PointCounterpoint

Meet your congressional candidates 5th district
John Douglass (D)
Douglass, a retired general, is the Democratic nominee for the 5th District. He served on President Reagan’s National Security Council and then as President Clinton’s assistant secretary of the Navy before going on to promote air and space policies that grow our economy by creating manufacturing jobs and keeping our skies safe.

Robert Hurt (R)
Hurt, an attorney, is the Republican nominee, seeking a second term representing the 5th District. He served in the Virginia Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates and on Chatham Town Council. Having grown up in Chatham, Robert has an appreciation for the rich history and shares the rural American values of the 5th District.

The candidates answer questions on Medicare, the national debt, uranium mining and the national platform. Page 5.

Q&A
What changes do you favor to make Medicare sustainable, or what alternative program would you support instead of the entitlement program?

John Douglass (D)
I will do all I can to keep the promise of our nation’s social safety net to future generations by ending deficit-funded tax subsidies for millionaires and billionaires, big oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas. Wall Street’s efforts to bankrupt and privatize Medicare, Social Security and other retirement nest eggs could put those who have reached, or are nearing, retirement at risk. The Paul Ryan voucher care plan

Congressional candidates from the 5th District
that my opponent twice voted for could end up costing seniors in Virginia $6,000 more per year. From my years of service, I learned that true Americans do not leave wounded on the battlefield. As a young soldier, I saw our corpsmen risk their lives, and it’s up to us to risk our political lives to help those in need. So I pledge to protect Medicare benefits for our seniors by keeping corporate hands off our Medicare and Social Security. Medicare is a critical component of a secure retirement for seniors in the 5th District and across the nation, and failure to take action to preserve and strengthen Medicare is simply unacceptable. The greatest threat to Medicare is the president’s health care law, which raids more than $700 billion from the program to fund a new entitlement program, Obamacare. This law diminishes access to the quality care that our elderly depend upon and changes Medicare as we know it — and John Douglass fully supports this law. The people of the 5th District reject these flawed policies. The people that I represent know that Medicare is on the path to bankruptcy and they want real leadership to save the program — not a kick-the-can-downthe-road type of leadership we have seen from the president. Medicare is estimated to go bankrupt by Washington’s inability to live within its means threatens the very future of this great nation and stands to limit opportunities that every generation of Americans before us has enjoyed. For years, members of both parties allowed spending to spiral out of control, causing our debt to skyrocket. The president and his party took control of the White House and Congress and doubled down on the massive spending, generating unprecedented deficits that grew the debt even higher. These policies have led to the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, unacceptably high unemployment and more than $16 trillion in debt. It is clear that more spending and higher taxes will not fix our problems. A long track record has shown that Washington cannot be trusted to be a responsible steward of our hard-earned tax dollars. Instead, Washington must learn to live within its means as families across the 5th District do — and Washington must learn to make the tough choices, tackle the drivers of our debt and deficits and restore this country to fiscal sustainability. I don’t represent the Republican Party; I represent the people of Virginia’s 5th District. Each decision I make as the representative for the 5th District is based on what I believe is in the best interest of those that I represent. While I support the general principles of the party, my record will show that there have been numerous times, both in Richmond and in Washing-

Robert Hurt (R)
2024, but the House of Representatives has acted to steer us off of this path. We in the House are the only ones who have taken action to prevent Medicare from going bankrupt and preserve the program for current and future retirees. We have adopted a plan that would empower the individual, and not the federal government, by eliminating the Medicare rationing board set up by Obamacare and returning critical health security decision-making to the individual. Our plan unleashes the power of the free-market, reducing costs and improving the quality of care for our seniors. By implementing the House plan, we will be able to strengthen this critical program for our seniors, ensure that it is available not only for current seniors, but for generations to come, and help restore our nation to fiscal sustainability. Since coming to Congress, I have voted at every opportunity to rein in spending and ensure that we are good stewards of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The first bill I cosponsored was Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which will force Congress to balance the budget each year and represents the kind of institutional spending reform our country needs. I have also supported budget plans that cut trillions in excessive federal spending, put us on the path to balancing the budget and pay down the massive debt so our children and grandchildren are not left with the bill. We in the House are the only ones who have led the fight to get our spending under control. The Senate has not even proposed a budget in three years, and every single member of Congress voted against the president’s budget proposal this year. Ending business as usual in Washington and tackling the debt is a moral imperative. I remain committed to ending the spending spree and hope that others will join with me to preserve the American Dream for future generations. ton, where I have worked across the aisle in order to give my constituents a seat at the table and advance policies on their behalf. Since taking office in 2010, a majority of the bills I have introduced have had bipartisan support. And my voting record would indicate that I vote based on our 5th District values, not the values of one party or another.

Should the national deficit be reduced through a mix of tax increases and spending cuts or solely through spending cuts? What specific taxes and cuts do you favor?

I believe there is plenty of waste to cut out of all programs, including the Pentagon. In the Navy, I cut through the red tape to balance budgets for ship building and built more ships for less money. Let’s start by bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. With the money we spend there in one day, we could set up apprenticeships and new worker training programs for our returning veterans and other Virginians looking for work. My opponent’s vote to keep troops in Afghanistan

and his pledge to oppose any federal revenue growth threatens to bankrupt our nation’s future. Even if we allow tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires to expire, I will push for tax simplification that rewards hard work and fair play. This will allow us to finance lasting investments in education, technology development and transit projects that ultimately boost incomes and federal revenues, helping America continue leading the world.

What, if anything, in your party’s national platform do you disagree with? Why? Should Congress intervene in the decision over whether to permit uranium mining in Pittsylvania County?

There are a number of issues where I could find common ground with Republicans from defense to tax and regulatory relief for local companies and working families, especially our farmers. One of my top priorities will be moving toward a post-Afghanistan security strategy that focuses on keeping drugs, weapons and other illegal contraband from entering our shores and borders. From my time serving at the highest levels I’ve urged my opponent to introduce a federal ban on uranium mining near residential communities because I believe public safety comes first. The Bi-State Roanoke River Basin Commission passed a resolution asking the Virginia legislature to keep the ban due to the harmful consequences of interstate radioactive contamination. Meanwhile, Robert Hurt maintains financial ties to uranium investors who stand to make millions from mining that puts families and farmers at risk, including his campaign funds and his family’s ownership in the mining site itself. Even

of military leadership under Presidents Reagan and Clinton, I learned that one of the most important ways we can maintain our security is by nation-building here at home. And as a small family farmer now, I know that there is so much more we can do to improve access to lending and reward hiring. This way, we have more competition for economic growth, made here in Virginia. one natural disaster could disturb huge amounts of radioactive waste that could take decades to clean up, according to Virginia Commonwealth University professor Peter DeFur. The German government had to spend an estimated $15 billion to clean up the Wismut mining site. But with news that the Virginia legislature will soon consider lifting the ban, my opponent refuses to take action in Congress and even voted to block safeguards against what his campaign admits is “radioactive matter produced from uranium” (H.AMDT.905 to the Farm Dust bill).

No, this issue is wholly determined by the commonwealth of Virginia. The commonwealth continues to maintain a moratorium, and I never supported lifting that moratorium when I served in the General Assembly. While the people of the 5th District are concerned about their next paycheck and about their families’ future in this stalled economy, Douglass has made uranium mining the platform for his entire campaign. Getting our economy back on track is my No. 1 prior-

ity, and I believe the people of Virginia’s 5th District have a right to know what Douglass’ plan is to spur economic growth and to help our small businesses and farmers succeed and create the jobs that our local communities need. My record is clear on the issue of uranium mining: I have never supported lifting the current moratorium, and as Washington struggles to address our debt and jobs crises, I believe this issue is best addressed at the state level.

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