Candidate Survey - 2015

THIS QUESTIONAIRE REQUESTS YOUR POSITIONS ON SALT’S TOP LEGISLATIVE ISSUES FOR 2015-16. Your responses will be shared with our members and others via mailings and our website ( as a helpful guide in their choice of candidates. Your answers will not be abbreviated or taken out of context. Please return your answers by August 21st by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for your commitment to public service and for your willingness to share your opinions with SALT.

Candidate: Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn
District:     41st District

1. Closing The Health Care Coverage Gap for Low Income Adults – Virginia has the opportunity to use available federal funding to offer Medicaid health insurance coverage to up to 400,000 very low-income adults. Most are working in important job sectors such as retail, tourism, and construction, but unable to get affordable health insurance from their jobs or from the federal marketplace. Federal funding (which pays for 100% of the costs through 2016 and gradually reduces to 90% in 2020) would support Virginia hospitals, create jobs, and save state dollars currently supporting many health programs. Thirty states (including West Virginia and Kentucky) and D.C. already provide this coverage. Do you support closing the coverage gap? Please explain.

ANSWER: Yes, I fully support the expansion of Medicaid and closing the health care coverage gap. We to have the opportunity to provide health care services to citizens of the Commonwealth who are in desperate need of basic medical care. An estimated 250,000 – 400,000 individuals could benefit from closing the coverage gap. This means a healthier community, the creation of jobs, a boost to our economy, less financial stress on hospitals, a positive impact on our budget and an overall improved society. We have seen state after state, throughout the country accept the federal funding, thereby closing their gap. I have spoken on the floor of the House of Delegates several times in favor of expansion and I will continue to advocate in support of closing the coverage gap thereby providing needy families and individuals services much needed.

2. Inflation Indexing of TANF Benefits is a Fairness Issue: Currently, a family of three in Virginia receivesa fifth of the federal poverty level and has seen only one TANF increase since 1985. At $269 a month average for a family Virginia ranks 35th in TANF payments. Indexing would prevent further erosion of recipients’ ability to meet basic needs of children in their own home or in relative care and can be funded from the federal TANF block grant. The justice of a society can be measured by how the most vulnerable are faring and treated. Shouldn’t Virginia take steps to alleviate poverty and to protect families. Strong families are as important to Virginia’s future as schools and roads. What steps would you support to ensure a meaningful level of time-limited assistance to Virginia’s needy families? Please explain.

ANSWER: I support increasing TANF benefits.  Ensuring the neediest in our communities have adequate assistance is critically important to breaking the cycle of family poverty.  While the current General Assembly is unlikely to support a large increase, I would support small incremental increases each year over the next few years, while also being open to different proposals that would help provide for the most vulnerable in Virginia.

3. Corporate Tax Breaks: All Should Pay Their Fair Share. We know from local research across Virginia that the recent State budget cuts have cut into real, quality of life spending by local governments: libraries are closed, police have lost staff positions, teachers have lost their jobs, and class sizes increase for public school students. At the same time, too many (two-thirds) large corporations operating in our State get by with paying very little in corporate income tax due to tax breaks, subsidies, and clever work by their tax lawyers. How will you make sure that individuals and corporations at the upper end of our income scale pay their fair share so that we can avoid painful service cuts in the future?

ANSWER: While we need to encourage our businesses to grow and maintain our standing as one of the best places to do business, we must also support our quality of life and continue to be one of the best states to raise a family.  We must support quality of life for all citizens of Virginia, by funding our schools, paying our teachers, fully staffing our police and fire departments and keeping libraries open.  I will continue to support funding for these important programs while also supporting a thorough examination of the antiquated VA Tax Code to ensure fairness and equity for all payers.

4. Bring about effective change in the criminal justice system: Those who remain in contact with loved ones on the outside are less likely, studies show, to return to a life of crime after serving their time. So why does Virginia make it so hard for inmates to phone their families? SALT believes that telephone charges should be “just and reasonable”. A small reform, perhaps, but lower rates might help prisoners go straight. Do you support lower phone rate to reestablish contact between offenders and their families and ultimately to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders?

ANSWER: For the past several sessions, I have supported legislation introduced by Delegate Patrick Hope which would have provided phone rate fairness for prisoners and their families.  The current financial burdens that currently exist in Virginia are preventing prisoners from being able to stay in contact with their families, which reduces this important family support and increases the chance of recidivism.  As a former member of the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee I supported Delegate Hope’s legislation during the 2013 & 2014 General Assembly Sessions.

5. Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families -- Support of Operation Backpack for TANF Families --This allowance would permit children living in poverty to acquire the needed school supplies and clothing essential for returning to school & equipping children to learn. Help Give School Supplies and Hope — a simple backpack can change lives.Would you support to give children in deepest poverty an even start?

ANSWER: I would support a program that allows children living in poverty the chance to acquire the needed school supplies and clothing essential for returning to school.  Having the proper supplies and confidence can exponentially increase a child’s chance at succeeding in school.  With the proper education and chance, children in the deepest poverty situations can be giving the opportunity to change their environment.  This starts with being properly prepared and equipped for the classroom.

6. Rescind the Federal Lifetime TANF Ban for Ex-Drug Offenders:Lifting the ban eliminates for ex-offenders (whose offense was solely drug possession) the disqualification from receipt of TANF federal transitional assistance needed to care for family members, increases the chances of gainful employment of ex-offenders. To us lifting the ban is a matter of fairness, as it serves to provide basic Re-entry program services that reduce recidivism and save states money. This ban penalizes children of drug felons. Do we want to be a society that requires children to pay for the misdeed(s) of their parents? Do you support extending the eligibility of ex-drug offenders for food stamps TANF benefits as well? Do you support extending TANF eligibility for ex-drug offenders who return to their families and take responsibilities for their families? Please explain.

ANSWER: Yes. I believe that extending the eligibility to ex-offenders will assist those who have successfully paid their debt to society as they transition back into the community. Often times, children and other innocent members of the family suffer when benefits are not available. I applaud Governor McAuliffe for restoring voting rights during his tenure to the most ex-offenders who have paid their debt to society. I believe we can go a step further in rights restoration and I hope that the Governor’s new task force will develop ideas to continue improving the criminal justice system.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!