The Hampton Roads Chamber hosted a U.S. Congressional Issues Luncheon on September 26 in Norfolk, attracting a crowd of nearly 200 business and community leaders. As the voice of business, the Chamber strives to offer quality programs and access to elected leaders. Speakers at the luncheon included Congressman Randy Forbes, Congressman Scott Rigell, Congressman Bobby Scott, and Congressman Robert Wittman. Shep Miller, Chair of the Hampton Roads Business Political Action Committee emceed the discussion, which included topics such as the national budget, military, education and health care. After each speaker addressed the crowd, those in the audience had an opportunity to ask questions.
“Three words I often hear: frustration, anger, and fear,” observed Congressman Randy Forbes. He explained, “People are frustrated because they are not being told facts. They are angry because people are not making the right decisions. And finally, people are scared because they don’t know where the country is headed.” In order to make America strong, Congressman Forbes said, “There are four great pillars we need to reestablish: economy, rule of law, religious freedom, and strong national defense.”
Congressman Scott Rigell said, “We need to make sure Hampton Roads is the best place to move military assets.” He also discussed his four goals: job creation, reducing federal spending, increase defense, and strengthening the military. Rigell concluded by telling the audience, “We must be passionate and find common ground.”
Congressman Bobby Scott expressed that to stop deficit spending, tax increases have to be included or there won’t be sufficient funds to cover necessary government functions. Scott said, “We must get our priorities straight to get rid of sequester” through tax cuts and decrease in federal spending. “When Hampton Roads’ economy is 50 percent dependent on the federal government, when you reduce the size of government, you’re hitting home,” he added.
On the topic of creating jobs and bringing businesses back from over seas, Congressman Rob Wittman said, “We must look at the corporate tax structure and what other costs small businesses deal with to level the playing field.”
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