Story by Chris Graham
All politics is local – but to Connie Brennan, it is also true that all Virginia politics emanates out of Richmond.
“I think being on the board of supervisors was sort of a catalyzing event for me – because I now see that everything that happens in Richmond profoundly affects us here at home,” said Brennan, a Nelson County Board of Supervisors member who is challenging incumbent Watkins Abbitt for the 59th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates this fall.
Brennan, a Democrat, has also served on the Nelson County School Board – and she feels that her experiences in local government can help her in Richmond.
“Very often there’s a disconnect with what goes on up there – and often a lot of it is well-intentioned, but then it comes down to us at the local level, and it presents a lot of problems,” Brennan said in an interview on “The Augusta Free Press Show” last week.
Continued state-government attention to the local-government needs in education is one priority for Brennan.
“There’s going to be a biennial rebenchmarking coming up to the tune of $1.4 billion – I don’t know where we’re going to get there. We’ve got to pay attention to this. It’s a changing world – and technology is huge, and we’ve got to make sure that children have access to the kinds of education they need so they can be successful,” Brennan said.
Brennan, a nurse practitioner, also has her eyes set on having the state do something to address the health-care needs of Virginians.
“The number-one issue is health care,” Brennan said. “People are worried. I mean, we have teachers in our school system who can’t afford the premiums for the health care that we offer. It’s a terrible thing. We have seniors who are getting caught without access to affordable health care. We have a children’s health plan, but we have a lot of children out there who don’t take advantage of it, for lots of complicated reasons.”
Brennan advocates having the state look at setting up its own universal health care system.
“Some sort of universal health care is really, really needed,” Brennan said.
“The federal government doesn’t appear to be stepping up to the plate, and so I think it does behoove states to get on this. And it’s something that I would really be working very hard on – to see if we can implement some sort of a plan looking at what other states have actually done,” Brennan said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.