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He called the shutdown's negative impact on the state's economy "devastating."
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe slammed the government shutdown during a campaign stop in downtown Roanoke on Friday, and touted diversified economic development as a way to soften the blow of any future gridlock.
McAuliffe, who received a tour of Sumdat Farm Market on Market Street, was in town to talk about his plan to build Virginia’s agriculture and forestry sectors. After looking through the store’s selection of local jams, beers and wines, he stepped outside to see the squash and vegetable selections and quickly moved to attack the federal government shutdown.
In comments to reporters, he linked the shutdown, which began Tuesday, to the tactics of the tea party and “allies of Ken Cuccinelli,” his Republican opponent and the state’s current attorney general.
“They have used the government shutdown as a tool for their ideological battle,” McAuliffe said.
Anna Nix, a spokeswoman for the Cuccinelli campaign, pointed later to the Republican candidate’s comments earlier this week that he would like to see the government up and running. Cuccinelli also has called for top legislators to decline their paychecks during the shutdown.
“It’s interesting that Terry McAuliffe has not yet said whether he agrees with Ken Cuccinelli’s call for the president, his Cabinet and all members of Congress to decline their paychecks during the government shutdown,” Nix said. “His silence might have something to do with his fear of upsetting his many friends inside the Beltway.”
McAuliffe cited the thousands of Virginian federal government employees who have been furloughed as a negative impact on the state’s economy.
“It’s devastating and it’s wrong,” he said.
As part of the conversation about the shutdown and the previous federal budget measure that sequestered funds and affected facilities in the state, McAuliffe pushed plans to bolster private industry sectors such as agriculture and energy.
“That’s what we have to do,” he said. “Preserve the jobs we have today and make sure we grow and diversify for the future.”
He also expressed his support for the Medicaid expansion that Virginia has not accepted, promising to accept the money offered by the federal government as a piece of the Affordable Care Act.
McAuliffe said it would aid the economy, as well as the low-income adults who would become covered by Medicaid, by “bringing Virginia’s federal tax money back to Virginia.”
With those funds in tow, McAuliffe said he could free up some of the state’s general fund to implement education reforms, including changes to the Standards of Learning tests — a point for which a passer-by stopped to thank him.
He also hailed a bipartisan approach and pointed to the endorsement he gained from the Republican mayor of Virginia Beach.
Claiming Cuccinelli would cut taxes and have no way of filling the gap, McAuliffe called the election critical and implored voters to take part in the off-year election.
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