The Virginia Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections passed a resolution to censure Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) on Tuesday regarding her conduct and comments on the January 6 Capitol riots in Washington D.C.
Introduced by Sen. John Bell (D-Loudon) and sponsored by nine other Democratic legislators, Senate Resolution 91 was reported out of the committee by a 9-6 vote straight down party lines and will now be considered on the floor in the coming days.
During the Tuesday afternoon meeting, Bell addressed the other members and presented his views on why the Chase’s censure is warranted.
“I take no pleasure in bringing this resolution to you today, but I strongly believe our oath must mean something. Members of the General Assembly have been called keepers of the flame; this is a responsibility I hold sacred,” Bell said. “As Virginia Senators we must be held accountable for our actions and our words and we must be held to the oath we all swore to uphold.
“As senators in the body we must be held to a higher standard and I believe the numerous comments and actions by [Chase] violate her oath of office and are unbecoming of a Senator.”
Bell also said that this censure was not an issue of Republicans versus Democrats, political campaigns or pandering to voter bases, but about right and wrong.
As evidence to his argument, Bell specifically mentioned various remarks and social media posts from Chase both in the lead up to and after January 6. Bell recalled instances where Chase had claimed voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and that it had been stolen, had spoken to a crowd in D.C. hours before the Capitol was breached and described participants of the riot as patriots, among other things.
He even brought up the recent move by Facebook banning Chase’s public account for 30 days.
“Words have consequences,” Bell said. “As elected officials our words also have the power to lead others astray. Words can incite, words can lead to action and they can lead to tragedy.”
Bell was the only patron of the resolution to speak at length during the meeting, even though several sponsors of the measure also sit on the Privileges and Elections committee.
Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) spoke in opposition to the censure resolution, but made it clear that he did not support or condone Chase’s recent conduct.
“I understand where my colleagues are on the other side and why they are offended by the actions from [Chase] and that’s why they brought this resolution against her, but I personally can’t support it,” Reeves said. “You see it runs counter to my sworn oath to the constitution of the United States. I’m bound by duty and oath to oppose this action because it strictly tries to condemn someone for free speech and right to assembly.”
Reeves said that the resolution should focus more on Chase’s conduct instead of what she has said, while also bringing up the trend of unpopular views being censored around the country.
Chase was not present at the meeting.
After a motion for a vote was made and seconded, Committee Chair Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) was informed by legislative staff that Chase had called in and asked for the issue to go by for the day because she was not ready to appear before the group.
Bell then said that he had informed Chase on the Senate floor last week that the resolution would be considered by the committee.
On Wednesday, Chase told The Virginia Star that she did not know the committee was going to consider the measure and did not receive notice, but had been prepared to address the body.
When asked about Bell’s assertion that she had been aware, Chase confirmed they talked about the resolution, but said Bell did not specifically say when the measure was going to come up.
As a result, Chase said she would address the resolution on the Senate floor later this week.
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