Elaine Luria, a Democrat running in the 2nd Congressional District, spoke in support of preserving the Affordable Care Act and addressing sea-level rise during a Williamsburg Kiwanis Club luncheon Wednesday.
Luria is challenging incumbent Scott Taylor to represent the 2nd Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Taylor, a Republican, has represented the district since 2016. The 2nd Congressional District includes Williamsburg, parts of James City, York, the Eastern Shore, parts of Hampton and Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Luria, a former Navy commander, has never held public office. She is the owner of Mermaid Factory, a crafts and gifts business with locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Luria cast herself as a representative who would work to provide people with affordable health care.
“I think the job of our government is to create a health care system that’s both affordable and provides care for people across our community,” she said. “People are really struggling with the rising cost of health care and our current representative, our current Congress voted to take away health care.”
Luria was referring to a failed effort by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, last year. Taylor voted in favor of the American Health Care Act, a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The American Health Care Act as passed by the House would have ended the individual mandate and would have allowed no limit on the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.
Luria said she considered sea level rise a major concern for the area’s military presence.
“Sea level rise and recurrent flooding is a huge issue for this district. It has a huge impact on the military and the military’s ability to operate,” Luria said.
A 2014 study by the Department of Defense referred to climate change, which contributes to sea level rise, as a “threat multiplier,” which not only contributes to global instability by exasperating poverty, hunger and conflict but poses potential operational challenges, such as flooding, for installations in Hampton Roads and beyond.
Luria opposes off-shore drilling in Virginia, saying doing so creates a hurdle to the military’s ability to operate and a potential ecological disaster if there’s an oil spill, which would damage the local economy.
“You can’t take a carrier strike group and all the aircraft and escorts out there and complete the training that needs to be done while dodging oil platforms,” she said.
Luria also voiced support for devoting resources to education, specifically vocational training.
“There’s a lot of jobs going unfilled because we’re not filling that gap for skills,” Luria said, adding that Newport News Shipbuilding wants to hire 7,000 more workers but there aren’t enough local welders or electricians to fill those jobs.
The Kiwanis Club luncheon took place at the Woodlands Hotel in Williamsburg. The election for the 2nd Congressional District will be held Nov. 6.
Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.