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Effort to Censure State Sen. Amanda Chase Moves Forward

Senate of Virginia Livestream

Members of the Virginia state Senate are taking action to censure a senator who spoke at the rally that led to the attack on the Capitol.

Republican Senator Amanda Chase of Chesterfield called on President Trump to invoke martial law and have the military conduct another election. She called the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol and killed a police officer "patriots." And, she said it was a great honor to speak at the rally that led to the riot.

That led Senator John Bell, a Democrat from Loudoun County, to introduce a resolution to censure Chase.

"When I saw our Capitol attacked on January 6, 2021, it was one of the most horrific things I've experienced in my life," Bell said. "Frankly what was even more troubling, though, was to know the involvement was from one of our own, one of our own senators, the senior senator from Chesterfield."

The resolution passed a committee on a party line vote. Republican Senator Bryce Reeves of Fredericksburg said he believes censuring Chase is a violation of her right to free speech.

"This country has dramatically shifted from the belief of freedom of speech to a culture of freedom from speech," he explained. "Speech they don't like or don't want to agree with."

Senator Chase did not appear before the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee to defend herself, but she will have a chance to share her side of the story when the full Senate considers the resolution later this week.

Reporter's Update added 1/20: Senator Chase says the people she was calling "patriots" were the people at the Washington Monument, which she describes as a "totally separate event" from the attack on the Capitol.

"I'm not referring to the people who stormed the Capitol as patriots," says Chase.

She says she did not appear before the committee to defend herself because she had "new staff who dropped the ball."

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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