The Hampton Roads Chamber welcomed Senatorial Candidate Daniel Gade for a virtual town hall meeting on August 24th. Gade is a retired US Army Colonel running as a Republican against Senator Mark Warner. The Chamber has invited Mark Warner to conduct a similar virtual town hall meeting for members.
Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan Stephens opened the session by telling the members who participated; the Chamber is committed to helping them make informed decisions at the polls.
During his 20 years of military service, enemy fire struck Gade twice. The second incident claimed his leg. “When I was wounded for the second time, one of my bosses came to me and said, are you going to stay in the Army or get out. I said I was probably going to get out. My supervisor asked why, are you done serving? I vowed then and there I would stay in the Army and would do my 20 years of service, and not let the enemy determine when I was done serving.” Gade considers serving as a US Senator to be a fitting continuation of his career.
Gade has spent much of his post Army career serving the federal government in different advisory capacities on disabilities and veterans in the workforce.
Gade feels the COVID-19 pandemic should not cause government leaders to abandon principles and grow government. He wants to "make sure the government does not grow so massively it crushes business." He says protecting the workforce is every business owner’s primary concern. “Government needs to support small businesses, assist the unemployed, reopen schools safely, and help those whose jobs are gone obtain new skills.
Gade is against state and local government bailouts. "Don't bail someone out without asking them to plan to behave better in the future," Gade says any stimulus plan should include discipline.
Chris Stone, Senior Principal of Clark Nexsen, asked Gade about infrastructure funding and sea-level rise. Gade responded, "Commerce of the future can grow on roads and bridges and tunnels. As we seek to modernize, we must prioritize the most important projects. One of Virginia's delegation's functions is to make a case for Virginia's ports as the highest quality on the east coast. Our ports should be a focus of the spending." Gade says he believes the government should spend funds on managing sea level rise. "We are never going to solve it, we need to manage it."
Stephens asked Gade about funding for the military. "We need to increase the size of the Navy. There is no time to wait. China is expanding its influence."
Gade says he is working on helping the region to diversify the economy by attracting new industries. “I’m working to create opportunity zones, high tech hubs, federal facilities engaged in growing the space industry.” Gade supports offshore wind energy. “Wind at sea is predictable. We have wind 24 hours a day."
Gade said he was horrified by the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. “We don’t’ need more trucks on the road. Natural gas is one of the cleaner forms of energy. When it burns, it produces carbon dioxide and water. The fact that the pipeline was canceled means the product must come to market by truck. We already have an infrastructure problem. More trucks on I-81 This is a horrific problem."
Gade wants firm border control. He believes immigrants who arrive legally should be allowed to work. "As long as we know who they are, where they are, background check, and they go back when not working. America has plenty of room for legal immigrant labor. If you serve an honorable term in the military, you should get automatic citizenship."
Gade is opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry emergency regulation. “We need to protect our workforce. Every business should have the flexibility to protect its workforce. When you make police on an emergency basis, it is overly broad.” Gade is a right-to-work advocate. He believes the federal government should not set minimum wage. “Raising the minimum wage will force business owners to replace labor with capital, replace people with iPad and robots.
Gade wrapped up the session by stating, “I am 100% pro-business. I am aware of the fact that business is the beating heart of America. Business drives the things that make America successful.”
For more on Daniel Gade, go to Gadeforvirginia.com.