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December 9, 2014

Policy Summit: A Forum for Progress

Sluggish job growth. A $272 million budget shortfall. Almost one million Virginians still uninsured. These are among the key issues facing policymakers in Virginia right now. And they were among the key topics taken up by advocates, community leaders, and policy wonks at our recent Inform + Engage policy summit in Richmond.

In case you missed it, more than 130 people came together for the summit to hear leading experts discuss the policies under debate, and on-the-ground organizers discuss strategies to change the conversation in Richmond.

Governor Terry McAuliffe opened the summit with remarks about Virginia’s new economy and the challenges facing the state, which led into a series of break-out sessions featuring local and national experts on a range of issues.

One session discussed basic policy advocacy skills and another examined how to effectively talk about the value of public investment in our communities. Other sessions looked at how to make Virginia’s revenue system fairer and how a cuts-only approach to balancing the budget hurts families, communities, and the economy.

Central to the day was the panel discussion on the need to close the coverage gap in Virginia and the advocacy pathway forward.

National health care experts Judy Solomon from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Len Nichols from GMU discussed the historic pattern of states adopting new federal programs for low-income people to get health coverage and helped us lay out the path forward in advocating for closing the coverage gap in Virginia.

In addition, we released new analysis about the budget savings other states that have closed their coverage gaps have actually achieved, and how similar savings in Virginia could close its budget shortfall.

We’ve posted all of the event’s materials online here – as well as some pictures, and a link to the governor’s remarks which were captured by a participant on video. It’s almost like you were there!

–Jeff Connor Naylor, Program Director


The Commonwealth Institute

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