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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Should Obama reroute visit to include Louisa County?

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People in Louisa County are frustrated.

Take Todd Hall, a body shop owner outside Mineral, Virginia. Hall has more than $40,000 in necessary repairs from the summer earthquake. A recent decision by FEMA to deny funding to individuals impacted by the earthquake, means Hall will have to find away to come up with the money all by himself.

This is the frustrated exchange he had with our Andy Jenks:

TODD: “I ain’t voting for whoever’s in the office. I’ll vote for the next man coming in.”
ANDY: “You serious?”
TODD: “Yeah. Only thing I can do.”

You can see Andy’s entire story here.

Hall is just one man. But he is a man in a swing state. One of many that are voicing concerns over the federal government’s decision to bypass Virginia’s earthquake victims. It is not a Katrina level disaster, but it has the attention of powerful Commonwealth lawmakers like Governor Bob McDonnell and Senator Mark Warner.

Warner tweeted “If damage from a once-in-a-generation, 5.8 quake doesn’t qualify for FEMA aid, then I don’t know what does.” after learning of FEMA’s ruling.

One prominent Virginia democrat is concerned that this small issue, could lead to big problems for President Barack Obama. Paul Goldman, the former Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party believes the president should use his upcoming bus tour as a way to reach out to the people of Louisa.

Obama is scheduled to make four stops in Virginia, but Louisa is not one of them. Goldman thinks it should be. In a recent essay Goldman argues that a stop in Louisa is not only good policy, but vital politics.

“Is the Obama Administration on a mission to embarrass the boss when he comes through Virginia on his bus tour in a few days, or just make sure he loses Virginia’s 13 electoral votes?” Goldman asks. “In fact, given the proposed itinerary of the bus tour, it would seem the President is going to be motoring right by Louisa County on his way to other parts of the state.”

I look into the issue of FEMA’s denial of funding on NBC12.com.

Obama’s itinerary has not officially been released. The tour was leaked by a democratic official to the Associated Press. It wouldn’t take much to change course, or make an “unplanned visit”. The question is, will it happen?

Paul Goldman’s full essay can be found after the jump.

—————————————————–

*Paul Goldman’s opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC12 or Decision Virginia.

The President must change his Virginia schedule and go to Louisa County

by Paul Goldman

Senator Mark Warner and Governor Bob McDonnell have some good advice for The President as he plans his bus tour through Virginia. As reported in Richmond Times Dispatch today, Senator Warner had this reaction to the federal government’s rejection of the disaster relief requested by Governor McDonnell as a result of the earthquake centered in Louisa county.

“If damage from a once-in-a-generation, 5.8-magnitude earthquake does not qualify for federal disaster relief, then I don’t know what does,” declared the state’s junior Senator.

Is the Obama Administration on a mission to embarrass the boss when he comes through Virginia on his bus tour in a few days, or just make sure he loses Virginia’s 13 electoral votes?

In fact, given the propose itinerary of the bus tour, it would seem the President is going to be motoring right by Louisa County on his way to other parts of the state.

The White House needs to put the brakes on right now given what FEMA’s decision to reject McDonnell’s request.

Instead: The President needs to go to Louisa County and personally take credit for cleaning up the mess FEMA has now credited for him, without merit as Senator Warner has said.

Senator Warner was being kind in calling it a once-in-a-generation thing. Truth is, it was far more rare. But his point is clear: if this event doesn’t qualify under FEMA, what does?

Like it or not, the President will be hurt by the FEMA decision even though he had nothing to do with it. It is his government now. I would suspect he is as baffled by FEMA’s decision as his fellow Harvard Law grad Senator Warner who can read the U.S. Code and regulations too.

FEMA’s decision, as a matter of policy, is either wrong as a matter of law, or as a matter of what our country should be doing to help citizens in need from the biggest earthquake in their memories hopefully lifetimes.

If the President has to cancel a visit to one of the proposed cities in order to accommodate Louisa, then these Virginians will understand, and besides, he can come back at another time.

Look on the bright side: FEMA has done the President a favor, the old “turn lemons into lemonade” thing. Louisa County is in Eric Cantor’s district. They can all get together, Republicans and Democrats, to show support for Americans hurting due to no fault of their own, a roll of nature’s dice which can land snake eyes for any of us at any time.

Americans help each other in need. FEMA is likewise refusing to help tornado victims in Virginia.

What gives here? I understand there has to be reasonable limits on such matters, but this requires responsible definitions of what qualifies as a covered disaster.

The President should go to Louisa and let our fellow citizens know that we aren’t going back to the social Darwinism of previous ages.

If we are going to defeat China and our rivals in the 21st century, then as Benjamin Franklin said at different and difficult time in American history: we either hang together or we hang separately.

*Paul Goldman’s opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC12 or Decision Virginia.

One Response

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  1. Would love a chance to exchange views with Paul Goldman. Is there anywhere I can leave a message for him, does he have an email address. I will leave mine.

    Russ Tarner
    rtarner@cox.net

    Russ Tarner

    October 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm


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