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Has Chuck Colgan Lost His Mind?

By Greg L | 30 October 2007 | 29th VA Senate | 37 Comments

Recently, Senator Chuck Colgan’s campaign manager Roger Snyder made a comment giving us “Colgan Straight Talk” that is anything but straight. Over the next few days, I’m going to work through some of these statements and expose them for the bald-faced lies that they are. Despite my previous convictions that while I disagreed with Senator Colgan on a lot of issues, that he was an honorable man trying to do his best for his constituents. Given this latest round of utter rubbish, I may have to revisit that conclusion. Honorable men generally do not lie to their constituents.

Here’s the top of the “Colgan Straight Talk” list:

Colgan: I do NOT SUPPORT any increase in the gas tax

Colgan has been talking about a hike in the gas tax ever since Governor Warner instituted the largest tax increase in Virginia history, one that resulted in record surpluses that continue to this day. In 2004, Colgan introduced SB 357 that would have increased gasoline and diesel fuel taxes by 7 cents a gallon.  That didn’t pass, and Colgan was at it again in 2006, supporting SB 357, which placed a 5% tax on gasoline.  He voted for this twice, on February 14th and 17th, 2006.  Later, on March 7th, 2006 he was telling the Gainesville Times that he wanted to impose a tax on wholesale gasoline but that consumers would actually be the ones who would pay, and that the wholesalers would eat the entire cost of the tax increase in a stunning display of a fundamental incompetence in basic economics.

When Chichester and Potts tried to increase the gas tax by 5% in the 2007 with a committee substitute for SB1379, Colgan was a key supporter of that attempt to use gas tax hikes instead of budget surpluses to pay for transportation.  In July of this year he told the Potomac News that an increase in the gas tax would be the easiest way to replace revenues now coming from abusive driver fees.  On his ColganforSenate.org campaign website, he’s said “I would have much preferred a simpler bill. For example, a modest increase in the gasoline tax is the ultimate user fees.”

It’s also worth noting that fuel taxes aren’t the only taxes Colgan wants to raise to pay for transportation.  Colgan introduced SB1335 in 2007 that would have raised sales taxes by 0.5%, the same tax hike same scheme that voters knocked down in a referendum a few years before.  Regardless of what voters say on the subject of raising taxes, Colgan keeps pushing for increases.

It’s hard to find anyone in the Senate (well, Potts and Chichester could honestly give him a run for his money) who have been more dedicated to the notion of increasing the gas tax.  Now that Bob Fitzsimmonds has been taking Colgan to task for his irresponsible behavior, he’s now not just running from his voting record, he’s blatantly lying about it.

This is just the first on a list of blatant attempts by Colgan to distort his voting record and thus evade accountability for his actions.

Next up: Colgan says “I do NOT SUPPORT allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

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  1. anon said on 30 Oct 2007 at 4:40 pm:
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    Colgan was advocating a gas tax when I spoke to him just about 6 weeks ago. My parents were at the Dunbarton Oaks candidate forum in early October where he publically stated in his speech that he was opposed to the abuser fees and instead supported a gas tax which was a fair distribution on everyone that drives. My parents repeated what he’d said to me because they support a gas tax (democrats to the core) and were delighted when he mentioned it.

    I have always been a Colgan supporter due to his long time in our community and his ties to my family, but now I think I’ve changed my mind. To hear him personally mention a gas tax to my husband and me and later to my parents, then to read that he now denies it completely changed my mind about everything that Chuck Colgan stands for.

    Frankly, I cannot believe that he would lie like this. Do you think he possibly forgot that he was for it due to old age or something? This is just sad.

  2. Big Dog said on 30 Oct 2007 at 4:58 pm:
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    Let me get this straight:

    The RPV sent out a flyer headlined “Jackson Miller:
    Giving a Green Light to traffic and transportation
    improvements. Jackson Miller voted for the largest
    transportation improvement package in more than
    a decade.” It goes on to note “But Jeanette Rishell
    opposed the bill that brought over $2 billion in
    traffic improvements to Northern Virginia! Jeanette
    Rishell gives a Red Light to traffic in Northern

    But doesn’t Bob FitzSimmons attack Chuck Colgan
    for supporting the same bill and states he would not have
    voted for it? In fact, Bob notes in one of his own RPV
    pieces that he would introduce legislation to eliminate
    this transportaion funding package.

    Is it now Bob “Red Light” FitzSimmons? Humm.

  3. Steve Randolph said on 30 Oct 2007 at 6:05 pm:
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    I’ve known Senator Colgan and his family for nearly
    twenty-five years and he is a man of great integity
    and a core decency rooted deeply in his faith.

    The reality is that real legislation - the art of the possible-
    is sometimes messy with more than a few twist
    and turns before a good bill is crafted that would be
    supported by a majority vote.

    Transportation in Virginia is underfunded, especially
    in rapidly growing areas like Northern Virginia, Richmond
    and the Tidewater. It will take large sums to maintain
    what we have, much less add anything new.


    1) Increase the gas tax (and yes,yes we all hate taxes-
    me included) - people from other areas would help
    pay for the roads we use and the tax is simple to operate.
    2) The Rube Goldberg plan. “User fees” and other
    things from “back of the closet” - Republicans liked it
    because they could say they didn’t raises taxes
    (just levies and fees). Still - a move forward.
    3) The Bob FitzSimmonds plan. Snarl at the problem
    and promise to bully other legislators in Richmond.
    No doubt, they will snarl back - at least until redistricting.
    4) Do nothing - See #3.

    Would surprise me if Senator Colgan, a key leader in
    Richmond, hadn’t looked and talked to many folks
    about #1 and #2. That is what good legislators do in
    a democracy.

    Vote on Nov. 6th and may the best people win.

    I endorse Senator Colgan and Delegate Miller.
    They are great proven friends of the City of Manassas
    and the surrounding area.

  4. One Voice said on 30 Oct 2007 at 7:17 pm:
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    Panic, panic, panic……

    I, am proud to vote for Sen. Colgan and Jeff Frederick.

  5. Anonymous said on 30 Oct 2007 at 10:28 pm:
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    Bob Fitzsimmonds would be the low man on the totem pole and would not be able to accomplish the first thing in Richmond and since he has worked there, he certainly realizes that no matter how much he says he is going to do this or that. Prince William County now has a Senator that is an influencial member on the powerful Budget Conference Committee that decides what our dollars are going to be used for in the state. Don’t waste your vote on someone that will be able to do absolutely nothing. Use it wisely and return Senator Colgan to the Virginia Senate.

  6. Legal2 said on 30 Oct 2007 at 10:29 pm:
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    Colgan is 81 - EIGHTY-ONE! Enough already. Put that dinosaur to bed! :-)

  7. Billyboy said on 30 Oct 2007 at 10:55 pm:
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    anon 4:40PM. I am sure what Senator Colgan said is what he has said repeadtly. The Gas Tax was a better solution, he prefered it to the Transportation package which did pass. He does not however support an additional 5% Gas Tax.

    I would love for you or Greg to tell how these 13 fees are a
    better solution than the Gas Tax. The Gas tax was a common sense solution. The problem with common sense is it just is not all that common.

    Legal 2, So what, he could run circles around Fitzsimmonds.

  8. Big Dog said on 30 Oct 2007 at 11:13 pm:
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    Not to worry, Legal2, Senator Colgan has promised not
    to use his meager age against FitzSimmons.

  9. Greg L said on 30 Oct 2007 at 11:49 pm:
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    And what’s going to happen next year when Colgan retires, if he manages to eke out a win in this election?

    The guy just isn’t going to be serving for much longer. If you want to build seniority, there’s no need to push that transition off until he decides to retire.

  10. Dave Core said on 31 Oct 2007 at 7:13 am:
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    Bob is ready to fight for the tough changes that are necessary to improve transportation funding — e.g. using more of the General Fund for transportation (it is after all a key function of government) and changing the funding formula to allow for more funding to the area that gives more than it receives — N. Va.

    Senator Colgan can raise gas taxes or any other taxes for that matter and the net effect will hurt those of us who first moved to this area because of more affordable housing but still have lousy commutes inside the Beltway — thanks, Colgan. It’s easy for people who don’t commute to make those claims. Why not work instead to make PWC and Manassas more attractive to the businesses and agencies where people work now?

    Colgan has been in the Senate since 1975 — yes, he has seniority — but is he using it wisely? Go back and look around the neighborhood, look at your commutes, are they better?

    Could you imagine if we never brought in candidates with fresh ideas, new approaches and a vigor to fight for them, we’d be like the House of Lords. Colgan has served long and honorably, but he needs to make way for the next generation. Bob has been fighting for this for over 8 years — don’t tell me he won’t fight for us in Richmond!

  11. Amy said on 31 Oct 2007 at 7:24 am:
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    Legal2: How dare you bring age up! Obviously, you don’t know Chuck Colgan. He is a vibrant healthy and very intelligent man who could run circles around Fitz. Why don’t you stick to the facts ! 5 days and counting, you will see Chuck back in Richmond for another 4 years!

  12. Patty said on 31 Oct 2007 at 8:35 am:
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    For those of you who are HSM members:

    At the candidate forum last night, Bob Fitzsimmonds, Bob Marshall, Jackson Miller, Corey Stewart and a gentleman from Bruce Roemmelt’s campaign were in attendance.

    Where was Chuck Colgan? He has never attended a HSM meeting even though they are held in his old neighborhood. He doesn’t even send a campaign representative. At least Roemmelt was smart enough to do that.

    Bob Marshall read off a list of legislation cracking down on illegal aliens that passed the House but got killed in the Senate. You have ol’ Chuck Colgan to thank for that.

    We need to support Bob Fitzsimmonds.

  13. NoVA Scout said on 31 Oct 2007 at 8:53 am:
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    Colgan would have been more vulnerable if the Republicans had fielded a serious candidate. In fact, I think he probably would have taken the opportunity to retire if the Republicans had been talking about respectable options. This is very much like the Parrish/Chapman situation. Honorable men with long records of service aren’t going to step aside and surrender offices that they’ve fulfilled honorably for many years to persons of rhetoric, but no record of accomplishment. All the Republicans had to do to ensure this seat in the Win column was to run a respected member of the community who has contributed in non-office-chasing ways to the life of the community. Why is that so hard?

    No doubt Fitzsimmonds will get a huge bounce out of the illegal immigration fervor and make this closer than his previous office-seeking efforts. My guess, however, is that it will not be enough and that drug will have worn off politically before the man gets ready for his next inevitable effort.

  14. Amy said on 31 Oct 2007 at 9:11 am:
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    Patty: How were the candidates that attended the HSM meeting informed of the meeting? I do not believe that the Senator was invited?!

  15. Anonymous said on 31 Oct 2007 at 9:30 am:
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    Greg..I am as old as Senator Colgan. Don’t criticize people because of their age. That is discrimination. I could run circles around Fitsimmonds and win every time.

  16. Big Dog said on 31 Oct 2007 at 9:55 am:
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    Greg … so the Fitzsimmons campaign is now advocating
    “Throw Senior Citizens under the Bluebird Bus”?

  17. WSGFN said on 31 Oct 2007 at 11:06 am:
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    Maybe Colgan’s Columbian Born girlfriend doesn’t want him to participate in HSM. Or maybe he feels if he participated in HSM it would some how offend her…who knows.

  18. k. o'toole said on 31 Oct 2007 at 12:04 pm:
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    To answer the initial question, no, Colgan hasn’t lost his mind - he just can’t remember where he laid it.

  19. k. o'toole said on 31 Oct 2007 at 12:05 pm:
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    He sure didn’t run circles around Fitz at the Committee of 100 debate - Colgan was pathetic - very sad.

  20. Roger Snyder said on 31 Oct 2007 at 12:59 pm:
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    What Forum?

    Senator Colgan was never invited (officially or unofficially) to the “forum”.
    By the way, in Roman days “going to the forum” meant different things to different people.

    Roger Snyder

  21. Roger Snyder said on 31 Oct 2007 at 1:12 pm:
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    Greg L wrote “If you want to build seniority, there’s no need to push that transition off….”

    Electing your State Senator is very similar to making a personal financial investment. You choose your investment carefully wanting and expecting it to grow over many years.

    We elected Chuck Colgan some time ago and our investment in good government has grown and grown. With the seniority and widespread respect he has earned, Senator Colgan is now producing the highest rate of return on our investment in responsible government and will continue to do so for the next four years if we stay invested by re-electing him.

    It makes no sense to cash in a high yielding investment four years early and replace it with a very low yielding one, hoping that 20 years from now it might possible earn what our current one is producing.

    So Greg…Would you cash in a CD earning 20% interest four years before it matures and then reinvest in a new CD earning 1% interest?

    We are re-investing with Senator Colgan.

  22. k. o'toole said on 31 Oct 2007 at 1:18 pm:
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    rs, are chuck supporters now going back beyond 1977 (when he last signed an immigration bill) all the way to “roman days”? You are making a lot of assumptions here. colgan does NOT have my respect, especially after giving michele finn our tax dollars “to smooth things over” after she had her husband euthanized and collected mucho insurance $$, and when he tells the catholic conference he agrees with their open borders/amnesty agenda, but says he’s tough on illegal immigration, etc. We need ANYONE other than old chuck.

  23. Patty said on 31 Oct 2007 at 1:26 pm:
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    There was an open invitation to a forum held at Stonewall Middle. Evidently Bruce Roemmelt knew about it. He couldn’t attend but he did send a representative. I guess he is the only democratic candidate that has any intelligence.

    Good ole boy Chuck just doesn’t care about his old neighborhood.

    Bob really cares about my neighborhood. He went door to door personally. He listens. That is what a representative is supposed to do. He is also actively involved in a ministry. That is character.

    Chuck just wants to chastise us. He said we are all mistaken. Chuck Colgan SAID that those men hanging out at the 7-11 are here legally. He said that they are from El Salvador. Chuck Colgan said he converses with them and we should do the same. And do you have the nerve to say he is a good choice for our community? If you do, then I suppose I’ll see the El Salvador flag and/or Mexican flag waving at your house.

  24. former colgan voter said on 31 Oct 2007 at 1:30 pm:
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    Making a change does make sense if the alternative proposes better answers to the issues facing the district. Cogan’s lack of understanding of the illegal immigration issue was abundantly clear at the Committee of 100 forum.

    In addition, I think there is a real issue whether Senator Colgan’s seniority still means much to the democrats. Colgan claims to be pro-life, but the Democratic Party of VA sent out a campaing flyer essentially saying that a vote for Colgan is a vote for pro-choice. One would think that the senior senator’s own party would give some respect to the position he supposedly advocates. Very truthfully that flyer makes me think that the DPVA is treating the senator like someone who is losing strength and can be pushed around.

  25. Big Dog said on 31 Oct 2007 at 1:48 pm:
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    The local neocon ghouls are out early this Halloween.
    First they question Senator Colgan’s age and sanity,
    his faith and now his girlfriend. A scary excuse for
    fair and decent campaigning — no doubt the good voters
    will drive the horrid creatures back into their dark
    caves on Nov. 6th.

  26. Patty said on 31 Oct 2007 at 3:15 pm:
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    I guess the good old boy network for Chuck Colgan is invading this blog.

  27. Patty said on 31 Oct 2007 at 3:17 pm:
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    Big Dog,

    Is Chuck Colgan going to ask his El Salvador friends to come vote next Tuesday? Is the good old boy network for Chuck Colgan going to hang out with them at the 7-11 and have nice conversation.

  28. Amy said on 31 Oct 2007 at 8:54 pm:
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    DEAR former colgan voter said on 31 Oct 2007 at 1:30 pm:

    The Senator is 100 % PRO-LIFE AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. Check out page 3 of today’s MJM.

  29. Greg L said on 31 Oct 2007 at 9:26 pm:
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    If that’s true, and it is what I had heard for so long, then what’s the deal with this DPVA mail piece on his behalf? He knew about this, and there’s no way DPVA is going to start pushing mail in his district without telling him. This stuff has been in TV ads for weeks now, and he hasn’t told them to stop.

    No, actually he did. Once Colgan realized that the pro-choice and anti-gun ads were starting to kill him in the district, he complained to DPVA and made them stop, but not before the polling data came in.

    If he really was 100% pro-life, I can’t imagine how this could have happened.

  30. k. o'toole said on 1 Nov 2007 at 8:26 am:
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    100% prolife would include aiding & abetting Michele Finn who euthanized her husband? He even admitted he would vote for a pro-choice candidate in some instances when asked at the com of 100 debate. not quite 100%.

  31. AMY said on 1 Nov 2007 at 8:27 am:
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    Dear Greg L:

    Obviously, you don’t know how the mailers are handled. Look at the direct mail piece and see who authorizes it, if it says: ‘Paid for by the Democratic Party’ and DOES NOT INCLUDE SENATOR CHARLES COLGAN, than the Senator had no knowledge of it (I.E - VIEWED IT OR APPROVED IT) !!


  32. k. o'toole said on 1 Nov 2007 at 8:28 am:
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    remember, “old chuck” isn’t safe for consuming. Can be quite disagreeable.

  33. AMY said on 1 Nov 2007 at 8:41 am:
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  34. k. o'toole said on 1 Nov 2007 at 8:59 am:
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    100% prolife would include aiding & abetting Michele Finn who euthanized her husband? He even admitted he would vote for a pro-choice candidate in some instances when asked at the com of 100 debate. not quite 100%.

    It means he was sympathetic with Michele Finn (not Hugh’s parents who were trying to save his life) even to the extreme of giving her some of our tax dollars once the deed was done. His answer to the question at the debate is self-explanatory.

  35. Legal2 said on 1 Nov 2007 at 3:54 pm:
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    Guess the chuck consumers are hoping our memories are as lame as an 81-year-olds.

  36. Dolph said on 1 Nov 2007 at 4:40 pm:
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    k o’toole

    You are leaving out some very important components of that Finn story.
    The Finn family also was not all in agreement.
    Americans have very different views on right to die issues.

  37. k. o'toole said on 2 Nov 2007 at 12:44 am:
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    I think it’s enough that Hugh Finn’s parents were fighting for his life. The point is: Colgan rewarded the person who ended his life. He is not 100% pro-life, as Amy would propose as “FACT”. Additionally, I believe his rating from a pro-life group is less than Fitzsimmons, as reported by old chuck himself at the debate.

    old chuck is not only unpleasant, but dangerous to one’s health

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