Virginia: Congressional candidates say NRA a "terrorist organization" and that it should be disbanded

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Virginia: Congressional candidates say NRA a "terrorist organization" and that it should be disbanded


Post by NHGF [Feed] » Thu May 17, 2018 1:40 pm



Republican President Donald Trump would be impeached if the Democratic primary candidates in the Fredericksburg region’s 1st Congressional District had their way.

Edwin Santana Jr. of Stafford County said Trump has “done more than enough to show he should be removed from office if you want to talk about incompetence or just blatantly criminal things.”

John Suddarth of Prince William County said there’s “plenty of evidence that President Trump and his cronies, cohorts and colleagues have done a lot of things—money in politics, influence peddling, corruption, collusion.”

And Vangie Williams of King George County called impeachment “necessary,” though she added: “It’s a shame that we are even having this discussion when we have so many bigger issues going on like education, infrastructure, transportation. But this president has sucked it all out of us.”

The candidates agreed on most, if not all, issues during a forum Monday evening at Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s downtown Fredericksburg headquarters. At least 100 residents attended the event, which was sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Fredericksburg Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, with the audience posing the questions.

The Democrats will compete in the June 12 primary for the opportunity to take on U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R–Westmoreland County, for the seat representing Stafford County and Fredericksburg, parts of Spotsylvania and Prince William counties, and all of the Northern Neck.

The 1st District leans Republican, but the candidates took several left-of-center positions in front of a largely Democratic audience.

All of them expressed aggressive opposition to the National Rifle Association and support for a ban on assault-style weapons.

“I believe it’s a terrorist organization,” Santana, a former Marine Corps officer who is now a logistics analyst, said of the NRA.

Suddarth, an Army veteran and founder of Linden Tree Capital, said someone carrying an AR-15 with a large-capacity magazine could kill everybody in the room within a minute. “This is not a constitutional question; this is a question of courage,” he added.

Williams, who lost a cousin to gun violence, said the NRA should be disbanded and face a class-action lawsuit. “Let’s all sue the NRA for the mental stresses caused to all of our children” by gun violence, said Williams, a strategic planner with Science Applications International Corporation.

The candidates also said they think marijuana should be legalized, with Santana and Suddarth adding that marijuana-related convictions should be expunged from peoples’ records.

“It’s just one part of a failed war on drugs … [that] disproportionately affects people of color,” Santana said.

In addition, the candidates expressed support for single-payer health insurance, also known as “Medicare for all.”

Williams said her family filed for bankruptcy several years ago after one of her daughter’s medical costs exceeded $300,000. “The system … has been rigged against us, and it did not take Trump to help me figure that out,” she said.

One audience member told the candidates she liked them, but wondered exactly how they could beat Wittman, who remains a strong favorite despite Trump’s unpopularity.

Santana, who said he decided to run after attending last year’s Women’s March on Washington, said he thinks support for “bold, progressive ideas” will inspire voters to turn out.

“You need to harness the enthusiasm that’s out there,” he said.

Suddarth said Democratic candidates need to mobilize their base, but also convince Republicans that tax cuts and other GOP policies do not work. He cited the increasing deficit under the Trump administration.

“If I was a Republican, I would be very de-motivated … they’re ripe for the picking,” Suddarth said.

Williams said she makes it a point to talk with Republican voters and those who have never registered to vote. She said there’s a “serious plantation mentality” in parts of the state that discourages racial minorities from casting ballots.

“There are families within this district who have never registered to vote and never will because they work for a certain company and they know if the owner of [the] company finds out, they lose their jobs,” she said.


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