We need to restore an economy that works for the middle class. Too many Virginians are living paycheck to paycheck. As someone who has founded and managed start ups, I know that investment in small business is key to bringing good-paying jobs and economic growth to our area. I want to make it easier to start and grow small businesses in Virginia through new tax incentives and support for entrepreneurship. We also need to do more to attract a diverse set of manufacturing and technology businesses to add to our already strong industrial base. Throughout the state, we need to provide the tools and the environment to attract cutting-edge technology businesses that can help lessen our dependence on defense spending.
We need to make sure our kids are career-ready, not just college-ready. This means reinvesting in our teachers and school facilities so that our kids don’t end up lagging behind their peers in other states. I want to encourage and incentivize the students who graduate from our schools to stay in our state. This means helping to train them for the jobs that we have here. Our schools can instill a greater community spirit, as well as provide practical preparation for work. A high quality education that allows the next generation of Virginians to remain in the state with good-paying jobs is a great return on our education dollars.
Every year thousands of uninsured Virginians delay preventative care until they face a life-threatening emergency. For these patients, hospitals are the healthcare providers of last resort due to laws that require hospitals to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. This makes hospitals less competitive and patients sicker, making healthcare more expensive for all of us. Expanding Medicaid can keep these costs lower and make healthcare more affordable for all Virginians. Healthcare providers are being squeezed by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s refusal to fund a healthy Medicaid program. For years the majority in the General Assembly has refused to expand Medicaid. Virginia needs to take action and expand Medicaid before it’s too late: too late for Virginia and too late for the thousands of Virginians who are being left behind.
To foster a 21st century economy, we need to move beyond our 1960s infrastructure. We need more investment to build the infrastructure of the future: high-efficiency public transportation to cut down congestion and bring economic growth to the area. In the meantime, we need greater investment in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, including expanding the third leg of I-64, to meet these goals of lessening congestion and commute times and spurring economic growth. Regional cooperation among Peninsula and Southside representatives, including through the HRTPO and HRTAC, will help expedite the work that needs to be done to make our roadways more efficient and accessible.
Budget and Taxation
As a business owner, I take a pragmatic approach to issues of taxing and spending. I’m responsible to my investors and employees, just like government is responsible to the taxpayers and the people who keep the Commonwealth running on a daily basis. I understand that every government program comes at a cost to the taxpayer and should be scrutinized on an ongoing basis. Your priorities are my priorities, and that’s why I’ll make sure education, infrastructure, public safety, and work-development are funded.
We need to demand that every dollar spent is justified by positive results. If a program is not performing, it should not continue in the budget. Virginia has a competitively low income tax structure, and we should endeavor to maintain our business-friendly tax system, while taking care to ensure that we maximize resources in a manner that gives all of our citizens a chance to succeed. At the same time, we should resist efforts to increase sales taxes, tolls, and user fees that are assessed regardless of income, because those regressive taxes tend to place a higher burden on working families.
As a proud husband, father, and son, I will fight to make sure that women in Virginia are treated with dignity and respect. This means fighting for equal pay, for low-cost preventative care, and for decisions about a woman’s body to be left up to her and her doctor, not to the Virginia government.
Climate change is an issue in every coastal community in the country, and Hampton Roads is no exception. Major storms, temperature swings and sea level rise impact us all. If we can’t show that we are taking these issues seriously and working to make the area more resilient to climate change, we will lose economic opportunities because of the risks of doing business here.
We also have other environmental challenges, like ensuring our water and air are as clean as we can make them. This is vitally important for the health of the people who call our community home.
I will work on climate change issues regionally and develop a plan for all of Hampton Roads. I will also fight to improve programs that protect our environmental resources.
Please join me in helping to build a strong 21st century Virginia.