Slavery in the 21st Century – Human Trafficking Conference

Please join us for this IPS Conference focusing on Human Trafficking on April 7, 2014 at the Alexandria Campus. The conference will feature three panels, at 9:30am, 11:00am, and 7:30pm and will take place in the Bisdorf Building, Room 196. Below are more details regarding each panel. We hope to see you there!
9:30 am – Welcome by Dr. Jim McClellan, Dean of Liberal Arts, Alexandria Campus 
9:35 am – Human Trafficking in a Historical Context
Join these distinguished individuals for a discussion that highlights the similarities between slavery pre-1865 and modern day human trafficking.
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Dr. Jim McClellan, Dean of Liberal Arts, Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus
  • Dr. Joe Windham, Assistant Dean of History and Political Science, Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus
  • Dr. Rashmi Bali Chilka, Assistant Dean of History and Political Science, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus

 

11:05 am – A Global Perspective on Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking is a social justice issue that affects millions of people worldwide.  Our panelists work to combat these human rights violations. Please join us to hear how these individuals, organizations and governments are seeking to correct these injustices on a global and national level.
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jennifer Litvak, Human Rights Education Specialist, The Protection Project
  • Guillermo Galarza, The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Professor Susan French, Senior Staff Attorney, International Human Rights Clinic, George Washington University Law School
  • A representative from the US Department of State
  • Jelena Jovica, Student, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus

 

7:30 pm – Human Trafficking: A Contemporary Human Right Community Issue
While many people know that Human Trafficking is an issue across the globe, too often people are unaware of how this issue seeps its way into every corner of our world. In fact, many may find it hard to believe that human trafficking even found a place in Alexandria, VA. Please join our panelists from the area who will discuss how human trafficking is a present-day situation in our community and what these resources are doing in the fight for human rights.
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jean Kelleher, Director of the Office of Human Rights, City of Alexandria
  • Cathryn “Cat” Evans, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Alexandria
  • Mike Mackey, Gang Prevention and Intervention Coordinator, Court Services, representing the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Captain Scott Ogden, Alexandria PD
  • Lieutenant Jack Compton, Alexandria PD 
  • Lieutenant Dennis Andreas, Alexandria PD
  • Beth Pfenning, Training & Technical Assistance Specialist, Polaris Project
Click on the following links for larger images of each flyer:
Slavery in the 21st Century – 1 Slavery in the 21st Century – 2 Slavery in the 21st Century – 3 Slavery in the 21st Century – 4
Slavery in the 21st Century - 1
Slavery in the 21st Century - 2 Slavery in the 21st Century - 3 Slavery in the 21st Century - 4

Lack of Interest Leads Lackluster Virginia Governors’ Race

“Is it Terry Cuccinelli and Ken McAuliffe running for governor of Virginia this year,” asked one of my students at a university in Virginia where I am teaching this semester.

Actually it is the Republican candidate, the current Attorney General of Virginia who is named Ken Cuccinelli and his Democratic opponent former Head of the Democratic National Committee Terry McAuliffe who are running a really nasty and negative and very uninteresting race for the top spot in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the country’s leading off year election.

It is not only college students who are getting mixed up about the two uninspiring candidates for governor this year in Virginia, it appears that the entire state has taken little notice of this election.

I have been covering national politics and teaching American politics for more than twenty-five years and this current race in my adopted state of Virginia is one of the nastiest and negative and uninspiring contests I have ever written about.

It is almost as if the election is not being held in our state.  Except for a few yard signs in our neighborhood and a number of negative ads on television, potential voters could be forgiven if they forget to show up at the polls next month.

It is not as if it is a choice between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.  There are vast ideological and political differences between the right-wing Tea party favorite Cuccinelli and the fast-talking deal making friend of the Clintons-Terry McAuliffe.

But, as my students at the University of Virginia and Northern Virginia Community College point out, they really don’t know much about either candidate and don’t seem all that interested in the lackluster contest.

If you look at McAuliffe’s negative ads against Cuccinelli you would think that the current Republican Attorney General has spent his adult life being against women and all their goals and aspirations.

On the other hand if you look at Cuccinelli’s negative ads against McAuliffe you would think the former DNC head and multimillionaire entrepreneur was a scheming fake who somehow seems to be living in China at the moment as the ads portray his electric car company doing business in the Middle Kingdom rather than the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Potential voters’ views of Cuccinelli and McAuliffe are so bad that the Libertarian candidate for governor Robert Sarvis is polling near double figures and may be allowed to participate in the next televised debate.

Sarvis, with math degrees from Harvard and an economics degree from Virginia based George Mason University is becoming noticed by the voters because of the negative and uninspiring campaigns being waged by the GOP and Democratic candidates for governor.

The other unusual fact about this years’ election is that the current Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell has been bogged down in a scandal of high visibility yet his approval rating is going up as he is about to leave office.  He appears more popular than either of the two candidates vying for his job…and he is being investigated by the federal government at the moment!

As a voter in Virginia and a professor of politics, I find it very odd how detached I feel about the election going on literally in my backyard.  I don’t really feel part of it like I do during a presidential election.

McAuliffe is leading in the latest polls as the federal government shutdown with its large number of government workers living in northern Virginia seem to be taking their frustration out on Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli still has time to pull out a victory but at this point the edge is with McAuliffe.

The main thing being shown in this negative and boring election campaign is that the average voter is sick and tired of politics and politicians and probably doesn’t see much difference for their future no matter which candidate wins next month.

It is as if they threw a big election, spent a lot of money and put on many terrible negative ads and not one person cared.

Does the campaign mean anything for the 2014 congressional elections or the 2016 presidential elections?

If McAuliffe wins it most likely shows an unpopular Democrat who concentrates on core issues of job creation and better transportation and better schools and is not seen as being extreme can win at the state level over an opponent seen as too ideological.

If Cuccinelli wins it would show that an ideological Tea party conservative who is the current Attorney General by moving away from his more extreme positions and taking a middle road focusing on job creation can win over his opponent who has never held elective office in his life.

Governor McAuliffe.  Governor Cuccinelli. Neither elicits much excitement from the voters this year.

The good news is that in Virginia a governor can only serve one term in office!

By: Robert Guttman, Political Science Professor at NOVA

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the view of the NOVA Institute for Public Service or Northern Virginia Community College as a whole. All materials may be reprinted with permission, for more information please contact the IPS Coordinator.

Interview with the Executive Director of the Prince William County Republican Party

Dr. Jack Lechelt recently interviewed the Executive Director of the Prince William County Republican Party, Dustin Howard. Check out the interview below!

Question (Q): You’re a NOVA student AND you’re the executive director of the Prince William County Republican Party.  Where are you from and how did you get to northern Virginia?

Thank you for asking! I’m from a little town in the Missouri Ozarks. I’m here because my family business failed because of the housing market, and I spent 3 years out of work as a result. I came to Virginia for opportunity, and I’ve found it.

Q: What is your earliest political memory?

When I was about 5, I thought that the Democrats were the the good guys and the Republicans wore the black hats, largely because of my mom’s family. I also loved Abraham Lincoln, to the point of obsession. My older sister asked me one day what party I thought Honest Abe had belonged to, and I told her he was a Democrat. She delighted in telling me he was Republican, and I was aghast that my hero could be one of the of the black hats. Like Lincoln said, The great point is to bring them the real facts.

Q: What got you into politics?  What caught your eye or interest?

Interestingly enough, it began on MSNBC. My other sister thought it would be a useful thing to turn on the news in hopes of keeping me in my books instead of in front of the TV. Most Republicans wouldn’t acknowledge it, but MSNBC used to be a pretty honest broker for political news around 2002. I would watch debate shows like Curtis and Kuby and Buchanan and Press, and I found myself identifying more with the conservative point of view. Ultimately, I am a product of the Bush era, and I evolved with much of the Republican electorate. We started ready to follow him to the gates of hell after 9/11, remained quiet about the excesses of Administration policy, and rebelled against them when policy became too much to defend. At first I wanted to join the Army, but a family tragedy forced me to reevaluate. I decided that if I couldn’t serve one way, maybe I could serve in another by working in politics.

Q: Who are some of your political heroes, what are some of your favorite political books, and what are some of your favorite political movies?

William F. Buckley, whose efforts and intellectual leadership at National Review shepherded the Conservative Movement into a viable political force. Andrew Breitbart, a man of great courage, if not composure. Last but not least, Mark Levin, who operates as a voice, albeit a loud one, for truth in a town where truth is negotiable.

As to movies, I love the classics. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington spoke to me early on. The funniest movie though would have to be 1,2,3, which was James Cagney’s last. It’s a cold war spoof that leaves nobody unscathed.

Q: What’s your experience in politics?  Jobs held, including volunteer work?

I started as a less than humble blogger in 2009. After I moved to the DC metro area, I started by interning at a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group. This experience gave me my best intern stories, including being filmed by reporters in a robot suit :). From there, I did a internship at a small lobbying firm, which gave me a taste of life on the Hill. A lady from my church told me about a position at the Prince William County Republican Party, and I’ve been here ever since.

Q: Professionally, where do you hope to be in 10 years?

I hope to be working in Washington for the RNC, and would love to be someone who recruits candidates. We need effective, principled leaders, and it would help if the parties were more effective at finding them.

Q: What’s your dream job?

I would love to write. DC needs another talking head like Interstate 66 needs another bottleneck, but I would love to write satire about the things that go on in this town.

Q: What responsibilities does your current job entail?

Recruiting volunteers, managing our office, and planning events.

Q: How many people work full-time and part-time at the PWCGOP?

I’m the only paid staff. There are over 400 volunteers with varying degrees of involvement in the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges you confront in your job?

Association with Republicans that make public mistakes, pursuing new priorities because of funding, and the challenge that drives them all: voter complacency. Off-year elections are rather consequential, and in our system, the side that is most aware of that will win.

Q: If you wanted to make a case that things are looking good for the Republican statewide slate of candidates (governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general), what do you see from your vantage point that makes their chances of winning look good?

Ken Cuccinelli enjoys more impassioned support than did Bob McDonnell, who was the benefactor of the Obama 2009 pushback. Ken is a member of my Committee and lives in Nokesville. He understands Northern Virginia, and is effective at deploying the resources needed to persuade independents that Virginians will come first in his Governorship.

Q: What is your opponents’ greatest assets?

There is little social cost in being associated with the Democratic party, mainly because they are very effective at defining how they are perceived in the American public.

Q: If you wanted to advise a NOVA student on how to get to your position, what career or education advice can you offer?

Familiarize yourself with the inner workings of campaigns as much as you can. Take advantage of grassroots training through organizations like the Leadership Institute. Any persuasive individual who is knowledgeable about that could do what I do, probably better than me.

By: Jack Lechelt, Ph.D. Professor of Political Science Northern Virginia Community CollegeThe opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the view of the NOVA Institute for Public Service or Northern Virginia Community College as a whole. All materials may be reprinted with permission, for more information please contact the IPS Coordinator.

Virginia’s Gubernatorial Battleground Forum: A Student’s Perspective

Virignia Elections Watch followers! Check out this post to hear what student’s have to say about the candidates for Governor and their platforms. And stay tuned for more posts to come this week and next with new updates!

 

Virginia’s Gubernatorial Battleground Forum: A Student’s Perspective
On Friday August 9th, Northern Virginia Community College sent three students and me to the gubernatorial “battleground forum.”  The forum was run by the Chambers of Commerce from Loudoun, Prince William, Reston and Fredericksburg. The gubernatorial candidates, Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe, answered questions from a panel for an hour, and made five minute introduction and closing statements.
The event was held at George Mason University’s Manassas campus, in the impressive Hylton Performing arts center.  Arriving early, we gathered in the reception area and debated the current elections, some of the big issues, and both candidates’ recent troubles with investigations.  Trying to get a feel for the audience, it was noticeable that there was a lack of younger, college or young professional age people (besides the press).  This should not have been a surprise to us, as the event was being held at eleven am on a workday and required anywhere from ten to thirty dollars to attend.  There was also a visible lack of racial diversity at the event, but again not surprising when looking at the demographics of the sponsoring localities, as they averaged between 64 and 72 percent white in 2011*. Contrasting this racial uniformity, the audience’s gender ratio was almost even.
As the event commenced, we were introduced to the very personable Derek McGinty, from WUSA 9 News.  McGinty acted as moderator and promised to hold the candidates to specifics when possible.  The panel on stage consisted of one member from each chamber of commerce, and each member would focus on a different part of local business. The panelists asked questions on how issues such as transportation, education, energy, and health care, affect the business community, and required the candidates to speak on a broad number of concerns.
Terry McAuliffe was the first candidate to speak.  McAuliffe used his opening statement to push the idea that as governor he would focus on the economy, not the divisive social views that his opponent would pursue.  He spoke to the looming effects on our area of sequestration and Department of Defense cuts, and how we must diversify our business to cope with the changing times. McAuliffe stayed on message throughout the panelists’ questions, constantly speaking about how he supported the recent transportation compromise, his views on education – seeing both K-12 and Community Colleges as an important investment not just an expense, his support for the Silver Line and local input in transportation issues, and his desire to accept Medicaid expansion to ensure that Virginians’ tax money comes back to Virginia.  As with all close elections, McAuliffe took any opportunity to attack his opponent and define their differences; most poignantly when he drew applause as he stated that he believes that a woman has the right to make her own decisions about her body.  He also repeated his message that this election was a race of “rigid ideology versus mainstream compromise.”
As Ken Cuccinelli started his opening statements, he chose to focus on his opponent’s shortcomings and began to lose the audience, but revived the crowd with some choice words on Obamacare, referring to it as a “rolling jalopy.”  Cuccinelli took the panel’s question as an opportunity to focus on job opportunity in Virginia by creating a more business friendly tax code.  Speaking on education, Cuccinelli says he wants to reform the SOL’s and concentrate on science and technology in schools, including promoting young women’s interest in those subjects, as those remain male dominated fields.  Closing his time, Cuccinelli hammered on his message that he has a record of serving this commonwealth, has been a positive force for economic growth, and called this election a battle between “frugal Ken and union Terry”.
Throughout the forum, both candidates’ performance on stage was enhanced by the added drama of those people in the audience.  The problems began as people who were wearing one candidate’s stickers decided to walk out while the other candidate was speaking, and continued as some of the audience scoffed and snickered at certain comments from the candidates.  All of this was unnecessary as nothing the candidates said was outlandish, altogether new, or out of character for their party platforms.  The divisiveness was only reinforced as we left the theater and the audience had neatly divided themselves up between those wearing McAuliffe stickers, and those with Cuccinelli buttons.
Ultimately the forum, while informative, had nothing revolutionary introduced, as both candidates stuck to their message and declined to give specifics when pressed by Derek McGinty.  With few actual debates left before the November election, it will be interesting to see if the candidates reveal any truly innovative ideas for the Commonwealth.
*Census information from quickfacts.census.gov
By: Michael Cummings, NOVA Student

 

McAuliffe and Cuccinelli continue with the insults
George Mason Battleground Forum
Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli came out swinging on Friday at the Battleground Forum hosted by George Mason University at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. Each candidate was on the stage for 45 minutes taking questions from members of the Loudon, Prince William, Reston, and Fredericksburg chamber of commerce.  Talking points were health care, transportation, job creation and education. Moderator Dereck McGinty from WUSA 9 also asked some difficult questions that kept both candidates on their toes.      
To start, Terry McAuliffe told the audience of about 100 that Ken Cuccinelli accepted a gift from CEO of Star Scientific (a company that manufactures and produces dietary supplements) to the tune of 18,000 dollars. McAuliffe asked his opponent to “Do as Governor McDonnell did and return the gifts.” This is the same scandal that has left a dark cloud over the McDonnell Administration.  Cuccinelli did not deny accepting the gift and also claims that he has paid back what he was able to. 
Cuccinelli do not hold back and, right from opening statements criticized McAuliffe’s past.  “He’s the person who invented the scheme to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom and proudly bragged about selling seats on Air Force One for political donations,” referring to the donors who allegedly gave to Bill Clinton’s campaign in exchange for an overnight stay in the Lincoln bedroom in the White House. Cuccinelli also told the audience that McAuliffe is a co-conspirator in a union election money-laundering case! “He has famously given over a million-dollar gift loan to the president of the United States!”  And this was just minutes into the Attorney General’s opening comments. 
Despite all the personal attacks, the candidates also butt heads on issues such as Transportation, and Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion, which is covered in the President’s health care bill, also known as The Affordable Care Act. “This rolling jalopy of a federal healthcare bill is destroying jobs in this country and in this commonwealth,” Cuccinelli said.  
McAuliffe fired back, “We will be able to cover 400,000 Virginians with lifesaving, quality care with the expansion, It’s morally and socially the right thing to do.”
As for transportation McAuliffe was not willing to take a stand on the Bi-county parkway until he had all the facts and Cuccinelli was all for the project but had some questions with some of the specifics. 
McAuliffe’s education plan calls for reform in SOL tests, raising teacher pay and also bringing more money into the public education system. He would also like to increase funding for community colleges giving them more flexibility in effectively running their institutions.
Cuccinelli also believes that the SOL tests should be reformed and believes that every child deserves a world-class education, and should not be forced to stay in a failing school, however he has not revealed his education plan thus far.
Surprisingly, these two candidates do agree on one thing, job creation and the economy are the most import issues in this year’s election. That being said, you can expect the personal attacks and mudslinging to continue hopefully, it won’t get to nasty before the November election rolls around.  
By: Heidi Busby, NOVA Student

 

VA Battleground Forum
From McAuliffe’s back-and-forth with the moderator, to Cuccinelli’s “broken down jalopy,” the gubernatorial battleground forum was certainly an experience. I merely wish I could’ve brought in a bag of popcorn to munch on while the candidates went at it. Alas, it didn’t have the same rapid-fire comments between the two as the previous debate, since they were never on stage at the same time. Though, this was probably for the better. The candidates spent more time on their positions as opposed to attacking each other, unlike at last month’s debate.
            McAuliffe was definitely the better speech-giver here. He may have dodged a question or two, like when he didn’t take a position on the bi-county highway, but overall his answers were strong. He spent a lot of time propping up the importance of education to the economy, and how it should be treated as an investment, rather than an expense as far as the budget is concerned. He also attacked Cuccinelli, describing the time the time he, as Attorney General, sent a letter to all state colleges in Virginia telling them to stop enforcing policies that stopped discrimination against homosexuals. At this point, the moderator cut him off, saying that the purpose of the forum was to discuss business issues, not social matters. However, McAuliffe went on to say that Cuccinelli’s actions very nearly caused Northrop-Grumman, a large defense contractor, to cancel plans to move their corporate headquarters to Virginia.
            Most of his positions and statements, though, were a re-hash of what he had said at the previous gubernatorial debate. There was very little new information. If anything, it seemed a bit too polished or rehearsed, if there is such a thing. The moderator tried and tried to break him out of that shell, and he almost managed to corner McAuliffe when he refused to take say where he stood on the bi-county highway.It looked like he was done for! However, McAuliffe turned it around by asking the moderator if he even lived in Virginia, only to get an embarrassed “no,” much to the audience’s amusement. When McAuliffe’s time was nearing its end, the two spent a good five minutes engaging in playful banter. McAuliffe playfully tried to convince him to move to Virginia, to which he replied, under his breath, “Fix that traffic….” They really had great chemistry, which served to liven up the event.
            In contrast, Cuccinelli was much less refined. He started off incredibly weak, he spent about 95% of his opening statement attacking McAuliffe, and very little time propping up his own position. He made a lot of attacks against his opponent, and described him as a co-conspirator in a money laundering scheme. He seemed nervous and stammered a bit, but once he started answering the questions about healthcare, he seemed to hit his stride. He gained a great deal of confidence, and had quite a few zingers, and ended at a complete 180 from where he started. I thought he did especially well when talking about healthcare and energy. The audience could definitely feel his enthusiasm when he talked about being cautious about Obamacare and denouncing the “war on coal.”
            Despite lacking McAuliffe’s chemistry, Cuccinelli arguably got along better with the moderator, who pushed relatively few questions on him, the one coming to mind was that if Virginia is 43rd with regard to taxes, what loopholes were left to close? Cuccinelli responded by describing a policy where a panel would evaluate all loopholes in the tax code, and would close the 1/6th that are the least helpful. The moderator asked for specifics, but there were none to be given.
            One of the later topics he touched on was transportation, and I have to admit, it was entertaining. He talked about how “land use decisions are made here, and transportation issues are decided over here, and ne’er the twain shall meet,” when describing the decision to relocate Walter Reed to a site already struggling with traffic. As he talked about an idea to build another bridge across the Rappahannock, he revealed himself as a history buff (a pleasant surprise to me, since I study history), and joked that crossing the Rappahannock is still one of the most challenging feats for humanity.
            As for who “won” the forum, I think it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that Cuccinelli ended on a higher note than McAuliffe. Still, his beginning was really weak, and brought him down enough that I can say that McAuliffe arguably did better overall. Though, if Cuccinelli can learn to hit his stride sooner, he might be able to outperform his opponent. But, only time will tell who the victor will be.

By: Daniel Persigehl, NOVA Student

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the view of the NOVA Institute for Public Service or Northern Virginia Community College as a whole. All materials may be reprinted with permission, for more information please contact the IPS Coordinator.