U.S senator speaks at campus events
Mark Warner discusses facing failure, emphasizes need for bipartisan effort dedicated to resolving issues
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, visited the campus of Liberty University to speak with students at Convocation in the Vines Center and talk with local businessmen at a preceding Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce event in the Caudell Reading Room of the Jerry Falwell Library, March 26.
In a brief address during Convocation, Warner praised Liberty for its stable financial infrastructure and encouraged students to persevere through failure.
Warner said he invested $5,000 and went to work for a startup company after graduating. In six weeks, he had helped the business go entirely bankrupt.
“I failed in that, and I failed in my first time in politics,” Warner said. “One of the most important things you can learn, I believe, in college is you’ve got to be willing to try and fail.”
Facing failure was not only a theme of Warner’s Convocation address. It was also a key component of his discussion with Lynchburg business leaders at the chamber event.
The senator expressed concern for the current national deficit as well as inefficiencies in the ObamaCare plan.
“We are in a business plan right now that is totally unsustainable,” he said.
In an effort to lessen the more than $17 trillion of national debt, Warner said he hopes to work with both Republicans and Democrats to modify entitlement programs and reform the tax code to create more predictability for the private sector.
In addition to discussing plans to lessen the national debt, the senator said he supports the Affordable Care Act but believes some issues need to be resolved.
“The rollout of the health care plan was a disaster,” Warner said. “I would have fired people if it was that poorly rolled out.”
According to Warner, he will soon introduce a series of “fixes” for the bill. His proposals include adding cheaper plan options and heightening the number of employees needed for a business to be required to purchase insurance from 50 to 100.
While Warner said he believes the Affordable Care Act needs changes, George Caylor, a financial advisor in the Mass Mutual Financial Group, challenged the bill altogether in a question-and-answer session following Warner’s Chamber address.
“I manage money,” Caylor said after the session. “I’m not managing as much money now, because the people that were putting money into their 401k and (individual retirement account), they haven’t got it to put in … because they’re spending so much more on insurance.”
Along with domestic policy, Warner mentioned the need for changes in foreign policy, particularly in America’s relationship with Russia and Ukraine.
He said he believes the United States should ensure Ukraine is operating within the boundaries of the law before providing any financial support, and he shared a plan for the United States to export natural gas to Europe.
“That would create more American jobs, and that would cause (western European) countries to be less dependent on Russian energy sources,” Warner said.
Warner currently holds a 15-point lead over opposing Senate candidate and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie in the Quinnipiac University poll, released March 24. He will defend his seat in the upcoming Nov. 4. election.