The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Scott, Dippert offer 30th District voters a choice
The battle for Virginia’s 30th District House of Delegates seat seems focused on the past performance of Republican incumbent Ed Scott.
Both Scott and Democratic challenger Traci Dippert cite that same record to support their arguments for why voters should choose them in Tuesday’s election.
Dippert, 43, a music teacher at Rappahannock County Elementary School, says she was inspired to run by Scott.
“Last year, after that horrendous legislative session when they came home without a budget and passed a lot of repressive women’s legislation, he came home and wrote a newspaper article and did not use the words jobs, economy, education or infrastructure,” said Dippert, who noted that Scott was unopposed in his previous two races. “At that moment, I decided the voters of the 30th District deserved a choice.”
“I want to stand up for families, education and health.”
Scott, 48, who lives in Madison County and is director of operations for EcoSeptix Alliance in Locust Grove, said he is running for re-election to build on a record of effective and responsible service. He noted that he serves on a number of committees that benefit Orange, Madison and Culpeper counties, including agriculture, appropriations and transportation.
“I am a small businessman, and I bring a business perspective to my work as your delegate. In the House, we have been focused on growing jobs and the economy,” he said.
On the topic of changing Virginia’s right-to-work laws, Scott said those laws are one reason why Virginia is consistently rated a top place for business.
“I strongly support our right-to-work laws,” he said, “and I would not support any efforts to weaken them.”
Dippert feels differently.
“While we can be business-friendly, we can also raise the level of salaries for those workers,” she said. “Allowing people to come together and ask for things like reasonable hours, working conditions and safety issues is not out of the realm of what would be reasonable.”
Dippert supports expanding Medicaid in Virginia to provide health care coverage to poor families, saying it would provide a $3.9 million boost to the state’s economy and support 30,000 jobs.
So looking at this from a business standpoint, this is a good idea. These are people who do not currently qualify for Medicaid. They are falling through the cracks. They can’t afford insurance on their own, and are not offered insurance through their employers.
“If we strengthen these families by giving them affordable health care, they become stronger. The parents are more productive in their jobs, and the children are more productive at school. I see this every day where I teach. Health care needs to be quality and accessible to all our citizens.”
Calling it “an incredibly complex issue,” Scott said he thinks the General Assembly has taken an appropriate step by establishing a Medicaid Reform Commission to ask the federal government for reforms to what he labeled a “wasteful” Medicaid program. He said expanding Medicaid in Virginia over the next eight years could cost from $359 million to more $1.4 billion, depending on the level of the federal match.
If the federal government were to cut back on funding, “It would leave a tremendous hole in our state budget, and force us to make it up from other areas like education and public safety,” he said.
“I think we are taking a prudent step, looking for ways we might reasonably offer additional health care to our citizens without breaking our budget.”
Summing up his campaign, Scott pointed out his record of performance, saying he has been proud to be “part of a team in Richmond that works diligently to ensure that our commonwealth remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
Dippert said 90 percent of her donations have come from individuals, rather than “big PACs outside the district, where some other money is coming from.”
“People are ready for a change,” she added. “They are ready to send a woman and an educator to Richmond. We need more women in elected office, and we need a change here. We do not want Richmond to look like D.C.”