Senator George Barker – 10 Points
1. Would Lift Restrictions on Abortion
This year, George Barker sponsored SB1637, which attempts to eliminate certain abortion restrictions through the establishment of abortions as a “fundamental human right.” This is a perilous proposition as it would open the room for abortion for any reason, all the way up to the moment of birth. The entire basis of our national debate on abortion is centered on the recognition of the fact that a baby inside the womb is indeed a human being. This was the reason why Bill Clinton advocated for abortions to be “rare” in the 1990s. However, since that time, George Barker and his fellow Democratic politicians have become more radical on the issue of abortion, much more so than even the base of the Democratic party and women in general. 80 percent of Americans would like abortion limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy, including 64% of Democrats and 65 percent of those who identified as pro-choice, according to a Marist Poll conducted in February 2019. George Barker’s sponsorship of this bill is indicative of his disregard for the sanctity of human life, even with a full-term baby – unsurprising, given his nearly 100% rating by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia over the past decade.
2. Anti-Second Amendment
George Barker’s stance on the Second Amendment has been getting progressively worse during his time in office. In 2013, the Virginia Citizens Defense League gave him a pro-gun score of 67%; in 2016, he received 28%, and then in 2018, he received a 0% score. This precipitous decline in his stance on one of our most time-honored and treasured amendments was also concomitant with his increasing sponsorship and support of bills that would restrict the rights of Virginia citizens and communities to own certain firearms. Most notable was his sponsorship of numerous bills during the 2019 Special Session, which would significantly restrict access to firearms. One such bill is SB4024, which would not only prohibit the ownership of certain firearms, magazines, and silencers, but would require that those who currently own these destroy them, send them out of the Commonwealth, or relinquish them to law enforcement. Further, it broadens the definition of assault rifles to a misleadingly named “assault firearm.”
He also voted against SB1038, which would have repealed the statutory prohibition on carrying a pistol for protection within a place of worship. This was after a mosque in New Zealand was viciously attacked by a deranged white supremacist and after numerous synagogues all over the country, have been harassed and threatened with violence at their place of worship. Stopping good, law-abiding citizens from owning or carrying firearms will not stop those who wish to do them harm. A good person with a gun will almost always stop a bad person with a gun. George Barker does not understand this, and he does not understand the value of our natural right to keep and bear arms.
3. Wants National Popular Vote to Determine Presidency
In our representative democracy, the people directly elect the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate; the states elect the president.
In an attempt to nullify any future legitimate electoral wins by Republicans, George Barker sponsored HB1482 after the 2016 election, which would give all of Virginia’s Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. In effect, this would enact a de facto direct democracy in lieu of our representative democracy.
The Founders deliberately avoided a direct democracy, as there has never been a successful and long- lasting country functioning as a direct democracy. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, would write in Federalist No. 10, “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Our representative republic was instituted specifically to avoid what Madison referred to in Federalist No. 10 as an “overbearing majority” that would ignore the rights of the minority interests. A republic with a representative democracy, on the other hand, would “be forced to negotiate and compromise among themselves, arriving at solutions that would respect the rights of minorities” and would “safeguard against domestic faction and insurrection.”
Barker’s sponsorship of this legislation rejects the Electoral College and for all intents and purposes, institutes the direct democracy the Founders were determined to avoid.
4. Would Severely Harm Women’s Economic Prospects
George Barker has been an ardent supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, and introduced bills to ratify the ERA in the state of Virginia and sponsored numerous other bills that would do the same, most recently HJ579 in 2019.
Ever since the 1970s, when the ERA bill was introduced to the US Congress, numerous opponents of the ERA have been forthright in showing how the bill wouldn’t actually benefit women but would, in fact, hurt their economic and individual prospects. For one, the Equal Rights Amendment would eliminate special protections for women in the workplace.
It would have other wide-ranging effects, all disadvantageous to women. It would require that women be drafted into combat in the event that men are, would eliminate alimony payments and the ability of wives and widows to collect the husband’s social security benefits, and would give the federal government enormous new powers to reinterpret every law that makes a distinction based on gender,
In addition, Title IX, which was intended to eliminate discrimination based on sex, would no longer be able to accomplish its intended purpose. Because of Title IX, schools established athletic programs for girls, whereas they had often previously been exclusively for males. The ERA would not permit schools to have separate sports teams for boys and girls, which would be an immediate disadvantage to female athletes.
Finally, the Equal Rights Amendment has been pushed by its proponents as a way to guarantee unrestricted abortion rights for women all over the country. This was evidenced in a recent court case in Pennsylvania in which the argument was made that since Medicaid pays for comprehensive health care coverage for men, denying women an aspect of medical care such as abortions violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
However, what makes all of these efforts by George Barker ultimately disingenuous is that the congressional deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment passed in 1982. This means that even if these bills were to pass the Virginia General Assembly and be signed into law by the Governor, they would ultimately be useless.
5. Would Lower the Bar for Criminality
This year, George Barker sponsored HB1651, which would raise the threshold amount of money stolen to be deemed to be grand larceny from $500 to $750. Raising the threshold amount effectively makes it more difficult for a criminal to be appropriately punished for breaking the law and infringing on the rights of other Virginians. This attempt to make it easier to commit criminal acts without facing punishment endangers our communities and offers a perverse incentive for criminals. In addition, it helps those who commit such crimes to have a record that is “clean” of felony convictions, despite thefts of up to $750; this clean record comes into play in the sentencing of other crimes or for such matters as obtaining a firearm.
6. Deceptive on Minimum Wage
George Barker was a sponsor of SB681 in 2015, which would have raised the minimum wage “to $8.00 per hour.” However, the bill is not as straight forward as the title would suggest. Within the bill were provisions to increase the minimum wage every year until 2017: “to $9.00 per hour effective July 1, 2016, and to $10.10 per hour effective July 1, 2017,” making the real objective of the bill to actually make minimum wage $10.10 an hour., not $8.00. This is not only deceptive, but it also causes hardship on Virginia businesses that they are not able to bear without raising their prices. Moreover, raising the minimum wage is almost always taught in Economics 101 to have deleterious effects on the employability of lower class and younger Americans who simply do not have the prerequisite skill sets to warrant such a high minimum wage. This means that businesses will only hire those individuals who have previous work experience. Raising the minimum wage prices out inexperienced and unskilled Americans and has damaging economic impacts on our businesses, which George Barker apparently doesn’t understand.
7. Against Religious Freedom
In an egregious move from George Barker, he voted nay on bills HB2025, SB1324, and SB41, all of which would have upheld the freedom of conscience and the rights of religious individuals to hold certain convictions about marriage without being punished by the government. Barker’s vote against these bills would effectively leave room for government suppression of those who hold the religious conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman. This vote goes against our fundamental first amendment rights. The freedom of religion includes the freedom to hold basic religious convictions; George Barker does not seem to care about this human right.
8. Wants Virginians to Pay More Taxes
George Barker has consistently tried to increase the number of tax dollars and state income that the Commonwealth can receive from hard-working Virginians. In 2019, Barker voted against SB1372, which would have made the Commonwealth’s tax code conform to the federal tax code, and thus give lower and middle-class Virginians greater tax cuts and deductibles. George Barker was also the Chief Patron of SB1335, which would have increased the price of a state vehicle inspection from $16 to $20. Virginians have a right to keep as much of their own money as possible; George Barker does not seem to agree.
9. Would Make Immigrant Communities Less Safe
A long career in public office leaves a long trail of voting patterns. For George Barker, he has established a consistent pattern of voting against bills that would prohibit the establishment of sanctuary cities in Virginia and keep our communities safe. Bills such as HB1468, HB2000, and HB1257, all of which would have ensured that the state of Virginia cooperates with federal Immigration services and outlaw sanctuary cities, were voted down by George Barker. This record by Barker has consistently put Virginians in danger of succumbing to the fate of other sanctuary cities throughout America. Most recently, in Montgomery County, Maryland, the Executive Officer Marc Elrich signed an Executive Order which stated that Montgomery County would no longer cooperate with federal immigration agencies. State police had arrested 7 undocumented immigrants, all of whom were connected to sexual assault crimes. Two of the seven were arrested for repeatedly raping an 11-year old girl, and another was arrested for nearly choking a woman to death in her own apartment hallway.
In another incident at a California sanctuary city just last year, Police Officer Ronil Singh was murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, Gustavo Arriaga, who belonged to a gang with a long history of murder, extortion, human trafficking, and drug smuggling. Arriaga had had an arrest warrant out for him since January 2015 while he was residing in a California sanctuary city.
Sanctuary cities provide safe havens for undocumented aliens engaging in criminal activity such as human trafficking and drug-related exploits. They do so in the immigrant communities in which they are hiding. Ironically, sanctuary city policies actually harm the people the Democrats believe they are protecting. George Barker’s vote in opposition to prohibiting sanctuary city laws in Virginia ultimately places immigrant communities in danger.
10. Against Merit
In 2019, George Barker voted against HB2791, which would have mandated that all Commonwealth appointments, promotions, and tenure placements be based on the neutral and objective standard of personal merit and fitness. George Barker’s vote against this legislation is somewhat surprising, as it suggests that other non-objective and prejudiced motives should be the deciding factor in determining placement to positions of public office. This vote goes against every objective and reasonable standard that our country aims for and takes us back to the ugly standards of nepotism and favoritism.