Candidate Survey - 2015


THIS QUESTIONAIRE REQUESTS YOUR POSITIONS ON SALT’S TOP LEGISLATIVE ISSUES FOR 2015-16. Your responses will be shared with our members and others via mailings and our website (www.s-a-l-t.org) as a helpful guide in their choice of candidates. Your answers will not be abbreviated or taken out of context. Please return your answers by August 21st by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for your commitment to public service and for your willingness to share your opinions with SALT.

 
Candidate: Kaye Kory

District:     38, House of Delegates

1. Closing The Health Care Coverage Gap for Low Income Adults – Virginia has the opportunity to use available federal funding to offer Medicaid health insurance coverage to up to 400,000 very low-income adults. Most are working in important job sectors such as retail, tourism, and construction, but unable to get affordable health insurance from their jobs or from the federal marketplace. Federal funding (which pays for 100% of the costs through 2016 and gradually reduces to 90% in 2020) would support Virginia hospitals, create jobs, and save state dollars currently supporting many health programs. Thirty states (including West Virginia and Kentucky) and D.C. already provide this coverage. Do you support closing the coverage gap? Please explain.

I strongly support immediately closing the healthcare gap. It is unconscionable to deny access to healthcare to the 400,000+ low-income working Virginians. Medicaid expansion would add billions of dollars to Virginia's economy. Our hospitals are threatened with financial insolvency as we continue to refuse to accept Federal healthcare dollars. Our General Fund cannot adequately fund the Commonwealth's education needs until we stop the unnecessary funding of health services that an expanded Medicaid program could fund at 100%.


2. Inflation Indexing of TANF Benefits is a Fairness Issue: Currently, a family of three in Virginia receives a fifth of the federal poverty level and has seen only one TANF increase since 1985. At $269 a month average for a family Virginia ranks 35th in TANF payments. Indexing would prevent further erosion of recipients’ ability to meet basic needs of children in their own home or in relative care and can be funded from the federal TANF block grant. Shouldn’t Virginia take steps to alleviate poverty and to protect families. Strong families are as important to Virginia’s future as schools and roads. What steps would you support to ensure a meaningful level of time-limited assistance to Virginia’s needy families? Please explain.

As I have in the past, I will support an annual review of TANF payments and an indexing of those payments to the Consumer Price Index. TANF payments need to be enough to truly assist needy families as they get back on their feet. In 2014 I filed and defended HB 38: Department of Social Services required to annually review payments made to TANF recipients and index such payments to the CPI. This bill mandated that such a process be developed and put in place. The bill did not pass. I do plan to resubmit this legislation in the 2016 session.


3. Corporate Tax Breaks: All Should Pay Their Fair Share. We know from local research across Virginia that the recent State budget cuts have cut into real, quality of life spending by local governments: libraries are closed, police have lost staff positions, teachers have lost their jobs, and class sizes increase for public school students. At the same time, too many (two-thirds) large corporations operating in our State get by with paying very little in corporate income tax due to tax breaks, subsidies, and clever work by their tax lawyers. How will you make sure that individuals and corporations at the upper end of our income scale pay their fair share so that we can avoid painful service cuts in the future?

I will push to end tax breaks and subsidies that benefit corporations and the wealthy, such as the infamous yacht tax break. I will also support sunsetting corporate tax breaks and establishing annual reviews of those corporate tax deductions, credits, and incentives now in place.


4. Bring about effective change in the criminal justice system: Those who remain in contact with loved ones on the outside are less likely, studies show, to return to a life of crime after serving their time. So why does Virginia make it so hard for inmates to phone their families? SALT believes that telephone charges should be “just and reasonable”. A small reform, perhaps, but lower rates might help prisoners go straight. Do you support lower phone rate to reestablish contact between offenders and their families and ultimately to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders?

Yes. I support lower phone rates for calls between offenders and their family members. I was encouraged by the FCC’s capping of rates for local and instate long-distance inmate phone calls and cutting its existing cap on interstate long-distance phone calls. I would be glad to support legislation here in Virginia that goes even further in making telecommunications between offenders and their family and friends more affordable. Last session, I voted for Patrick Hope's bill, HB1403, dealing with this issue.


5. Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families -- Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families -- This allowance would permit children living in poverty to acquire the needed school supplies and clothing essential for returning to school & equipping children to learn. Help Give School Supplies and Hope—a simple backpack can change lives. Would you support to give children in deepest poverty an even start?

I have supported Operation Backpack for TANF families both with my vote and by speaking out whenever possible.


6. Rescind the Federal Lifetime TANF Ban for Ex-Drug Offenders: Lifting the ban eliminates for ex-offenders (whose offense was solely drug possession) the disqualification from receipt of TANF federal transitional assistance needed to care for family members, increases the chances of gainful employment of ex-offenders. To us lifting the ban is a matter of fairness, as it serves to provide basic Re-entry program services that reduce recidivism and save states money. This ban penalizes children of drug felons. Do we want to be a society that requires children to pay for the misdeed(s) of their parents? Do you support extending the eligibility of ex-drug offenders for food stamps TANF benefits as well? Do you support extending TANF eligibility for ex-drug offenders who return to their families and take responsibilities for their families? Please explain.

I support rescinding the Federal Lifetime TANF Ban for Ex-Drug Offenders. This ban penalizes the families of drug felons and blocks successful re-entry into society by released drug felons. Lifting the ban is not only the fair and compassionate step to take, but it is also an economically positive step forward for our Commonwealth.


YOUR ISSUES:  What are some issues you feel strongly about that you would like to share with your SALT constituents?

The issues that I feel strongly about are too numerous to list here, but boil down to instituting equity and fair treatment for all segments of Virginia residents. My efforts are directed towards educational equity, law enforcement fairness, environmentally responsible state measures, equal access to health care, and transparent, honest governing.

My legislative priorities reflect my concern for the accessibility of education, the well-being of Virginians, the protection of our natural environment, and the maintenance of our infrastructure. Specifically, I will work to increase funding for K-12 education and to increase opportunities in higher education. I will strive to protect teachers’ salaries and retirement plans and funding for programs that serve children with special needs. I will work with public safety officials to maintain a low crime rate and safe neighborhoods, as well as safe campuses. I will continue to prioritize funding for services for senior citizens and will fight to expand access to preventative health care services and to enroll all eligible children in health insurance. We must expand Medicaid in Virginia by using the federal funding available for us to do so. Also, I strongly believe that no one should have to choose between his/her health or that of a family member and his/her job. For that reason, I will again be patroning a bill that requires private employers to allow full-time employees to earn paid sick days. I will continue my work to ensure that Virginians have clean air and water, that green energy businesses are promoted, and that our state government and local governments work together effectively. Aware of the deterioration of road surfaces in my own district and of other transportation issues throughout the state, I will also continue to advocate forcefully for long-term solutions to these challenges.

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!