Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

GOP Senate candidate Gillespie makes stop in Prince George
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Sep 3, 2014, 14:34

ASHLEY MCLEOD/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Senate candidate Ed Gillespie stops at Prince George Family Barbecue last week.
PRINCE GEORGE — Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate challenging incumbent Sen. Mark Warner, made a stop at Prince George Family Barbeque on Friday as a part of his “Ease the Squeeze” campaign tour.

County officials, as well as local voters had the chance to ask Gillespie questions about his plans on changing Virginia if he is elected as a senator Nov. 4.

Gillespie brings with him an agenda called EG2, the Ed Gillespie agenda for Economic Growth. the policies in his agenda are aimed to “make life better for hardworking taxpayers who are feeling the impact of fewer working hours, lower take-home pay, skyrocketing health care costs, and gas prices that are too high – and to end the policies that make it harder for the unemployed to find work.”

The EG2 plan includes five major points which Gillespie believes will turn Virginia’s economy around, helping small and big businesses, as well as easing the struggle had by middle and lower class citizens.

The first point involves replacing Obamacare, or the Affordable Health Care Act, which Gillespie believes is the biggest setback on the economy since becoming active. Gillespie said that taxes on businesses included in the AHCA have negatively affected job growth.

“The National Federation of Independent Business says it will kill between 150 to 290 thousand jobs, just the health insurance tax alone. The medical device tax will kill 165 thousand jobs in our economy,” Gillespie said.

“The Congressional Budget Office says that there will be 2.5 million fewer workers in our economy over the next decade as a result of Obamacare, so it’s a huge factor.”

Gillespie plans to replace the AHCA with a reform plan that allows more affordable options, and also allows patients to choose the insurance and doctors that they feel comfortable with.

The second point in Gillespie’s plan is for tax and regulatory relief, which includes reducing the corporate tax rate and simplifying the complicated regulations currently in place.

The United States currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, which causes many large companies, especially those involved in manufacturing and industry, to move their headquarters overseas in order to pay less taxes.

“I believe we need to reform our tax code on the individual and corporate site and bring down the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” Gillespie said. “That has a negative impact on manufacturing as well as other sectors of our economy and its driving jobs overseas.”

The high tax rate moves these jobs overseas, which in turn leaves Virginian’s out of work and possibly putting these workers into poverty, he said.

Gillespie pointed out that it’s not just big business having problems, but also small businesses in the state.

“We have more businesses closing than are opening in Virginia today. And we need to turn that around, where we have more businesses opening than closing,” Gillespie said.

Lessening regulations in place on these businesses will allow small and mid-sized banks to be able to give entrepreneurs and small business owners the loans needed in order to start a new business.

The third point in his agenda involves lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling on the coast of Virginia, which Gillespie says would in turn create more jobs, create a lower price for fuel, and allow better access to energy resources.

“If you went by the historic standard of the split in revenue from offshore drilling here in the Commonwealth, it would mean about $400 million a year to our treasury,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie explained that this newly received income from the offshore drilling projects could be put to use in order to help several transportation projects be completed, such as the high speed rail system and improvements to roads such as Route 460.

Gillespie is also looking at creating a better education system in the state. This includes making it easier for parents to be able to have options as to where their child will attend school. Gillespie says he will work to make establishing charter schools easier, and make sure that children are given the proper education needed to succeed.

The last point in Gillespie’s agenda is to cut spending, which is bankrupting and putting the country in even more debt, while working to create a balanced budget.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the current economic growth rate is 1.5 percent, which Gillespie described as an “anemic growth rate and historically low economic growth for a recovery.”

Gillespie said that since coming out of the recession, the economic growth rate has been averaging around 2 percent, which is not good enough.

“We should be between 4-5 percent economic growth rates. If we’re at a 4 percent economic growth rate, that would mean 10 million new jobs in our economy. It would mean 3 million of our fellow Americans would be lifted out of poverty, and it would mean our deficit would be reduced by a third,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie believes with the policies set forth in his agenda, this rate could be achieved.

On Thursday, August 28, Gillespie visited Fort Lee along with Delegate Kirk Cox, and witnessed the strain on the military caused by improper funding.

Gillespie believes that military spending should be a higher priority in the budget process, and that the United States is currently “leading from behind” when it comes to funding the military.

“There’s another word for that, and that word is following, and when the U.S. is following in the world and not leading, receding from the world, the world becomes a much more dangerous place,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie believes that while setting the military budget, the amounts should not be based on budget numbers, but should be based on what security and military needs are in the country.

Gillespie visited CCAM following his stop in Prince George, and will continue to travel throughout Virginia campaigning for votes for the Senate race taking place on Nov. 4.

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