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AG Mark Herring Issues Official Advisory Opinion Explaining Why Lee County’s...

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From AG Mark Herring's office: ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING ISSUES OPINION EXPLAINING WHY LEE COUNTY'S DECISION TO ARM TEACHERS IS UNLAWFUL RICHMOND (August 28, 2018) – Today, Attorney General...

Terry Kilgore’s District Receives Foreign Aid

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RAM Lee County photo Triage_zpspornvd1w.jpgA week ago this morning I visited with a film crew from South Korea working just outside of Jonesville, Virginia. No, they weren't casting a movie. They were filming a video appeal to Samsung's worldwide employees for contributions to help Americans without access to health care. Thankful, Virginia Delegates?

The day prior, a German television news team was on set at this Remote Area Medical clinic capturing the essence of what American political arrogance delivers our least fortunate. So the young South Korean and I traded our stories. I knew a Korea he had never experienced, him being born after my first foray to outposts along a tense Demilitarized Zone. He knows an America that can't exist in his own nation where there is universal health care; an America you won't hear honestly debated by Virginia Republicans or their Presidential pretenders.

Incumbent Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Scott), running for reelection unopposed with over a quarter million dollars in his campaign coffers, failed to drop by to thank his constituents' benefactors for delivering the health care that his Party's policies have denied them. Maybe he is saving the funds to pay for a flight to Inchon so he can meet the Samsung executives personally.

The sparsely used and essentially vacant Lee County Airport terminal had been transformed the Friday prior into a health facility; every nook and cranny was claimed. The expeditionary nature of the organization Stan Brock leads leverages volunteers to construct tents, unload and arrange equipment, and prepare for two days of service. Last year, players from the Lee High School football team provided the bulk of muscle required. But this year the Generals had a game on set up day; local churches rounded up some help. A group of students from James Madison University's (JMU) Department of Social Work, led by their mentor, Dr. Laura Hunt Trull, pitched in both days of the clinic. And there were the cats and dogs like me.  

“Conservatives” Want a Piece of Your Healthcare Money

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RAM Dental Clinic Assembly photo DentalClinicAssembly_2_zpsb2bfb5d1.jpgThere's always a story behind the story and sometimes one belies the other. Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a godsend; make no mistake about it. But like any private sector organization, the transparency or accountability we demand from government is not always evident. Today's "conservatives" would never acknowledge that.

Watching and taking part in the transformation of a rural air terminal into expeditionary specialty clinics, dental and vision, is not an immersion in military precision. It almost can't be when much of the labor is borrowed. The effort resulting when organization is flattened results in stove-piping. The raw volunteers care about pitching in and recognize the limits of their ability to contribute to technical assembly of the equipment. There are enough seasoned volunteers that as long as the boxes and bags are lined up at their assigned places, they can readily and efficiently assemble and order materials; in their areas. The lack of organization and efficiency among the unguided volunteers is more than compensated for by their numbers and camaraderie. From pitching tents (probably the most organized effort), to setting up tables and chairs, to moving crates and boxes, the unbridled activity ends in mission accomplishment.

This is at the tactical delivery end. Strategically there is always another view that is masked by the appearance if not the reality of good intentions. My father had no time for the American Red Cross. After raging battles on isolated Pacific islands during World War II, the Red Cross sold donuts to the Marines and sailors ashore; the Salvation Army was there handing out goods gratis. Guess which organization he favored. My wife cannot turn down a request for a donation from Saint Jude's in Memphis despite having no clue who Danny Thomas was; it's those children. On the other hand, when I see anyone collecting donations to benefit our military service members or veterans, I challenge their credentials on the spot. I wasn't as discerning with RAM until I saw the DC-47 (a WWII DC-3 configuration) touch down in Lee County. After all, RAM had been endorsed via association by both of Virginia's United States Senators, our current Governor, and General Assembly members from both sides of the aisle.  

Health Care in Kilgorvia; RAM comes to Lee County

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Lee County Hospital photo 140912LeeCountyHospital_zpsc51ee543.jpgSpending just moments with Dr. Joseph Smiddy is a cascade of chilling water for those claiming faith in the American health care system. What a lot of people proclaim as the best medical system in the world isn't delivering for many with the greatest need right here in Virginia.

"It's not just that they can't afford any sort of insurance that might be available to them under the Affordable Care Act. It's that this is a horribly underserved region in terms of medical resources." - Henry Schuster, 60 Minutes producer (at 3:17)

Organizers of an expeditionary Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic just outside of Jonesville, Virginia expect something on the order of 600 patients today and tomorrow. This is the first of this kind of event in Lee County, set up in and around the airport that sits further west than Columbus, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, far removed from Richmond. Sadly, this constitutes primary care for many residents. When I arrived yesterday as a volunteer, 22 hours before the first patient would be seen, there were already three carloads of people lined up to ensure they could get one of the specialty services. They know the routine.

Somehow Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) avoids discerning scrutiny from his constituency. Even with all that tobacco money he is bringing home, many of those living in Virginia's poorest county rely upon the generosity of others for any health care at all. The county's only hospital closed about a year ago.

On September 30, 2013, the Lee Regional Medical Center closed its doors after serving the community for 70 years. With the loss of jobs and decreased access to medical care, the residents of Lee County have been deeply impacted by the hospital's closure. - Lee County Hospital Authority