On the Issues

Dick Saslaw, a small business owner in Northern Virginia for many years, understands what it takes to establish a strong business climate. He knows first-hand the importance of balancing a budget, making payroll at the end of the month, and treating employees right. In the Senate, Saslaw has led the charge to make Virginia a top business destination.                                                                         


Senator Saslaw has earned a reputation for fiscal discipline through his leadership on the Senate Finance Committee. Since 2008, he has served as a key budget negotiator, and has worked across party lines to pass balanced budgets. With a “pay as you go” philosophy, Dick has led the way to keep future generations from carrying a burden of debt. On June 7, 2018, Governor Northam signed the biennial budget that included Medicaid expansion. This culminated more than five years of leaving behind billions of federal dollars that will now be available for providing hope and access to health care for nearly 400,000 Virginians. 

Virginia has been recognized as the best place to raise a child due to the available opportunities for future success. Senator Saslaw believes that a strong public education system is the key to a productive workforce and a strong economy. Dick Saslaw supported increased funding for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs in local schools in order to prepare Virginia’s students for the careers of the 21st Century. He has worked for smaller class sizes, state-of-the-art classroom technology, and more funding for school construction. Senator Saslaw has also worked closely with his Democratic colleagues and the Governor to increase pay for Virginia teachers.

As your state Senator, Dick Saslaw is proud to be a voice for moving Virginia away from fossil fuels and bringing our power grid into the modern age. He worked closely with Governor Northam to pass the Grid Transformation and Security Act (SB 966), a landmark piece of legislation for Virginia’s energy future. SB 966 will dramatically increase the quantity of renewable energy in the public interest from 500 megawatts to 5,000 megawatts, enough to power more than 80,000 homes. This includes a forward-looking mix of solar and wind energy. It will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in ratepayer rebates, including the entirety of Dominion’s annual federal tax break, and maintain the SCC’s oversight authority. Further, Dominion will commit $130 million to help underprivileged Virginians with new, energy-efficient air conditioners, weatherization services, and bill payment assistance. These funds directly support low-income, elderly, disabled, and veteran populations.

Senator Saslaw worked tirelessly and helped lead the charge to expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of Virginians without access to healthcare. No longer will Virginia leave billions of federal dollars unclaimed. Instead, these monies will help benefit more than 400,000 of our Commonwealth neighbors in need of affordable healthcare and provide hope for the otherwise desperate. Senator Saslaw was honored by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association as a 2018 “Healthcare Hero” for his multi-year dedication to expanding Medicaid in the Commonwealth.

Dick Saslaw has led the fight for necessary transportation funding for our region. He serves on the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Transportation and continues to work to ensure that Northern Virginia receives the funding required to meet its growing transportation needs. He has been a longtime advocate for making critical investments in infrastructure aimed at reducing gridlock. He strongly believes that Virginia must expand the use of mass transit, increase efficiency, develop multimodal transportation options, and invest in maintenance of our existing roads, trains, and busses. 

As a husband, father, and partner of professional women, Dick Saslaw has a deep appreciation for equality and fairness in the workplace. He has always been consistent in his support for the Equal Rights Amendment. To the chants of “we shall overcome” in a packed committee room, he called the question in early 2018 when the issue was being tabled. It is past time for this amendment to become part of the Bill of Rights, ensuring pay parity and shattering the glass ceiling.

An epidemic of gun violence is raging in this nation. The murder rate per 100,000 in this country is 10 times greater than in comparable industrialized democracies. We are 4.6% of the world’s population but we are home to 43% of all guns not currently held by the military or police. In the U.S., military-style weapons are in the hands of civilians. In the absence of the federal government acting, the states are going to have to react…or the voters will.


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