Hampton University
The Hampton University William R. Harvey Leadership Institute Talk Politics and COVID Response with Senator Tim Kaine
03/12/2021 - #132

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine met virtually with Hampton University Leadership Fellows to talk about several topics including his new legislative proposals to lower healthcare costs.

HAMPTON, Va. (March 12, 2021) – The Hampton University William R. Harvey Leadership Institute welcomed Tim Kaine, United States Senator from Virginia, for a special virtual meeting on February 17. The Leadership Fellows took advantage of the unique open forum to discuss current issues that affect the nation now and issues in the near future.   

“I would like to personally thank Senator Kaine for taking the time to actively engage with the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute fellows to discuss issues of importance,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “Participating in politics is a right in our country that must be treated with the highest regard. I believe it's paramount for all students to learn the importance of having their voices heard on both sides of the aisle.”

Senator Kaine discussed his new legislative proposals to lower healthcare costs as well as reintroduce the Medicare-X Choice Act in an effort to lower health insurance costs for individuals, low-income families, and small businesses.

"We've got an ambitious agenda before us in Congress with an emergency relief bill and an economic recovery bill. That economy recovery bill is supposed to have significant funding for workforce training and job training, which will impact many of your students," said Senator Kaine.

Several Leadership Fellows from various majors asked Senator Kaine questions about racial inequities, lower costs on health insurance, and the coronavirus pandemic. One student asked how his latest health insurance legislative proposal would benefit younger people. 

“It's meant to help younger people when they get off their parents' health insurance at the age of 26,” said Senator Kaine. “So, it's an additional option that will create more competition that will  likely to be pretty favorable on the price front and it would be available for young people.”

Senator Kaine also discussed the nation’s response as a whole to the coronavirus pandemic. Studies show African American and Latino Americans are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in comparison to white Americans. Other research has shown people of color have less trust for the vaccine and less access to medical care.

“Frankly, when the chapter is written, I believe that sadly, the U.S.'s response to COVID will be viewed as one of the greatest failures of governments in the history of American domestic politics," said Senator Kaine. 

Senator Kaine, a Democrat, assumed office in January of 2013. His current term ends on January 3, 2025. He ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate to represent Virginia in 2018. Senator Kaine is the former governor of Virginia and the former mayor of Richmond, Virginia. Senator Kaine was the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election as the running mate of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Senator Kaine provided so much insight to all of the issues and questions that our class addressed. Since a lot of these topics are so relevant to us, it was very enlightening to be able to discuss them with a politician of his caliber,” said Ms. Leah D. Johnson, freshman, strategic communications major and leadership studies minor from Baltimore, Maryland.

“The Senator shared with the class three areas of legislative focus: COVID 19, plans to reintroduce Medicare-X, and the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021.  The Fellows did extensive research on the topics and various other issues by examining sponsored legislation and issues germane to the senator. I believe one of the most impactful comments by Senator Kaine that will resonate with the fellows for the remainder of their lives were about the importance of establishing their network and associating with leaders of character,” said Dr. Jarris Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.    



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