Senator Tim Kaine brings health care message to the area

RALLY: Senator Tim Kaine speaks at a health care rally held Saturday, July 22 at Roanoke College, Salem. – Photos by S. Nowlin

by Shawn Nowlin

Many people know Senator Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s running mate during the 2016 Presidential Election. The Harvard graduate is also the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, a distinguished lawyer and served as Virginia’s Governor from 2006 to 2010.

The senator joined fellow Virginians on the campus of Roanoke College Saturday, July 22 for a health care rally in defense of patient protection and the Affordable Care Act.

“There isn’t going to be a more momentous vote than the one we are going to pass because it is a fork in the road my friends,” he told those who gathered. “If we allow the one-party repeal effort, we will hurt millions of Americans for no reason.”

After winning last year’s Presidential Election, Donald Trump made ‘repealing and replacing Obamacare’ his top priority. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the latest version of the senate health care bill would massively cut Medicaid and kick over 21 million people off health care over the next decade. Senator Kaine said he agrees that Obamacare is not perfect, but the solution isn’t taking health care away from millions of people.

“Let’s all work together to improve health care. I don’t want to just accept the status quo. We should be covering more people. We should be bringing down the price of prescription drugs,” he said.

Delegate Steve McBride, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax and Delegate Djuana Osborne also attended the rally.

“We who believe in the Affordable Care Act, we who believe in health care for all as a human right…we are on the right side of history,” said Fairfax to the supportive crowd.

“With Mark Warner and me you have an interesting pair of senators. There’re two committees in the senate and they both work on health care. One is HELP (Health Education Labor and Pensions) which I am on. The other is the Finance Committee which does Medicaid and Medicare. Mark is on that one,” explained Senator Kaine.

“If we win on this vote, what will happen is the committees will take over. If that happens we will finally have a chance to sit down at the table with our colleagues and have a discussion about improvements to the health care system.”

HEALTHCARE: A Supporter holds up a sign during the rally at Roanoke College Discussing ways to improve Obamacare.

Founded several years ago, the Salem VA Democratic Committee strives to improve the community through service projects and working to elect Democratic candidates at the state and national levels. Chairman Nathan Auldridge played a role in bringing Senator Kaine to the area.

“Senator Kaine’s staff actually contacted me earlier in the week to say that he was going to be at the Parkway Brewery Friday night, and at Roanoke College for a healthcare rally on Saturday,” Nathan said. “They asked me to put the word out to supporters in the area, so I sent out an email and created a Facebook event which ended up getting a lot of traffic.”

William Fisher, a lifelong Republican, says he actually agreed with many of the positions Senator Kaine took at Roanoke College. “It’s not like I’m going to switch parties or anything, but I must admit…a lot of what the senator said made sense,” he said. “The bottom line is a lot of people are going to have to give up their egos if we are going to have a fair health care system in America.”