Sunday, August 14, 2011
Left in the lurch
Reports that Republican Bill Janis, who currently represents Goochland in the Virginia General Assembly, will run for the Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney job in Henrico are very troubling.
Janis, first elected to the General Assembly 10 years ago, developed a reputation as a lightning rod as he publicly challenged policies of democrat governors Warner and Kaine, which helped his rise through the party ranks in the legislature.
In 2003, Janis fended off a challenge from Goochland’s own Hunter McGuire that resulted in the expenditure of an absurd amount of money for a part-time legislative gig. Although he faced challenges in ensuing elections, his reelection was never again threatened.
Now, he wants to change direction and seek a county office, the same county office that Jim Gilmore used as a springboard to become Virginia Attorney General and subsequently governor.
The problem is not that Janis wants to take this path. Serving as Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney is a noble goal. If, as he stated in a recent television interview, Janis has wanted this job for some time, he should have thrown his hat into the ring earlier in the year in the normal course of things.
It sounds like the objectionable conduct of the current republican candidate for Henrico commonwealth’s attorney has been known to party leaders for some time. Why all the eleventh hour drama?
Henrico voters will decide if they can stomach on the job training for their commonwealth’s attorney or prefer someone with prosecutorial experience.
Long time Janis crony Tom Garrett followed that path when he was elected Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney four years ago with little experience as a prosecutor. Happily, the good folks in Louisa committed enough bizarre crimes to get Garrett lots of TV face time. Garrett’s deputies seem to have done a fine job during the past four years protecting the citizens of Louisa. Good thing, because Garrett seems to have already tired of that office and is stepping down to seek the republican nomination to represent the new 22nd District, which includes Goochland, in the Virginia Senate. This is also a part-time job.
Like most politicians who represent Goochland in addition to other jurisdictions, Garrett has come to Goochland seeking support, and money, for his senate primary run.
At an appearance before the Goochland Republican Committee earlier this year, Garrett mouthed the usual conservative platitudes and illustrated his ignorance of Goochland issues when he mentioned the good relations between Goochland supervisors and school board.
The behind the scenes shenanigans that surround Janis’ move, which will leave his constituents, including about half of Goochland, in the lurch, smell to high heaven.
While in office, Janis regularly brushed off issues of concern to Goochlanders. He dismissed the broadband access problem as not an issue for government. He was non-responsive to Goochlanders trying to get the urban development area(UDA) state mandate legislation reversed. Too bad, that would have provided him a platform to go after Tim Kaine’s progressive agenda. Guess he was too busy looking for skeletons in Henrico closets.
So now Janis will run for office in Henrico. Garrett wants to represent us in the state senate, but for how long? If Janis does go on to run for state attorney general, look for Garrett to go with him.
It seems like the term “public service” as used by politicians is code for “what’s in it for me.”