RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie thinks the fireworks you can buy in Virginia are “pretty rinky-dink.” That’s why he wants Virginia to legalize consumer-grade fireworks.
“Here in Virginia, the fact is that we don’t get to celebrate the 4th of July the way a lot of other Americans do,” he said Friday.
Gillespie said too many people are traveling across state lines to buy them.
“Virginians are paying sales taxes there and contributing to revenues to those states when they could be purchasing here and contributing revenues to our state,” said Gillespie.
On Friday, Gillespie released a light-hearted video that shows the different products available in other states.
Gillespie said his proposal would bring in millions of dollars in new revenue and create thousands of jobs.
He cited New York, Michigan, Maine, West Virginia and Georgia as legalizing consumer-grade fireworks or easing their regulations in recent years.
Gillespie said, under his plan, only adults would be allowed to purchase consumer fireworks and localities would be able to opt out altogether.
When asked for his opinion on the proposal, Democratic candidate Ralph Northam’s press secretary issued this statement:
“Dr. Northam likes fireworks as much as anyone, but he also wants to make sure you can afford health care in case you accidentally blow your hand off with one. We’d like to know if Ed believes the Republicans’ healthcare plans will actually allow for that.” – Ofirah Yheskel, Ralph Northam’s press secretary
On Friday, Gillespie addressed health care. He said he has concerns about things in both the House bill and Senate bill.
He called the Affordable Care Act a “disaster” and said it needs to be replaced.
He said he wants states not be punished for not taking Medicaid expansion, wants protections for people with pre-existing conditions who are entering the marketplace, wants people to be able to have their own doctors and hold down the cost.
“I’m encouraging Congress to come forward with legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act that does those things and watching to see where that goes,” he said.
Gillespie said he will be coming forward with a plan that fosters greater competition in the insurance and provider marketplace to bring down costs to consumers. He is also looking at Medicaid reforms to make it more efficient and effective.