Since his time as Virginia’s governor, Sen. Warner has been focused on protecting jobs and creating opportunity in rural Virginia. He fought to save job training centers like the Flatwood Job Corps and protected the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which is responsible for over 300 jobs in Southwest Virginia. He is also a champion for Virginia’s coal miners, working hard to protect their pensions and health care benefits. Sen. Warner is committed to making sure that every Virginian has access to the tools and opportunities to help them succeed, regardless of their ZIP code.
Infrastructure makes a huge impact on economic development, and no infrastructure in the 21st century is more important that fast, dependable broadband. Unfortunately, not everyone in Virginia has access to reliable broadband service. Sen. Warner has been relentless in pushing to get high-speed internet to rural Virginia to help unlock the region’s economic potential and even the playing field for all Virginians. In 2014, he helped change the law to make it easier for the government to fund rural broadband projects in Virginia and across the nation. In 2019, he successfully pushed for over $30 million in grant funding for rural broadband, and rural parts of the Commonwealth are already taking advantage of these new programs.
Sen. Warner protected the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which has funded infrastructure and economic development projects in some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable communities over the last 50 years. The ARC also directly funds over 300 jobs in southwest Virginia. The Trump administration’s budget proposed to end the ARC, which would have terminated 32 projects in Virginia. Sen. Warner led the bipartisan effort to fully fund the ARC and protect communities across the Commonwealth, securing enough funding to allow the program to continue its vital work in southwest Virginia and throughout Appalachia.
Sen. Warner is a champion for Virginia’s coal miners. Over the years, he has always stood with the United Mine Workers of America to protect the pensions and health benefits these hard-working men and women have earned. He was an original co-sponsor of the Bipartisan American Miners Act, which the President signed into law at the end of 2019. This important bill will ensure that miners will not lose their health insurance or pensions should their coal company declare bankruptcy. Without Sen. Warner’s bill, 92,000 miners could have lost their pensions, and 13,000 their health coverage.
Sen. Warner has also been a leader in saving the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, and introduced the Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Solvency Act of 2020 to extend the black lung excise tax through the end of 2030.
In 2019, Sen. Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine introduced the bi-partisan Job Corps Protection Act to protect successful job training centers nationwide, including the Flatwoods Job Corps facility in Coeburn, VA. The Flatwood Job Corps has helped young Virginians gain the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy for decades, and thanks to the work of Sen. Warner and his colleagues, it remains open.