NBC12, HEATHER SULLIVAN
Friday marks the first 100 days of the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
Abigail Spanberger was part of the group of new Democrats elected across the country. She became the first Democrat to represent Virginia’s 7th District in nearly 40 years.
When Spanberger took the oath of office Jan. 3, she had to jump right in to work on major issues facing the country. The federal government was shut down, thousands of migrants were at the southern border, and healthcare costs continued to be a major debate.
As Spanberger toured VCU Health’s NOW Center in Henrico, she said healthcare is always on the top of her mind. It was a major issue of her campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Dave Brat.
Just this week, a House committee unanimously passed a bill Spanberger wrote that is aimed at cutting prescription costs by requiring pharmacy benefit managers to make their price agreements public.
“As you’re placing greater transparency on what these financial transactions may be, that will bring greater light to why prescription drug prices have increased,” Spanberger said.
She remains a steadfast supporter of the Affordable Care Act.
“For anyone who attacks the Affordable Care Act, my question is what aspect isn’t working and what can we do to solve that problem?” she said.
Spanberger has received some push back for breaking with fellow Democrats on a few occasions since taking office. She voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House and was one of only seven Democrats to take a bipartisan meeting with President Donald Trump over the government shutdown.
“I think part of that discussion is there may be times I will cross the aisle to their side. If it’s right for the district, if it’s consistent with the principles and priorities I have laid out,” Spanberger said. “But I don’t think good ideas have to live with one particular party or another.”
Spanberger has been working to expand broadband access to rural communities, and co-sponsored a bill to ban separating families at the border.
“I just question what it means to take a child from his or her parents,” Spanberger said. “I have three young children, and for me it is just an unthinkable thing that they would be outside of my purview.”
In the meantime, she’s finding ways to keep in touch with her three daughters while she works in Washington, DC, during the week.
“I email back and forth with my kids, we FaceTime,” she said. “I have made it so they’ve met other children whose parents, particularly their moms, are members of Congress.”
She also continues to serve as a Girl Scout troop leader.
“Yes, I have Girl Scout cookies in my dining room,” Spanberger said. “We ended up not doing a booth sale this year, so we have some extra cookies. If anybody’s looking for some, they’re at my house.”
Spanberger is holding a series of town halls. The next one is April 18 at 7 p.m. at J.R. Tucker High School in Henrico.