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You’ve probably heard the age old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”


Typically we hear it from those older than we who are trying to pass on advice while clinging to the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 


We do not typically hear it from those whom we elect to represent us and govern us. 


But this past week - Governor Northam ordered us to do as he says, not as he does. 


Even though the Governor was caught all over social media last Saturday hamming it up for cheek to cheek selfies with tourists along the Boardwalk in Virginia Beach – without a mask – he’s now mandated that starting today, the rest of us must start wearing masks in public indoor spaces.

He even threw into his new Executive Order the threat of business closures or arrest and up to one year in jail for willful violations of his Order.


The Governor says that the Virginia Department of Health will be enforcing his latest edict, he’s essentially placed the burden of enforcement on business owners across the Commonwealth. These business owners are already struggling from the stifling regulations and restrictions placed on them by the new Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly, and they are fighting for their very survival against the economic toll this pandemic has placed on our economy. 


The Senate Republican leadership called on Northam to rescind his order earlier this week. 


If you want to read his executive order for yourself, click hereThere is an FAQ sheet from the Administration which you can read here.


In other news, I was pleased to join the Virginia Public Access Project’s (VPAP) “What is the future of mail-in voting in Virginia?” Webinar to talk about the exponential increase in absentee voting in our recent municipal elections and what that means for November’s Presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and countless local elections. 


I’ve always said that elections must be fair, free and open. All three tenants are crucial to maintaining a democracy. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue. 


One of my primary concerns about the expansion of mail-in voting is the lack of attention given to maintaining our voter rolls by election officials in many localities. I guarantee you in cities just like Harrisonburg - with huge college populations - that apartments across the city will receive 20-30 ballots from former tenants. Now hopefully the mailmen will have the sense to return some but it shouldn’t come to that point. On the webinar, even the Director of the National Vote at Home Institute conceded that Virginia lacks essential safeguards necessary to have a fair mail in election. 


We must do a better job maintaining voter records before we even consider further expanding mail-in voting in Virginia. 

You can watch the webinar here.


As a reminder, my legislative office remains open to address constituent questions and concerns surrounding state government.  If we may of service to you, please email me at or call (540) 437-1451.


Have a great week and stay safe!



Mark Obenshain

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