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Del. Ken Plum: One More Time

by Del. Ken Plum May 31, 2018 at 1:30 pm 60 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Reading another column about the failure of the Virginia General Assembly to expand Medicaid may be as painful for you to read as it is for me to write. I know I have been predicting for months that a biennial budget would be passed for the Commonwealth and that it would include an expansion of health care coverage for those who are not now eligible for Medicaid. Nervously I stand by that prediction. Even the Majority Leader of the Senate whose members have been holding up the budget in opposition to Medicaid expansion has been quoted in news accounts that a budget will be passed and that it will include Medicaid expansion. So, what is the problem? And as many constituents ask me, what is the hold up?

Historically, biennial budgets for the state have passed by near-unanimous numbers. Not everyone has agreed with every number or every provision of the budget; the document is always a bundle of compromises that satisfies as many people as possible when there are always strict limitations on resources. Ironically, the addition of an expanded Medicaid budget brings hundreds of million dollars to the budget and frees up hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used for education and other needs.

By not adopting an expanded program of Medicaid, Virginia has foregone about ten billion dollars of federal money that required no state match. The funds coming to Virginia would not add to the national debt because of the tax funding included in the Affordable Care Act to support the program.

But I have explained the economics of the program in many past columns. It is a good deal for the state and a wonderful expansion of health care to those who are most in need. What is the hold up? Many of you have already figured out that it is the politics of the issue. For many years it was opposition to anything that had to do with Obamacare.

The former President has gone on to another career, but there have been many unsuccessful attempts in the Congress to undo his legacy as it relates to health care. For those who were part of the opposition to the expansion for many years there may be a problem pivoting to supporting it even if there are thousands of constituents who would benefit in better health care from it. For an even more conservative constituent waiting in the wings to challenge the legislator in a primary there is an opportunity to accuse the incumbent of flip-flopping on the issue.

House of Delegates members had a “refreshing” meeting with their voters last November. Some of the strongest incumbent opponents to Medicaid expansion lost their seats. A majority of the newly elected House voted weeks ago to pass the budget with Medicaid expansion in it. A majority of senators support it and should be allowed to vote. Those who do not can explain their position to voters in the next election cycle leading up to the election in November 2019. I hope I do not have to explain this one more time.

File photo

  • meh

    “. The funds coming to Virginia would not add to the national debt
    because of the tax funding included in the Affordable Care Act to
    support the program.”

    But the money still comes from somewhere. It’s still a line-item in a budget. It’s still wasteful spending. It’s still allowing those to suckle off the government teet in exchange for voting democrat.

    Sorry Ken…

    • 30yearsinreston

      Where is the money for ‘quantitative easing’ coming from ?

      • Mike M

        Again, not sustainable.

  • I don’t get it

    Question #1: Has Ken ever successfully championed any bill into law? Every week on here I read his article about how something almost happened, but, didn’t quite get it this time. He has been representing us since 1982, do we have a list of ANY of his accomplishments? (Aside from standing on the side of the road and yelling at the NRA building once a month). Question #2: Why does he keep getting re-elected? If a CEO of a company constantly failed to bring a product to market for the better part of 4 decades, certainly the board members would vote him out.

    • Z R

      In the age of internet you can answer all of the questions you posed. See ballotpedia. Based on election results, it would seem Republicans have no viable candidate to field and Democrats appear content to allow Plum to continue to serve. Regarding a Democrat getting a bill though committee and passed by the heretofore Republican-controlled House of Delegates… ha ha. wtop.com/virginia/2018/03/third-bills-passed-va-legislative-session/

      • Mike M

        No viable candidate? You mean the local left-wing dominance isn’t the problem? They vote for Ken. They vote for Hudgins. They vote what the party is serving.

        And, yes, Ken. Painful. Always painful.

        • Z R

          It seems you could live many places in Virginia and be represented by a “conservative,” if you wished. One need only look at the makeup of the House of Delegates (which hopefully will change next election). “They” — the “left wing” — vote for whom they wish. Democracy.

          • Mike M

            Thanks for that. Here’s a little help in keeping up:

            The issue was the “Republicans have no viable candidate to field.” The problem is not viable candidates. The problem is the majority here zombie into the polls and pull the lever next to the D no matter how ineffective or destructive Plum or Hudgins might be. And yeah, that’s Democracy in a place where people accept one party rule . . . which isn’t really Democracy, it’s opting out within a Democratic framework.

          • Z R

            It would seem to me that, nationwide — in many places — Republican voters see the ‘R’ and pull the lever next to it, no matter the damage. My gosh, look at what’s happening right now. Talk about destructive. Read the paper and please do “keep up.” For yourself.

          • Mike M

            Actually, you are wrong. In fact, there are places that went for Obama at one point then Trump in the next round. Some of these same places already voted D since. Last election proves your point wrong. There is multi-party democracy in this country. But it’s not in the major metro areas where everyone thinks they are more in the know and are actually generally less so. That is the divisive strategy of the Democratic Party at work. They own the brains of too many sheep. I don’t pay much attention to news anymore. Most sources are hopelessly biased left or right. As Donald Trump says, it is mostly fake. Here is a headline fed to me on my PC this morning: Trump Made 137 Misleading Statements this Year.” A subjective declaration as news. That’s what it’s come to. There is almost no news. I do see one cable station where they actually tell you what else is going on in the world.

            As for destructive, if you are part of the perpetual railing against Trump’s election so many months ago, I don’t buy the buzz words and presumptuousness. Jon Stewart and SNL are not my news. When I look at Trump’s performance I see more good than Obama every did, and by a long shot.

          • Z R

            Hillary Clinton won more popular votes than Trump. Both US Senators for the state of Virginia are Democrats. Our Governor is a Democrat. Many Congressional Representatives in Northern Virginia are Democrats. (Let’s see if Barbara Comstock can hang on to her seat, it is in jeopardy). In the last election Democrats came close to reclaiming the Virginia House of Delegates. Not refutable facts. If you opt to interpret the voting demographic data some other way, by all means do so. I don’t know what you do for a living but presumably not political analysis (try fivethirtyeight.com). Put your money where your mouth is. Run for office, or find someone who better represents your views to do so. Do it as a Republican based on representation of substantive issues as you see them, or do it as a Democrat to make your point about voters simply pulling levers based on labels. Get your friends together and make a difference. Alternatively make your peace with Reston’s current political current or — if living in a community with more people who think like you do is important to you (and as noted) — move further to the outer ‘burbs or rural Virginia. There you will probably, at least temporarily, find more birds of a feather.

          • Mike M

            Suggested reading:
            1) Electoral college
            2) Due process
            3) Getting over it when things don;t go your way in an election

            Fivethirtyeight was wrong about the last election.

            I have to earn a living, and I am honest, so not running anytime soon. My very point was this area’s know-it-alls (like you) would NEVER vote non-Dem. So, Republicans would be fools to waste their time.

            I live here despite the Liberalism. I do my part in here. By the way, there are other Conservatives in Reston. We are just outnumbered.

          • Z R

            You are 100 percent correct. There currently is not a Republican candidate running for office in the state of Virginia for whom I’d vote. But if you believe you’re right, goodness there’s nothing stopping you from putting yourself out there publicly instead of hiding behind quasi-anonymous reader comments. You probably live in Reston for economic opportunities that are available in great measure because of Reston’s “liberalism.” Regarding your suggested reading topics, I would recommend you do a little bit of reading yourself, about due process. That is and will continue to be an interesting conundrum for Republicans of the Trump persuasion and it’ll come in handy as the Mueller investigation continues and as we listen to more of Cohen tapes. Enjoy the upcoming tariff war. I’m sure it’ll be great for you and the alleged like-minded Reston business community.

          • I’m With M!

            “You probably live in Reston for economic opportunities that are available in great measure because of Reston’s “liberalism.”” – Aside from plenty of Section 8 housing and the always empty RIBS bus system, what economic opportunities are you talking about? My tiny town house in Reston costs twice as much as a full size house on 5 acres just 25 miles outside the beltway.

            “and it’ll come in handy as the Mueller investigation continues” – When will you people stop beating that dead horse. Enough is enough already.

          • Z R

            Then by all means, find a more welcoming community with greater economic opportunity. No one forces you to live here. Your fellow Republicans would suggest you get a better job, earn more money and — in the interim — would wish to be tested for drugs and work for the community for any public assistance you might receive. That “dead horse” Mueller investigation so far has resulted in a total of 19 indictments and guilty pleas (and still hitting pay dirt).

          • I’m With M!

            You didn’t list any economic opportunities that are available to me because of you’re magical “liberalism”. I make my own money and pay my own mortgage. I live in Reston because there is money to be made here… I’m not here to sponge off others earnings.

            Russia didn’t hack the election, Americans voted for him.

          • Z R

            What tax deduction do you get on that mortgage? As noted, your fellow Republicans would respond to your complaints by suggesting you get a better job and make more money (or, alternatively, move into a house and live a lifestyle you can better afford). That’s the special magic. You have had more than a year of Republican Presidential leadership (and even longer in the Virginia House of Delegates and US Congress) and — as your friend Mike M claims — the economy is better than ever. Boomin’. So use all that extra money in your pay check and from your tax return and do better. If you don’t, or cannot, it is completely your own fault (according to your party’s mantra). Especially now. If you believe the Republican Party has better answers, get out there, vote. Run for office. Kvetching — “poor me,” “there’s nothing I can do” — won’t get you very far. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/05/shame-mortgage-interest-deduction/526635/

          • Mike M

            Who said, “Poor me, there’s nothing I can do?” Oh, you did. And you said it on behalf of the minimum wage earners too. Why do you guys always put words in the mouth of your opposition. So that you can lower the threshold for staying in the debate when logic fails?

          • Z R

            “I’m With M” indicated he is dissatisfied with his ability to afford larger housing in Reston. My response was to him, not you. Please note the arrow indicating to whom I was responding. You do, however, seem big on complaining (anonymously) and short on willingness to take action. There are plenty of Reddit groups — online kvetching — where you might find a more sympathetic and like-minded audience of word (only) warriors. I like Reston and enjoy community opportunities and events. I am content with my station in life. I believe in a two party (or more system) and in the democratic process. If a better candidate for the Reston House of Delegates materializes, I will vote for her. Carpe diem.

          • Mike M

            Her? So you are a genderist? Figures.
            You have no idea what I do. Yet you presume you do. Why is that?
            “Word-only warriors.” I have been a warrior in life and don’t take the word lightly, and I resent those who use it figuratively. But you wouldn’t understand. I will continue to post here where you can see my ideas even though you wish to make the opposition go away. Why is that?

          • Z R

            I would totally understand being a warrior and having taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. For decades. I respect rather than attack my fellow citizens, no matter their poor electoral choices (voting for a man who avoided military service (as did all of his family, his sons included); disrespects gold star families; who dissembles often and thumbs his nose at the rule of law; and who has broken his vows to his family, his religion and his friends and colleagues). You two — Mike and With M! — need a finishing school refresher and a whaaa-mbulance. You are as thin skinned and negative as our Commander in Chief. May the blue wave continue to roll like a mighty river in Virginia. wtop.com/virginia/2017/11/women-won-big-va-house-delegate-races/

          • Mike M

            I don’t think you understand “warrior” at all. Taking an oath doesn’t get you there. You’ve shown no respect for me and my views. You have suggested that I move if I don’t like the majority opinion around here. That’s silly and perpendicular to the values you claim. You are a Party partisan fool. All I did was vote for the best candidate. Sorry for you that yours (the estranged wife of Bill Clinton)lost. But it was best for the country.

          • Z R

            How common for a Trump supporter to claim to be victim. Poor you. You dish insults like they’re going out of style — how interesting for an alleged vet not to defend gold star families and prisoner of war survivors — and cry about not being respected. You have demonstrated, in this exchange (and likely others), why Trump is doing so poorly in the polls and why the majority of Americans are more in agreement with my “partisan” views than yours. By all means continue digging a deeper hole for yourself… how about taking on the “absolute immunity” defense…? “When all else fails, there’s always delusion.”

          • Z R
          • The Constitutionalist

            2020 is going to be so much fun! I look forward to the scheduled days of mourning and the violent, destructive, town burning “rallies.”

          • Z R

            Дели́ть шку́ру неуби́того медве́дя. (Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched). In Virginia we continue to celebrate Karen Keys-Gamarra’s August 2017 victory in the Fairfax County special election, Ralph Northam’s (et al) November 2017 victory and that our House of Delegates is now close to party parity. The next electoral cycle could prove interesting. Between the primaries next week and the elections in November it is possible incumbent Virginia Republican Congressional representatives could lose their seats and potentially contribute to change in the balance of power in the US House of Representatives. Comstock. Much can change between now and 2020. You may relish destruction but most Americans — both parties — do not and most protests in Virginia are peaceful, like the recent student walk outs calling attention to gun violence. Lamentably Virginians do witness violence, sometimes. Sadly. http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2017/aug/12/far-right-crowd-marches-on-university-of-virginia-campus-video

          • The Constitutionalist

            “(Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched).”
            Is that a life lesson you learned on… uh… oh yeah, Nov. 8th 2016?

          • Z R

            I’m not sure what purpose your comment was intended to serve. If you are attempting to seem wise, or funny, you achieved neither. When you (plural) ask why people consider you bitter, or fatalist, or angry, or “victimized,” remarks like these give people the impression that you are any/all of those things, and someone who is neither to be admired,n or listened to — quite frankly. Life is short. For many people, living it in such a state of anger — lashing out anonymously at others, people you do not even know — is not model behavior. It makes less likely to listen to what you’re trying to communicate, and it leads to the disrespect you (plural) claim you feel. I have no idea what your reaction was to the last presidential election, nor do you know mine. Whatever happened, happened. Since then, Democrats have fared well in the polls in Virginia. Let’s see what the future holds.

          • Willie Reston

            2020 is going to be a great year. But not for hateful un-American idealogues such as yourself.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Isn’t that what you said in 2016? You’ve got a pretty low record of success with your predictions.

          • Mike M

            You keep telling people they are crying victim when they aren’t. Why is that?

          • Z R

            “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” Mark Twain. Re-read your comments and pretend I wrote them. I understand self-awareness can be a challenge for some and likely — considering your expressed views — you would fall into that category.

          • Mike M

            I stand by my comments. Answer my questions?

          • Z R

            You forgot a few adjectives or perhaps Sister Mary Maurice delivered the lesson on adjectives poorly. You left out hateful, painful, ineffective, destructive, fake, wrong, divisive, hopelessly, losing, silly (among others). To clarify, however, I quoted Mark Twain (I did not ask for a list of the adjectives you used) and then suggested you re-read your own posts and pretend as if I’d written them to and about you.
            Questions posed, and answers:
            No viable candidate? No.
            You mean the local left-wing dominance isn’t the problem? No.
            Need I explain? No.
            So, you believe in bullying based solely on political views? I don’t believe in bullying.
            Where to begin? I consider introspection a good first step.
            What does quasi-anonymous mean? It means that on the internet there are many talented people who could figure out who you are, probably easily.
            You like that? I think the issue is more complex than presented (as are farm subsidies, federal government support for mostly rural areas.) I also believe you asked the question more for dramatic effect than because you wanted an answer (which seems your modus operandi).
            Think it’s sustainable? Same answer as above.
            Who is smarter about that? There is an expert for just about everything under the sun. I’m sure many could be labeled “smarter.” It would seem, the way you posed the question, that you believe yourself to be the “smarter” one, and that was the real point you were hoping to convey, making it less a question and more of a statement.
            You or them, Metro? I don’t know Metro.
            Is that healthy? I do not agree with the bottom line premise, nor that the only alternatives would be assassination and civil war.
            Her? A pronoun. Like ‘he.’ Or ‘they.’
            So you are a genderist? No.
            Why is that? I have no idea what you do.
            Why is that? I do not wish the opposition to go away.
            Why is that? You behave like a(n) (angry) victim despite that the broader political landscape is what it is. The repetition of the same question — “why is that?” — illustrates the point.
            Answer my questions? I believe I have answered every one of your sentences that ended with a question mark. This is the end of the road for me. Further exchanges in my view would seem pointless. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-psychology-of-online-comments

          • Mike M

            Pointless indeed. But thanks for getting around to answering my questions. Had you done so earlier your posts might have had a point.

          • I’m With M!

            That liberalism must be eating a whole in your brain buddy. I never complained about my ability to afford larger housing in Reston. I moved here to downsize to a smaller house, although more expensive because of the location. I’m quite proud of my townhouse.

          • I’m With M!

            Exactly. I didn’t complain about my fiscal status. And I’m not the one crying that the govn’t needs to raise minimum wage so McDonalds cashiers can afford single bedroom apartments of BLVD.

          • I’m With M!

            Your reading comprehension must not be that great. I am not, and have never complained about my fiscal status. I make my own money, and pay my own bills, and still have some to save after the Dems tax the hell out of me.

          • Mike M

            Oh dear! Where to begin? So many chocolate truffles before me!

            I don’t have to run for office to have a point of view. I can speak my mind here and elsewhere. I do. Sorry if you can’t handle it.

            What does quasi-anonymous mean? I am totally anonymous here, despite hateful Liberals pathetic attempts to out me.

            I live in Reston for a whole host of reasons. Some of them are not so good. The bulk of the opportunities in the DC area are largely at the expense of the “red” states. You like that? Think it’s sustainable? They don’t. Who is smarter about that? You or them, Metro?

            If you think trying to indict every politicians with whom you disagree is a winner, consider that thugocracies are always looking to bring up the opposition on charges. Squelching the voice of the people via weaponized legalism is a good way to discredit the rule of law and there will be no alternative but assassination and civil war. Is that healthy?

            Oh thanks for meandering into my sweet spot. The US championed free trade for a few decades. We entered into agreements that were knowingly unbalanced and came at the expense of the heartland. It worked for the entire planet which is far wealthier as a result. But here we are in 2018 with all these unbalanced trade agreements. Mission accomplished for real, but what about us. Time to roll back. If Donald Trump sees that, why can’t you? I do. He is getting results. Some times you have to bite the bullet to get out of your losing groove.

          • I’m With M!

            Fellow Conservative right here. Preach on Mike!

          • Willie Reston

            “3) Getting over it when things don;t [sic] go your way in an election”

            Exactly. Ken Plum won fair and square. GET OVER IT.

          • Mike M

            And Ken Plum has been “winning” unopposed for a long time because of people like you who don’t care that he accomplishes nothing.

          • Willie Reston

            Deal with it.

          • The Constitutionalist

            “Hillary Clinton won more popular votes than Trump.”

            The only metric in which she won, and the only version of the hypothetical proposed changes to the Electoral College in which she would win.

          • Z R

            The meaning of this statement is that the majority of your fellow Americans voted for Clinton and/or other candidates and do not support Trump. Clinton won Virginia. Handily. You are in the minority in Virginia. You were in the minority in November 2016 and you are in the minority even more so now. Trump’s popularity has diminished over time. There was an orderly transfer of power in January 2017. Hillary Clinton is a private citizen and does not intend to run for office again, at least not for the presidency. We do not yet know who the other presidential contenders will be, for either major party or for the other parties that drew votes in 2016 (Greens. Libertarians.). Much can happen between now and then. Perhaps “Constitutionalist” — someone who’s joined your “lonely Republicans in Virginia” parade — could explain this weekend’s news about Trump’s claim of absolute immunity and juxtapose it with the Constitutional provisions for impeachment. http://www.nationalpopularvote.com

          • The Constitutionalist

            It’s “The Constitutionalist.” I know names are hard for some, I have a hard time remembering people’s names as well.

            What President Trump says in relation to the Constitution doesn’t matter to me, just as it won’t matter to anyone involved in his impeachment hearings. To be honest, I actually haven’t stopped hearing about his impeachment since before he was elected. I’m still waiting.

            You do realize that the authors of our Constitution wrote it as such knowing that those elected would be elected regardless of the popular vote, right? That’s kind of the whole point.

          • R puller

            “…look at whats happening right now”? I read the paper and watch the news every day and all I’m seeing is a booming economy, and hard working Americans going back to work. I’ve never pulled the “R” lever before this past election, but the way things are going I’m looking forward to pulling it for at least 6 more years.

          • Z R

            You are seeing wages stagnate (there is not one state in which a worker on minimum wage can afford to rent a one bedroom apartment), businesses buying back their stock (and closing factories and moving them overseas, like Harley Davidson) and waiting for next year’s tax season to hit to see that tax reform wasn’t meant for “honest” middle class people. How difficult it must be for you to live in a community with people for whom you have so little respect. It would be helpful if you publicly identified yourself and your place of work, so we know which business in Reston detests its community so thoroughly. Please, do tell.

          • R puller

            You absolutely pillow. I’m afraid there isn’t any hope for you, the liberalism is terminal. I’ll be continuing to watch my 401k rise, and enjoy all the MAGAing happening around me. You continue to cry about minimum wage keep pushing that communism. Lets see who’s doing better in 2020.

          • Willie Reston

            When this current upswing (which started 9 years ago under Obama) comes to an end soon and things go south again, will you hold Trump accountable for that? No, I’m sure that’ll be Obama’s fault too.

          • Mike M

            LOL!

          • Z R

            I am a rock, and I seem to be more content with my finances than you. You and Mike M are the complainers and those who seem to feel helpless. The discussion started because Reston’s House of Delegates rep is a Democrat of long tenure, and he objects. It seems the two of you live miserable lives here, surrounded by people you do not understand and do not like, barely making ends meet. Life is short. Living it angry must be a burden. “First they came for the socialists, and I did nothing because I’m not a socialist…” It always happens. They will come for you, too. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sessions-welcomes-expansion-of-asset-forfeiture-i-love-that-program/

          • Mike M

            You guys always want to take it to the ad hominem. Can’t deal in ideas. So, you believe in buying based solely on political views? That would wreck an economy. Need I explain?

          • Z R

            I would say the majority of your fellow Restonians — those Democrats whom you believe simply pull the lever for any old Democrat at the ballot box — see you very clearly. Your arguments and terminology are known quantities. Let history be the judge. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/06/01/president-trump-has-made-3251-false-or-misleading-claims-in-497-days/?utm_term=.26428e225772

          • Mike M

            Thanks for quoting the fake news. I just cited an article on this exact topic being presented as news.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Yet every single Democrat is telling their supporters to vote D down the ballot.

            Go figure.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Ken keeps reminding us of his failures to get any sort of legislation passed
    It is a mystery, but nothing to do with him

  • Z R

    For those witnessing the interaction below but not wishing to jump in, fyi, Ken Plum has a website http://www.kenplum.com and offers constituents a regular email update. When you write to him directly (his email address is listed on his website) he generally writes back within 24 hours and he is very direct in responding to queries. I asked whether he reads local publications like this one, and he says he does (and he contributes to them) but he usually does not linger over the comments sections because anonymous posts often intend to provoke rather than resolve issues, and comments may/may not represent the views of in-state writers or his actual constituents.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Fake news. I have written to Plum on many occasion and haven’t received even a single response.

      • Z R

        One of us is correct. Interested constituents can write and judge for themselves.

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