RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Cameron Webb, the Democratic nominee in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, aims to flip a traditionally Republican district that has not been won by a Democrat in over a decade.
The enthusiasm for Webb, a 37-year-old doctor and lawyer, has helped him gain a substantial cash advantage over Good. As Webb’s campaign fundraising totals grew, polls began to shift and the race is now considered a toss-up.
Hillary Clinton won Virginia by more than five percentage points in 2016 but President Trump carried the 5th District by 11 percentage points and Riggleman won with 53.2% of the vote in the 2018 midterms. A Democrat has not won the seat since Tom P. S. Perriello narrowly defeated Republican Virgil H. Goode by less than 800 votes in 2008.
Webb, the director of health policy and equity at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, has presented himself as a centrist to voters in the 5th District who backs a public option to help expand health care access and criminal justice reforms.
In a conversation with 8News, Webb spoke about his views on health care coverage, how the U.S. has approached the coronavirus pandemic, what should be the next steps in the fight against the virus and how he plans to represent all voters in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
You can find and watch his responses, including edited and condensed excerpts, below:
What has been your assessment of the federal government’s coronavirus response?
“It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback. There’s no way to get a response to something this unprecedented perfectly.”
“But I think that you can look at process. Then you can say from a process standpoint, what could we have done better? The first thing that comes to mind to me, is the information that’s flowing from the administration to the public. I think I call it the ‘info-demic’ right. There’s been, so there’s been a lot of disinformation and misinformation about how we’re doing with the response. How folks can get and stay healthy.”
On moving forward in the fight against the pandemic
“You’re still seeing that the lack of additional federal dollars to help support our communities through this moment. You know, it’s, it’s having a huge impact and it’s causing a lot of pressure. Putting a lot of pressure on families to try to be able to provide at a critical moment. You’ve got the eviction crisis.”
“So, you know, there’s so much that we can do better, be more thoughtful on, but I think that some of the gridlock in our politics is also contributing to the challenges we’re seeing.”
What is your response that a public option makes way for government-run health care?
“My response is that that’s wrong. That’s overly reductive. Now, I’m the director of health policy and equity at the UVA School of Medicine.”
“I worked on the White House health care team in the executive office of the president, for President Obama and on the domestic policy council health care team for President Trump. I’ve seen both sides of the aisle talk about this issue. And that’s just not a fact. It’s not true that creating a public option would be the same as creating government run health care.”
“And I want to be clear. I do not support socialized medicine. That’s not at all what I’m advocating for. What I support is leveraging opportunities to improve private insurance. To make sure that it’s continuing to innovate and provide choice, but to also make sure that we’ve got a public option, a public insurance option that people can access. Those 30 million people who don’t currently have coverage, private markets not working for them, for some reason or another.”
“When we compliment those two things, when we put them together and create rules and dynamics around them that allow both to thrive, that’s the best version of the American healthcare system.”
On what he’s hearing from residents in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District
“The thing that I’m hearing from folks all over is that they’re passionate about having opportunities, passionate about having jobs. Opportunities for health and success. I would say that’s the theme, in all 21 counties and both cities. That plays out economically. For families, I’ve heard so much about the need to invest in education and make sure that our schools are high-performing.”
“For young folks, I’ve heard so much about posts K-12 education, how critical it is that they have opportunities, whether that’s job training or vocational tech programs, whether that’s community college or apprenticeships, or whether that’s four-year college. No matter who you are, you should have those opportunities for success.”
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