FORMER VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL JERRY KILGORE: Thanks everyone for getting on, quickly. I grew up in Southwest Virginia, as many of you know, and I’ve talked with a lot of you about Southwest Virginia through the years. I understand the region. President Obama’s visit to this area today, I believe shows a lack of understanding of Southwest Virginia. People in Southwest Virginia are self-sufficient, hardworking, blue collar [folks who believe] individuals, not our government, have the answers to our pressing issues. It’s a region that wants elected officials to get government out of our lives, not in them. It’s a region that wants to be able to talk with elected officials, not to be excluded.

I know that it’s ironic today that the president is holding what he terms a town hall meeting when it’s not even open to the general public in Southwest Virginia. It’s a closed meeting at a Kroger store there in Bristol. If he was willing to talk to real Southwest Virginians, he’d understand that they don’t want government run health care. They want common sense improvements to the health care industry that reduce costs, preserves quality and [will] continue to allow individuals, not the government to make health care decisions.

What we have witnessed over the first few months of the president’s term is a growing desire to get more government into our lives. You saw it with the stimulus plan where they assured Americans that it would reduce the unemployment rate, but you have seen and we have seen that the unemployment rate still continues to grow and it continues to grow right there in Southwest Virginia.

What the president’s health care plan will do will be to continue to harm our economy and the economy of Southwest Virginia. The plan proposed by the Democrats will impose an eight percent payroll tax and a large income tax hike on many of our small businesses. Enough is enough. We don’t need this government run health care I think all across America those that have true town hall meetings are hearing from individuals that they don’t want a government mandated system – it’s not working in other countries, it will not work here. The same policies have gone into the cap and trade arena. The president has supported cap and trade that the House has recently passed. That bill discourages energy like clean coal that continues to provide good paying jobs in Southwest Virginia. The president has proven time and time again he is not on the same side as Southwest Virginians and this heal th care push is just another [one] of those examples.

I do find it ironic today that the Democrat candidate for governor has yet again snubbed [Obama] again when he comes into the state. Creigh Deeds seems to be avoiding the President. He won’t attend a town hall meeting there in Bristol, he missed an earlier one up in Northern Virginia and Creigh Deeds certainly won’t take the position on important issues that are facing this nation; like the health care plan proposed by the Democrats and the president; like Cap and Trade that the House Democrats passed and passed overwhelmingly on the Democrat side. Creigh Deeds won’t take a position on important issues that are affecting Virginia. Instead, he claims that they are national issues. They are not national issues th ey are issues that will absolutely effect the economy of the Commonwealth and he needs to come out of hiding, stand with his president and take a position on these important issues.