- Last Updated on 07:47 AM 09/26/12
- BY Doug Ford
George Allen brought his Virginia Voices tour to Southside Virginia on Monday where he listened to small business owners, community leaders and local residents whose voices he said are not being heard in Washington.
Allen, accompanied by Senator Frank Ruff of Clarksville, met with over 60 local job-creators, community leaders and local residents in a Fairfield Inn conference room.
Allen listened as attendees told him their views on issues ranging from health care and Washington’s fiscal recklessness to national security and conflicts in the Middle East.
“Small businesses create most of the jobs, yet Washington is hurting them the most,” said Allen. “I’m hearing from Southside small business owners that the regulations coming out of Washington are driving up energy prices, burdening businesses with red tape and keeping the economy suppressed under uncertainty.
“And instead of raising taxes on everyone as my opponent has proposed, I believe we need to lower the tax burdens on job-creating businesses so that they can keep more of their hard-earned dollars to invest, grow and hire more employees. It’s time for America’s comeback with common-sense solutions built on freedom and opportunity, not more government.”
He focused on one particular issue of concern to Southside residents — especially its seniors —whether they will have access to doctors who they fear will not be able to take anymore Medicare patients as a result of Obamacare.
They also worry whether Obamacare is going to put the rural hospital, as locals know it, “out of business.”
“The nurses, doctors all are very concerned about it,” Allen said, and “it’s not just a concern for doctors and hospitals.
“Tim Kaine, my opponent, said Obamacare would be great for Democrats, and I’m quoting him. I want to be the deciding vote to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Allen told his audience to a round of applause.
He acknowledged the existing health care system needs to be improved.
“What we need to do is make sure doctors and patients are the ones making health care decisions, not bureaucracies up in Washington,” he added.
Allen favors more personalized, affordable and portable health saving accounts where major medical is covered, and the deductible that isn’t spent every year is rolled over year after year after year until the individual owns his or her own insurance policy.
“Even if they switch jobs, they don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions not being covered by a new employer,” he said.
Also Allen said small businesses need to be able to band together across state lines and build a larger risk pool that would result in savings, more competition and choice.
Asking for a show of hands of small business owners in attendance, Allen quipped, “I guess you built your small business, by the way.”
He also said he trusts state legislators like Senator Ruff who Allen says should have more flexibility to run the Medicaid program.
“I trust Frank, and I trust even the Democrats in the legislature more than I do Washington to ensure we have a better, more efficient and accountable Medicaid program in Virginia,” Allen said.
However, he said he does support the part of the health care law that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they reach age 26.
“The job market right now for young people is the worst it’s been since World War II,” he said. “It’s better to have these young people on their parents’ policy up until age 26 rather than have no policy at all.”
Allen focused much of his talk to South Boston supporters on how to create more jobs for people.
“There’s no better social program than a job,” Allen said.
The GOP U. S. Senate candidate also believes tax laws need to be more simple, more fair and more competitive.
“Taxes on job creating businesses in the U. S. are the worst in the world at 35 percent,” Allen said. “The international average is 25 percent. I think America should be better than average, and I’m advocating rates at 20 percent. If that were done, we’d be sending a message to the world that America is open for business again.”
He estimated a 20 percent tax would help create 500,000 new jobs a year.
Senator Ruff agreed with Allen that the greatest issue on the minds of Southside Virginians headed to the polls this year is jobs.
“We have men and women working hard to succeed, but they see a federal government that puts roadblocks to our communities growing and creating the jobs we need,” Ruff said.
“Energy costs keep skyrocketing while our small businesses are under even greater pressure to make ends meet in this challenging economy. Washington’s answer has been more red tape, more taxes and bigger government that has failed to turn around this economy.
“George Allen helped create over 300,000 new Virginia jobs while governor using the proven solutions of lowering taxes, making regulations reasonable and setting priorities for investment and public safety. We need George Allen’s record of leadership and results in Washington to reverse the tax and regulatory policies hurting small businesses and free our economy for more development and more jobs,” Ruff added.
On the energy front, Allen said America is #1.
However, he added, “The folks in Washington seem to look at our energy resources as a curse. If they keep going this way and knocking out coal as a source of reliable electricity, the result is going to be we are going to feel the same pain paying our monthly electric bill that we have been feeling when we fill up our gas tank.”
He referred to oil and gas resources located off the coast of Virginia and promised if elected he would introduce a bill the very day he is sworn in to allow Virginia to produce oil and gas off its coast.
“If we use America’s energy resources, what would happen would be hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created, and we would have more affordable oil, coal and electricity, and we’d also be more competitive for jobs and less vulnerable to outside sources, and we’d be keeping our money in the United States of America,” he said.
Strong leadership is needed in Washington at this time, Allen declared, on so many issues.
Asking for a show of hands of military veterans, Allen said sequestration or the “debt deal” is another example of Washington “sloughing off its duty” to yet another commission.
A total of $500 billion in cuts will be imposed on national defense that ultimately will harm the country’s military readiness and be harmful to jobs, he explained.
“The men and women who serve in our armed forces should never be used in a political deal as part of a bargaining chip to raise taxes on job creation,” Allen said. “What is needed is leadership. Not raising taxes on hard working families, retirees and those who serve in the military.”
Allen’s Virginia Voices tour to South Boston highlighted the stories, concerns and ideas of many Southside Virginians whose voices, they say, are not being heard in Washington.
VirginiaVoices.com features TV ads, web videos and social media tools designed to share the real issues facing Virginians.
Visit www.VirginiaVoices.com to learn more.