Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anthony Flaccavento seeks 9th congressional district seat

Anthony Flaccavento at RVDW picnic.

The Democratic candidate for the 9th congressional district Anthony Flaccavento is an organic farmer and owner of SCALE, Inc, a consulting firm. Last Thursday evening he spoke to the Roanoke Valley Democratic Women’s annual picnic.

Flaccavento doesn’t believe in throwing easy pitches to his Republican opponent incumbent congressman Morgan Griffith or his political party. “The current Republican Party keeps saying what they actually believe … about women’s reproductive rights … and passing on more tax breaks to wealthy and powerful people,” he said.\

More women are becoming business leaders and the policies his opponent supports are taking away women’s ability to progress he said. “Their complete disparagement of women goes beyond the most obvious … it is at the heart of their economic policy,” said Flaccavento. “It’s not trickle down but suck up.”

Flaccavento was endorsed by the AFL-CIO; an umbrella federation made up of 56 unions. The AFL-CIO is represented in southwest Virginia by coal miners who belong to the United Mine Workers of America, members of the Communications Workers of America, and manufacturing-related groups such as the Ironworkers and United Steelworkers unions. “Anthony Flaccavento has always been a strong supporter of union workers and the labor movement,” said Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays. “He is the right choice for the people of southwest Virginia.”

Flaccavento said his opponent “has voted repeatedly to reduce benefits for union workers. I will continue to stand up for the labor movement whether in the coalfields, in manufacturing or in the communications industry.”

The Roanoke Star asked him about the Affordable Healthcare Act. He said the harping on the $712 billion coming from Medicare is ironic. “It’s the same people that keep saying we’ve got to cut entitlements,” said Flaccavento. He said that President Obama has presented a plan that gradually reduces cost and “they scream about it … it won’t come out of the Medicare recipients pocket.” It is all a reduction in administrative costs and use of computerization of medical records. The saving then goes to preventive care that in turn saves extended medical care costs he said.

Griffith said, “if you drop the amount of money paid to Medicare doctors so they don’t even break even then they will not accept any more patients.”

A primary objective for Flaccavento is to get the pharmaceutical industry to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D that would result in substantial savings for seniors’ and the government.

The 9th district is heavy in the coal industry and the ACA will greatly help miners he said. It was another benefit that is not well known. “Coal miners get what’s called the 15-year rule,” he said. It states that a miner with at least fifteen years of underground coal mine employment or surface mine work with similar dust exposure who has a totally disabling lung impairment but a negative chest x-ray is entitled to the presumption that the disability is due to pneumoconiosis.

The Black Lung Benefits Act applies to both miners and widows in the ACA. A widow is automatically entitled to benefits if the miner had been awarded benefits at the time of his death.

The coal operator can rebut the presumption through only two ways: by proving the miner did not have pneumoconiosis or by proving the miner’s disabling impairment was not due to his coal mine employment. “Some of the coal miners would literally go to their graves trying to get disability benefits,” said Flaccavento. “With this amendment if they have advanced stage restrictive lung disease and you’ve been in the mines at least 15 years you’re automatically approved and the company has to disprove.”

Flaccavento lashed into Griffith’s comment that no major bills will be taken up prior to the election. Sequestration looms, as does the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on January 1, 2013. Sequestration came about when the super committee could not agree on $1.2 trillion of additional spending cuts resulting in nine percent cuts across the board including defense and Medicare payments to providers. Social Security is exempt.

“My opponent says he hoped some things would get done,” said Flaccavento. “As Congressman, I won’t just hope. I will get things done for southwest Virginia.”

“I’m also curious as to why we haven’t heard my opponent talk about jobs,” he said. “It might be because in two years in Congress, he hasn’t introduced or even voted for a single piece of legislation to help working-class and middle-class families. I’ve worked to build strong local economies for the past 30 years, and after I’m elected I will continue to help put the Ninth District back to work.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, National, Politics

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