The Virginia Black Conservative Forum (VBC) extends its congratulations to Shaun Kenney on his upcoming appointment as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV).
More so than his predecessors, Shaun knows the importance of outreach and engagement for Republicans not only across Virginia’s black communities, but across those of all minorities. His willingness to engage in substantive strategic and policy discussions with anyone who sits with him will be of benefit to a state organization that has made great strides in improving relations with the Commonwealth’s shifting demographics.
While Shaun’s first task must be setting RPV’s fiscal house in order, we have the highest confidence-based on his body of work-that he will soon turn his attention to the work necessary to rebuild ties between Virginia’s Republicans and the black community. VBC stands ready to assist him in this task.
As most of us know, the Supreme Court did not strike down the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care or ACA). The Court decision did allow for each individual state to determine whether or not it would voluntarily expand its Medicaid program under the ACA. And really that makes sense because Medicaid is a state run program.
The rest of the ACA is now the law of the land and the revenue piece of this act is particularly pertinent to our discussion of whether we should provide coverage to the population that will be left in what is being called the “coverage gap.”
Under the provisions of the ACA there are a series of new taxes and fees that provide most of the revenue to support the program’s features. Most of these are already in place and are providing new revenue to the federal government estimated to be about $2.5 billion per year from Virginia. The largest of these new taxes falls on our more affluent citizens, with household incomes above $250,000 per year. The rest of the revenue to support the program is coming from changes that were made to Medicare. Medicare services are not being reduced to those that qualify, but the payments that healthcare providers receive from the Medicare program as “payment in full” has been reduced.
This, coupled with increased efforts at the federal level to combat waste and fraud, will produce significant savings that are supposed to be available to help with the cost features of the ACA. The direct shortfall of this one initiative will reduce payments to hospitals in Virginia by estimates of $300 to $400 million per year. The intended trade-off is, of course, that more of the people currently showing up at hospitals without insurance, are supposed to be covered under expanded Medicaid. Additionally, there are federal funds available to offset a portion of this uncompensated care. This is scheduled to go away as well.
The bottom line is that Virginia taxpayers and care providers are providing about $2.9 billion per year to support better access to health care for Virginians. If we do not act, that money will not be returned to Virginia and our healthcare system will be financially challenged to perform its mission, and our citizens in need of access will continue to be shortchanged.
It is my opinion that we should use this as an opportunity here in Virginia to work on policy aimed at making our Medicaid program more cost effective and more efficient at providing services to those in need. I am a strong supporter of reforming not only our Medicaid program, but also attempting to comprehensively address and reform our total healthcare system in the Commonwealth.
Doing nothing is not an option! Out of control healthcare costs are bankrupting our families and denying our less affluent citizens the full range of benefits that Mr. Jefferson referred to as, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”
The Honorable Emmett Hanger, Jr.
The author is Chairman of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission and Senator from the 24th Senate District in the Shenandoah Valley
Any comments or suggestions may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a rough few years for Republicans in Virginia, deservingly so I might. At times the party has failed to field credible candidates for statewide office and the party apparatus has been in shambles for nearly six years now. But there’s a bright opportunity for a turnaround this year.
That’s why this year my choice for Senate is former Republican National Committee Chairman (and former Republican Party of Virginia chairman) Ed Gillespie.
Ed Gillespie is able to articulate a conservative message that resonates with everyday folks. He’s able to so because deep down he’s just a working-class boy made good and still carries with him the values and principles instilled in him by his parents and immigrant grandparents who worked hard so that their children could take advantage of all that this land has to offer.
Gillespie wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth; he worked his way up the ladder just like many us have done and aspire to do. That’s why he’s overly sensitive to the measures (or lack of measures) taken to improve the economy during the past six years. His parents were small grocery store owners and he personally realizes the impact that overregulation and high taxes can have on a small business. He put himself through college so he understands the crushing weight of student loan debt. And he started his political career at the bottom, working as a parking lot valet at the U.S. Senate, so he knows what it’s like to patiently wait for a payoff that seemingly won’t come and the satisfaction when it does.
Gillespie will fight for the common sense conservative agenda that’s needed to get the Commonwealth and this country back on track. An agenda that includes targeted tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses, a common sense plan that grants the all Americans access to healthcare and real school reform that frees our poorest students who are trapped in our nation’s worst school systems.
Gillespie has worked to build the “opportunity society” envisioned by figures such as Jack Kemp, and that I’ve written about for the past few weeks. To Gillespie it’s about putting together what he calls “the New Majority,” a coalition of folks that have come together because of their shared love for this country and Commonwealth, who still believe in the American dream, who still believe the things that unite us are more common than the things that divide us. It’s a coalition of citizens of many different hues, races and religions, it’s men and women, Republicans, Democrats and Independents; it’s folks who yearn to succeed and I believe they’ll help power Gillespie to victory this fall.
It’s a coalition long time in the making but it’s in keeping with the history of the Republican Party of Virginia. A party that, until recently, was known for its grand coalition building. And with the Gillespie as the Senate nominee it will resume its rich legacy once again.
Speaking of the Republican Party of Virginia….
It’s about time Virginia Republicans put an end to the in-fighting and focus on our real opponent – neither Shak Hill (Gillespie’s main opponent for the nomination) or Ed Gillespie supported a stimulus package that failed to spur economic growth, neither one voted to add $6 trillion to our national debt, neither one provided the passing vote for the monstrosity that is Obamacare, neither one advanced the scheme of Cap & Trade and neither one pretends to be a moderate only to push a radical liberal agenda.
That would be the incumbent Senator, Mark Warner, six years of slipping and sliding, walking between the raindrops. Warner has perfected the art of saying one thing while campaigning here in the Commonwealth but doing and saying something entirely different when he’s among his buddies in D.C.
And I think Virginians have had enough of the double speak, six years of Mark Warner is enough.
I am proud to endorse Ed Gillespie for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
Ed has a clear message of unity and optimism for our party – and it’s a message that we as a party so desperately need.
Ed will take on the big government machine and represent our conservative values faithfully and honestly in this all-too-important Senate race.
I have been a great admirer of Mr. Gillespie for some time due to his strong conservative record and efforts to reach out to all members of our party – and even those who are not yet Republicans: Ed has made a determined and conscious effort to reach out in ways that will help build our party and secure victory in our Commonwealth.
We have an important and unique opportunity to defeat Mark Warner and the Obama agenda in Virginia this year and I ask my fellow conservatives to join me in supporting his candidacy. I look forward to working with him and you for a Republican victory this November!
Virginia Black Conservative Forum
The Virginia Black Conservative Forum echoes the call from RPV Chairman Pat Mullins for the resignation of Bob FitzSimmonds as RPV treasurer.
To tolerate this sort of language from a sitting party officer is no different than standing idly by while a Republican’s rhetoric offends those in our community. As conscience demands our response in those instances, so it is demanded here.
Party officers are held to a higher standard to carry themselves in a professional manner, being constantly aware of how their actions and words can adversely affect the work of Republicans across the Commonwealth.
FitzSimmonds has failed that standard, and as such, should offer his resignation immediately. -VBC
(GUEST POST FROM MATTHEW CHEATHAM)
If you type “George Allen” in a Google search, the next word Google suggests is “macaca”. Never mind the fact that he was the 67th Governor of Virginia, a United States Senator, a Congressman… This is 2014, and after over three decades in politics, his liabilities are instantly defined by toxicity. The great Google has spoken – the very next word people search for after typing his name into their search engine is a racial slur.
An emblem of the Bush years, sailing high in 2006 and ready to cruise to victory as the next senator to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia. That is, until that fateful August day where a campaign-tired Allen showed his true colors after being followed campaign stop to campaign stop by a Democratic Party operative and uttered a racial slur heard ‘round the world, which invariably sealed his senatorial demise just three months later with a soured public image.
During this time when Allen was on top of his game and was very seriously considered a top prospect for President of the United States by many conservatives, he supported an array of troublesome causes: the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, loosened requirements on cell phone tapping, raising the debt ceiling – four times!, Troubled Asset Relief Program, ethanol subsidies, and didn’t meet a single defense spending bill or foreign policy initiative that he didn’t think was too hawkish. Not to mention once opposing MLK Day. George Allen represents the Bush era – a neoconservative hodgepodge of bloated foreign policy, diminished civil liberties in the name of security, and a consistent swelling of government spending and debt. Yet, the mere familiarity of the Allen name in Virginia politics was enough for Republican voters to blissfully select Allen as their nominee to go up against Tim Kaine in 2012 after the embarrassing campaign against Webb. After losing by 4 points, there were no third party candidates to blame, no unpopular incumbent to tie a joint-noose to Allen… So – is Allen going to run perennially for yet another Senate campaign? Doubtful; but why would he with prospective Republican nominee Ed Gillespie in the race? Gillespie, like Allen, is just another arm of the Virginia political establishment.
The 2014 midterm elections are poised to be a slam dunk for Republicans, and many will be following the race against Mark Warner, one of the richest members of Congress. It will be an all-out brawl in a purple state whose senior senator enjoys a decent approval rating, and his perceived moderation on many issues makes him less polarizing than Tim Kaine. Yes, he’s been on the wrong side of plenty of votes, and will likely get hammered on Obamacare; but he will be a tough opponent to defeat regardless. A recent Christopher Newport University poll concluded that Warner enjoys a 50% to 30% against prospective Republican nominee Ed Gillespie, with 18% undecided (which is to be expected because Gillespie hasn’t even been nominated yet), and Warner’s 63% job approval rating makes him among the most popular politicians in the Commonwealth. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/new-va-poll-warner-has-wide-lead-over-gillespie-mcdonnell-remains-popular/2014/01/23/b8e55452-8442-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html
Many Republicans have circulated the notion that Gillespie has the best shot at beating Warner: “Virginia political observer Kyle Kondik this month moved the Virginia race from “safe Democratic” to “likely Democratic” based on Mr. Gillespie’s strength as a candidate and ability to raise funds for a serious challenge.”
He’s a serious contender, they say. I’m not convinced that this is a good idea.
In 2006, Gillespie became the treasurer of George Allen’s Good Government for America PAC. “I am a big fan of Sen. Allen’s,” Gillespie, a fellow Virginian, said in a brief interview. “I’m proud that he’s my Senator.” http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ed_gillespie_joins_george_allens_team_/ In his earlier years, Gillespie helped craft the 1994 “Contract with America” and was chair of the RNC from 2002-05, and was later the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia until 2007, until President Bush asked Gillespie to be a counselor. While working in the Bush administration, he helped to package the Wall Street bailouts and the rampant deficit spending – two issues that were integral in forming the Tea Party. Gillespie was also the McDonnell for Governor campaign’s General Chairman in 2009, and co-created both American CrossRoads PAC and CrossRoads GPS in 2010 with Karl Rove – which last year declared its support of moderate Republicans in primary races, effectively putting Tea Party candidates in its crosshairs. http://www.politico.com//story/2013/11/gop-super-pacs-tea-party-99583.html Gillespie left the PAC to serve as a senior advisor to Mitt Romney in 2012. Given his past associations and endeavors, Gillespie is almost a caricature of “DC Insider” – the insult most easily thrown around on radio ads by one’s opponents. This is all beginning to resemble a grotesque zombie lurching out of a political graveyard, and none of it should be very appealing to Tea Partiers.
Now Gillespie, as a candidate for political office, has come out against the burst of federal spending under Bush (when he was Bush’s counselor). http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/26/gop-senate-hopeful-in-virginia-ed-gillespie-takes-/?page=1 The reason being loyalty to those he’s advised – which, granted, may be important to a friendship, but when those policies threaten American prosperity and disagree with his conscience, shouldn’t he have spoken up? I’ve been willing to give first-time candidates the benefit of the doubt when words leave their lips, but my faith in Gillespie not continuing the policies of those he advised is quite non-existent. Warner may be guilty by association with Obama, but the same could be easily speculated against Gillespie – just that his voice in the ears of those he advised weren’t as clear as Warner’s votes on the Senate floor.
I get it – we want to retire Mark Warner. And given Gillespie’s history of big-dollar business and lobbying and fundraising, political consultation, and years of service in the Republican Party, he’s obviously a strong front runner. But what will be gained if he is elected? At the end of the day, how will the United States be better off – replacing a lackluster (D) with what convention wisdom suggests will be a lackluster (R)? Elections, no matter how counterintuitive it may seem, is not all about winning – it’s about messaging. Sometimes a good kick in the teeth can bring a sense of self-reflection to better your future endeavors, and Republicans seem to like getting kicked in the teeth again and again without wanting to adapt. Republicans are suffering an image problem and a policy problem; nominating people who created this fallout shouldn’t be the ones to rescue the sinking ship. Only 25% of Americans now identify with the Republican Party – the lowest in a quarter-century. http://www.gallup.com/poll/166763/record-high-americans-identify-independents.aspx
I believe that there’s a brighter future for the collective of libertarians, conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Constitutionalists if we allow it – and it involves a sensible foreign policy, protection of civil liberties, a positive tone, a legitimate outreach to disaffected demographics, honest reflection of policy, new blood, and effective argumentation. From what I can see, Ed Gillespie’s campaign will not ring true to any of these.
Beware of where you tread, Tea Party.