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Gillespie brings campaign to city

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Ed Gillespie, who won the GOP convention’s nomination over the weekend, stopped by Fredericksburg Tuesday in his campaign to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.

Gillespie, who spoke with about two dozen area businesswomen during an afternoon visit at Ristorante Renato downtown, zeroed in on the economy and Warner’s support of President Obama’s policies.

Several of the local entrepreneurs complained about regulations and government interference, saying such red tape makes things more difficult and expensive to run a business, especially small ones.

Those thoughts echoed Gillespie’s argument that Warner’s policies, which he said follow in “lockstep” with President Obama, have hurt Virginians.

Gillespie is a married father of three who runs a public-affairs firm in Alexandria.

The onetime Enron lobbyist and former Republican National Committee chairman has served as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration and has ties to Karl Rove and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. His political background stretches back to the mid-1990s and the Republican “Contract with America.”

He said Obama’s and Warner’s “job-killing policies” have been “very negative for the economy as a whole and women in particular.” He said that fewer women are in the workforce than before Obama and Warner took office.

He singled out the Affordable Care Act as a law that is putting “the squeeze” on Americans.

Gillespie said his policies, underscored by his “economic growth” campaign, would replace the ACA, create regulatory relief and cut corporate taxes, which he said take away businesses from Virginia.

He said his campaign also is focused on cutting wasteful government spending and reforming education by offering more choices for parents to choose such options as charter schools.

Former Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson introduced Gillespie to supporters.

She described him as fair and someone who can be trusted to reverse Democratic policies she said have hurt families and women.

He “will give Mark Warner a run for his money,” she said.

State Sen. Bryce Reeves, R–Spotsylvania, turned out to support Gillespie, calling him a “man of character,” who has proven himself “through trials and tribulations.”

Democrats have pegged Gillespie as a partisan politician they say is in the pocket of special-interest groups.

Gillespie told the group of women on Tuesday that Warner is not the business-friendly senator he promised to be.

Big and small businesses, Gillespie said, are not sure what to do in an economy characterized by “uncertainty.”

That uncertainty has led to “economic anxiety throughout the commonwealth.” Gillespie said.

The state and America, he added, can do better.

“I’m going to hold Mark Warner accountable,” he said.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


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