Gov. George Allen Hits Roanoke Streets Before Obama Visit

George Allen shakes the hand of Andrew Stegner, 10 who was attending the Mill Mountain Theater Summer Camp. Stegner has an Allen sticker on. Grandfather Larry Patton is beside him.

by Valerie Garner

Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen made the rounds in Roanoke Thursday morning. His first stop was a tour of Lloyd Electric Company on 3rd street. The company is 100 years old having been passed down through three generations. The owner Rick Lloyd says his small business employs less than 50 people.

Obama’s energy policies, “especially the assault on coal” is having a detrimental impact on people in coalfields and is the cause of higher electricity rates claimed Allen. He would push to open up Virginia’s coast to oil and gas drilling if elected.

On government regulations Allen said, “they can be a help or a hindrance.” He proposed performing an impact analysis to determine the effect on small businesses when implementing regulations.

Two years ago Lloyd was faced with the Environmental Protection Agency’s hyper regulation of incinerators. “All we had was a little burnout oven that was used for rebuilding the winding process for electric motors. It wasn’t worth that extra micro per million – I couldn’t afford a new oven,” he said. If the EPA had not removed the burnoven from its definition of incinerators it would have cost him $200,000.

Allen called Obama’s Affordable Care Act a healthcare tax law. “Tim Kaine calls it a great achievement. I want to be the deciding vote to repeal and replace it,” he said. Allen said he would, however, keep the part that allows children to stay on their parent’s health insurance policy until age 26 because so many young people are graduating from college without jobs. “Most insurance companies are doing that anyway,” he said.

Allen is an advocate for portable health savings accounts. “Small businesses should be able to ban together across state lines too,” he said. “There may be some good ideas in there [ACA] somewhere but it ought to be repealed and we ought to have a much more personal affordable approach where patients and doctors make the decisions and not the bureaucrats rationing care in Washington.”

Lloyd provides his employees with health insurance. His health care provider increased premiums by 28 percent this year. He hopes to find another provider at a lower cost. He told Allen that his business would have a hard time continuing healthcare for his employees with increases like that.

Allen accused his Democratic opponent Tim Kaine who while as DNC chair and governor of Virginia “was going around the country raising money for the Democratic National Committee while trying to raise taxes on Virginia.”

Kaine’s campaign noted that Allen spent two years as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee traveling the country and fundraising while he was a Senator.

In comparing his term as Virginia governor to Tim Kaine’s, Allen said, “leadership is determining what the priorities are and getting others to join in those goals. That’s what I did as governor.”

On extending the Bush-era tax cuts Allen said, “raising taxes has never created any jobs … other than maybe for the IRS.” He advocated for a more simple fair and competitive tax code. “That’s what I’m going to be working on,” he said.

As an example he said John Deere pays a 33 percent tax and there are some that pay zero taxes. “The code is convoluted with special exemptions and a tax code that is full of holes like Swiss cheese. There ought to be a level playing field,” said Allen.

Allen would eliminate subsidies for oil, coal and natural gas “if you had a completely non-subsidized non-incentivized energy approach that’s fine for me.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) proposed a 20 percent tax deduction for small businesses and Allen thought it sounded like a good idea but would have to look at it further. Democrats want to tie it to new employee hiring. The proposal is tied to Obama’s plan to only extend the Bush tax cuts to those making $250,000 or less. Republican’s want to extend it in its entirety. The Senate debate continues and compromise seems light years away.

Former delegate and Democratic Party of VA chair Dick Cranwell of Vinton responded to Allen’s Roanoke visit calling Allen divisive and that “we tried things George Allen’s way during his last term in the Senate and we’re still paying the bill for it.”

Allen’s campaign raised $2 million last quarter he said. Allen will continue on to Big Stone Gap than on to Norton on Friday with final stops in Radford, Blacksburg and Pounding Mill Quarry Corporation in Bluefield.