Opinion — Blood in the water

Published 10:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2022

Sharks are known to be attracted to blood in the water. When fishermen want to catch sharks, that is how they bring the sharks close in order to haul them into their boat.

It seems that the election of Glenn Youngkin as governor last November was the “blood in the water” that attracted some; driving them into a frenzy to derail his administration before he could put his people in place. One senior senator brags that she has tweeted about him every day since his inauguration.


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Others laid in wait to torpedo his appointment of those who were willing to serve various roles in his administration. They voted against his appointment of four members of the Parole Board, effectively shutting down parole for any inmates until a new board can be selected and oriented to their responsibilities. They publicly admitted in the Senate debate that they were seeking revenge. They wanted to “teach the House of Delegates a lesson” and, more importantly, wanted to stick a finger in the eye of the Governor. It made no difference that they effectively ended parole that they had been pushing for more inmates to be released. Nor did it bother them in the slightest that the individuals who had been appointed lives were affected.


The sudden increase in the price of gasoline has negatively affected all of us. However, for those who have long commutes to work and those who are on limited income, these prices are devastating. As Democrats and Republicans alike consider temporarily removing the federal tax on gasoline, Governor Youngkin proposed temporarily removing the state portion of gasoline taxes for a few months. Even knowing what some of their national leaders were proposing, some state Democrat leaders condemned the Governor’s proposal.


As we were preparing to leave Richmond, the Director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents released a letter purportedly speaking for all 133 Superintendents around the state. That letter condemned much of what the new administration is focused on in the realm of education in Virginia. The letter in effect was saying that we are the experts; that we know what should be taught in our schools.

After the news media made a big story about the original letter, questions arose. The thoughts of only a handful of Superintendents were considered. Most had no idea about the letter until after it was reported in the media. When I contacted several Superintendents about the letter, they were unaware of it or agreed with only portions of it.

We all should be invested in the education of our young people, and it is fair that we should have different opinions on how best to accomplish this common goal. It is wrong, however, to try to cut off debate and refuse to consider the ideas of others. Governor Youngkin ran on issues surrounding education. The voters of Virginia agreed with the positions he took. It is interesting that some would defy the voters and try to block his efforts.

Virginia has a history of good public education; however, in the last few years, the trend has been going in the wrong direction. Instead of allowing our good teachers to focus on high academic standards, they are being weighted down with non-academic issues. High standards have been replaced with filling quotas to achieve equity. In the last two years, there has been a movement to transform our governor’s schools of high academic standards to lower standards in order to appear fairer to all students.


After eight years of one party in control of the executive branch, we have some who are well entrenched in the various departments of state government. Most of our state employees are good people, doing as they are directed as they go about serving the people of Virginia. However, when a new governor is elected, the leadership of the various departments should adhere to the principles on which that governor ran. They should not function as blockades. The people want Virginia to move forward.


We should all be proud of the Virginia schools that made it to the NCAA tournament. Each team worked hard to reach that level of success regardless of their final outcome.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen. Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.