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While the Governor and Attorney General Were Out of Touch…

October 11, 2010 9:21 pm by: Category: Media Releases A+ / A-

Virginia Organizations Urge Focus on Struggling Virginia Families

Richmond: As the Governor and Attorney General prepare to address the Tea Party convention in Richmond this weekend, organizations who work across the Commonwealth are sending a message to remember the majority of Virginians who won't be represented at the convention.

"Folks are angry right now, and they have a right to be. There aren't any jobs, unemployment is running out and it is frustrating. The problem is, that the Governor and Attorney General are out of touch and listening to extreme solutions. The majority of Virginians want a state government that is accountable and will invest in the future. People don't want teachers fired, federal unemployment assistance turned down or health care taken away." said Jay Johnson, chairperson Virginia Organizing. "There are reasonable solutions to create jobs and stimulate the economy that most Virginians would support. Governor McDonnell and the Attorney General need to stop spending time fighting political fights and start paying attention to Virginia families."

Organizations compiled a list of policy solutions that will result in job growth, health care coverage and stability for the middle class. They are sending these "While You Were Out" memos to the Governor and the Attorney General to remind them that there are solutions to be found that don't include dismantling Commonwealth services.

While Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli were out of touch with Virginians, chasing an extreme Washington, DC, agenda:

Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli ignored the almost 300,000 unemployed Virginians:

* Watermen like Russell Dize struggle to make a living while fish, crab and oyster populations suffer due to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Dize sold his company after being forced to lay off 80% of his employees. The number of people employed in Bay-related jobs plummeted from 14,000 to 1,5000 since 1993. 123 Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli are extremely out of touch with the values of this true Virginia industry, neglecting their responsibility to Virginians to stop pollution in the Bay to save these industries and jobs. Contact: Glen Besa, Sierra Club chapter director 804-225-9113 glen.besa@sierraclub.org

* There are more than 6,500 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, who are stuck on the Medicaid waiting list. These families are in desperate need of cost-effective services and supports. Furthermore, providing Medicaid waiver slots for these families would create approximately 10,000 new home care jobs across the Commonwealth. Like Julia Newton of Portsmouth, whose son Antoine has been on the waiting list for a Medicaid Waiver slot for over 9 years. "That is too long to go without help. Sadly, without the MR waiver, my son is literally wasting away," says Newton. "And with the Governor having proposed to eliminate waiver slots, he may never get the services he needs to live at home.” . Contact: David Broder, State Director, Virginia Association of Personal Care Assistants, dbroder@virginiapca.org

* The Affordable Care Act kicked in last week so that 100,000 small businesses in Virginia could be helped by a new small business tax credit that makes it easier for businesses to provide coverage to their workers and makes premiums more affordable.4 Instead of supporting this effort, Attorney General Cuccinelli is trying to stop these credits from happening by suing the federal government. By making health insurance more affordable, small businesses can bring on more employees. Contact: Julie Blust 804-405-6615 blust@virginia-organizing.org

Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli fought deny access to health care for Virginians:

* The Affordable Care Act kicked in last week, ensuring that 25,800 young people in Virginia will be able to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they are 26.5 Attorney General is fighting this, using tax payer dollars to sue the federal government. The new provisions will help people like Janie Williams. Williams graduated from the University of Virginia in May and has yet to find a job in her field. She has been waiting tables at a job without affordable insurance. But now, thanks to the health care law can go back on her parents’ plan. Contact: Julie Blust 804-405-6615 blust@virginia-organizing.org

* In Roanoke, Petersburg and communities throughout the Commonwealth, teenagers are facing alarmingly high rates of pregnancy. At the same time, these teens are dropping out of school and many will never earn a high school diploma, much less a college degree. The governor could have easily accepted free federal money for comprehensive sex education programs, but he refused. While he is out playing politics, Virginia youth are facing situations preventing them from pursuing the best and brightest future possible. Contact: Joseph Richards, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia programs and communications director 202.530.4168 joey@naralva.org

Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli have not protected Virginia families from Wall Street:

* Wall Street Banks have been forging foreclosure documents, possibly forcing families to leave their homes illegally. The Attorneys General of other states are actively working to protect their constituents, and major banks have been forced to halt foreclosures altogether in 23 states.6 We call on our Governor and Attorney General to stand with the thousands of Virginians in danger of losing their homes and against Wall Street profiteers who seek to evict thousands of families. Contact: Tram Nguyen, 703-684-5697, ext 303, Associate Director, Virginia New Majority Education Fund, tnguyen@virginianewmajority.org.

* Insurance companies have been ripping of Virginians without consequence. The Attorney General has done nothing to stop them or investigate criminal behavior. Just south of us the North Carolina insurance bureau announced this week that 215,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield policyholders would receive a total of $155.8 million in refunds thanks to a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The average policyholder will receive a refund of $700.7 Contact: Julie Blust 804-405-6615 blust@virginia-organizing.org

Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli left Virginian's on their own to find ways to save money:

* While the Governor and Attorney General focus on their extreme agenda, chasing University professors who don't even work in the state anymore, thousands of Virginians have gone solar with the help of federal stimulus dollars. People like my neighbor, Helen Reinecke-Witt and three other families have been able to start a solar cooperative in the Claremont neighborhood of Arlington, VA. Not only are they are lowering their electricity bills but they are decreasing their dependence on fossil fuels as well. Contact: Diana Dascalu-Joffe, CCAN (240) 396-1984 diana@chesapeakeclimate.org

1 Environment Virginia, Research and Policy Center. 2009. Watermen Blues: Economic, Cultural and Community Impacts of Poor Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay. http://cdn.publicinterestnetwork.org/assets/WkBed9EV7skWmX6aM4YeVQ/Waterman-Blues-VA.pdf.

2 Turning the Tide: Saving the Chesapeake Bay, Island Press. Tom Horton. 2003.

3 Chesapeake politics: Virginia officials make it clear how much they really care about the Chesapeake Bay. Freelance Star. July 29, 2010. http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/072010/07292010/563351.

4“Lower Premiums, Stonger Businesses: How Health Insurance reform Will Bring Down Costs for Small Businesses, healthreform.gov, http://healthreform.gov/reports/smallbusiness2/index.html

5“The Affordable Care Act: Immediate Benefits For Virginia”, http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/statehealthreform/virginia.html

6Pelosi, lawmakers call for federal probe on mortgage lenders, Washington Post, Wednesday October 6th, 2010 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/05/AR2010100503969.html

7Blue Cross to refund $156 million in NC, USA Today, September 21st, 2010 http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-21-healthinsurance21_ST_N.htm

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