House Democrats offer critical statements on General Assembly session


Democrat vs. Republican on whiteWith the 2015 legislative session coming to a close, the House Democratic Caucus released the following statements pointing out while the House of Delegates made positive accomplishments towards building a new Virginia economy, the Republican Caucus hid many of their legislative actions under the table and away from Virginia voters, rather than focus on many kitchen table issues Virginians care about.

Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44)
“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Republican Caucus of the House of Delegates chose to focus on allowing loaded shotguns in cars and facilitated concealed weapons permits for convicted stalkers and mentally ill Virginians instead of focusing on gun violence prevention and firearms safety which are what most Virginians discuss at their kitchen table.”

Delegate David Toscano (D-57)
“The Democratic Caucus is pleased with our efforts this session to build a new Virginia economy, but we are disappointed that the kitchen table issues of raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid were instead laid on the table killed by Republicans. Working Virginians need a raise, and we were very disappointed that at every given opportunity, the Republican Caucus chose to deny Virginians a raise in the minimum wage. Additionally, our Republican colleagues continue their opposition to closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. We will continue to fight for our Democratic values as we work to build a new Virginia economy that creates opportunities for all Virginians.”

Delegate Kaye Kory (D-38)
“While I am pleased with the progress we made this session, I am disappointed that so many pro-women bills were killed under the table by the Republican Caucus. By repealing the invasive mandatory ultrasound, ensuring equal pay, and passing the Equal Rights Amendment, we could have sent a message that in a new Virginia economy, we ensure women have their rights protected to make their own healthcare decisions, are paid equally for equal work, and are guaranteed equal rights under the law. Instead, our colleagues across the aisle chose to kill these bills under the table. Our Caucus remains committed to fighting for women’s rights in a new Virginia economy.”

Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-49)
“This session, the House of Delegates had an opportunity to pass bills to invest in our clean energy infrastructure that would protect our environment while creating good jobs for a new Virginia economy. Instead, our colleagues across the aisle not only killed these pieces of legislation, but passed legislation under the table that undermines the E.P.A.’s clean air standards in our Commonwealth. Global climate change is a very real problem, and we had an opportunity to pursue initiatives to combat this issue. The Republican Caucus, however, chose to continue subscribing to the Tea Party science magazine of climate change denial.”

Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45)
“We applaud the bipartisan work on education and testing reform this year and the modest increases in funding for our schools, but hidden under the kitchen table, per pupil funding is still lower than a few years ago, our teacher pay is still behind national standards, our state’s education ranking is falling and the General Assembly continues to push for new ways to take away local school funds with proposals for new government bureaucracies for virtual schools, new board of education powers to force the cost of charter schools onto local communities without any local say-so and proposals to take local funds and divert them to religious schools. For Virginia’s new economy, we need to make public education a higher priority, give our teachers a real pay increase so they can focus on our kids and don’t have to work two or more jobs, and help local districts meet the rising demands on their time and resources.”

Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11)
“Voters should be able to pick their politicians, not the other way around, and this legislative session our body failed to pass legislation that would allow for fair redistricting. It is very unfortunate our two Caucuses were unable to come together to ensure all Virginians have their voices heard in elections. I hope going forward, the General Assembly sees the need for fair redistricting, and works to achieve this commonsense, widely supported initiative.”


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