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Several members of the reality TV family praised Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson.
PARKER MICHELS-BOYCE | The (Lynchburg) News & Advance
Michelle Duggar hugs Mckenzie Ohler after Ohler correctly named all 19 of the Duggar children during the family's stop at Liberty University in Lynchburg on Monday.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Several hundred people greeted the Duggar family of reality television fame when their bus pulled onto the Liberty University campus Monday to boost Ken Cuccinelli for governor and E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar told the audience they support the two Republican candidates because “both of these men are godly men” who represent anti-abortion and family values.
Jim Bob Duggar said Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has no experience in office and “promotes abortion.” Duggar also gave the students an incorrect description of the Affordable Care Act.
It was the family’s first stop on a three-day, four-city tour for Cuccinelli.
Large decals, one on each side of the bus, displayed the logos of the Cuccinelli and Jackson campaigns.
Most people in the crowd of 300 to 400 people were students.
One of them, Abigail Webster, a sophomore from Columbia, Md., said she wanted to meet the Duggars because of the family’s reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” which has been on the cable channel TLC for five years.
“I have so much respect for them and what they do, how they are such a great Christian witness on national television,” Webster said.
Her friend Amanda Cockrell agreed.
“It’s great to see the whole family that stands on their Christian values in everything they do,” said Cockrell, a junior from Kenly, N.C.
Also in the crowd were some adults, including women who handed out “Women for Ken” signs and literature.
“I think there are a lot of women who support Ken Cuccinelli,” said Debbie Biggs of Forest. “I don’t think that is getting in the press, but he is pro-life and I think pro-life is pro-woman .”
Several statewide polls have shown Cuccinelli trails McAuliffe by double-digit margins among female voters.
Jim Bob Duggar, a real estate businessman who served four years in the Arkansas legislature, said he and Michelle were accompanied on the bus by a dozen of their children, plus a daughter-in-law and grandson.
Their tour, which continues today in Virginia Beach and ends Wednesday with stops in Fredericksburg and Woodbridge, is being financed by FRC Action , the legislative action arm of Family Research Council. The Duggars’ son, Josh, 25, is the new executive director of FRC Action.
FRC asked Liberty University if it could visit the campus, said Jerry Falwell Jr., LU chancellor.
“Liberty’s policy has been to allow candidates and their representatives to visit campus on equal terms,” Falwell said in an email, adding LU plans to invite “both major-party candidates to campus before the election.”
Lynchburg’s voter registration office received 128 applications Friday from LU’s College Republicans organization, said Carolyn Sherayko, the registrar.
The gubernatorial contest has generated fewer voter registrations this year than four years ago, when Virginia last elected a governor, Sherayko said.
City wide, her office registered 1,110 new voters between Sept. 1 and mid-October 2009, she said. This year, only 447 new registrations had been approved as of last week.
Jim Bob Duggar delivered a campaign-style speech to the students, describing Cuccinelli as “a stalwart conservative” with seven years’ experience as a state legislator and almost four years as Virginia’s attorney general.
“His opponent does not have any time serving in office,” although McAuliffe is a skilled political fund raiser who “rented out the Lincoln bedroom for campaign contributions,” Duggar said.
McAuliffe also headed the Democratic National Committee, which Duggar described as “the committee that promotes abortion.”
Duggar blasted the federal health care act, describing it incorrectly as a government takeover of health care.
“When you take that free market away and you make it to where it’s a government health care program, it will be like in Canada where you have to get on a list if you want to have surgery done,” Duggar told the students.
“The government decides if they want you to have the surgery done or not. Is that the kind of health care program we want? No,” Duggar said.
Virginia’s health insurance regulators have endorsed 15 insurance plans for competition on a new health benefits exchange that the federal government will begin operating in Virginia on Jan. 1.
Nine insurance carriers will offer health coverage in the individual market, and six will sell coverage in the small-group market for small businesses.
The number of competitors will be smaller in most localities.
Aetna Life Insurance Co., Coventry Health Care of Virginia Inc., HealthKeepers Inc. (Anthem BlueCross BlueShield) and Optima Health Plan are four of the health insurance carriers approved in August by the Bureau of Insurance, a division of the State Corporation Commission.
The companies will be able to provide health-insurance coverage starting Jan. 1 under the federally managed exchange.
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