Local Commentary

Senator Dick Saslaw’s Richmond Report

saslaw-fcnpJune proved to be a very turbulent month in Virginia politics. History will show that the fight for expanding healthcare to hundreds of thousands of hard working Virginians is the right thing to do. It is correct on a moral level and on an economic level. You cannot claim to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money when you leave billions behind because of your personal distaste for the President among other hollow reasons.

No doubt, most of you are aware of the tumultuous ending to the budget impasse that had been going on since March 8. You may recall that the Senate of Virginia with members from both sides of the aisle stood firm in their commitment to expand Medicaid in the biennial budget. For the duration of the Special Session, the House of Delegates continued to mirror the obstructionist style of governing that we see across the Potomac. In fact, the HOD Majority Leader stated he would do anything to ensure the Governor does not succeed in expanding access to healthcare. The biggest game changer was the resignation of a Democratic state senator from Southwest Virginia. A federal investigation into the abrupt resignation is now underway. And finally, an upset in a Republican primary downstate, pulled the plug on courage for the outliers. There is little that I can add to describe the outcomes of the Special Session that the media has not already reported.

The Governor issued eight line item vetoes with the resulting budget after the Republicans took control of the Senate. Two of the vetoes the Speaker of the House of Delegates ruled against including an amendment specifically stating the Governor could not exercise his executive authority to pursue expanding Medicaid. By the way, a Republican state senator from a district with one of the highest unemployment levels in the Commonwealth authored the amendment. Need I say more?

Congratulations to Don Beyer on his recent primary victory. We were fortunate to have such a competent, dedicated group of people who ran in the 8th district primary. Don Beyer brings a tremendous amount of experience and compassion to the campaign for retiring Congressman Jim Moran’s seat. He will be a leader for much needed change in Washington. Rep. Frank Wolf is also retiring this year, leaving a huge void in seniority and leadership for our region. There are two candidates with established records in the 10th Congressional District campaigns. The choice there could not be more clear – someone who has worked hard to keep Fairfax County a model community to live and work; or an individual who voted against improving transportation in our region. Make no mistake that the Tea Party led Republicans want us to overlook the fact their candidate is the one to keep gridlock alive and well in our federal government.

This week we celebrate and commemorate the birth of our nation. Our forefathers were suspicious of government but they respected and valued civilized leadership. And over the centuries, we have come together so that Americans can continue to enjoy hard earned freedoms and economic prosperity. I will continue to lead the fight for sound public policy and fiscal responsibility in the Commonwealth. Thank you for your continued support. Enjoy the holiday and summer.


Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be emailed at district35@senate.virginia.gov.