June 10, 2015

On June 9th,  Delegate Chris Head defeated challenger Harry Greigo with 52.8% of the vote in the 17th House District Republican Primary. This Primary was the lone election in our region but it wasn't all quiet on the political front. Tuesday's Primary, was also the deadline for Independent candidates to jump in -- our region had two. After weeks of speculation  Don Caldwell entered the race as an Independent for Virginia Senate District 21 against  Nancy Dye (R) and John Edwards (D).  Independent, Steven Nelson, also filed the necessary paperwork to run in the 19th Virginia Senate District against David Suetterlein (R) and Mike Hamlar (D). Outside our region, all eyes were on Virginia's 28th District where Speaker Bill Howell handily defeated his former protege, Tea Party backed Susan Stimpson, with 62% of the vote. For a full breakdown of Primary day across the Commonwealth,  click here.
On June 5th, a federal three-judge panel ruled that Virginia's third congressional district unconstitutionally packed too many African-American voters into its boundaries and ordered the General Assembly to redraw the state's congressional districts by Sept. 1. This ruling could force the General Assembly into a special summer session but the timetable is unclear with the anticipation of an ongoing appeals process. 
Position: The Chamber supports efforts to make the redistricting process less partisan. Competitive elections produce better candidates. 
The U.S. House has moved forward to vote on June 12th  to give President Obama the authority to fast-track negotiations on a 12 nation Pacific trade deal. The Whip's office has been busy counting votes on this one and Republicans are comfortable they have the support they need to pass the sweeping trade legislation. This bill has forged a rare partnership between Republicans and the President against an extensive alliance of Democrats. If passed, this legislation will be a huge victory for the agriculture, technology and manufacturing sectors. Opponents (mostly trade unions) argue that these bills fail to deliver and hurt our workforce by pushing jobs overseas. Obama added, "We have the opportunity to open even more new markets to goods and services backed by three proud words: Made In America." 

Last week, hospital executives from across the Commonwealth voiced a stern message to the General Assembly - 'Stop Demonizing Medicaid'.
Executives took part in a panel discussion at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce's annual health care conference. Nancy Agee, CEO of Carillion, stressed the need for predictable revenue streams and others were more direct in voicing their opinion. "To the folks in Richmond, expand Medicaid," said Michael Dudley, Senior VP of Sentara. "To the folks in Washington, learn to govern with wisdom, not for power." 
Position: The Chamber supports continued dialogue on Medicaid reform and expansion, particularly on market-based approaches for capturing ACA related taxes Virginians are currently paying.   

Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce | 540-983-0700 | 
| http://www.roanokechamber.org
210 S. Jefferson St.
Roanoke, VA 24011