73rd District Representative John O’Bannon attended a meet and greet in his honor last night at the Kirkland’s residence in Glen Allen. Delegate O’Bannon is running for his 5th term as Virginia Representative to the 73rd House District.
If you meet John O’Bannon with any preconceived notions of what a neurologist / politician combination would be like, you would be totally wrong about John O’Bannon. Visions of an aloof, country club doctor and politician are instantly dismissed as soon as you shake hand. You see, John might be a renowned neurologist and esteemed legislator, but his heart and soul were honed as a youth growing up on a farm in Rappahannock County. Talking to John gives you the feeling you are leaning on an old split rail fence talking to a neighbor. Throw in a warm summer breeze and perhaps an old barn and the image is complete.
It is easy to see why John O’Bannon has represented the 73rd District that includes a good bit of Henrico County and a small part of Richmond for 8 years. Delegate O’Bannon has something very unusual in Virginia politics. He is the only House member who is a doctor, and his years of explaining difficult and complex medical issues to his patients so they can understand them and make an informed decision on what is often a difficult issue transfers well to his political career. He has a knack for listening and explaining complex political issues as well. I call it Political Bedside Manner. It is unique and refreshing. Remember the old days when your Doctor would sit down on that little stool and listen to you? Then make a decision based on that conversation? Talking to John O’Bannon is sort of like that, only political.
Delegate O’Bannon is well versed in the issues. The topics we discussed ranged from VDOT, Taxes, Health Care and the Special Session to manhole covers (no kidding). And off topic chit chat. John O’Bannon is one of those individuals that you instantly feel comfortable around. He has a laugh that would often fill the room with an ambiance that elicited memories of the old TV show Cheers! theme song (Where everybody knows your name).
But what has he done for the 73rd District and the Commonwealth of Virginia? In 8 years he has compiled quite a track record for helping Virginians in every aspect of their lives.
The O’Bannon Record
Protecting unemployed Virginians
* Extended unemployment benefits to 59 weeks.
* Made health insurance more affordable for unemployed workers by reducing COBRA payments by two-thirds.
Putting Virginians back to work
* Expedited state construction projects to create 3,400 new jobs.
* Passed new innovative financing options for large job-creating economic development projects.
* Extended tax credits for businesses that make large job-creating investments in equipment and facilities.
Keeping Virginia families safe
* Helped ensure that Virginia was prepared for any natural or man-made disasters as a member of the Governor’s Secure Commonwealth Panel.
* Secured new funding to protect children from online cyber-predators.
* Restored funding to ensure that convicted felons serve their entire sentence behind bars.
Shares Our Virginia Values
* 100% Rating from the Family Foundation.
* “A” rating from the NRA.
* Never voted for a tax increase.
And these were just 2009!
It is hard to believe the number of medical issues that come up each year and even harder to believe we have only one physician with the in depth knowledge to properly understand and legislate these complex issues, which must be dealt with.
I did ask Delegate O’Bannon about his opponent, Democrat Tom Shields. The look of disappointment on his face was unmistakable when he said Shields had already gone negative and attacked O’Bannon. A look at Shield’s website confirms that. Shields Kicks off Campaign Against O’Bannon is a link to a Richmond Times Dispatch story. While Delegate O’Bannon is running for the people of the district, Shields is running against O’Bannon. That lays out the differences pretty clearly. Ironically, Tom Shields seems to want to run against John O’Bannon’s record. Could that be because Shields has no record?
Another issue Shields has brought up is the fact that Delegate O’Bannon does not hold “Town Hall” meetings. The truth is, town hall type meetings are for politicians that don’t have the time or don’t care to make the time to talk to people on an individual basis. And the current administration in D.C. uses Town Hall meetings to tightly control the questions. One would suspect this is Tom Shield’s preference as well. John prefers to give folks his full attention, one on one. O’Bannon has numerous methods for you to contact him, including the telephone. Visit his website for more information or to contact Delegate John O’Bannon.
This Doctor is in the House. Let’s keep him there.
Update: It was pointed out in the comments below that Delegate O’Bannon has held Town Hall Meetings. John O’Bannon said his opponent was criticizing him for not holding Town Hall Meetings. I obviously drew an incorrect conclusion from the statement. Perhaps the lack of a Town Hall meeting since his opponent filed to run was the point. Which makes me wonder if Shields is not planning to infiltrate any such meeting, perhaps with his students?
And Tom Shields website is www.shieldsfordelegate.com.