Democrats will search for unemployment changes at the ballot box
In the moments after the Republicans in the House of Delegates blocked a plan to extend unemployment benefits, a move that would have allowed the state to tap into $125 million in federal stimulus funds, an angry Governor Tim Kaine vowed to find a way to revisit the issue before he left office.
Tonight, one of his top deputies told me that she believes that Democrats won’t be able to revisit the issue until January.
Del. Jennifer McClellan, a rising star in the Democratic ranks and a close ally of Governor Kaine said that Democrats, particularly in the House of Delegates, will need a “change in leadership” before they have any hope of passing the changes to the system, that despite the intense criticism Republicans continue to face.
The issue has become a rallying cry for Democrats as they gear up for the fall elections when every seat in the House of Delegates and the Governor’s mansion will up for grabs. McClellan believes that voters will respond to their message and in turn send packing Republican members who voted against the plan and replace them with Democrats.
That of course is a big “if”. While the Democrats have had success reaching out to economically distressed voters, they still have a long way to go to get control of the House and they would also have to retain the Governor’s mansion which is a 50-50 proposition at best.
It would also mean that Governor Kaine, who is very passionate about this particular issue, won’t be able to keep his promise to find a way to get it done before he leaves town.
Video from my interview with the Delegate is after the jump..