Saturday, May 31, 2014

Senator Mark Warner hits Roanoke on State reelection tour

Richard "Dickie" Cranwell

Richard “Dickie” Cranwell

U.S. Senator Mark Warner picked a perfect day Saturday to kick off his reelection campaign. Over 100 officials and supporters showed up at Century Plaza. He hit his  10th stop in Roanoke shortly after 12:30 p.m. after a stint in Lynchburg. “Will you help me get rehired this fall,” Warner asked. The resounding response was shouts of “yes.”

Former Virginia House Majority Leader and former DPV Chair Richard “Dickie” Cranwell gave his Southern charm introduction for Warner. The mayor, council members, Delegate Sam Rasoul and Senator John Edwards were among the elected officials there to greet him. Dave  “Mudcat” Saunders even made an appearance.

Virginia’s Senior Senator has been in Washington for 5 1/2 years. “it is at times frustrating … Washington even makes Richmond look rational even when the legislature is in session,” said Warner jokingly.

His reelection theme was that everyone needs a fair shot at success. “I worry about if all of our kids and grandkids are going to get a fair shot,” he said. He fears that the next financial crisis could be the “crushing amount of student debt.”

“You shouldn’t go broke if you want to go to college,” he said.

Jean Mistele & Norma Jean Peters

Jean Mistele & Norma Jean Peters

Warner called for a website that pulls in already available data so students “know before they go.” Know the earning potential of the career before they accumulate debt that they can’t repay. He tossed out obtaining a year of college credit while in high school with the goal of reducing college tuition by one year.

Warner is pushing for a tax code reform that brings manufacturing and technology jobs back into American instead of sending them overseas.

“It is time for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Warner. He said the system is broken. The borders need to be secured and immigrant workers need to become taxpayers. Foreign students who get an advanced college degrees should not have to leave the United States he said.

Warner wants the budget fixed, to see the tax code reformed and the federal deficit shrunk. This is hampering our ability to invest in infrastructure, education and research he said. “The only way we’re going to get this done is to elect rational people.” It is about compromise, different ideas and working together he said.

Dave "Mudcat" Saunders

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders

Later he was asked about Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resignation. There needs to be a cultural change from top to bottom said Warner while praising Shinseki’s service. The focus needs to be on reform at the VA. “Too often veterans are not being treated with the respect they deserve.”

The Marketplace Fairness Act was passed by the Senate and is being held hostage by 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chair of the Judiciary Committee. The bill would even the playing field by requiring Internet purchases to be subject to sales tax. It is being pushed by Roanoke’s brick and mortar businesses, the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and city and county officials.

Warner said the Senate set the Internet sales limit at $1 million before the sales tax kicks  in. “If there is some other number [Congress] wants to look at that would be reasonable … the house should act.”

Warner reminded that Virginia’s Transportation reform is counting on funds from the Internet sales tax. There is a hole in the budget because of the delay. “If the House has a different idea – that’s fine – but at least put a different idea out,” said Warner.

Senator Mark Warner

Senator Mark Warner

The Blue Ridge Coalition against Gun Violence passed out yellow stickers to remind attendees of Senator Warner’s voting record on gun violation legislation. Many wore the sticker that read “Background Checks Save Lives.” Warner voted against five amendments but voted for the Manchin-Toomey Senate bill to expand background checks..

Warner said, “I’ve been a strong supporter of the second amendment but after Sandy Hook [Elementary School shooting] … a background check in terms of mental health and criminal history – that’s common sense and I think most gun owners in American support that.” He thought that the proposed legislation by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia that failed was reasonable and thoughtful.

“When the Sandy Hook families came in to talk to us the request they made was background checks” and nothing else. Warner hopes it will be revisited. As far as misses with mental health  there are privacy issues that need to be overcome he said.

Monday Warner will lead a discussion on proposed regulations and initiatives to improve the safety of transporting crude oil by rail in the aftermath of the train derailment and fire in downtown Lynchburg.

Former Republican Senator John Warner has endorsed Democrat Mark Warner for reelection announced Mark Warner. He toured downtown and was off to Martinsville.

Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie is expected to be Warner’s Republican opponent after the Republican Party of Virginia holds their convention in a week.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2014, Elections, National, Politics

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