Roanoke, Va. — At a press conference yesterday organized by the Democratic Party of Virginia, Roanoke elected officials criticized Ed Gillespie for refusing to support Medicaid expansion and for proposing massive tax cuts for the rich that will force cuts to public schools. At the event, Mayor Sherman Lea, State Senator John Edwards, Delegate Sam Rasoul and Candidates for Delegate Djuna Osborne and Steve McBride touted Ralph Northam’s support for expanding quality, affordable health care and his plan to strengthen Virginia’s rural economy.
“Ed Gillespie’s tax plan lines the pockets of millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the working Virginians,” said Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea. “Ralph’s plan is to ensure a level playing field and economic opportunity for every Virginian – no matter who you are, no matter where you live.”
“Accepting the Medicaid dollars we have already sent to Washington will grow our economy, create 30,000 new jobs, and provide up to 400,000 Virginians the health care they need,” said State Senator John Edwards. “As governor, Dr. Northam will fight to expand Medicaid and, as a son of the Eastern Shore, have the best interests of rural Virginia in mind.”
"Ralph Northam has developed a plan to help the economy in Rural Virginia by listening to the needs of our community,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul. “With Ralph leading us, we can work to achieve broadband expansion, increased workforce training, and a livable minimum wage. Revitalizing the economy to work for every Virginian, no matter where they live, will be a team effort. I know Ralph is the right person to take Virginia's economy to the next level."
“As a clinical social worker, I have seen first-hand what happens when people go without health insurance,” said Djuna Osborne, Candidate for Delegate in the 17th House District. “Over 20,000 Virginians in Roanoke and the immediate surrounding areas will benefit from Medicaid expansion, including 2,400 here in the 17th District. We need a governor in Richmond who will fight to make that happen. We need Ralph Northam.”
Following the U.S. Senate’s latest rejection of Trumpcare, speakers emphasized that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land — and that Virginia’s next governor must support Medicaid expansion. According to the Commonwealth Institute, 20,200 working Virginians could gain coverage through Medicaid expansion in Roanoke's immediate surrounding counties and cities. Yet instead of embracing Medicaid expansion and solutions to expand quality, affordable coverage, Ed Gillespie has called for cuts to Medicaid and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Speakers also criticized Gillespie for supporting a $1.3 billion, “phony math” tax cut for the wealthiest that could jeopardize the commonwealth’s AAA bond rating and force cuts to public education, transportation, higher education, and health care.