Marrow, Landes stake out positions in WSVA debate
The debate, on WSVA-550AM, did have Marrow, the Democratic nominee, pressing Landes, the seven-term Republican incumbent, on his self-identification as a small businessman. Referring to Landes’ tenure at the NewBiz Virginia small-business incubator, which came to an end in 2006 with Landes’ resignation as the nonprofit was running out of operating funds, Marrow said Landes “doesn’t have a lot of experience with business. The one business he’s been associated with actually went under.”
Landes defended his time with NewBiz, claiming that the facility under his leadership “was full and was able to bring in and help small businesses,” and only went under due to “a lack of basically funding for a nonprofit organization, which if you talk to any nonprofit today is a very difficult thing to do in a tough economy.”
NewBiz closed up shop in 2006 at a time when the economy was not yet in recession. The current recession dates to December 2007.
Talk about the economy and health care dominated the debate, which featured a run of questions from callers to the live event. Marrow pledged that as a state delegate he would use his skills as a doctor as a “person who identifies problems.” “I’m used to identifying a problem and then doing something about it. And that’s what I want to do. I don’t ride people’s coattails. I lead. I think it’s very important for us to have people in Richmond who are willing to jump, scream and yell and make sure that Richmond does not forget the Valley,” Marrow said.
Landes touted himself as a “fiscal conservative, and I think that’s a good thing from the standpoint of dealing with the state budget.”
“The one thing I’ve tried to work on is keeping regulations low, allowing businesses to prosper and to provide jobs here, and also the manufacturing sector that has expanded and those jobs in those areas. But increasing the taxes is not the way to do it. Increasing the tax base is the way to do it,” Landes said.
Marrow is a self-described “Reagan Democrat.” “I’m fiscally conservative. I’m a business owner. I do not like taxes. I pay enough of them as it is. But you know what, I do believe that we need to make our communities better,” Marrow said.
“I’m an old sailor, and we have an old saying – when the tide comes in, all boats rise. One of the best ways to make a strong economy is to make everybody who is in that community and in that local economy a taxpaying citizen who is consuming local products and local goods. That makes everybody succeed,” Marrow said.
The closest thing to a heated exchange came during a discussion of what is being talked about on Capitol Hill in the area of health-care reform. Landes started to say that he doesn’t support “the single-payer system that’s being proposed” when Marrow interrupted him to correct the record. “Single-payer is not the same thing as the public option,” Marrow said.
“Well, the government option, or single-payer system, the ones that have been proposed, it does put more government control into the free market. And we have a free-market system,” Landes said.
“What people tell me they want is to keep what they’ve got, not lose their insurance, but cover the people that are not being covered, that are falling through the cracks,” Landes said.
“I agree with Del. Landes that we have to watch out for what sort of mandates are out there. But to do nothing because we think that maybe something bad will be put in there is very, very dangerous. We have to do something. We have a medical crisis here. Virginia itself is facing in the next decade or so a 1,500-physician shortage. And we’re already short and in a crisis mode with our nurses. So we need to address that now. And we can address that on a state level,” Marrow said.
“The public option is going to drive the costs down to the states, because it’s going to make it more of a fair market. It’s going to drive those costs down, make it more competitive, and I think that bodes well on the national as well as the state level,” Marrow said.
– Story by Chris Graham