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Young Democrats host a town hall meeting featuring candidates Jessica Critterton for councilwoman, David Horton for mayor, and, their special guest of the evening, Anthony Flaccavento for Congress.
In pursuit of Virginia’s 9th congressional seat, Flaccavento is going up against Rep. Morgan Griffith in the upcoming elections.
However, this is now his first time running. In 2012, he lost his bid for the seat due to his status as an environmentalist – which made him realize might have made some people apprehensive.
He talked about, “leveling the playing field.” When it came to define the term, Flaccavento said, “I mean it quite literally. Most of the laws, most of the rules that we implement laws with are against ordinary people, against young people.”
Some issues he is looking to address have to do with organized labor and unfair laws that make creating or joining unions difficult, non-disclosure agreements between the employer and employee that may encourage sexual harassments, net-neutrality, and the 2018 GOP tax bill.
Flaccavento is a big advocate for student debt relief, and he wants to overturn the measure in the tax bill that would affect existing relief programs.
“Student loan debt relief is on the chopping block. We don’t have nearly enough options right now as it is. Because of those tax breaks, we may have even fewer.” Flaccavento gave this as one of many ways the current laws are not helping ordinary people.
“Wouldn’t it be delightful if the economy worked for humans?” Flaccavento rhetorically asked of his audience.
He was very impressed with the walk-out protests about gun control. While he wants to be clear that he supports the second amendment, he also says that something must be done.
“We have had a policy now for about twenty years that is basically to do nothing.” His plan to help prevent further tragedies involves stronger background checks and providing better mental health services.
Talking about the things he was passionate about, Flaccavento said, “For me, the single most important issue, with a lot of close seconds and thirds, is building a healthy economy.” He believes firmly in the importance of hard work, and he wants a government that will provide a support network for people to succeed. That includes things like universal healthcare and support for entrepreneurs.
“I think the role of the government is not to give people stuff. I think it is to enable people to help themselves.”
A healthy neighborhood equals a healthy economy according to him. “I know that good work always starts with local communities. That is true whether we are revitalizing downtown Galax, manufacturing energy efficient building products in Radford, tackling drug addiction in St. Charles or building infrastructure to help farmers in Duffield.”
The floor was opened to questions from the public soon after. Some points that were brought up had to do with the train system and bolstering infrastructure, a cycle of poverty in the area, prison systems, the opioid crisis, as well as funding for space travel.
Flaccavento leaned progressive on most of the issues stating how he wanted to be a congressman to all, not just a select few.
“You must simultaneously do well with all age groups,” he declared, adding on to how his campaign strategy required everyone to be, “psyched, fired, worked up and going to the polls” on May 1st for local elections and June 12th for congressional district primaries.
However, when it came to space travel, he was skeptic.
“I just don’t want it becoming an escape valve (for some) to ruin Earth,” he said. “I would need to be persuaded that that is money well spent.”
Photo Credit: (TheYDRU Facebook page)