By Nuzaira Azam
DULLES, Oct 17 – Former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine shared his economic agenda with more than 80 Northern Virginia women this week and discussed issues of importance to them and their families.
The forum was his 100th roundtable-style meeting of 2012, during which Kaine shared his strategies to strengthen the economy and create jobs, and took questions on topics ranging from education to small business support, to ending partisan gridlock in Congress.
“If I have the privilege of representing Virginia in the United States Senate, I want to specialize in talent, which is key to our long-term success. Virginia’s economic transformation shows that investments in talent can spur economic growth. I also think that identifying, developing, and attracting talent is a place we can find some common ground in the Senate,” he said, according to his Press Office.
“Right now, Congress is holding our economy back. We need to put more people in office with a track record of bringing people together and working to find common ground.”
Kaine contrasted his approach to economic and fiscal issues with the record of his opponent, George Allen during the hour-long discussion. He also highlighted some of the many differences between his positions and Allen’s on women’s health care and economic equality.
‘The success of women is critically tied our economic success. Women are more than half of the economy. The success of women, the choices and opportunities they have, are critically tied to our economy. It is impossible to have a strong economy while taking choices away from women,” Kaine said.
Kaine also expressed his support for measures to help close the pay gap for women including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. Allen has refused to endorse either bill. Kaine also reminded women of Allen’s votes against the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) while in Congress.
“These are not little social issues we can brush aside. They are fundamental issues about fairness and the economic success of women,” he stated.
Tuesday’s event was the 100th roundtable, forum, or town hall Kaine has held in 2012. Since the first of the year, Kaine has met with more than 1000 Virginians, including small business owners, veterans, Latino community leaders, defense contractors, women business owners, faith leaders, and others who have shared their thoughts on ways to strengthen the economy and create jobs. It was also the latest in a series of events and advertisements to inform Virginia women about the issues at stake and the choice in this year’s U.S. Senate race.
The two former governors will make their closing arguments Thursday night in Blacksburg at the third and final debate. Kaine and Allen have run neck and neck for Virginia’s Senate seat for more than a year and a half.
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released last week, Kaine was at 47 percent to Allen’s 46 percent — a statistical tie — while a Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News survey released the same day showed Kaine up 51 percent to 44 percent.
Ahead of the debate George Allen’s office released a TV ad.
The ad says “under the failed Washington debt deal Tim Kaine supported, Virginia faces the loss of over 200,000 good-paying jobs while our national defense is cut by an additional $500 Billion. Building on his record for tax hikes, Tim Kaine’s response to these devastating defense cuts is to raise taxes on small businesses in this weak economy.George Allen’s plan stops the defense cuts and puts in place pro-growth solutions of reducing government spending and increasing revenue without raising taxes through energy resources and job creation.”
“Virginians need look no further than Tim Kaine to find what is standing in the way of a better future in Virginia,” said Mike Thomas, campaign manager for George Allen for U.S. Senate.
“Tim Kaine’s response to the largest economic threat to Virginia is to raise taxes on job-creators. The challenges facing Virginia call for George Allen’s proven leadership in working with Democrats and Republicans to reach agreement for solutions and create jobs.”
In response to Allen’s new ad, Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine said in a statement:
“Virginians are ready for a comeback but George Allen is offering an economic throwback to the policies that got us into this mess. What America’s businesses and families can’t afford are more tax breaks for the wealthy that come at the expense of investments in education, infrastructure, small businesses, research and development, and other priorities that strengthen the economy.
“Tim Kaine has a plan to avert sequestration and reduce our deficit responsibly, not by gutting education and Medicare, but by pursuing bipartisan strategies that won’t jeopardize our economy. Unfortunately, George Allen would protect tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of small businesses and middle class families instead of taking the Tim Kaine approach that helped make Virginia Forbes’ Best State for Business.Virginia just can’t afford to send George Allen back to Washington.”
Experts have described the Virginian race for Senate as one of the closest in recent history as voters and politicians follow their debate on Thursday, which offers an opportunity for each candidate to make it a magic game-changing moment in his favor.
- Virginia Democrats Push “Women’s Issues” As Lead Dissipates (givemeliberty01.com)
- Allen struggles on abortion questions (politico.com)
- Va. poll: Obama, Romney tied (politico.com)
- Kaine, Allen Seek Breakout Moment in Final Debate (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Kaine leads Allen by 5 in new poll (timesdispatch.com)