Expanding Social Security –

Ralph Northam on This Week in Richmond

Important comments on the job of Lt. Governor – Medicaid Expansion, transportation, education and all of the important issues before Virginia in the coming years:

How Terry McAuliffe is putting jobs first

The McAuliffe plan to grow Virginia’s economy and create jobs has four primary components:

  • investing in Virginia’s transportation systems
  • reforming PreK-12 education and supporting workforce development programs through our community colleges
  • diversifying Virginia’s economy
  • strengthening Virginia’s healthcare system through Medicaid expansion

Read more through the link, and support Terry McAuliffe for Governor on November 5th, 2013.

Medicaid expansion moves forward for most states

A key provision of Obamacare is Medicaid expansion, expanding the range of persons eligible for Medicaid to low income individuals and families. States have the option to participate or not participate. The entire cost of this expansion is paid by the federal government for the first four years, essentially pumping money into the state’s economy to raise the standard of living for those who need it most by providing health care.

The money will not go to the poor or low income individuals. It will go to doctors, hospitals, and providers of health care both direct and indirect. Jobs will be created in medical and related fields. The low-income people will get to go to the doctor when they are ill. Even so, some states are opting out. On the map below the poverty belt across the southeast, from North Carolina to Texas is clearly visible. Virginia is leaning toward joining this group, and Tennessee is still undecided.

Texas, with 26.3 % uninsured, Georgia and Oklahoma, each with with 21.9 % uninsured, Mississippi with 21% uninsured are opting out. These are four of the ten states with the highest percentage of uninsured people. Five of the ten are opting in: Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, and California. The tenth of this group of states, Alaska, is still undecided.

This map shows where each state stands, and is interactive so you can check on your state:


Where the States Stand

Via: The Advisory Board Company

DPVA Chair Herring responds to Obama’s call for action

Middle class families, children and seniors will bear the brunt of these harmful but completely avoidable cuts to vital government initiatives.

By Ashley Bauman, DPVA

RICHMOND – This morning, President Obama discussed commonsense solutions to avoid the sequester and reduce our debt and deficit in a balanced manner. After the President’s press conference, Del. Charniele Herring, Democratic Party of Virginia Chair, released the following statement:

As President Obama said today, job number one for our representatives in Congress must be to grow the economy and create good middle class jobs. But if Republicans in Congress allow the sequester to happen, the drastic cuts will have a host of devastating effects on everything from the economy and military readiness to first responders, health care and education-just to name a few. Middle class families, children and seniors will bear the brunt of these harmful but completely avoidable cuts to vital government initiatives.

These deep, automatic spending cuts were meant to be so unattractive and unappealing that Congress would act to avoid them by passing a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. However, Republicans have repeatedly walked away from efforts to find a balanced approach, placing a higher priority on protecting tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy and corporations than on getting our fiscal house in order and growing our economy in a smart and balanced way. If Republicans allow the sequester to take place it will diminish our military’s ability to respond to threats across the world and weaken our border security. These cuts will cause longer lines at airports and could threaten flu vaccinations and medical screenings. It’s wrong to ask the middle class and seniors to bear the burden of devastating budget cuts while protecting the interests of the wealthy. It’s wrong to lay off teachers and first responders to protect tax loopholes that allow some CEO’s to pay a lower effective tax rate than their secretaries. These cuts are unfair, they are not smart, and they will increase unemployment and hurt our economy.

And we can’t, as many Republicans profess we can, simply cut our way to prosperity by cutting Medicare benefits and asking our senior citizens to pay more or laying off teachers and first responders. Republicans face a choice: will they compromise to protect vital investments in education, health care and the military that benefit the middle class and keep us safe, or will they put the entire economy in jeopardy just to protect special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. It’s time for Republicans to put our economy and middle class families first by supporting the Democrats’ balanced plan that pairs more spending cuts with tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and makes sure billionaires won’t pay a lower rate than other middle-class Americans.

Just what about coal are you for?

We desperately need Anthony Flaccavento in the Ninth CD Virginia – he is actually for the coal miners who live and work here, and not just for the Wall Street face of coal. He is campaigning with around a third of the money his opponent has, and his opponent is trying — by means of lots of green — to paint himself as the friend of coal. I was personally in the “packed house in Abingdon” where Anthony clearly owned the issue of coal in southwest Virginia. If you were there, or if you are keeping up, you are probably wondering what part of coal Anthony’s opponent Morgan Griffith is “for.”

These two letters about Anthony Flaccavento, Rick Boucher, Morgan Griffith, and Coal will clarify the issue:

Dear Southwest Virginia Voters,

In 1989, against all odds, Douglas Wilder became the first Black Southern Governor since Reconstruction by campaigning on Southwestern Virginia’s back roads, visiting coal mines, shaking miners’ hands and listening to miners who later voted for a Black man from Richmond.

In 2010, a Salem man living outside the Fightin’ Ninth District ran for the Ninth. Armed with Big Coal’s Big financial fuel and a Big Lie that 28-year Congressman Boucher would shut down the coal mines forever, he won, and immediately began campaigning for reelection, perpetually claiming that Democrats will regulate coal out of business.

Voting thirty-three times against black lung and widow’s benefits assured in the Affordable Healthcare Act, this so-called “friend of coal” is no friend of coalminers. Does he mean coal—corporate profits? Or coal– the livelihood of miners and their families and the well-being of towns, streams and hillsides where miners live? Has this “friend of coal” descended into mines and grasped the sacrifices of those who mine the coal?

In a packed Abingdon auditorium of 600 onlookers of the first 9th District debate were scores of UMW jacket-clad men—some with children on their laps, who want a straighter answer. Congressman Griffith’s opponent, Anthony Flaccavento, certainly has it–a working plan detailing each step of preparing for developing a better future in Southwest Virginia with good new jobs for coalminers and their families as coal winds down. Flaccavento is NOT anti-coal. He is profoundly PRO-coalminer!

We’re from Salem, hometown of Morgan Griffith, but we know that Griffith pushes coal to the exclusion of preparing for the future, which is now. Griffith’s strategy has bought him a lot of big signs and filled his coffers with easy money for his one-note message, but it will leave the coalminers behind while plants are now already switching to cheaper natural gas.

Anthony Flaccavento, traveling tirelessly through the “Fightin’ 9th, knows and explains how his model of transitioning tobacco farmers can work on a broader basis to prepare without delay alternative jobs for a thriving future in the coal-extracted landscapes. Voting for Flaccavento is buying ourselves insurance.

Anthony Flaccavento will represent us and the people of the Fightin’ Ninth in a way that will demonstrate to our gridlocked 11%-approved Congress how to return our Democracy to the people. Be wise for American voters have a critical job to due on election day: Clean out the do-nothing House in Congress on election day: Hire Anthony Flaccavento to work for the PEOPLE of the 9th. -Cynthia Munley & Spike Harrison, Salem

Economic sustainability in the coalfields is right approach

I grew up in the Anthracite coal region of Northeastern Pennsylvania 70 years ago. Anthracite is pretty much a dead industry now, and the decline of the industry was no picnic. In there mad scramble to extract coal, companies “robbed the pillars” of mine shafts, mined right under homes, deposited mountains of culm which then caught on fire and burned for decades, and endangered residents throughout the area. Within a 2-block area from my home, there were 5 major mine cave-ins, including the first floor of the home next door. My memory is seared by the lack of effective regulation of coal companies, a lack which Morgan Griffith, incumbent 9th District congressman, is trying to repeat for Southwest Virginia.

Griffith’s opponent is quite a contrast. Abingdon’s Anthony Flaccavento–citizen-farmer, small businessman, economic development consultant, the spark plug for farmers markets throughout the area, to mention only a few of his accomplishments–promises a better approach to economic sustainability, built on the realization that coal is not forever and must be transitioned from, that black lung disease incurred by miners who helped energize the country deserves public help, and that bottom-up economic development via small business will invigorate regions of Southwest Virginia.

Mr. Griffith knows one approach to the region’s problems: “Deregulation” ad nauseum, to the point of endangering drinking water and undermining the future of coal miners by not helping them transition to economic activity of the future. Anthony Flaccavento, on the other hand, helped tobacco farmers transition to the growing niche market of organic produce.

Vote for you interests, vote for Flaccavento. -Frank Munley, Salem