Q. 6. Let's talk a little bit about policy. Probably the single biggest issue on most Virginians' minds is the economy and the need for good jobs.I'll be publishing the rest of this interview over the course of the day, finishing up before 2:00 PM, before everyone disappears for the weekend. You don't want to miss the fourth and fifth parts of the interview where Rick Waugh takes on the Virginia GOP and his Republican opponent Eric Cantor.
Rick Waugh: Absolutely. We have way too many jobs in the district being outsourced, or shipped out of the district. Factories are closing, small businesses are being boarded up. Too many monopolies are shaping our landscape. Our education system needs improvement too – for our children and for adults who need new training so that they can find jobs. If our government will not protect our workers, then the least we can do is train them for another field of work within the District. I am tired of seeing our families racking up credit card debt trying to get by, and families forced to move out of state in search of new work. What has Eric Cantor done to produce jobs in the district? Show me one statistic that shows an increased percentage of people who work, as compared to when he first took office 10 years ago.
Q. 7. What kinds of stress do you see Virginia's families facing?
Rick Waugh: The people I see in Virginia have great dignity, but too many of them are struggling. It is amazing what people can endure, but it is awful that so many are struggling so badly in a nation as wealthy as ours. Most people cannot imagine being in the shoes of a pregnant mother who has been left alone, or a single mother who is practically netting 2 dollars an hour because she must pay the daycare, and the rent, knowing that she probably could easily quit and make just as much on Welfare. I see working fathers and husbands caring for a disabled spouse or child, knowing that they are needed at home, but they can’t be home because these guys are working two jobs to pay for runaway medical expenses. It is unfathomable to me that Cantor wants to repeal the health care reform – imperfect as that reform may be – and that Cantor would just say “Too bad” to the people with preexisting conditions. The struggling Virginians are the majority, not the minority. Our middle class is dwindling, which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet Cantor has the audacity to take away the safety nets that were established in the 1930s and 1940s to provide stability to the nation.
What I see in Virginia so often comes back to economic hard times. People are spending more time at work, getting paid less, and having less family time. This will continue to produce alarming divorce rates, and unnecessary broken homes, which is not good for children or for adults. Yet Eric Cantor in effect helps companies pull the rug from underneath their employees. Then he hits people when they are down, by opposing unemployment benefits. He does not want to help people who cannot get health insurance, even thought it is so often through no fault of their own. We have spent the last year watching him grandstand about health care. He has no reasonable counterproposals to control what was a runaway spiral of health care costs. If Cantor wants to grandstand and preen, he should answer to the citizens of the Seventh. And I will stand up to Cantor on their behalf. We seem to have nothing to show for his representation. I am asking Cantor: where’s the beef? Does he have any substance, any ideas to help our District? The guy is all about conservative shibboleths. He apparently cannot do the job of Whip and the job of Representative at the same time. We need to remind him that he works for the people.
Q. 8. Do any of these stressors have their roots in public policy? What kinds of reforms would you propose to help Virginia's working families?
Rick Waugh: We need further unemployment benefits extensions while the nation continues to be in economic recovery. We need to cut the incentives for offshoring. We need to create jobs by investing in infrastructure projects in our District.
Just as important, we must have education reform. It is time to stop making our teachers teach to tests, and to finally let them teach to children, creatively. We need our guidance counselors to see every child, not just the ones that are brave enough to seek the counselor out. Too many abuses are happening, abuses that we can hardly imagine. Not only that, we can reach every child to assist them in career development in whatever field they want to pursue. We need to help them with college and loan applications. Inform them of their options in terms of joining the military, although we shouldn’t let recruiters pretend the military provides an easy lifestyle, because I know from my family experience that it doesn’t.
Many kids give up on the dream of success, because either no one is there at the home to guide them, or the child otherwise fell through the cracks. Times are hard, finances are difficult, and we must do better in supporting our young people.
Finally, it would help Virginia’s working families for the U.S. to undergo significant campaign finance reform. The Citizens United court ruling puts too much power in the hands of too few corporate chiefs. It turns the election media landscape into a type of 21st-century Wild West. Just as importantly, real campaign finance reform must include public financing of Congressional elections. Until that happens, seats in Congress will continue to be bought and sold. Too many donors see Congress as a type of payola scheme. Naturally, Cantor has put himself at the heart of the problem. You have heard him called Dr. No, but I think it makes just as much sense to call him Mr. Status Quo.
Q. 9. A lot of high school and college students are entering the job market for the first time this summer. What was your first job?
Rick Waugh: My first job was a construction worker installing roofs, and siding. I also worked a second job at the same time as a bus boy at the local seafood restaurant. Both jobs were hard work, but satisfying.
Q. 10. What summer job had the greatest impact on you growing up?
Rick Waugh: There is something to be said for a person to come home late at night stinking up to high heaven. Most of the time, those individuals are the most humble, and are the most satisfied with life. A good hard day’s labor provides character. So I would have to say the construction jobs. Plus I got my butt chewed out many times when I needed to be put in my place.
Q. 11. What advice do you have for young people entering this tough job market for the first time?
Rick Waugh: Gain as much knowledge as humanly possible. Most of the knowledge that will serve you throughout your career will be learned when you’re young…and you will absorb most of that knowledge when your brain is young. So when you are in your teens and in your early twenties; read, learn, watch, listen and never be afraid to ask questions. There is a direct correlation between knowledge, and power. If you want to change the world for the better and make it a place that you want it to be, then you must have the power to change it. So get your knowledge now! Do what you enjoy or interests you, and excel at it. Know that you have to work your butt off because that other person competing against you is also working 100%. It’s a cliché, but will power can go an awful long way in determining success.
Part 1 of 5 - Family and Personal Background
Part 2 of 5 - Jobs and the Economy
Part 3 of 5 - Military and Defense
Part 4 of 5 - Virginia Politics
Part 5 of 5 - Eric Cantor