Frank Wagner is a Navy man, and I respect that. He’s a longstanding state senator from the Commonwealth’s most populous city, so I can respect that too. Those things aside, spending time in the Navy and afterwards spending so much time representing a Navy town; couldn’t you drum up more financial support than 400,000 dollars? Where you at, Frank?
Here’s the thing in Virginia Beach. It’s pay to play, all the way baby! You see, only 1% of Frank’s donations have been of the 100 dollar or less variety. Living in a Navy town, with a Navy background and a median income 15% above state average, serving as State Senator since 2001,,,and you can only get $5,000 worth of small money contributions? Slice that in half and we’re still just talking about 100 residents in Frank’s heavily populated Navy-friendly stomping grounds giving him 50 bucks. At least Corey Stewart, with over 20k in small donations, can make the cake from us socioeconomic ‘normies’.
Forget that Frank has received thousands from a local developer Bruce Thompson who also gives to Planned Parenthood, Terry McAullife and corrupt Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms. Disregard the fact that he received $7500 from disgraced builder Jimmy Rodgers, who promptly closed his business under mysterious circumstances.
Let’s concentrate on the less celebrated money: I’m not even sure where to start, but I’m gonna squeeze this lemon for all it’s worth. In a radio interview with WNIS 79 host Tony Macrini, Frank “In the Tank” Wagner stated “I know I can do a better job than what’s being done right now.” Well color me pink and call me Sally! Can he do a better job for Dominion? Or perhaps Norfolk Southern?
Over his career Wagner has taken $86,985 from Dominion Power – more than any other local delegate or senator. He has also been blessed with $27 k from Appalachian Power and $50k from Virginia Natural Gas. In the coal sector, Frank has collected $51k from Alpha Natural Resources, a mining powerhouse in Southwest Virginia. So, Frank has basically worked the Trifecta of vertical energy monopoly! His cronies at Dominion can get their coal and fix prices along with Appalachian power while even the gas industry has a legislator in their pocket. Wait, it gets better. With a recent donation of $10k from Richard Roberts of Norfolk Southern, he has the rail line to transport the coal to the power plants. These tactics harken to the day of JP Morgan, who didn’t care for competition and used this type of vertical integration to suffocate other utility companies.
Wagner has done it again and again. In 2015 he wrote a bill that allowed Dominion Power to legally keep money that was not theirs under an assumption that energy prices would rise under Obama. Now that Obama’s gone, how about repealing that guys? Don’t hold your breath. In 2016 he introduced SB 742 to increase the gas tax, lecturing the chamber on fiscal responsibility in the process.
Along the way saying, “We’re going to take $2 out of the pocket – a dollar for the construction of the roads, and a dollar to pay Wall Street – for the interest on the bonds.” Then just days ago Frank offered a bill to increase gas taxes again; essentially it’s a tax increase but I’m sure using Wagner Common Core math more = less and the sky is a lovely shade of ‘how do I keep getting elected?’
Frank pitched another “buddy bill” for his energy pals last week, in a long exhaustive line of “recovery of costs” measures he has championed for the power companies. He also found time to vote against HB618 that would allow solar providers to recover their own costs from the electric monopolies.
We all know Frank is in the tank for the utility monopolies that cause thousands of aneurysms each time Virginia citizens get their latest power bill. Half of the bills Wagner has sponsored this year are geared toward buoying the power companies or increasing the gas tax. This would be amateurish to highlight his tributes from these leaches. There’s something far more interesting, and I’m sure the 7th district is drinking a lot of it when they reluctantly pull the lever for Frank every fourth November.
Frank has received over $160,000 dollars from the Alcohol Distribution Industry during his illustrious tax-rasiing career in the Virginia Senate. The totals include $60k from the Virginia Beer and Wine Wholesale association, $29k from Breakthrough Beverage, $21k from Anheuser Busch, $13k from Hoffman Distributors and $5k from international liquor conglomerate Diageo. Are you feeling drunk yet?
Here’s the skinny, and there are numerous examples of this throughout the country. Craft beer is catching up on your traditional mass-produced yellow lager. Distributors are typically paid, owned and influenced by the big 2 – Budweiser and MillerCoors. The distribution lobby wants to keep their biggest clients product on the shelf; and on most of the shelves. As JP Morgan was said to “hate competition,” it appears Wagner shares these sympathies of the utility and booze distribution industries.
Just three days ago a sweetheart bill for Anheuser-Busch was informally killed in the General Assembly. SB 1358 would have given the greenlight to Anheuser- Busch, who routinely spends the GDP of entire countries on Super Bowl ads, to spend 2.5 times the current amount allowed on store advertising.
“My understanding is that ABI had their sponsoring legislator pull the bill when they realized the thumping that was coming their way. Pulled it at the last second so it wasn’t formally defeated,” said Taylor Smack of Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA.
That would have meant all those obnoxious cardboard cutouts in your local Quik-E-Mart would proliferate at the detriment of smaller Virginia craft brewers, who need the money for actually brewing good beer. Wagner, who chairs the Commerce Committee, is supposedly a big deal to the big beer industry.
It’s interesting Wagner made his announcement to run for Governor the day after the Republican State Central Committee (SCC) voted 41-40 to nominate next year’s statewide ticket by primary. Wagner would have been toast in a convention. It seems that Wagner thinks he can raise enough money for media buys in a primary, and take the nomination. Wagner is a text book example of a tired politician who couldn’t provide adequate change or solid leadership in his own district; so now he’s running for higher office. This is so Virginia, for those who have wisely run for the Carolina border may have forgotten.