Dark Money is taking over our country

Dark money has infiltrated U.S. politics and institutions on a staggering level. It’s a term used to describe money funneled to groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the Federalist Society, among many others while its donors remain hidden in the shadows thanks to loopholes in disclosure laws. The Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling in 2010 opened the door for dark money to flood in with its core statement “Corporations are people too.”

In addition to local, state, and national politics, the money reaches into universities, think tanks, and “outreach” programs that target specific groups such as Latinos, women, and veterans. It’s used to buy and operate media outlets and data mining companies that actively perpetrate agenda-driven campaigns of misinformation, untruths, and lies such as “climate change is a hoax.”

There are a few select super rich people and families who are behind much of this dark money. Two of these families, the Koch’s, Charles and David, and Robert and Rebekah Mercer, are billionaires with narrow, laser-focused ideas of what they think America should look like.

The Mercers funded much of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and own Breitbart, a far right “news” outlet that publishes extremist fringe articles fomenting anti-immigration, racist, and xenophobic points of view. Robert Mercer is part-owner of Cambridge Analytica, a company that mines and analyzes social media data from user profiles specifically to manipulate electoral outcomes. (Steve Bannon was on the board of CA before working on the Trump campaign; he’s now back helming Breitbart after leaving the Trump administration in August).

The Koch’s ideal almost completely dismantles our democratic republic to reshape it into a Free Market economy with no regulations to inhibit the growth of their wealth (to date, approximately $94.4 BILLION).

Two primary sources of their riches come from the petroleum and paper industries. Petroleum is used in products we all use every day: plastic bags and bottles, Lycra in our clothes, and Stainmaster on our carpets. Koch Industries also produces asphalt, diesel, gasoline, several toilet paper brands, as well as chemicals used in fracking. The Koch’s bottom line GREATLY benefits from a lack of environmental regulations and they spend enormous amounts of money trying to persuade members of congress to vote against environmental regulations and oversight.

Many Virginia legislators are complicit in using dark money for their campaigns. Recent flyers for Manoli Loupassi and Kirk Cox, for example, clearly bear the Americans For Prosperity logo. Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel, and Dave Brat all spoke at AFP’s recent Defending the American Dream summit. Many Koch affiliated appointees populate the Trump administration, including Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Ryan Zinke, Mike Pence, and Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. Dark money has infiltrated all three branches of our government.

The terrible reality is these very few individuals alone are strategically gaming the US democratic system to favor the .01% of the population–themselves. We MUST be aware of their plan and take action before it’s too late.

Kate Flinn

Editors Note: This is a preview of a letter submitted to the Chesterfield Observer, for their November 1st edition, and has been reposted with the author’s permission, and for now is only available online here.

Deceptive messages

RT Williams III October 26th letter titled “Accountability with party Affiliation,” is the most dangerously misleading letter I’ve ever read in the Central Virginian.   His claim that “if anything party affiliation holds elected officials accountable to their campaign promises” is a deliberately deceptive statement which doesn’t hold up to the slightest scrutiny.

When the reality is, the Republican Party’s campaign promises, and indeed notions of policy are premised on ideology versus responsible governance. One only has to take a look at the actions of Virginia’s Republican dominated General Assembly over these past 4 years. Or the deconstructionist deeds of this administration and Republican controlled Congress this past year to see that this is not just a simple misrepresentation, it’s a flat out lie.

One compounded by another half truth that “the local parties do not have “Whips” to make sure that their elected officials always toe the party line.” No, they don’t have whips in the same sense as the General Assembly or Congress. But what he’s really asking the Central Virginian’s readers to do is ignore evidence which indicates that today’s Republican Party isn’t a vertically integrated cartel, that operates much like the Robber Baron’s of the 19th Century.

Using unscrupulous means to promote their philosophy in ways little removed from William Randolph Hearst’s infamous comment, that “you furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war,” like the non-stop campaign ads we’ve been seeing on TV. Constantly manipulating their messages to fit a predetermined ideology, regardless of the actual facts, using captive public relations organizations like; Fox News, and soon, Sinclair Broadcast Group to manipulate the American peoples perceptions of reality.

In an unremitting barrage of propaganda which has helped bring this nation to the brink of anarchy; with states dominated by a single party, a dysfunctional Congress, and now a dangerously ignorant President. Having effectively captured most of the states and Congress, Republicans intend to bring this same ideologically based dysfunction down to the County level.

Working with a host of allied groups; such as AFP, ALEC, and most recently ACCE, the American City County Exchange to extend their aggressive brand of privatization and tax cuts to places like Louisa County. Grooming a farm team of corporate-friendly politicians and equipping them with the resources to promote special-interests at the local level.

And it’s why they are endorsing Duane Adams for the Mineral District Supervisor. For those of you unfamiliar with how local elections are done in the Commonwealth of Virginia, candidate’s from Sheriff to Board of Supervisors with rare exceptions ran as independents, with no party affiliation.

A quaint Southern tradition which was scrupulously observed until the Bush era, and was the case in Louisa County, at least until Tom Garrett (Now Congressman Garrett) ran for Commonwealth Attorney in 2007. And up until this year, no Supervisor in living memory had ever run under any party banner.

Nor was it any coincidence to learn that Republican Senator Bryce Reeves, who rode into office in 2011 on a Tea Party wave of discontent is supporting him. Or that Mr. Adams son, Tyler is Reeve’s finance manager, and that this flyer emulates the same dishonest tactics Reeves used to unseat a 28 year Democratic incumbent.

Just some of the many inconvenient details that Louisa County’s paper of record the Central Virginian has been aware of for some time, yet for some reason has chosen to remain silent about.  And when it comes to covering stories and events which might portray conservatives, aka Republicans in a less favorable light, their standard response has been to say nothing.

Starting with two Town Halls in 2014 that our Republican state legislators; Senator’s Garrett and Reeves, along with Delegate Peter Farrell that was described by the Richmond Times Dispatch as “welcome to the echo chamber.”

For a small town like Louisa,  the odds that these two Town Halls, along with a third Town Hall in 2016 with Congressman Dave Brat would not be covered by a the only local paper in the County defies belief.  In fact, unless their readers happened to read the two letters to the editor; Louisa’s Town Hall Meeting and GOP holds the state for ransom over Medicaid  they would have had no idea that these meetings even happened.

Which brings us to this year, when the Mineral Industrial Development Corporation, a local legal entity which hasn’t conducted any meaningful business in decades suddenly announced they were hosting a debate between various Supervisor candidates, including Mr. Adams, and that it would be “moderated” by the Central Virginian’s editor.

Considering that their membership consists solely of staunch Republicans and the person Ms. Koren defeated four years ago, it would appear that it was resurrected just to promote Mr. Adams. A chain of  circumstances which raises two possibilities; either the Central Virginian’s staff were duped into agreeing to moderate this debate, or they knowingly chose to advocate for this group, and Mr. Adams.

Given their legacy of not covering the only three town halls in our town’s history and downplaying the ongoing misadventures of the Louisa Board of Supervisors, perhaps their readers should decide for themselves.

Jon Taylor

Editor’s note: This is an expanded version of a letter submitted to the Central Virginian for their November 2nd rebuttal issue, and assuming they print it will only be available on-line to paying subscribers, or here.

Cast a vote for education

During his campaign for the 56th District House of Delegates seat, John McGuire has said little about his views on public education, an area in which the decisions of state legislators have a far-reaching impact on our community.

McGuire skipped the Mineral Industrial Development Corporation’s debate last week, where his opponent, Melissa Dart, spoke extensively about education for all students and properly funding our schools.

Since McGuire has failed to make any substantive policy statements, we must dig deeper for evidence of where he stands. As is so often the case in politics, we must follow the money.

McGuire’s top donor, Hanover County businessman Robert Bailie, has given lavishly to efforts to pass school voucher legislation in the General Assembly. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks political contributions, Bailie has donated more than $1.1 million to the Middle Resolution PAC, a political action committee that has lobbied tirelessly to siphon our tax dollars from public schools and into the pockets of folks who choose to send their children to private institutions.

Louisa County’s school system has worked so hard to become one of the top divisions in our area and support from the community, including our taxes, has played an important role. We cannot let politicians and lobbyists, funded by wealthy donors, undercut our teachers’ and administrators’ efforts.

When you go to the polls on Nov. 7, cast a ballot to support public education in Louisa County. Cast a ballot for Melissa Dart.

Brenda Purcell

Editors Note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared in the October 26th edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to paying subscribers, or here.

 

 

The Democratic ticket is the right path

Once again, our future is at stake. On November 7, we should go to the polls and vote for the best future for Virginians for the next four years. The Democrats have done good job in the past four years. Terry McAuliffe has closed 1,032 economic development deals (worth Virginia $18.52 billion in capital investment in Virginia’s economy.) Facebook is now building a $ 1 billion facility in Virginia. Ralph Northam has plans to recharge rural economies by expediting small business development and waiving some taxes during early development. These jobs will help every Virginian. The state unemployment rate is 3.7% and will go lower if this rate of economic development continues.

The bustling Virginia economy isn’t the only reason you should vote for Democrats this November 7th. They are keeping educational standards high in Virginia to attract world-class businesses. Companies don’t move here for an uneducated and untrained workforce. Unlike Ed Gillespie’s plan to divert money from public education to private schools, Democratic candidates are strong supporters of PUBLIC education.

Attorney General Candidate Justin Fairfax believes we need to expand early childhood education to provide high-quality preschool to all children. With his own children in public schools, he has followed the SOLs and supports efforts to reform them, eliminate much of the taking/retaking of tests, redesign the curriculum to match student needs, and expand workforce training so those who want can get the training needed to have a career and make a decent living.

Delegate Candidate Melissa Dart has a Masters in Science and Healthcare Administration and has worked in the field for many years. She understands the issues that confront Virginians and their healthcare. She will bring expertise and experience to helping solve those issues for Virginians.

Melissa’s own children are in the public school system and she believes in improving public education and maintaining the excellence of our schools for all children. Melissa also advocates for increased emphasis on skill training programs and supports funding for the Virginia Community College System and its network of campuses around the state.

Mark Herring has done much in Virginia to protect citizens – prosecuting criminals, going after those perpetrating fraud on senior citizens, and establishing a consumer protection service for citizen complaints. Herring has made efforts to reform the criminal justice system, protect Virginians from discrimination and protect their right to vote.

All of the candidates on the Democratic ticket have come out strong for stimulating the economy through small business growth, strengthening public education and expanding workforce development, and improving healthcare for Virginians.

Compare this with their GOP opponents – Gillespie is a professional Washington lobbyist (from the swamp that Trump wants to drain). Attorney General Candidate John Adams, a details guy, got his law license suspended for not paying his dues to the bar. He will be minding the store. Hah!

The candidate for 56th delegate – John McGuire -is a personal trainer by trade. Does this offer any useful experience for work in the House of Delegates? Maybe he will start a morning exercise class for the members.

JoAnna Hickman

 

Editors Note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared in the October 26th edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to paying subscribers, or here.

The environment is a worldwide issue

This is in response to Jerry Reynolds’s letter to the editor, “Spare Me the Democrat Party’s agenda.” Just like his glorious leader, President Donald Trump, Mr. Reynolds is sure he knows more than anyone else in the world, regardless of scientific research, stringent record keeping, and worldwide blatant destruction of earth and species. According to Mr. Reynolds, climate change is a gimmick started by Al Gore to get rich quick.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Reynolds has not been paying attention to the increased magnitude and frequency of floods, mud slides, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, heat levels, rising rivers and ocean waters, and volcano eruptions that have occurred in 2017 alone.

Just this past week there was a news story about penguins. Out of a colony of 18,000 pairs of penguins, only two young penguins survived. The water around their breeding ground had gotten too warm to sustain the food the parent penguins needed to feed their chicks. By the time the parents returned with food, the chicks were dead. In a recent issue of Richmond Times Dispatch, there is an article that states pollution in all forms kills nine million a year and costs $4.6 trillion a year. Environmental pollution kills more people every year than all wars and episodes of violence, smoking, hunger and disease epidemics.

The Paris Agreement on climate change has been approved by 196 countries because they all recognize we have a problem. Through his infantile wisdom, Trump dropped out of the agreement. Not because it was not a good idea, but because regulations were hurting the bottom line profit for his cronies, and most importantly, it was because former President Barack Obama supported it. Mr. Reynolds will have to forgive me for not getting into the fray about Clinton and Benghazi for now. After all, she was exonerated by at least three Republican panels. We’ll have to see what went wrong, why and who was responsible for the recent deaths of four of our finest military personnel in Africa. This is not a Democratic agenda item, it is a worldwide agenda item. Mr. Reynolds may want to step outside and try to get a breath of air while he can.

Deanna Nicosia

Editors Note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared in the October 26th edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to paying subscribers, or here.

Spare me the Republican Party Agenda

A very smart person once said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” When I read Jerry Reynold’s October 19th letter extolling the virtues of the conservatives, I wondered how voters expect to “Make American Great Again” when Republican’s are dishonestly framing moral issues.

Mr. Reynolds claim that “Conservatives care about clean air and water and the good life for all citizens …” shows he is oblivious to what Congress recently passed. E.g., HR953 prohibiting the EPA from requiring permits for the discharge of pesticides into waterways; and HR806 which delays adoption of enhanced standards for Clean Air.

Or that our 7th District Representative Dave Brat voted against providing hurricane relief (HR601).  Where is his moral compass?

I am proud to be a progressive because those are the values our Country was founded on, and they are the freedoms authoritarian Conservatives of today are trampling upon.  Progressives brought women the right to vote and workers healthcare, pensions and decent working conditions.  They fought for civil rights for minorities, Social Security, and Medicare for the elderly.  Progressives fight for better public schools and preserving the land, air, and water.

Republicans deregulate the government agencies that protect our economy and our environment to maximize profits for the wealthy.

Their agenda is to stay in power by branding progressives challenging them as evil.  Their promise “Buy American, Hire American” is based on outsourcing jobs, lowering wages and exploiting American workers.

The administration of almost every government agency is now in the hands of Corporate Czar’s intent on deconstructing the agencies they run. John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute say’s the American government has become a “dysfunctional politics … ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind the entertaining, distracting and disingenuous curtain of political theater.”

On November 7, we will have state and local elections.  I hope voters will elect nurturing progressives to lead us forward.  In the 56 District Delegate race, Democrat Melissa Dart is facing Republican John McGuire.  Melissa worked in healthcare and is passionate about improving public education and healthcare for all especially for children and the elderly.  McGuire’s life experiences offer nothing on either issue. McGuire believes the poor and minorities don’t deserve help from the government.  He promotes additional tax cuts for the wealthy which translates into cuts in public schools and healthcare.

Choosing the right person as State Delegate should be based on more than profit making, it should be based upon their desire to promote the common good for everyone in our District.  Melissa will respect the constitutional rights of women and minorities. As a compassionate person, she will fight to protect public health, public education, and human dignity for all people.

From a moral and family values perspective the choice is clear, vote for Melissa Dart as your next Delegate!   For the only way to stop Conservative insanity in government leadership from spreading is to VOTE on November 7th.

Vote now while Conservatives still let you!

Mark S. Chapman, Troy

Editors Note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared in the October 26th edition of the Central Virginian, and is only available online to paying subscribers, or here.

 

 

What’s driving conservative’s resentful claims?

Some of you may recall that during last year’s rebuttal week that I discussed how letters from local Republicans in our local paper, the Central Virginian follow predictable patterns.  Since so many of this year’s conservative letters are following that same path, I’m submitting this “rebuttal” letter to them a week before the last election letters have been printed.

Mostly because there will be anything that hasn’t already been said, like Mr. Arment’s October 19th letter supporting Duane Adams, praising his  “commitment to community service,” and Ms. Mundt’s letter a week earlier, talking about his focus on “wasteful spending”, and how the County is not “meeting its obligations.” Along with Ms. Carters claims in the same issue that he has found workable “non government solutions to internet

What all of these letters have in common is that they give no specific examples to support their claims.

Nor is this due to space limitations, the absence of relevant information is a deliberate omission intended to muddy the waters with resentment. Emotional distractions used to prop up authority figures, claiming they are the only ones capable of protecting the people of Louisa. To the extent that there are some things the Board of Supervisors could have done better, they have a point.

Unfortunately, their approach is to fling stuff to the wall and see what sticks. From complaining about lack of high speed internet while offering no realistic solutions, to badmouthing the 208/522 roundabout, to claiming there are too few police on the night shift, in the hopes that something sticks.

Purposely confusing every issue with a collection of diversions away from the real problem; the elephants on the Board of Supervisors, like Tommy Barlow who is running unopposed, and Dick Havasay who has a challenger.

The fact that neither of these supervisors (or most of the board for that matter) has a constituent Facebook page is a strong indication they’re not willing to live in the 21st century, or to be held be accountable for their actions, clear signs that they should have been sent to elephant graveyard years ago. Hopefully a lesson the people will remember in 2019, as two more of the Boards dinosaurs come up for re-election.

While incumbent Stephanie Koren in the Mineral district and challenger Bob Babyock in the Green Springs district have Facebook pages, and have been very responsive on line questions and concerns.

As a member of the Louisa Democratic Committee, I can’t openly support independent candidates, but having talked extensively with both, I’m confident the people in their districts and the County would be well represented by either. Speaking of representation, let’s talk about the fact that we don’t have any in the House of Delegates, and haven’t had any for over a decade.

While some might be swayed by the numerous signs plastered all over the County that’s not much to go on. All it tells me is that he’s spending a lot of money on signs.  In fact, as of September 30th, his campaign has spent more than twice as much as the Dart Campaign.

And when you compare what’s been appearing in your mailbox recently with what you were seeing during the primaries and with the top level candidates in the upcoming general election there is nothing. It appears that he’s content to rest on his tribal affiliations, and spend his time hobnobbing with the Party sycophants and wealthy minded rather than engage the people of Louisa County.

Other than participating in the Chamber of Commerce candidate forum in May, just before the primaries, McGuire has been conspicuously absent from public events in Louisa where his views could be contrasted with Melissa Dart’s.

 

Image courtesy of Dart for Delegate campaign

And it’s a  level of avoidance so pronounced that when asked point blank at the Louisa Arts Centers Silver Tie Gala earlier this month if he would be participating in Chamber of Commerce’s October 24th Meet and Greet, he didn’t even bother to respond.

Although, it should be noted that he did show up unannounced a half hour into this event and did speak with his supporters.

Nor do his  claims on his Facebook page of “sharing the stage with our opponent at the Farm Bureau candidate’s debate” hold up to much scrutiny.  Speaking for a few minutes at events like this, and fielding a single question hardly counts as a meaningful interaction with the public, let alone a “debate.”

In fact, unless you count his brother’s letter during the primaries, there hasn’t been a single letter in the Central Virginian supporting him.

As you read about conservative values from the CV’s regulars’ like Jim Hogan and Jerry Reynolds; keep in mind that their talking points and straw man arguments are nothing more than willful distractions intended to avoid any meaningful discussion of the issues.

So, if you’re getting tired of the same old rhetoric, vote for Melissa Dart as your next representative in the House of Delegates, and for all of the Democrats (Northam, Fairfax and Herring) at the top of the ticket if you really want to shake things up.
Jon Taylor

Editor’s note: This is an expanded version of a letter submitted to Louisa County’s paper of record, the Central Virginian and was printed in their October 26th issue, and is only available on-line to paying subscribers, or here.

The GOP is no party for honest men

This is the title of an article in the New York Times by columnist Paul Krugman. In it, he argues that Trump and his chief accomplices are lying to Americans about the effects of his proposed tax “reform” plan, which is a thinly-disguised series of tax breaks for the wealthy 1 percent, Wall Street banks and multinational corporations. Appallingly, our very own congressman, Dave Brat, who constantly reminds us that he “is an economist,” is one of the supporters of this package of tax breaks for the rich. You can read the article right here.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Two weeks ago, I said that it seems like every time I write this column, things in this country have gotten worse and worse. They’ve gotten worse. There has been zero progress on curbing gun violence, Trump is lying and flip-flopping on healthcare, he made an asinine decision on the Iran deal against the advice of his national security team and our partners, the humanitarian crisis continues in Puerto Rico, nothing has happened on DACA, there’s no budget, and the Congress is paralyzed by Republican infighting.

Liar-in-chief Donald Trump continues to amaze us every single day, just about every time he exhales, or tweets in the early morning hours from his golden throne. He will say virtually anything to try to distract the American people from the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion and the corruption of our last election. The Washington Post has reported that Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days since what he termed “the largest inauguration in American history.”

The highlights of just this past week were the simply breathtaking lies that Trump uttered when talking about past Presidents’ respect for our fallen warriors, and even more unbelievable, using our dead Green Berets as political footballs, and lying about that, too. Richard Cohen writes in the Washington Post: “Donald Trump does not possess an ounce of compassion. He is reptilian, knowing only to show his fangs, hiss and attack.” This creature is a moral disgrace.

How does this prepare us for the upcoming election? Trump owns Republicans and they own Trump, from the national level right on down to the local level here in Virginia. You can see it for yourselves in what they’ve done and how they behave. Pence just parrots whatever Trump tells him to do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders covers up the lies with spin, Sessions lies to the Congress, Mnuchin lies to the people, Bannon built his career on lies, and, so it goes down the line.

Ed Gillespie lies by saying that Ralph Northam voted to defend “sanctuary cities” and allow MS 13 gangs back on the streets. There are no sanctuary cities in Virginia to defend. He wants to make Virginia “look more like states to our south.” Seriously? Does he mean states like Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana, which is totally broke? Several years ago, he headed the nationwide Republican effort, called REDMAP, to gerrymander the entire country, including North Carolina, where the courts concluded that the state imposed Jim Crow voting restrictions with “surgical precision.”

Jill Vogel wants to “… take back Virginia the way this president is going to take back this country!” That’s more like, backwards, if she gets elected. Vogel heads a law firm that represents some of the nation’s largest right wing super PACs and their related “social welfare” nonprofit organizations, which are allowed to shield their donors. Among them are Americans for Prosperity, part of the “dark money” political network established by the billionaire Koch brothers, and American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Gillespie and GOP strategist Karl Rove. She was the author of the outrageous transvaginal ultrasound bill.

Aren’t we getting tired of all this lying?

Trump, and his ilk, are trying to divert our attention from the critical issues that are going to destroy our country under his so-called leadership. As well as being a lying, heartless, ignorant, childish, misogynistic, racist, bigoted slob, he’s incredibly cunning, in an incredibly evil way. When Senator John McCain, former Republican Presidential nominee, and Vietnam War hero, slammed “spurious nationalism” in his Liberty Medal speech, Trump retorted that “I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point, I fight back, and it won’t be pretty.” Does this sound presidential? It sounds more like a petty gangster to me. Is this the model we want to hold up when rearing our children? Sad.

Make no mistake, America is in trouble. Intelligent citizens capable of critical thinking know that the ballot box is where we decide our communities’ and our country’s futures.

Our last chief executive, speaking in Richmond this past Thursday said, “the most important office in a democracy is not president, not governor, not mayor, it is the office of citizen, because in a democracy, ultimately you decide what kind of politics we have. You decide by what you do and what you don’t do. You decide by whether you are active or whether you are not. You decide whether to use your voice and your franchise to make things better, or whether you succumb to cynicism. The question for you tonight and over the next 19 days is, do you want a politics of division and destruction?—and distraction? Or, do you believe in a better kind of politics, one where we listen to each other and move this country forward?”

Get out and vote on Election Day, November 7th, so that our Republic may reverse the long, downward spiral to mediocrity that will assign us, as John McCain said, “to the ash heap of history.”

Mike McClary

Editors Note: This article has been reposted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared here.

Mom need good health care now

Melissa Dart for the 56th District. Endorsed by one tired parent who can see that Dart understands health care issues whereas her opponent, John McGuire, only makes vague statements about “cutting regulations.”

Dart has 20 years experience in the health care field, with a master’s in health administration and a commitment to see that 300,000 Virginians who are insured through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and 400,000 Virginians who are uninsured, have a chance at affordable and accessible health care.

My son was injured by a needle stick 15 months ago and is only now getting appropriate assessments of the nerve damage to his knee. At the rate he is receiving care, I can’t afford to be anything but a single issue voter, and I can’t afford to adopt a “wait-and-see” attitude about what John McGuire might mean or which regulations he wants to cut.

My son was placed on FAMIS (the state Children’s Health Insurance Program) because of his disability, although I had applied for health insurance for him through the exchange. He has already been placed on FAMIS again for 2018; again, I did not re-apply and the decision was made without my input, meaning that his only option to access health care is through FAMIS/Medicaid.

I am a self-employed business owner. I am only able to apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. I am also an older parent, and concerned about possible leaps in premiums for my age group. Vague statements about regulations do nothing to inspire my confidence.

Candidate John McGuire has worked hard to overcome obstacles including a potentially devastating spinal injury. In order to make that unusual comeback, he benefitted from some sort of health care access. Many people with disabilities do not have the great fortune that Mr. McGuire has had.

I would like my son, whose prognosis for recovery has been severely affected by how long it has taken for him to obtain treatment (nerve injuries have a very limited window for regrowth and repair) to have the same chance at accessing health care so that he, too, can recover, if possible.

Paula C. Durbin-Westby

Editor’s Note: This originally appeared in the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted with the author’s permission, and is only available on-line to paying subscribers, or here.