Rob Wittman

Current Position: US Representative since 2008
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): State Delegate from 2006 – 2008; Montross Town Council from 1996 – 2005

Rob is committed to getting things done. From rebuilding our Navy to increasing access to broadband, to making sure our children have a 21st-century education, he is constantly working for the First District.

Vangie Williams

2018 Democratic Candidate: US House – Virginia 1st District

I am so grateful for the support I received across the 1st District – and all across this country. I met so many wonderful people across the district who inspired me every single day. Rest assured that this was only the first step of our political journey together. I will still be traveling throughout the 1st District in the coming months and I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Recent News & Events

Upcoming Events:

Next Aircasts:  Curator weekly update on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2018 at 5pm

Post Curator: Nick Soteriou - nick@onair.cc

 

Rob WittmanRob Wittman

Current Position: US Representative since 2008
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): State Delegate from 2006 – 2008; Montross Town Council from 1996 – 2005

Rob is committed to getting things done. From rebuilding our Navy to increasing access to broadband, to making sure our children have a 21st-century education, he is constantly working for the First District.

Summary

Current Position: US Representative since 2008
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): State Delegate from 2006 – 2008; Montross Town Council from 1996 – 2005

Rob is committed to getting things done. From rebuilding our Navy to increasing access to broadband, to making sure our children have a 21st-century education, he is constantly working for the First District.

About

Rob Wittman 2

Source: Campaign page

Serving the First Congressional District of Virginia since 2007, Rob has been focused on strengthening our military and supporting veterans, promoting economic development through fiscal responsibility, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, increasing access to high-speed internet, and promoting workforce development through Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.

In the U.S. Congress, Rob serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is well-positioned to represent the needs of Virginia’s First District.  He has quickly earned a reputation for being an advocate for our men and women in uniform and for being a champion of the Chesapeake Bay.

On the Armed Services Committee, Rob serves as Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.  In addition, as Co-Chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, he is a staunch advocate for a robust Naval fleet and a healthy domestic shipbuilding industry. Rob also served as Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee for six years and as Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors for nine years.

As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rob brings his professional expertise in water quality, fisheries, and other natural resource issues. He is a champion of the Chesapeake Bay — for its environmental and economic attributes — and has introduced legislation that will increase the accountability and effectiveness of cleaning up the Bay. He serves as co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus, which brings Bay issues into focus for Members of Congress.

As a Co-Chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, he is leading the way to bring high-speed internet to the unserved areas of the First District and the nation. In 2018, he held two meetings of his Broadband Taskforce, where he brought together national, state, and local stakeholders to focus on finding real solutions that will expand broadband to unserved areas. His other infrastructure priorities include deepening and widening the Port of Virginia, easing congestion on I-95, improving and expanding the Long Bridge, expanding the capacity of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), and providing sustainable funding mechanisms to Dulles international Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA).

He was re-elected for his sixth full term in the House of Representatives in November 2018 and for more than 20 years, Rob has served in several levels of government, from Montross Town Council to United States Congress. Rob won his first campaign for public office in 1986 when he was elected to the Montross Town Council, where he served for 10 years, four of them as Mayor. In 1995, Rob was elected to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and was elected its Chairman in 2003. In 2005, voters in the 99th Legislative District elected Rob to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served until he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2007.

Prior to his election to Congress, Rob spent 26 years working in state government, most recently as Field Director for the Virginia Health Department’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation. Earlier, he worked for many years as an environmental health specialist for local health departments in Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions.

He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Tech.

Experience

Education

  • PhD, Public Policy and Administration
    Virginia Commonwealth University
  • MPH, Health Policy and Administration
    University of North Carolina
  • BS, Biology
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Contact

Email:

Offices

Washington DC Office
2055 Rayburn Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4261

Hanover Office
6501 Mechanicsville Turnpike #102
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Phone: 804-730-6595

Stafford Office
95 Dunn Drive Ste. 201
Stafford, Virginia 22556
Phone: (540) 659-2734

Tappahannock Office
508 Church Lane P.O. Box 3106
Tappahannock, VA 22560
Phone: (804) 443-0668

Web

Government Page, Campaign Site, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Politics

Source: Government

Rob Wittman was first elected to serve the First Congressional District of Virginia – America’s First District – in December of 2007. He was re-elected for his fifth full term in the House of Representatives in November 2016. For more than 20 years, Rob has served in several levels of government, from Montross Town Council to United States Congress. Rob won his first campaign for public office in 1986 when he was elected to the Montross Town Council, where he served for 10 years, four of them as Mayor. In 1995, Rob was elected to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and was elected its Chairman in 2003. In 2005, voters in the 99th Legislative District elected Rob to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served until he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2007.

In the U.S. Congress, Rob serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is well-positioned to represent the needs of Virginia’s First District.  He has quickly earned a reputation for being an advocate for our men and women in uniform and for being a champion of the Chesapeake Bay.

On the Armed Services Committee, Rob serves as the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.  In addition, as Co-Chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, he is a staunch advocate for a robust Naval fleet and a healthy domestic shipbuilding industry. Rob has served as Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors since 2010.

As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rob brings his professional expertise in water quality, fisheries, and other natural resource issues. He is a champion of the Chesapeake Bay — for its environmental and economic attributes — and has introduced legislation that will increase the accountability and effectiveness of cleaning up the Bay. He serves as co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus, which brings Bay issues into focus for Members of Congress.

Prior to his election to Congress, Rob spent 26 years working in state government, most recently as Field Director for the Virginia Health Department’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation. Earlier, he worked for many years as an environmental health specialist for local health departments in Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions.

He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Tech.

Rob’s wife, Kathryn, a teacher at Cople Elementary School in Hague, Virginia, is a Westmoreland County native whom he met when he spent high school and college summer recesses working in a Leedstown tomato cannery and on a Reedville fishing boat in the Northern Neck. They live in Montross and have two children: daughter Devon, son-in-law Daniel Gooch, son Josh, and daughter-in-law Tiffany. They also have four grandchildren.

Rob is an avid hunter and fisherman, and when possible, he enjoys spending time with his yellow Labrador Retrievers.

Recent Elections

2018 US Representative

Rob Wittman (R)183,25055.18%
Vangie A. Williams (D)148,46444.70%
Write-In (Write-in)3870.12%
TOTAL332,101

2016 US Representative

Rob Wittman (R)230,21359.8%
Matthew Dew Rowe (D)140,78536.6%
Glenda Gail Parker (G)12,8663.3%
Write-In (Write-in)7910.2%
TOTAL384,655

2013 US Representative

Rob Wittman (D)131,86162.9%
Norman Gardner Mosher (D)72,05934.4%
Glenda Gail Parker (G)5,0972.4%
Write-In (Write-in)606
TOTAL209,623

2012 US Representative

Rob Wittman (R)200,84556.3%
Adam Michael Cook (D)147,03641.2%
Glenda G. Parker (G)8,3082.3%
Write-In (Write-in)7930.2%
TOTAL356,982

2010 US Representative

Rob Wittman (R)135,56463.9%
Krystal M. Ball (D)73,82434.8%
Glenda G. Parker (G)2,5441.2%
Write-In (Write-in)3040.1%
TOTAL212,236

2008 US Representative

Rob Wittman (R)203,83956.6%
Bill S. Day, Jr (D)150,43241.8%
Nathan D. Larson (L)5,2651.5%
Write-In (Write-in)7560.2%
TOTAL360,292

2007 US Representative

Rob Wittman (R)42,77260.8%
Philip R. Forgit (D)26,28237.3%
Lucky R. Narain ()1,2531.8%
Write-In (Write-in)750.1%
TOTAL70,382

Source: Department of Elections

Finances

WITTMAN, ROBERT J (ROB) has run in 7 races for public office, winning 7 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $6,307,643.

Source: Follow the Money

Committees

Committees

Committee on Armed Services
Committee on Natural Resources
Republican Study Committee

Subcommittees

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Government Page

Issues

Governance

REFORMING CONGRESS

When I speak with Virginians, one thing I consistently hear is, “we need to change how Congress operates.” People are rightly frustrated by what they see happening in Washington: budget by crisis, missing important legislative deadlines, and partisan bickering, just to name a few. I am frustrated, too. That is why I have made reforming how Congress works one of my top priorities as your representative.

Reforming how Congress works starts with passing budgets and spending bills on time. Your elected leaders must set an example by completing these most basic of tasks. But in the past, there have not been accountability measures in place to ensure the job gets done.

Responsible Budgeting

I introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act, which states that members of Congress are prohibited from receiving paychecks if their respective chamber does not pass a budget by mid-April. If the House does not pass a budget members of Congress should not be paid. Your family would not operate without a budget. Why should the federal government be any different? Clearly, it should not.

Passing Spending Bills

I also introduced what is called the Stay on Schedule Resolution. This resolution would amend House rules to prevent members of the House from taking the traditional August recess when critical spending bills remain to be passed. Failure to pass the 12 annual spending bills prevents federal agencies like the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Transportation from meeting current demands and planning for the future. Given the importance of the spending bills, members of the House should stay in Washington until they are all passed.

Pay and Benefits for Members of Congress

Congress is required by Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution to determine its own pay. Under the terms of a 1989 law, Members of Congress automatically receive an annual cost-of-living pay increase unless they act to stop it.  The annual increases are based on a formula calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which takes into consideration changes in private industry wages and salaries. I strongly oppose automatic pay increases for Members of Congress and have supported legislation to block pay raises.

Social Security and Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

All Members of Congress have been required to pay into the Social Security System since January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Under current congressional retirement plans, Members of Congress are required to contribute 6.2% of their salaries to Social Security, as well as 1.3% of their full salary into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at age 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

Health Benefits for Members of Congress

Members of Congress and retired Members are entitled to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) under the same rules as other federal employees. Members meeting minimum enrollment period requirements who are also eligible for an immediate annuity may continue to participate in the health benefit program when they retire. For an additional fee, incumbent Members can receive health care services from the Office of the Attending Physician in the U.S. Capitol; in addition, Members may purchase care from military hospitals using their FEHBP benefit. Members must also pay the same payroll taxes as all other workers for Medicare Part A coverage.

BUDGET


Click here to get the most up to date information about my views and work on fiscal responsibility. 

I am deeply frustrated with the spending habits in Washington. Just as families throughout the First District and America are making hard choices about how to manage their household budgets, Congress must also act both decisively and responsibly to address our nation’s growing deficit. Our economy continues to struggle, and I believe that Congress must commit to serious spending reform in order to get our economy back on track. By changing the federal government’s out-of-control spending culture, reducing burdensome regulations, and ensuring that taxpayers aren’t sending every penny of their hard-earned money to Washington, we can get our economy moving again.

I am committed to fighting against wasteful spending and to eliminating the fraud and abuse in Washington. We must return to the conservative principles of controlling spending, particularly when it comes to federal earmarks, commonly referred to as “pork barrel” projects. I have been a leader in Congress on earmark reform and support a moratorium on earmarks. We must reform this broken, wasteful process. I am a cosponsor of legislation which would require that any increase in the statutory debt limit be considered as a stand-alone bill and pass with a supermajority 2/3 vote. Furthermore, I have cosponsored legislation that would establish a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Civil Rights

FAMILY VALUES

Click here to get the most up to date information about my views and work on pro-family, pro-life issues,

As a member of the Values Action Team and the Pro-Life Caucus in the House of Representatives I am committed to working hard for families in the First District by upholding family values.

I feel that the right to religious freedom and free speech is a moral necessity that is the very basis of any free society. Freedom of religion and the freedom of speech are inalienable rights. I believe it is essential we must work to preserve the right for individuals to practice any religion of one’s choice, and to do this without government control.

Further, as a child of adoption, I will continue to support pro-life, pro-family legislation, and adoption programs. I believe our nation’s laws must protect the vulnerable and the weak, whether they are elderly, disabled, or unborn.

If there is one thing I know, it’s that adoption isn’t a partisan issue. We can all agree that the most vulnerable members of our community deserve a place to call home and a place to find and reach their full potential. That is why I introduced the Adoption Information Act.This bill would require family planning services to provide pamphlets containing contact information of adoption centers to a person receiving family planning services at the time the person inquires about abortion services. A family planning services project’s eligibility to receive federal grants or contracts through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be contingent upon the execution of this requirement.

Economy

TAXES & ECONOMY

Click here to get the most up to date information about my views and work on taxes.

I proudly supported H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Because of this landmark legislation, millions of Americans are seeing our economy make a roaring comeback. After tax reform, unemployment is at historic lows, job openings are at record highs, paychecks are growing, and wages are rising.

This new tax plan incorporated many of my principles when it comes to tax reform:

  • Pro-growth

  • Pro-small business

  • Pro-family

Virginians in every community are keeping more of their hard-earned money to save or spend as they see fit. The new code will increases the standard deduction to protects more of every paycheck from taxes and make tax filing easier.

The new code will also help Virginian families. The doubled Child Tax Credit will be available to more families across the country as they deal with the increasing costs of raising a family. The new tax law also improves saving options for education by allowing families to use 529 accounts to save for elementary, secondary, and higher education – whether it’s college or a vocational school.

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, nearly 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes in a simple, straightforward way.

Relief helps the family of four who makes less than $60,000 a year – a situation a lot of Virginians are in. With a lower rate, a significantly higher standard deduction, an enhanced Child Tax Credit, and the new Family Credit, this family will reduce their total tax bill by almost $1200.

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, small businesses have record levels of optimism. We are seeing the savings from this law reinvested back in businesses, employees, communities, and our economy

 

Education

EDUCATION

Click here to get the most up to date information on my views and work on education issues.

Highlights From The 115th Congress

  • Congress passed, and the President signed, a bi-partisan bill to modernize and authorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act cleared both chambers of Congress. The Perkins CTE program controls over $1 billion in grants for federal, state, and local CTE programs.

  • This Congress, I’ve led the effort to strengthen our nation’s maritime workforce through STEM and CTE programs. Now signed into law is the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act, which I authored to direct resources for workforce training to our community and technical colleges.

  • Now signed into law, STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909)  creates a grant program for schools all across the country to empower students, teachers, school officials, and law enforcement to identify early signs of violence and intervene before shootings occur on campuses.

As the husband of an elementary school teacher, I realize the important role teachers play in educating children. I strongly believe our education system is the most effective, and serves our children best, when the federal footprint in education is reduced and strict standards and penalties are eliminated. One of the most important things our government can do for local school districts is to help, not hinder, local school boards, parents, teachers, and administrators as they make decisions about educating our children.

I am a strong supporter of public education. However, I am also in favor of an all the above approach to education. School choice options such as vouchers, education savings accounts, and charter schools can and should be options for states and localities to pursue. They can provide an alternative avenue for students in underperforming schools. Just because a child resides within a certain zip code, does not mean they should be subjected to an education system that is not meeting high standards. Choice in education should not be limited to where one lives, but where one wants to go in life.

Strengthening America’s education system is important to promoting our economic security and ensuring our democracy. I believe preparing young people with the skills and knowledge to compete in a global economy requires an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and math. As just part of my work on this issue, I visited every CTE/ STEM center in VA-01 and have spoken with countless businesses about how our education system can better prepare our students to excel in the 21st century job market.

I am committed to ensuring our children have the opportunity to succeed in the 21st Century and I will continue to be an advocate in Congress to ensure that we are living up to our commitment to our Nations’ students by ensuring that the tools and the funding necessary to create a successful learning environment are available.

First Congressional District Education Advisory Council

 

Environment

ENVIRONMENT

Click here to get the most up to date information on my views and work on environment issues.

Highlights From The 115th Congress

  • I supported government funding legislation that restored funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The full $73 million will go towards protecting, restoring, and managing the watershed.
  • Congress passed my bill, the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act, to reauthorize the volunteer programs that keep our wildlife refuges up and running.
  • I led legislation, now signed into law, that grants federal recognition to six Virginia Indian tribes.

Prior to my election to Congress, I spent more than two decades as a shellfish specialist monitoring water quality and environmental health issues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I am committed to the principle that our country’s environment should be safeguarded for future generations.  As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force, I am working to preserve and protect the environment in a wise and effective manner.  

Protecting the Chesapeake Bay

Since being elected to Congress, I have worked tirelessly to enact legislation to provide efficiency and accountability in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. My Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act was signed into law in December of 2014, and I am continuing to work to ensure the bill is implemented effectively. This law will increase coordination and transparency within Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, in addition to reducing duplication of federal and state efforts.

I am also fighting for continued funding and support for the Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up Effort during the current FY18 budget and appropriations cycle.

Wetlands Conservation

I support reauthorizing funding for the popular North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for five years until 2022. NAWCA is a unique, voluntary-based competitive matching grant program that leverages non-federal to federal funds in excess of a 2:1 ratio, to protect, restore, and manage wet-lands and associated habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife. NAWCA has con-served over 33.4 million acres and creates an average of 7,500 new jobs annually.

Water Quality and Water Supply ResearchAs a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I work closely with my col-leagues across the nation to address water quality and scarcity issues.

I am a strong supporter of the Water Resources Research Amendments Act, H.R. 1663, which extends a federal-state partnership aimed at addressing state and regional water problems, promoting distribution and application of research results, and providing train-ing and practical experience for water-related scientists and engineers. This grant match-ing program has been instrumental in efforts across the Mid-Atlantic states and in the Commonwealth to keep the Chesapeake Bay and our other water resources clean. Its localized approach has resulted in the development of urban storm water treatment and improved roadway design to address specific water quality and scarcity issues in the Bay and across the United States.

ENERGY

Energy fuels our cars, powers our homes and sustains America’s high standard of living.  I believe that Congress must formulate a comprehensive U.S. energy policy that promotes affordable, safe, clean and dependable sources of energy.  A responsible energy policy must include increased domestic energy production to reduce our dependence on politically unstable nations and instead promote high paying energy industry jobs in this country.

As a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, I am also committed to promoting wind, solar, tidal/ocean, and geothermal energy.  Clean, renewable energy will play an increasingly important role in our overall portfolio, and Congress should incentivize research and development in these areas. 

Please visit the following resources for additional information about ways to reduce your energy costs:

Learn About the Energy Star Program

http://www.energystar.gov/

Find Energy Saving Tips for Your Home, Vehicle and Workplace

http://energysavers.gov/

Health Care

HEALTH CARE

Click here to get the most up to date information about my views and work on health care issues.

Highlights This Congress

  • The House has passed several pieces of legislation that will lower your health care costs – specifically the cost of medication and premiums.

    • H.R. 184: Repeals the medical device tax, this will increase money for R&D and industry jobs.

    • H.R. 6311: Expands access and use of Health Savings Accounts and lower premiums on care. H.R. 6311 Increases consumer choice by allowing the premium tax credit to be used for qualified plans offered outside the government exchanges and healthcare.gov and delays the ACA tax on health insurers for an additional two years, providing relief from the premium increase caused by this tax.

    • H.R. 6199:  Provides relief from the ACA tax on over-the-counter medications and would modernize health savings accounts.

  • Signed Into Law

    • H.R. 1: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminates the ObamaCare individual mandate penalty for not purchasing government-approved health insurance.

    • H.R. 1892: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 provides funding for NIH research, funds program to combat the opioid crisis, repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers, and other public health programs.

There is no doubt that the Nation’s health care system is in need of reform. As health insurers have struggled to offset new costs of compliance, constituents of the First District have been bogged down with drastic premium hikes and deductibles they can no longer afford.

I initiated a First District Healthcare Listening Tour, meeting with individual constituents, constituent groups, health care providers and other stakeholders in the district to understand what changes they want to see to our healthcare system. Those conversations made clear to me that the American people deserve a patient-centered system that favors quality and choice, not more government bureaucracy.

Health Care Reform Legislation

I believe the goal of health care reform must be to drive costs down so that quality health care coverage is affordable and accessible to every American. In addition to accessibility and affordability, reforms must ensure that doctors and patients, not insurance companies or government bureaucrats, are the ones making important health care decisions. We must enact meaningful health care reforms that put the patient and health care provider back at the center of our health care system. I fully support the full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and I stand ready and willing to work with my colleagues on legislation that expands choices, increases access, and reduces costs. Below are my five principles for a replacement plan:

  1. All Virginians should be able to purchase health insurance coverage.
  2. Choice and access must be prioritized and maintained.
  3. We need to get serious about reducing health care costs.
  4. Medicare and Medicaid must be protected and preserved.
  5. We need to create a system that empowers individuals and the private sector, not one that grows government.

You can read my statements both before and after the delay of the American Health Care Reform Act by clicking the links. 

Public Health Caucus

I am a Co-Chair of the Public Health Caucus and I am committed to protecting Virginians and raising awareness about how public health issues impact lives and communities. I have visited healthcare facilities across the First District, learning the problems they face every day and sharing them with my colleagues in the caucus. We will, through an open dialogue, create meaningful solutions to the complaints of our patients and providers. Check out the caucus website here to see what the caucus has been doing and to find out about future events. 

First Congressional District Health Advisory Council

Immigration

IMMIGRATION

Click here to get the most up to date information about my views and work on immigration issues

Highlights From The 115th Congress

  • Provided $1.6 billion for critical border security measures necessary for enforcing our existing immigration laws.

  • Now signed into law, The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, strengthens our border security, better enforces immigration laws, and targets dangerous gangs like MS-13.

When it comes to immigration, securing our borders and protecting American families comes first. Any legislation to fix our clearly broken immigration system must prioritize those two things.

Essentially, the challenge of immigration reform today is balancing the needs of employers to increase the supply of foreign workers who come to this country legally, the interest of families to live together, the desire of some unauthorized aliens to gain a legal status, and the demand that all migrants comply with the rule of law. I certainly understand people want to come to this country to provide a better future for their families, but I strongly believe that those immigrants who do come must arrive legally. We should do all we can to prevent unlawful entry into our country and fraudulent use of our taxpayer-funded government programs.

It is imperative that immigration reform is a legislative priority in the 115th Congress and I will do all I can to address this difficult problem facing our nation. Current rules incentivize illegal behavior and don’t prioritize the needs of America’s economy.  Proposed elements of immigration reform I support have included ending chain migration, implementing e-verify, eliminating the visa-lottery system, funding a southern border wall, increased border security and immigration enforcement,  and revision of legal immigration.

We have laws on the books—we must enforce them. Rewarding those who have broken our laws and cut in line is not the answer. However, it’s important we find a solution for DACA recipients who were brought here through no fault of their own.

I am focused on ensuring that our nation’s current immigration laws are enforced, immigration programs work properly, and that we provide the resources for law enforcement officials to get their jobs done

Infrastructure

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Click here to get the most up to date information about my views and work on transportation and infrastructure issues.

Transportation is an issue that affects all of us. I commute back and forth from Montross to Washington when Congress is in session, and I am very aware of the transportation problems in every area of the First District.  I believe it’s time we work to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

I support the increased use of commuter rail to get more cars off the road. I also support public-private partnerships to invest in transportation infrastructure. I believe federal, state and local transportation efforts need to be coordinated, and that federal funds need to be directed at projects supported by the Community Transportation Boards. I look forward to working to secure additional federal funding for projects in the Commonwealth and ensuring that Virginia receives a higher rate-of-return on the money it puts into the Highway Trust Fund. I am also concerned about the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and believe we need to look at ways to restructure it. Additionally, I will work to leverage federal dollars under the Defense Access Road Program for road improvements around military installations that are slated for expansion. I’ve also been working with Transportation Secretary Chao and Virginia Transportation Secretary Valentine to find innovative financing solutions to replace the Norris Bridge.

I also believe a that as Congress considers infrastructure legislation, we must address broadband infrastructure for rural Virginia. Since I came to Congress, I’ve been working with key regional stakeholders and government officials to expand broadband access for unserved areas of Virginia. Free-market forces, public-private partnerships, and policies that encourage investment will play a critical role in getting high speed internet to communities across the First District. If we can bring those who have been left behind up to speed, there is great potential to unleash economic growth and improve many people’s’ quality of life.

Safety

Defense

Our military leaders and national defense experts agree: the world is an increasingly dangerous place. We face threats at home and abroad not only from terror groups, but from state actors like Russia, North Korea, and Iran. My objective is to ensure we bring the full capabilities of our armed forces to bear in meeting the reality of the threats facing the United States and to project power around the globe to deter our adversaries.

Highlights From The 115th Congress

  • Provided the largest pay raise for our military in nearly a decade.
  • Met Defense Secretary Mattis’ request to end the defense sequester and begin restoring readiness by fully funding our military.
  • Authorized the Navy to buy another Ford-class aircraft carrier, which will further call on the strong industrial base we have in Virginia and save money for taxpayers.
  • Authored legislation, now signed into law, that aids community colleges and technical institutions in helping the federal government recruit, train, and develop America’s maritime workforce. It is critical to our both our national security and economy to secure the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs.
  • The President signed my bill, the SHIPS Act, into law. This legislation makes is it the policy of the United States to achieve the Navy’s requirement of 355 ships.
  • The most recent National Defense Authorization Act includes a number of Virginia-specific priorities and provides the authorities and resources for our men and women of the Armed Forces to do the job we’ve asked them to do. 

Defense Budget

I believe it is our primary constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense.  The first element necessary to ensuring our nation’s security is a defense budget adequate to meet the threats we face. Second, to address our military readiness crisis it is absolutely critical to provide both predictable and reliable funding.
The sequester-indiscriminate cuts to defense spending and harmful stop-gap spending bills (continuing resolutions) have done grave damage to our military readiness and greatly reduced training and funding for equipment and maintenance.  During the last decade, our Armed Forces have been operating continuing resolutions for over 1000 days. In the past year, we have had 80 military casualties during peacetime training and operations. This is, in part, a direct result of the lack of resources available for training, maintenance, modernization, and other essential readiness programs. We must reverse that damage by provide adequate, reliable funding.

I support a base defense budget that at the very minimum matches 4 percent of gross domestic product. We owe our active duty, reserve, and National Guard service men and women no less than our full support for their sacrifice on behalf of our country.

Seapower and Projection Forces

I am honored to serve as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. Given the global security environment, this new assignment comes at a critical time.
As Seapower and Projection Forces Chairman I have  the opportunity to serve both our Nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia as I oversee the Navy’s plans to rebuild its fleet to 355 ships. I also look forward to supporting the development of our Columbia Class Submarines and B-21 Long Range Strike- Bombers.

I am committed to ensuring that our military remains the greatest fighting force the world has ever known.

Shipbuilding

I, along with Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), serve as a Co-Chairman of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.

We began the Caucus with three main objectives:

* to build a venue for Members to discuss shipbuilding issues that impact their districts,
* to work together to support increased shipbuilding efforts for the United States Navy that will enhance our national security, and
* to improve awareness regarding shipbuilding matters across Capitol Hill.

Our Caucus provides a forum for Members of Congress, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard officers, and industry leaders to exchange views on the current and future states of domestic shipbuilding.

This Congress I authored legislation, now signed into law, that aids community colleges and technical institutions in helping the federal government recruit, train, and develop America’s maritime workforce. It is critical to our both our national security and economy to secure the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs. 

Foreign Affairs

The safety and security of Virginians is my greatest concern and top priority. We must never forget that there are individuals, groups, and indeed, entire countries that seek to do harm to our citizens and destroy our way of life. In every corner of the globe events are unfolding that will have a profound impact on the security of our nation and our allies. So we must be ever vigilant in protecting our homeland to ensure all of our citizens can live in peace and security. 

I believe America, and the world, will be a safer place if the United States takes a leadership role in addressing these global challenges. Diplomacy will always be the best and preferred method for resolving difficult international issues. But if diplomacy fails, and when American interests are at stake, we must be prepared to act.    
 

Veterans

Veterans

Our Veterans made great sacrifices for us on the battlefield and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that service. I am committed to ensuring our veterans can access the benefits they’ve earned through their service to a grateful nation. Whether it is accessing health care, employment and educational opportunities, or just support within our communities, our veterans deserve our  unequivocal commitment to ensuring their successful transition to civilian life.

Highlights From The 115th Congress

Legislation Signed into law:

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017: Creates a streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct.
The VA MISSION Act: Consolidates the VA’s multiple community care programs and authorities and provides further funding to sustain the Choice Program so veterans can get the care they earned and deserve.
The Forever GI Bill: Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act:  Allows veterans to use the GI Bill throughout their lives instead of within 15 years of service and establishes a pilot program that allows veterans to attend non-traditional technology programs that will help them get jobs right after completion.
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act: Expands VA benefits to approximately 90,000 sailors who served off the coast during the Vietnam War.

First District Veterans Advisory Council 

I formed and meet with a local veterans advisory council as part of my ongoing efforts to hear directly from veteran constituents who have first-hand knowledge of the issues facing veterans in our community. We discuss legislative developments in Washington and also ways we can support veterans in our own communities. 

My Legislation 

I introduced three bills on Vietnam Veterans Day 2017 aimed at removing administrative roadblocks to Veterans Administration (VA) services and improving the customer experience within the VA. 

The Veterans Choice Accountability Act expands Veteran access to Non-VA medical care and establishes a review of the VA’s implementation of the Veteran’s Choice Program. (The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA system if long wait times or a lack of specialists are a barrier to accessing care.) 

The Veterans Collaboration Act creates a VA Pilot Program to foster collaboration between qualified non-profit veterans service organizations (VSOs) and educational institutions that provide assistance to Veterans.

The Veterans Affairs Transfer of Information and Sharing of Disability Examination Procedures with DoD Doctors Act requires that the service member’s separation physical examinations conducted by military doctors be used to determine service connected disability. This would speed access to care for veterans by not subjecting them to another round of medical screenings before a disability rating is issued. The bill also continues to demand that the VA and DoD share medical and service record data electronically.

Resources for Veterans 

My office stands ready and willing to assist First District veterans with VA benefits issues or any other problem veterans may be facing. In addition, below are a number of resources veterans may find helpful. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has founded a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free access to trained counselors.  

The Department of Defense has compiled a comprehensive handbook listing benefits for services members and their families upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness.  The handbook describes the disability eligibility process, various program qualifications, application procedures, and numerous resources.  

The Department of Veterans Affairs has created a new veteran health portal to optimize medical care.  For more information, please visit http://www.myhealth.va.gov/
 
While there are many resources for veterans and their families available through the federal government, there are two organizations I know of that recognize the deep commitment and sense of service reflected in the sacrifice that our nation’s heroes have given.For the families of fallen veterans, you can visit American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.’s website to learn more information about what services they offer and what they can provide you. 

For the families of active duty members who are currently deployed, you can visit the website for Blue Star families and see what information that organization can provide you. 

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Vangie A. WilliamsVangie Williams

2018 Democratic Candidate: US House – Virginia 1st District

I am so grateful for the support I received across the 1st District – and all across this country. I met so many wonderful people across the district who inspired me every single day. Rest assured that this was only the first step of our political journey together. I will still be traveling throughout the 1st District in the coming months and I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Recent News & Events

Upcoming Events:

Next Aircasts:  Curator weekly update on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2018 at 5pm

Post Curator: Nick Soteriou - nick@onair.cc

 

Summary

2018 Democratic Candidate: US House – Virginia 1st District

I am so grateful for the support I received across the 1st District – and all across this country. I met so many wonderful people across the district who inspired me every single day. Rest assured that this was only the first step of our political journey together. I will still be traveling throughout the 1st District in the coming months and I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Recent News & Events

Upcoming Events:

Next Aircasts:  Curator weekly update on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2018 at 5pm

Post Curator: Nick Soteriou – nick@onair.cc

 

About

Source: From Candidate’s Site

Lavangelene (Vangie) Aereka Williams – a long-time resident of King George, Va. – is a strategic planner, mother and professional problem solver. A self-made woman who has overcome insurmountable odds, Vangie is a public servant that solves problems for our federal government.

A real-world professional with 30 years of experience, Vangie is not a career politician that will put corporate interests above people. She currently works full time for a major government contractor as a Strategic Planner/Senior Project Control Principal where she strengthens national security, manages critical infrastructure projects and ensures the services we rely on every day run smoothly. She knows the federal government and can hit the ground running when in Congress.

Vangie’s Values
Vangie’s young life and experiences helped fine tune her natural determination and ability to solve problems. Due to the effects of addiction in the family, Vangie found herself homeless several times as a teenager. At age 15, young Vangie was hit by a car and shattered her pelvis. Immediately after being released by the doctor, she applied for her first job and was hired at Chuck E Cheese.

Never one to shy away from hard work, young Vangie often held several jobs at once to get ahead, even working as a club bouncer at one point. In spite of the challenges she faced as a teenager, she never gave up, never settled for less and, as a result, rose above and excelled.

It’s why she wants the hardworking people in the 1st District to have an economy that works for them and for families to have access to world-class healthcare. If we want government to be good again we have to build a movement that demands representation for the people, not large corporations.

Vangie’s Service
Vangie is a proven leader with a work ethic that is recognized throughout her professional networks, community and volunteer efforts. Her career in high-level project management includes working in aerospace, construction, defense contracting, government operations, IT and national security. Career highlights include:

creating the TSA program and hiring nearly 70,000 airport security screeners after 9/11;
being tapped to get the space flight program on track after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; and
projects such as One-Net, Hubble Space Telescope, Washington Convention Center and Camden Yards.
Her thirst for knowledge has led to four degrees, each obtained while working full time as a mother and professional:

A.A.S. in Construction Management (Montgomery College)
B.B.A. in Federal Acquisitions and Contract Management (Strayer University)
B.S. in History (Ashford University)
M.B.A in Project Management (Ashford University)
D.BA in Project Management (Walden University). To be completed in 2018
She is an active champion for the working class and her commitment to service is demonstrated through her work as a member of several organizations such as the League of Women Voters, NOW, LBGTQ Democrats, Sierra Club, NAACP and ACLU.

Vangie’s Family
With family roots reaching back more than 300 years in Virginia, Vangie knows the 1st Congressional District of Virginia. It is her home and where she and her husband have chosen to raise their children.

Vangie and Glenn, her husband of 25 years who is a small business owner and professional bowler, have six daughters spanning in age from 11 to 23. Both work to make sure their daughters have the love, nurture, support and education necessary to develop into young women of character and distinction.

As a mother, she understands all too well the challenges families face every day. From getting kids to sports practice and making sure dinner is on the table, Vangie knows what it’s like for working parents to make decisions that will secure their children’s success.

Making History
Patsy Mink fought and won the battle for reparations for Japanese-Americans who were unjustly detained in internment camps during WWII. Shirley Chisholm demanded colorblind equality, famously saying, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Barbara Jordan’s speech as a member of the House Judiciary Committee regarding Watergate reminded Americans that our Founding Fathers were infinitely wise in their constitutional design. Yvonne Burke was tireless in her pursuit of equal opportunity for women and minorities.  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has devoted much of her career to the pursuit of justice for the Cuban people.

Each of the women on this page was a “first” of one kind or another. Even now, the Commonwealth of Virginia has one more political “first” barrier to cross. An African American woman has never served in Congress from Virginia.  When elected, I will end that 230-year streak.

I must admit that breaking this barrier holds a certain appeal to me. However, more important to me is ending the 10-year run of do-nothing congressional representation that has plagued the 1st District. These women were great because they fought and advocated for their constituents and the American people.  I will advocate and fight for the people of the 1st District.

I do not for one minute think that I compare to the greatness of these women.  I can only hope to stand at the head of the trail they have blazed to carry on their legacies.

Web

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Campaign Site

Videos

Vangie Williams Speaks to VA CD1 Progressives
Published on January 29, 2019

Vangie Williams Speaks to VA CD1 Progressives (1/27/18)

Policy Positions

Source: Campaign Site

Civil Rights

Women’s Rights

Women’s rights are more than a list of single-issue talking points. I care about woman empowerment at every level, not just focusing on the bullet points. Empowering women economically, socially and politically improves the lives of all Americans, including the women. This win-win is the type of vision I will take to Congress.

Women make up nearly half of the country’s workforce, and are often the sole provider in the family, but are discriminated based on gender and penalized for having children. Women earn less than men, and moms earn even less than dads and women without children. Fighting for policies that expands access and opportunities for women will improve economic and social outcomes.

As a mother of six daughters and a working parent, I firmly believe women should be given every opportunity to be successful in life. This includes succeeding in the workplace, having the choice to start a family, earning a fair and equal wage, living free from violence having access to adequate healthcare. When women have the power to make decisions and have control over their lives, they can plan their economic futures.

Simply put, I support:

  • Family choice, a woman’s right to choose and full rights to reproductive freedom, including access to affordable contraception
  • Paid family leave and job protection
  • Protecting women from workplace discrimination – regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Educational and employment opportunities, especially in the STEM fields
  • Federal funding for programs that support women’s health

I’m not about checking off boxes to make sure I get all my bullet points. I care about making sure that women have the same opportunities as men to pursue the American Dream. By making sure women have equal economic opportunities, we solve many of the problems faced by women.

Human Rights

It’s utterly appalling to me that in 2018 we’re still talking about Civil Rights. But, as a woman of color I know it’s absolutely necessary. For decades, I have often been the only woman in the boardroom, and certainly the only woman of color. As recently as 2008 I was called “little girl” in a meeting by a sitting U.S. Senator. Imagine his surprise when he found out I was the project manager for the Department of Defense!

Whether it is LGBTQ rights, civil rights, voting rights, gender equality or religious freedom, the idea that at this point in our nation’s history we are fighting for the equality of ANY group is unfathomable to me. It’s time to once-and-for-all take out the legislative sledge hammer and chisel the concept of equality into the ultimate guiding document of our nation: the United States Constitution.

I support a new “Universal Equal Rights Amendment” that would make clear that any distinction that can be used to divide us can no longer be valid for the purposes of treatment different than others around us. We have nickel and dimed this issue long enough. It’s time to codify the concept of absolute equality in the constitutional soul of our nation.

Defense & Security

Our veterans, enlisted military families, security officers and teachers keep us safe and free, educate our children and do the jobs that make our everyday lives possible. But many of these people are underpaid, overworked and living in poverty.

In the 1st District, we have three major military installations at Quantico, Dahlgren and Fort A.P. Hill and one-third of military families receive food assistance to feed their families. Veteran poverty is steadily rising, and we have a shortage of first responders and teachers that is hurting public safety and our education system.

That’s why I’m proposing the Income Now for Veterans, Enlisted military families, Safety officers and Teachers (INVEST) tax initiative.

These positions are critical to the fabric of our society but rely on public funding. Instead of using the tax code to benefit the wealthy, let’s use it to fix some of the serious problems facing our communities.

My proposal is simple:

  • Exempt the first $50,000 of earnings of federal income tax from INVESTers and give them an immediate boost of up to $6,000 a year in income.

  • Pay the estimated $60 billion annual cost of this initiative by closing the loopholes from the alternative minimum tax that allows corporations and the wealthiest 1% to hide income.

  • Use this measure as a first-step solution to give state legislatures, local jurisdictions and the federal government time to develop strategies to improve long-term compensation for teachers and school personnel, first responders, veterans and enlisted military families.

  • INVESTers still pay Social Security, Medicare, state and local taxes, and premiums on healthcare and retirement plans.

My proposal provides a much-needed income boost without costing local taxpayers an extra cent.

Gun Reform

It is well-settled law that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to bear arms. I support this individual right of responsible and law abiding American citizens.

As someone who has lost a loved one to gun violence, I am not willing to accept the idea that the Second Amendment holds us powerless to prevent nearly 40,000 deaths and nearly 100,000 injuries from firearms each year in the United States. The answer is not found in arbitrary bans but in promoting responsible firearm ownership.

As your representative, I will work to promote the purchase of gun safes through tax incentives. Mass shootings make headlines, but suicides make up the vast majority of gun deaths each year. By preventing juvenile thoughts from turning into dangerous adult actions, we help prevent thousands of deaths. Responsible firearm storage also protects from accidental discharge when a toddler or a neighborhood friend finds a hidden firearm and believes it is a toy. Finally, increased use of gun safes will slow the proliferation of stolen firearms that account for nearly one-fourth of violent gun deaths annually.

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that we need universal background checks to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. We have to close loopholes that currently allow 1 in 5 guns to be sold in “no questions asked” transactions through private and online sales. That’s millions of guns sold without a background check and can easily fall into the hands of criminals and domestic abusers.

I will do more to prevent ownership of firearms by those who have battered their partner or spouse. While many states, including Virginia, have laws against firearm ownership by a spouse batterer, there are few requirements to actually check up on whether someone has actually surrendered their arms. The same issue exists at the federal level.

I support the ban on bump stocks, raising the age for gun ownership and the exploration of a buyback program as a way to reduce firearm death and injury. Training, special licenses and re-certifications should also be requirements. This leads to responsible gun ownership.

For too long, special interests have fought to prevent you from having access to the information that allows you to support intelligent policy. Never again can we allow people like Rob Wittman to co-sponsor bills like the SHARE (Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement) Act which removes restrictions on the use of silencers and flash suppressors and prevents the ATF from classifying ammunition as being “armor piercing.” Or vote on spending bills that curtail the ability of the Centers for Disease Control to perform meaningful research on how we can be safer without curtailing the rights of law-abiding Americans.

I speak to the silent majority of responsible gun owners who are justified in their fear of a gun grab but also don’t want to live in fear that their children will be the next victim. I ask you to join me in a fight that respects the individual right to bear arms and does more to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Military Families

The 1st Congressional District of Virginia is one of the most veteran heavy districts in the country, and here, maybe more than anywhere, we need to support our military members as well as our military families. I have family members who served and I have veterans on my campaign staff. When I say thank you for your service, I do so grateful every day for what you to keep our country safe and advance the principles of democracy throughout the world.

Supporting the troops and their families does not mean supporting every foreign entanglement imposed upon them. It means asking tough questions in Congress before we go to war, and once we are on war footing, it means making sure that they have the manpower and equipment to get the job done effectively and get back home.

The least I can do as your representative in Congress is make sure that the executive branch is held accountable and that we don’t hand over the war-making ability to just one person. Congress should decide when we fight, just as it is stated in the constitution which you swore to protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Education

This is a wonderful country in which hard work can mean success. However, as a nation, we should do a better job at making sure that the tools to success are available for everyone. America needs to recommit to the education systems which made us the envy of the world and provided a hand up out of poverty for millions of hard working Americans who sought only to pursue the American Dream.

First, we must focus on early education. Early exposure to language can make all the difference for future success. I want to close what early learning experts call the 30-million-word gap between children from poor households and children in rich households. While supporting K-12 is important, by the time many children enter Kindergarten, he or she is already behind the learning curve so far that catching up is impossible. We can do this by educating the caregivers on how to better interact with their children.

Tackling this language development gap in America means opening up huge economic possibilities and a chance to grow our economy by maximizing the potential of all of our citizens, not just the ones of a fortunate birth. This is a commitment to our children that will cost us far less in the long run than the band aids we use now.

Secondly, while I am committed to higher education, not all paths are created equal. For too long the popular idea placed upon high school students that going directly to college after graduation is a path to personal and financial success. The reality is much different. While wages have remained stagnant when adjusted for inflation, the cost of tuition has more than doubled in the last 20 years. This means crippling debt for a degree that may not even bring gainful employment. Meanwhile, there is continually a crucial shortage of high-paying, vocational jobs left unfilled.

We should be flexible in the path we seek for successful students. Beginning in middle school we should offer vocational tracks for students who test well and who have demonstrated an interest. Upon completion of the program, we produce a generation of high-skilled students ready to tackle the real world.

Believe me, I want my children and your children to have the opportunity to get higher education. The values are inestimable. However, I want my children to be financially successful as well and if it means my daughter is a plumber for a few years while she builds up the financial stability to pay for school in cash, I’m okay with that too.

Energy & Environment

When the Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, it was a bipartisan effort to combat polluted rivers, smog and toxic runoff in our drinking water. We put in place safeguards using science, research and enforcement activities to protect the health and livelihoods of millions of Americans.

It’s important that we maintain that outlook by creating environmental policies that make sense for the planet and our economy. Policies must balance economic development with conservation goals over the long run because economic prosperity is directly tied to environmental progress. They must advance together.

My family’s roots are in agriculture. The same can be said for many, many families in the 1st District. Whether it is growing crops, farming oysters or making their living through fishing one of the many fisheries offered by the 1st District, environmental protection means economic protection for many families. To condone any corporate practices which would pollute and endanger the environment on which much of our economy is built is dangerous.

Common sense environmental policy includes creating long-term solutions with buy-in from both sides. We achieve that by providing market-based incentives for companies to reduce pollution, taking into consideration agriculture with the creation of new rules and ensuring agencies like the EPA and USDA work together to meet the needs of citizens and businesses across localities.

We should be promoting green technologies for energy generation as an alternative revenue source that builds a regional economy and reduces our carbon footprint. We could build solar farms across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and supply our region with much of its power needs. Not only would this bring more high tech jobs to the 1st District, it would help us preserve our agricultural heritage and ensure our economic future.

It’s time we bring all parties to the table and start finding common ground on environmental protection. A failure to plan and protect our natural resources leads to more corporations determining the fate of our planet.

Health

Our healthcare system is broken just as surely as our political system is broken.

Like many, I was hopeful for what would come from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In many ways it was a monumental achievement. For the first time in American history our government addressed comprehensive healthcare reform. Through the ACA, millions of Americans gained unprecedented access to health insurance that was previously too expensive or otherwise unattainable. The ACA solidified that insurers can no longer deny coverage to vulnerable Americans because of pre-existing conditions, or issue policies with lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits.

I also recognize that the ACA is not perfect. I know that many people saw their premiums skyrocket. I know that we failed to target the biggest drivers of cost in healthcare, mainly insurance and pharmaceutical monopolies. I know the ACA does not include coverage for vision and dental, which can be just as important in quality of life and prosperity as traditional medicine.

Finally, the ACA was reactive rather than proactive. We have disabled people and a rapidly aging population that is increasingly homebound. Nursing homes are exorbitant and travel is difficult. Even the more cost effective route of staying home can result in bankruptcy and financial ruin just to manage their healthcare bills. We can do more for these people.

I want to address the problems of the ACA with honesty and integrity. We can do this by looking to see where we’ve gotten healthcare right. Medicare has been an overwhelming success and it’s time we make a commitment for a Medicare-for-all like system which includes coverage for dental and vision. Medicare works because we’ve untied the hands of government to negotiate with doctors, pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry. We can also invest in the growing market of healthcare providers that can travel to their patients or in some cases visit electronically.

Just as we have made a commitment to hardworking seniors, we can make the same commitment to all hardworking Americans. We need to let them know that a minor illness won’t be the difference between having a home and being homeless. We need to let them know that a major illness won’t be the difference between solvency and bankruptcy.

Reforming the VA

Millions of Americans have put their life on the line for this country, and they deserve the best healthcare in their time of need.

I have spoken to hundreds of veterans and heard the complaints about slow and inefficient service. I know people have missed out on life-saving treatments because someone held up paperwork for arbitrary reasons. But, I also know that the VA has a type of institutional knowledge that needs to be part of the solution. Will private, for-profit hospitals be able to keep tabs on the unique issues that face veterans and no other category of US citizens? Will your local hospital be prepared to ask the right questions about agent orange exposure, Gulf War syndrome, and exposure to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq?

My plan is to greatly increase the role of private hospitals for routine care. All-too-often we ask people to travel long distances for inconvenient appointment times. While legislation has been passed to deal with this problem, based on my conversations with veterans, it clearly isn’t enough. I know people are still enduring the same incredible inconveniences. I want you to get your basic care from the doctor down the street, not across the state. However, I also want checkups at the VA to account for issues that will be missed by the average family practitioner. This plan is what will best serve our veterans. We owe them that.

Immigration

The United States is a unique country with a diversity of cultures and ideas that make us strong and innovative. The reality is that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are here because they want what we want: a better life for themselves and their families.

While it is easy for some politicians to scapegoat undocumented immigrants to the cheers of crowds and rallies, there is a human and economic toll that is never discussed. It is unrealistic to think that we are going to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. We must find pathways for citizenship, starting with the resident alien (green card) process.

Working with members of both parties, I will bring about common sense immigration reform. Such reform first starts with preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For non-DACA recipients, we need to establish a clear set of guidelines, based on fairness to taxpayers and legal immigrants, that would take into account the amount of time a person or family has spent in the U.S., whether they have paid taxes and their involvement in the community.

Comprehensive immigration must honor our fundamental values of treating people who come to the U.S. with dignity and respect, and being true to the rule of law.

Infrastructure

Broadband

Fair and unfettered access to high-speed internet is critical for success in the 21st Century.

The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 revolutionized power in America. Over the next few decades, block grants issued from the federal government to private corporations meant access to power for millions of Americans. We take this for granted now, but the economic impact was immeasurable.

It’s time to invest the same effort into Broadband Internet Access. Efforts during the Great Recession helped close the gap for rural broadband access. However, once the investment stopped, so did the increased access. While only 4 percent of urban and suburban citizens lack access to broadband, a whopping 39 percent lack access in rural areas. I want to change that.

Once in Congress, I will work with the entire Virginia congressional delegation to ensure that block grant opportunities within the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture are pursued and won to provide more funding to Virginia’s Broadband Infrastructure Loan Fund, allowing all jurisdictions to build broadband infrastructure to even the most distant borders.

Furthermore, I will work with the Department of Transportation to make sure that any and all federal funding for highway projects come with the stipulation that broadband conduit installation be included in all new construction to further aid in the process of “wiring up” all rural areas, not only in the 1st District but the entire country. This is how we begin to eliminate the digital divide and make broadband accessible to all communities.

Just imagine the economic and social impact from these efforts? Senior citizens with disabilities in rural areas will be able to visit their doctor from home with a computer without the pain and burden of travel. Young parents will be able to telecommute in the rapidly growing data sectors, adding to our GDP and truly making us a country that values families. Students will be able to save on costly room and board by accessing online coursework. These are just three examples and just the beginning.

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality was a concept supported by both sides in Congress until it became a political football used to score partisan points. Net neutrality encourages innovation and access to information, something that both liberals and conservatives should rally around.

As your congresswoman, I will immediately co-sponsor legislation (the reintroduced version of what is now HR 4585 Save Net Neutrality Act) to reverse the FCC chair’s decision to end net neutrality and allow additional bandwidth charges at multiple levels. Failure to reverse this decision by the FCC and enshrine neutrality protections within our laws only hurts American democracy and is another example of government putting profits ahead of the people.

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