E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, today resorted to prayer as a way to end the ongoing government shutdown. “It could possibly not get any worse, and we need some sort of divine intervention to bring folks together,” Jackson said during a Q&A session at Patrick Henry College, a private, independent college with a conservative evangelical Christian focus, in Purcellville this afternoon.
Jackson said he understands the motivation of a group of Republicans in Congress who are pushing to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. “It’s only responsible to try to stop that, but we got to find a way to do it so it doesn’t hurt so many people,” he said. “It’s horrible for Virginia.”
Jackson also expressed concern with news reports of young cancer patients being denied treatment under the shutdown. As the Wall Street Journal reported, at the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. As a result, about 200 patients – including 30 children – who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away, according to the paper. “Can we at least fund this, so these kids can get the treatment they need?” Jackson said.
During Wednesday’s lieutenant governor debate in Norfolk, Jackson also expressed concern with the shutdown. But state Sen. Ralph S. Northam. Jackson’s Democratic rival, reminded the audience that the Chesapeake pastor had pushed for a shutdown at a tea party rally on Capitol Hill in 2011.
“Just two years ago, at a rally in Washington, D.C., Mr. Jackson, you were yelling out to either ‘cut it or shut it.’ I think I would say, be careful what we ask for, because they have shut our government down and there are thousands of Virginians right now who are out of work,” Northam said. “The rigid ideology we’re seeing from the Tea Party is not doing this Commonwealth or this country any good.”
Today, Jackson said: “They got to find a way to deal with this. Ultamately this is going to have to be resolved at the ballot box.”