Obenshain was seeking constituents’ views on issues before the Virginia General Assembly began its 2011 session this week. Voters can reach him at He also invited voters to respond to an issues survey on his Web site at
— Barbara Cioffi

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