The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Monday, August 29, 2005

Candidate reaching out to women voters; B8

Lieutenant governor hopeful begins effort to get more females to polls

By Garren Shipley
(Daily Staff Writer)

They normally don’t vote, but they might make the difference for her campaign.

That’s what Democratic lieutenant governor hopeful Rep. Leslie Byrne told reporters Friday morning about “infrequent women voters,” the target of a new outreach effort.

Byrne announced her “Take Five in ’05” campaign on the 85th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which secured women’s right to vote.

The goal is to have female activists take five other women who might vote in federal, but not state elections, to the polls in November, the candidate said. Women, like other voters, are far more likely to vote during a presidential election than an off-year or state-only election.

Some “women would rather make no decision than an uninformed decision,” she said.

“[The effort is] an awareness campaign [designed to tell female voters] that there are some serious things at stake in this statewide election,” Byrne said.

Her Republican opponent, state Sen. Bill Bolling, R-Mechanicsville, “voted against requiring insurers to cover birth control” and also voted to allow the placement of children in homes with a history of domestic violence, the candidate said.

A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, the Democratic nominee said candidates at all levels need to do more to help those with aging parents and younger children deal with their growing responsibilities.

“Those of us in the ‘sandwich generation’ want to know what you’re going to do to help me take care of my kids and my parents,” Byrne said.

Bolling’s campaign declined to respond to Byrne’s charges specifically, saying only that Bolling was the chief patron of legislation that secured health insurance for 60,000 children in the commonwealth.

The campaign did echo Byrne’s sentiments on getting more women involved in the process.
“Sen. Bolling encourages all women to get registered to vote and participate in the process,” said campaign manager Randy Marcus.

Byrne said her campaign would not only boost her electoral efforts, but those of her fellow Democrats, gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine and attorney general hopeful state Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County.

“I’ve been insistent on having as much grass-roots activity in this campaign as possible,” she said. “This is going to benefit the entire ticket.”

The long-dormant race be-tween Byrne and Bolling has recently started showing signs of life, with the two exchanging shots over Virginia’s right-to-work law and surveillance in nursing homes.

Election Day is Nov. 8.