Barack Obama (D)*
Highlights from President Barack Obama’s first term include commanding the mission that killed terrorist Osama Bin Laden, drawing down the troops in the Iraq war, advocating for Wall Street reform and, for many, his defense of gay marriage and implementation of a historic health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
President Obama’s economic record depends largely on who’s considering it. The current unemployment rate, around 7.8 percent, is right where it was the month Obama took office. Yet, unemployment ticked up to 10 percent during Obama’s first year in office. Since then, it has gradually come back down to just below 8 percent, but hundreds of thousands of Americans have dropped out of the workforce and aren’t included in the statistics. Yet during Obama’s first term, the private sector job market has seen more than 30 consecutive months of growth.
Certain policies of President Obama, including the economic stimulus and the American auto industry bailout, are credited with helping the nation avoid a Great Depression-like financial meltdown.
Obama also led one of the most substantial overhauls of the nation’s health care with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The program, which was upheld as law after a review by the U.S. Supreme Court, aims to provide health coverage for a greater number of Americans while driving down insurance costs once fully implemented by 2014. While Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal Obamacare, many note their support of its high-profile elements such as provisions to allow children to stay on their parents health insurance until age 26 and rules preventing insurance companies from denying anyone because of pre-existing conditions.
Mitt Romney (R)
As his party’s nominee, Mitt Romney has led the Republican opposition to President Obama and his policies. The GOP candidate has focused his campaign on the economy, promising to create 12 million new jobs through a general five-point plan that includes utilizing all of America’s energy sources, expanding international trade, focusing on education and training skills, balancing the federal budget and championing small businesses.
As governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, Romney worked with a largely Democratic state legislature to help turn a state budget deficit into a surplus with a mix of spending cuts, increased fees and nixing corporate tax loopholes.
In Massachusetts, Romney signed into law health care legislation that required nearly all the state’s residents to purchase health insurance or face increasing tax penalties. The state law is considered by some a model of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Romney also righted the ship of the 2002 Salt City Winter Olympics after taking over as president of the games’ organizing committee. The Salt Lake City games were riddled with debt and corruption up until Romney accepted role as CEO for the games. Romney went on to lead what most consider a successful and profitable event.
A major advocate of the free-enterprise system, Romney’s economic plan includes dropping business tax rates and “simplifying” the U.S. tax code. In his private career, which has widely solidified his reputation as a business-savvy candidate, he made millions after co-founding and managing Bain Capital, a venture capital and asset management firm.
On social issues, Romney opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, and he has said he favors overturning Roe v. Wade.
George Allen (R)
The Republican former governor of Virginia is looking to reclaim the U.S. Senate seat he held from 2001 to 2007. Allen narrowly lost the seat in 2006 to Democrat Jim Webb, who is not seeking re-election.
Like many Republicans across the nation, Allen has focused his campaign on creating jobs, strengthening the economy and a strong repudiation of President Barack Obama’s policies, especially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Allen often says he wants to be the “51st vote to repeal Obamacare.”
The Republican advocates growing Virginia’s energy economy, including preserving the commonwealth’s coal industry and opening the coast for energy exploration.
Tim Kaine (D)
Like his opponent, Kaine previously served as governor of the commonwealth of Virginia. The Democrat is campaigning as someone who would work with his Senate colleagues, Democrat or Republicans, to accomplish the challenges facing the nation. Kaine has made the “talent economy” the primary focus of his campaign, proposing investments in education, workforce training and more economic opportunities for military veterans.
To begin reducing the federal deficit, Kaine favors letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire for people making $500,000 or more, ending “Big Oil’ subsidies and allowing more negotiation within Medicare for prescription drug prices. Kaine supports an “all-of-the-above” energy policy.
See our U.S. Senate preview published Oct. 4 here: http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/known_commodities_duel_for_virginias_open_senate_seat324/
U.S. House of Representatives
Kristin Cabral (D)
Cabral, a former federal prosecutor from McLean, is running her first campaign for elected office. She’s running on a campaign of “fresh leadership” to “end partisan gridlock” in Washington. The Democrat says long-time incumbent Republican Frank Wolf has failed to return a substantial portion of federal tax dollars to Virginia’s 10th District. She’s an ardent supporter of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, noting its increased access for women to preventive care and contraception coverage.
The Democrat serves on the Fairfax County Public Library board of directors and has volunteered on various parent-teacher associations.
Kevin Chisholm (I)
Chisholm, who’s running as an independent, labels himself a “fiscally conservative progressive” and a “Jeffersonian.” Chisholm previously ran unsuccessfully for the Arlington County Board of Supervisors as a member of the Green Party.
An engineer by trade, Chishom has lobbied for more investments in green energy and technology. Reducing the federal deficit and drawing down the U.S. foreign military presence are also key points of his campaign. The independent candidate said transportation and infrastructure projects are best left to state and local officials, rather than the federal government.
Frank Wolf (R)*
Wolf has held the Congressional seat of Virginia’s 10th District since 1981. In recent years, the Republican has played a significant role, along with state and federal officials, to see that the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project is completed. The project, currently under construction, will extend Metro service to the Dulles airport and into Loudoun County. The Republican has a strong voice on foreign affairs, calling earlier this year for a Congressional panel to study the war and conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Wolf was one of 18 Republicans who voted earlier this year in favor of the Simpson-Bowles commission’s recommendation to reduce the federal deficit.
See our U.S. House preview published Oct. 11 here: http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/wolf_squares_off_against_two_challengers_in_virginias_10th_district532/
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