RICHMOND, VA – On March 10, 2022, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement following the failure of Senate Joint Resolution 169:
“Today, Senate Democrats voted to kill SJ 169, which would have confirmed 4 of Governor Youngkin’s 5 nominations to the Parole Board. The Committee on Privileges and Elections reported the bill on May 1. March, which would typically have been followed by two consecutive days of voting to pass the resolution, which helped confirm those nominees. However, Senate Democrats delayed the vote until today (the penultimate day of the session) presumably with the intention all along to reject Youngkin’s nominees, but a motive to wait as long as possible in order to limit retaliation from the chamber down the hall.
Obenshain continued, “I call it what I see it…this decision cuts the nose to upset the face. By torpedoing this resolution, they ensure that no parole will be granted until replacements sit on the parole board. To table a resolution with the intention of killing it is the height of cynicism. It is certainly not the way the Senate prides itself on doing business. »
“I find it baffling,” Obenshain said, “that this protest represents an attempt by Senate Democrats to double down on Governor Northam’s outraged parole board. Let us not forget the multiple reports of knowing or reckless violations of the law allegedly committed by members of the Northam Parole Board. In particular, allegations that President Adrienne Bennett violated the state constitution by failing to remain impartial in the Martin case and having an examiner falsify a report.
Last year, credible charges were laid detailing Northam’s parole board violations, including:
- Release parolees without informing victims as required by law
- Release parolees without notifying Commonwealth prosecutors, as required by law
- Efforts by the Parole Board to cover up the actions of former President Adrienne Bennett who abused her power as President Violation of an executive order requiring all executive agencies to cooperate with an investigation by the Inspector General of the State
Obenshain concluded: “Although the Inspector General has declined to investigate further complaints against the Northam Parole Board, I am grateful that we have an Attorney General who takes allegations of misconduct seriously and asks urges further investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution of those responsible for these offences. I just wish the Democrats in the Senate would stop gambling with the future and careers of these qualified candidates, which will only serve to impede the rights of those who deserve to be assessed for parole eligibility.
Senator Obenshain represents Virginia’s 26th Senate District. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock and Rockingham (in part). He sits on the Judiciary of the Senate; Trade & Labor; Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; and Transport Committees.