10/29/07

Unions take aim at Virginia

The majority rule in the State House and Senate hangs in your hands. With two weeks until elections, Democrats and Republicans are doing everything they can to ensure you turn out at the polls and vote for them.

"Politics is really opening up in Virginia. People are really willing to vote for Democratic candidates," says Governor Tim Kaine.

Kaine spoke to AFL-CIO members Saturday morning as they got ready to go door to door on behalf of Democrats. Kaine says union workers were key in last year's Senate upset with Democrat Jim Webb taking the seat from Republican incumbent George Allen.

State Senator Ken Stolle is concerned by Kaine's focus on the AFL-CIO.

"The challenge that Governor Kaine is throwing down in essence is, Virginia is the northern most right to work state. You can't be forced to join a union. If you want to join a union, knock yourself out and join the union, but you can't be forced to join a union and as a result of that, that's one of the reasons Virginia is one of the most business friendly states in the nation," says Stolle.

"What Kaine and the Democrats are doing is they're saying, in essence, we will change the right to work laws in Virginia and we'll make it a union state and that is why they're trying to appeal to the union vote. I don't think that's good for Virginia. I think that a worker should be able to choose whether they want to be part of a union or not."

Kaine says people in this normally "red" state are voting for change. He says they're tired of the Bush administration's "mismanagement" of the war. He also believes they're furious with his recent veto of S-CHIP.

"What is the principle at stake when we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on war or on tax cuts? What is the principle at stake for not signing a bill that was passed with overwhelming majority support to give health care to the poorest children in this country? I mean there's no principle at stake behind that," says Kaine.

Stolle is quick to point out, decisions on S-CHIP and the war are federal decisions not state.

"We want to be evaluated on what the state government does because that's what we're a part of," says Stolle. "The FAMOUS program is a very well run program at the state level. We will probably have to pick up any shortage that the federal government gives us and it's become a well-run program under Republican leadership."

Both Kaine and Stolle say this is a year for low voter turnout because there's no high profile race like governor or president, but they say your vote counts and they hope to see you at the polls.

"We've got a great chance this year to take the Senate, control the Senate and dramatically close the gap in the house," says Kaine.

"I think the difference will be narrow, but I think the Republicans will maintain control," says Stolle.

The elections this year are November 6th.

(wavy.com)

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