October meeting

The October meeting of the Northumberland County Democratic Committee will be:

  • Thursday, October 19
  • 6:30 PM
  • Northumberland Public Library, 7204 Northumberland Highway, Heathsville

The October meeting will be devoted to discussion of our organization’s future, plans to elect new officers to take office in January 2024, and  duties of our officers.


Dr. Francis Joseph “Frank” Kober, Jr.: A life well-lived in service to others

Frank’s obituary, prepared by his loving wife Bonnie, was published in the Rappahannock Record, Kilmarnock VA on March 2, 2023.

HEATHSVILLE—My beloved husband, Dr. Francis Joseph “Frank” Kober Jr., passed away on February 17, 2023, at Bon Secours Regional Memorial in Mechanicsville with me by his side.

Frank was born September 24, 1943, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Margaret Mary Flading and Francis Joseph Kober, Sr.

Frank’s education began at Saint James the Less Catholic School and Towson Catholic High School in Baltimore. Shortly after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1966, he entered the teaching field.

Frank spent nearly 50 years in public education, where he achieved one success after another, including turning a failing Baltimore charter school into one of the city’s highest academic achievers.

He became a union representative for public-school teachers. He rose to vice president and editor of the Baltimore Teachers Union Journal. Later, he was a part-time consultant to the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

In the 1970s, Frank was honored by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the top teacher/leaders in the United States. That was when Frank decided to teach in higher education. In the mid-1970s, he became a full-time Instructor at Coppin State University—later part of the University of Maryland system. He was dedicated to building skills relevant to higher learning.

Frank returned to college to receive his M.Ed. from Coppin State University (Baltimore) in 1980 and his Doctor of Education Policies Studies from Temple University in 1992, (Philadelphia, Pa.). After receiving his doctorate, and working in various university positions, he became special assistant to two university presidents, a full professor, an associate dean, a political consultant to mayors, governors and a host of state and local officeholders. Frank also authored three nonfiction books in history, education, and two college textbooks.

Frank’s life was guided and nurtured by the principles of decency and knowing right from wrong. Politics became more than an afterthought for him. It was a way of helping to ensure these principles were followed.

Starting in the mid-1960s, Frank worked diligently in the civil rights movement. He marched and picketed with political figures, was beaten by thugs and went to court to ensure that African-Americans’ rights were honored and that this country lived up to its constitutional guarantees, freedoms and rights.

Before Frank’s passing, he served as the president of the Lancaster Virginia Historical Society (LVHS). While serving, he was especially passionate about Closing the Gap African American Oral History Project. He also served as chairman of Northumberland’s County Democratic Party. He was an officer of the NAACP, an active member in the Northumberland County Community Center and a member of the Sheriffs Roundtable on Progressive Policing and the Lions Club.

Frank enjoyed talking with people from all walks of life, traveling and cooking (he was a fantastic cook). He also liked spending long evenings at home reading. He would read two to three books simultaneous. Frank also had a passion for watching old movies—particularly mobster movies.

Frank’s knowledge was incredible. Whenever I had a question, no matter how difficult the subject was, he knew the correct answer. So, I bought a sign that reads “I don’t need Google, my husband knows everything.” He was remarkable.

As his wife, I watched—with pride—his leadership and devotion to the people of Northumberland County. I was in awe of his loving and giving nature to family, friends and strangers alike.

I am overwhelmed with grief, not only for my loss, but for what the world has lost. I can smile, because I know how deep our love for each other was—and still is. We will keep loving each other until we meet again. He is my inspiration, my soul mate and the person I love and admire. I miss him so much; the pain is deep. But I draw strength from his memory and our love. Rest well, my love.

Frank Kober’s loving spirit on earth will continue to live on through his wife, Bonnie; his daughter, Shari Cain (James); daughter, Brandi Cresse (Mark); and son, Ryan Darnell (Maria).

His sister, Mary Margaret, preceded him in death.

He also is survived by his sisters Maryann Ward (Fred) and Maryrose Gans (David); and his brother, John Kober, Sr. (Nell); nephews, Ronald Ward Jr. (Wendy), Robert Ward (Vania), David Gans (departed), Richard Gans (Cecelia), John Kober Jr. (Chadai); grandchildren, Sherbar Mealy, Candace Mealy, Easton Wilkinson and Harley Cresse; great-grandchildren, Nikas and Miamor; great-great-grandchild Navaeh; great nephews and nieces, Dylan, Samantha, Konstantinos and Robert Ward, Jr. and the newest edition, Christina Summer Rose.

A service of remembrance will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Wicomico Church.

Services of comfort and trust provided by the Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home, Lancaster and Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Burgess.

The Jan 6 Committee released their report today

Today — Dec 19, 2022 — the Jan 6 Committee released a 154-page Executive Summary of their report.  The full report with appendices and supporting documents will be released Wednesday, Dec 21.

Here is a copy of the Exec Summary.  http://northumberlandvadems.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Jan-6-Cmte-Exec-Summary.pdf.

The Committee recommended that four criminal charges be filed against former president Donald Trump.

  1. inciting an insurrection,
  2. obstruction of an official proceeding,
  3. conspiring to defraud the US government and
  4. making false statements.

“The committee has developed significant evidence that president Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transition of power under our Constitution,” Representative Jamie Raskin said as he outlined the panel’s findings.

“We believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today, and assembled throughout our hearings, warrants a criminal referral of former President Donald J. Trump,” Raskin said.

Here is a link to an article that lists the 17 key findings from the Committee’s report.

We thought they would not overturn Roe v. Wade. Now they are coming after birth control

We warned you this was coming. The same crowd that said Republicans and their judges wouldn’t really overturn Roe v. Wade have dismissed the idea that Republicans and their judges would follow up Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by coming for birth control next, but here it is.

Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas, recently released an opinion that “the Title X program violates the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.” Title X is a federal family planning program that provides services including contraceptives, pregnancy testing, testing for sexually transmitted infections, infertility help, and more. It offers services to adolescents as well as adults—and that’s where the right-wing challenge, and Kacsmaryk’s decision, comes in.

Alexander Deanda, the plaintiff in Deanda v. Becerra, is “raising each of his daughters in accordance with Christian teaching on matters of sexuality, which requires unmarried children to practice abstinence and refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage,” so he’s arguing that the availability of federally funded family planning services tramples on his rights as a father to control his daughters’ sexuality. And Kacsmaryk bought that argument, despite a ton of legal precedent to the contrary, because Kacsmaryk himself is a warrior for that kind of right-wing policing of female bodies and sexuality.

The Deanda plaintiff is trying to shut down all Title X funding to providers that don’t require parental consent before offering care to people under 18 years old. Kacsmaryk hasn’t gone quite that far yet—he hasn’t issued an injunction blocking Title X funding—but he’s asked the parties to the case to submit their plans for what should happen next, and the plaintiff’s lawyers have made clear that he wants Kacsmaryk to prohibit the federal government from “funding any family-planning project in the United States that fails to obtain parental consent before distributing prescription contraception or other family-planning services to minors.”

Vox’s Ian Millhiser lays out a litany of problems with Kacsmaryk’s decision here, starting with standing: Deanda is trying to block funding on the argument that his daughters might someday, maybe, possibly seek out these services, knowing they would never get their father’s permission. But since the Supreme Court just heard a case in which a web designer claimed she was being oppressed because of the possibility that if she ever started designing wedding websites, she might be subject to anti-discrimination policies preventing her from refusing to work with LGBTQ couples, “my daughters might someday do something I disapprove of” no longer looks so far-fetched as a legal argument.

That’s not the only giant legal hole Millhiser identifies in Deanda’s argument. Kacsmaryk leans on a Texas state law about parental consent for medical care, Millhiser notes, even though this is a federal case about a federal program, so state law isn’t in control here. And there have been cases stretching back decades that have established that this kind of program is constitutional.

In parental rights cases centering on other issues, “’the state was either requiring or prohibiting some activity’—that is, the government used its coercive power to either require a child to take an action their parents did not like, or forbid the child from taking an action their parents wanted the child to take,” Millhiser writes. But “A program like Title X cannot violate this rule against coercion because there is nothing coercive about it. The federal government provides grants to health providers who voluntarily offer family planning services to their patients. And those providers, in turn, offer their services to patients who voluntarily seek out contraceptive care. No one is required to receive reproductive health care services funded by Title X.”

This is a really, really weak case, in other words. There’s a decent chance that, if Kacsmaryk goes ahead and tries to block Title X funding, he will be overturned at the appellate level, even given that the case would be appealed to the very conservative Fifth Circuit. Even the Trump-McConnell Supreme Court might not be willing to go this far yet. But either way, Kacsmaryk could at least temporarily mess up a vitally important health care program. And he’s showing that, yes, the right-wing legal movement, up to and including a federal judge, has its sights set on birth control rights.



The November 7, 2023, election is upon us

On November 7, 2023, we will vote for state and local officials.  Here is a list of the seats that will be on the ballot and names of the incumbents.
State offices

Virginia State Senate, District 25:  Richard Stuart (Republican of Westmoreland County; four-year term)

Virginia House of Delegates, District 67:  Margaret Bevans Ransone (Republican of Kinsale; two-year term)

County offices

These are Constitutional Officers who do not run with a party affiliation.  All are four-year terms except the Clerk of the Circuit Court, which is an eight-year term.

Sheriff:  John Beauchamp

Clerk of the Circuit Court:  Deborah Bingham (Serves an 8-year term)

Commissioner of Revenue:  Todd Thomas

County Treasurer:  Ellen Booker Kirby

Commonwealth’s Attorney:  Jane Wrightson

Supervisor, District One:  James Brann

Supervisor District Four:  Thomas Tomlin

Supervisor District Five:  Ronald Jett

School Board, District One:  Dana O’Bier

School Board, District Four:  Betty Christopher

School Board, District Five:  Gale Haynie Sterrett

Soil and Water Conservation Board: Robert G. Van Landingham

Soil and Water Conservation Board: Robert B. Pickett

Rob Wittman is a threat to our Democracy

In the wake of the November 2020 Presidential election, Rob Wittman jumped on board the Trump train and did his best to overturn the results of the election, in spite of the fact that the election results had been certified by election officials in all 50 states.

  • Wittman joined the Texas suit to overturn the certified election results of five states.
  • Wittman voted NO on certification of the November 2020 Presidential election.
  • Wittman refuses to support the January 6 investigation into the attempted coup against the US government.


GOV Youngkin’s first six months are marked by far-right culture-wars appointments; dereliction of duty; destroying Virginia’s business climate

Richmond, VA – This past week marked Governor Youngkin’s first 6 months in office. After inheriting the strongest economy in Virginia’s history, Gov. Youngkin’s first 6 months were filled with far-right culture wars and outright incompetence. From ditching his duties to run for President, to losing Virginia’s coveted “Best State for Business” status after three straight years at the top, one thing is abundantly clear: Governor Youngkin is an extreme culture warrior and has failed to govern Virginia.

Governor Youngkin is no moderate. These past 6 months have shown that Governor Youngkin is a far-right culture warrior who is out of touch with Virginians:

Rather than run a competent administration, Governor Youngkin is spending his time traveling around the country running for President. In his first 6 months, Governor Youngkin has shown Virginians the meaning of incompetence:

“If Governor Youngkin’s first 6 months in office is a glimpse of what the next four years are like, Virginians are in trouble,” said DPVA Spokesperson Gianni Snidle. “6 months on the job and what are Virginians seeing? They’re seeing a Governor who has instilled chaos, sown divisions, and flat-ditched Virginia for higher political aspirations. If Virginians had any doubt before, they know now that Governor Youngkin isn’t some mild-mannered fleece vest-wearing moderate, he is an incompetent far-right culture warrior who puts our Commonwealth at risk.”