As I’m sure most of you know, Virginia voters will have an important say this election in who becomes the next President and which party will control the Senate. But, this year Virginia voters will also get to vote on adding an eminent domain amendment to the state constitution. I'm writing to ask readers to vote YES for the eminent domain amendment.
The earliest English settlers came to Virginia in 1607 for among other things property rights. Since that time many have come to American fleeing totalitarian regimes in search of these same rights. Property rights are a foundation of our democratic freedoms and must be protected. When the exercise of eminent domain is necessary, it is in society's best interest that property can only be taken for public use and just compensation is paid for the loss of private property. However, with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo v. New London (2005), the government now has the power to transfer land from a homeowner to a private company in the name of furthering economic development.
This year voters can put a halt on government overreach and put more power back in the hands of Virginians by supporting the eminent domain amendment. The amendment states that: (1) The right to private property is “fundamental” right. (2) The taking or damaging of private property must be for a “public use.” (3) No more property may be taken or damaged than is necessary for the stated public use. (4) Just compensation for property taken is expanded and defined to be “no less than the value of the property taken, lost profits and lost access, and damages to the residue caused by the taking.”
I would like to thank Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for his advocacy on this issue and his defense of private property rights of all Virginians. Ownership of private property is vital to our personal rights and a cornerstone to a fee society and that is why I urge all Virginia voters to vote yes on Question 1 on November 6.
- Kyle McCauley
Editor's Note: For more information about the Virginia Constitution amendment questions on the Nov. 6 ballot, read this Patch article.