When leniency for child porn suddenly became a top priority for VA GOP Majority Leader…

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Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment is facing re-election this November, (VA has off-year elections), and what he’s done in just the past few years is nothing short of despicable.

Ask anyone in Virginia what priorities the state legislature should focus on, and I challenge you to find one person who would say that the state’s child porn punishment is too harsh. Yet with Senate Bill 1560, that is exactly what  Tommy Norment tried to “fix.” The bill would have cut the maximum from 30 years down to 20, and the minimum from five to two years.

The big question everyone asked was…. Why?  Who the hell asked for that?

Norment said it was “brought to my attention” by Commonwealth Attorneys—yet that seems odd since they were very vocal against it. Louisa County C.A. Rusty McGuire was absolutely livid about it:

I think sometimes the public thinks child pornography is pictures of babies in bathtubs.

That's not what we're talking about. We're talking bondage, sadomasochism in horrible crimes committed to children.

This is something I absolutely would not want.

Virginia's known as one of the best states at protecting children from exploitation and so we're at where it should be and we should not go backwards.

Some tried to justify Norment’s position by saying he just hated mandatory minimum laws; but why, then, didn’t he seek to reform all mandatory minimums in Virginia?  Norment dug his hole deeper when he seemed to imply that he was just looking out for people other than the victim’s families:

There are some victims out there and some families of victims who think that when a sexual offense is committed or you have a violent sexual predator they should be locked up for life and then you've got other people who believe more in grace and redemption.

Victims, huh?



So, to be clear, you support harsh penalties for those who rent out their properties online, but think the perpetrators of this heinous crime need “grace and redemption”?

None of this made any sense. 

Then Blue Virginia pointed out something that happened prior to his bill, in what I’m certain was a completely unrelated story:

A former chairman of the James City County Republican Committee appeared in federal court Wednesday after he was arrested and charged with receiving child pornography, according to United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia records.

Charles K. Young, 69, is accused of receiving three videos and seven photos between Feb. 4, 2014, and July 27, 2014, that depict young boys under 18 engaged in sexually explicit behavior, according to court records.

Interesting, no?

An advocacy group to protect children said this bill “came out of nowhere” and put out a statement that also helped shed light on this:

The National Association to Protect Children has serious concerns about Senator Norment's bill. It appears to benefit his sex offender clients, but not the children he has a duty to protect across the commonwealth as Senate Majority Leader.

Norment is a practicing attorney who was part of a legal team arguing for a lenient sentence for former Virginia Tech professor Arthur William Jones, who was convicted of multiple sex crimes with a minor. To be fair, any defense attorney who defends you should always try to fight for a reduced sentence. What is not okay, however, is if you base legislation on helping out particular friends and clients.

Tommy Norment would tell you he did no such thing. He would tell you he is an honorable man.

So let’s unpack that. Here’s what Mr. Norment has been up to the past few years:

And just in case you needed more evidence of how awful Tommy is…

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Democratic challenger Herb Jones

His opponent in the race is Herb Jones, a retired Colonel and disabled veteran who spent decades in the Infantry, including several tours in Iraq.  He was picked to advocate for disabled veterans on the Virginia Military Advisory Council—that is until Tommy Norment stripped his appointment because he had the audacity to run against him.

Jones is challenging Norment, and their resumes couldn’t be more different.  Jones left active duty to start a career in finance and investments with Edward Jones, Signet Financial Services, Bank of America, and Colonial Downs. He served three terms as County Treasurer for New Kent while still serving in the US Army Reserves. He served in the federal government as a operations officer in Afghanistan and currently runs a successful cloud-computing company.  

I lived in James City County when Tommy Norment became a state legislator in the early 90s. He faced an uphill battle because our Democratic representative at that time was a long-term incumbent.  Nonetheless, our rep made an ultra-stupid, flip comment about tougher DUI legislation. Norment was able to build his entire campaign around that remark and won. 

(Ironic that Norment would later be arrested himself for drunk driving. He is also well-known as the go-to DUI guy for well-connected clients.)

Now, it’s Norment who is the long-term incumbent, and he’s done a whole lot worse than make a flip comment. 

There’s just not enough space to dedicate on all the ways Norment has hurt Virginia, and his myriad of ethical scandals I would argue has masked the reality that he is a terrible legislator. Yet we have a dream candidate in Herb Jones. We also only need this one victory in the VA Senate to flip it Democratic—and just two victories in the House of Delegates. 

Unlike Florida, Virginia has rarely let me down in a big election. It elected Doug Wilder, our first black governor, back in 1989. It defeated Oliver North in 1994 for Senate.  It went for Obama twice and picked Hillary over Trump in 2016. I wrote last year about how far Virginia has come… so I ask Virginians, please–— step up one more time. I’m asking you to go just a little bit further.  Do you want a continued embarrassment to serve as your Senate Majority Leader?  Or do you want a return to dignified, competent leaders who will look out for all Virginians, not just lobbyists and child pornographers?

Let’s help make this happen:

herbjonesforvirginia.com