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Brian Devine: April 2012 Archives

The High Cost of Student Loans



Virginia has the sixth highest student load debt in the country, with the average student carrying $31,700 of debt upon graduation. Considering what students could be spending this money on, this is a very serious issue. Graduates could be jump starting the economy and giving the housing market a boost by using that money to put a down payment on their first homes. Or they could use that money instead to purchase fuel-efficient cars. Responsible graduates could also invest the money or put it aside to have a plan in case disaster strikes. The options for spending this money are almost limitless, but I can guarantee that no student would choose to graduate with such an enormous amount of debt. Rather, they feel like they have no choice.


ProgressVA today released a new video highlighting the record Gov. McDonnell is hoping Virginians (and Mitt Romney's VP selection committee) will forget. Virginians are intimately familiar with his support for extreme, out-of-touch social legislation and failure to adequately invest in public education and transportation solutions. As McDonnell attempts to whitewash his record and reclaim his struggling VP bid with a $400,000 tv ad blitz, ProgressVA is setting the record straight.

"Bob McDonnell may think he can buy his way back into Virginians' good graces, but we don't fool that easily," said ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl. "Virginians can't forget Bob McDonnell's support for forced, mandatory ultrasounds, his repeal of common sense public safety protections, his lack of adequate investment in public education, and his absolute failure to address our transportation crisis."



Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new and exciting data about the impressive savings for Americans because of the Affordable Care Act. According to CMS' Office of the Actuary, through 2016, the ACA will help the Medicare program save more than $200 billion by implementing anti-fraud measures, changing providers policies to improve productivity and ending excessive payment to insurers who offer Medicare Advantage plans. For seniors and those with disabilities in the traditional Medicare program, the ACA will help them realize a savings of $59.4 billion through 2016 and $208 billion through 2021 by lower cost-sharing and premiums.

This latest data further proves the that the ACA is good for America and good for Virginians. Since the law was enacted in 2012, Virginians have saved millions and gotten the health care that they need to live healthier lives.

Check below for an important list of the facts:


Via MSNBC: "Candy company Mars is the latest corporation to abandon the right-wing agenda group ALEC. Some ALEC-associated lawmakers are feeling the heat. Director of Progress VA Anna Scholl tells Ed Schultz about her confrontation with the Virginia Speaker of the House over his party's ties to ALEC."


This morning ProgressVA joined with national advocacy organizations from across the country to urge companies to quit ALEC. In the past week, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Intuit and the Gates Foundation have all renounced their participation in ALEC. Last week, ProgressVA called for Virginia legislators to do the same. In January, ProgressVA released a report detailing the influence of ALEC on Virginia's legislature, including over 50 bills introduced in the General Assembly and over $230,000 of taxpayer dollars spent to subside legislative membership in the organization. Today's release reports:

"A coalition of civil rights and government watchdog groups with members in all 50 states elevated the ongoing campaign to pressure corporations to withdraw from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by calling today on three prominent companies to join the list of firms departing ALEC.

Color of Change, Common Cause,  People for the American Way, Progress Now, the Center for Media and Democracy, and CREDO said their members will be petitioning State Farm Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's - all of whom play a prominent leadership role in ALEC to leave the organization immediately...

'ALEC's companies and lobbyists wine-and-dine our elected officials at expense-paid "seminars," write legislation for them and then fade quietly into the background as that legislation is introduced and passed in statehouses across the country,' said Anna Scholl of Progress Virginia. 'People we elect to represent all of us end up representing just a few, driven by their pursuit of profit and/or a radical ideological agenda.' Progress Virginia recently released a report detailing ALEC's undue influence in the Commonwealth."

(Please find the rest of the release here.)

BREAKING: McDonalds has now joined the growing list of companies dumping ALEC.



Sen. Dick Lugar (R-McLean, VA) has delivered for Virginia families

lugar-bday-card.jpgProgressVA today wished US Senator Dick Lugar a very happy birthday and thanked him for all his work on behalf of Virginia families. A resident of McLean, VA, Senator Lugar has delivered results for Virginia voters.

We at ProgressVA so pleased he has chosen to call our fair Commonwealth home and for the numerous earmarks he's delivered for Virginia families. While Senator Lugar may live in Northern Virginia, his record demonstrates his concern for every corner of the Commonwealth. Our slogan may be "Virginia is for lovers" but the truth is that Virginians love their 3rd Senator, Dick Lugar.

Senator Lugar has voted to approve projects of importance to regions across the Commonwealth, including:

  • $100,000 to Bedford County, Virginia for construction of the National D-Day Memorial;
  • $400,000 to Northampton County, Virginia for construction of a community center;
  • $200,000 to the Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority in Alexandria, Virginia for renovations of the Family Resource Learning Center;
  • $250,000 to the City of Chesapeake, Virginia for improvements to the Poindexter streetscape;
  • $100,000 to the City of Martinsville, Virginia for the expansion of the West Piedmont Business Development Center;
  • $300,000 to the City of Richmond, Virginia for the construction of the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation Education Center;
  • $250,000 to the City of Roanoke, Virginia for renovations to the Southwestern Virginia Food Bank;
  • $150,000 to the City of Staunton, Virginia for building renovations and improvements to downtown buildings;
  • $500,000 for the Christopher Newport News University Real Estate Foundation for the Warwick Boulevard Commercial Corridor Redevelopment Project in Newport News, Virginia;

[Sources:, The Library of Congress]

As the home of such illustrious patriots as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry, it's no wonder Dick Lugar would like to join their company. On behalf of all Virginians, we're proud to wish Dick Lugar a happy 80th birthday and thank him for his service as our 3rd Senator.