The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
George Allen, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner visit Fredericksburg area
Sen. Mark Warner and democratic candidate for Senate Tim Kaine visited HDT Robotics in Fredericksburg on Monday afternoon. The pair got a tour of the Wolfe Street facility and learned more about the company’s defense- and healthcare-related products. Warner and Kaine started the day in Hampton Roads and planned to finish it in Northern Virginia, with stops in between on the Interstate 64 and 95 corridors. Above, HDT Robotics Chief Operating Officer Tom Van Doren shows Kaine and Warner the company’s “Protector,” which clears paths for infantry divisions and can carry wounded personnel on an attachable stretcher. / Photo by Bill Freehling
Kaine’s Republican opponent, George Allen, also stopped in the area today, paying a visit to defense contractors in North Stafford. / Photo by Katie Thisdell
Allen heard from local business leaders that sequestration isn’t just going to hurt if federal cuts go into effect in January—they’re already feeling the dire effects. During a roundtable discussion Monday focused on the defense industry, Allen met with about 20 people to see how the automatic defense cuts are already evident in businesses of all sizes.
“It’s dangerous in a variety of ways in that it weakens our military readiness,” Allen said at the campaign event at Hilldrup Moving and Storage in North Stafford.
The nearly $500 billion in defense cuts—approved when Congress couldn’t agree on a budget and the country was near defaulting on its debts—could cost Virginia 200,000 jobs. Locally, small business said some of those decisions for cutting jobs could come in the next month or so.
“What we’re seeing here is the larger prime contractors start to circle their own wagons and start to cut their subcontractors,” said Scott Hirons, a Stafford planning commissioner who works at a 15-employee software company.
He says the company had hired a handful of people for contracts, but now, those positions are at risk, along with many more. “It’s really tough knowing that it really is because of a decision by the federal government, and it’s a penny decision out there, and that may or may not happen on top of that,” Hirons said.
Check back soon for more on today’s visits.