By Leah Small, The Progress-Index
CHESTERFIELD — U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D‑Va., made a stop at the Amazon Fulfillment Center on a five-day tour of Virginia, focused on building strategies to improve economic development and job creation.
Tuesday was the second day of tour, which also brought the senator to Richmond, where he met with African-American business leaders to discuss challenges facing their businesses, including issues involving access to capital and workforce preparation. Afterward, Kaine toured Amazon, and spoke of its impact on Virginia’s economy.
“They think Virginia is a good place to do business, not only these fulfillment centers, but they have a very heavy cloud computing business in Northern Virginia,” he said. “They do a lot with the military, with the intelligence community, so this is an employer that has a big footprint in Virginia.”
Kaine said that Amazon’s veteran hiring initiatives also tied into his goal to reduce veteran unemployment, as a member of the armed services committee.
He also praised Amazon for its work with Fort Lee logistics personnel. The company works with the post, which is the center of the army’s logistics community, to improve military practices.
“They are a logistics company, the center of logistics for the U.S. Army is at Fort Lee. Amazon built a partnership with Fort Lee … [They] see how Amazon does their work and take it into military logistics jobs,” Kaine said.
As for the ideas he will be taking back to Washington, Kaine said that a Monday visit to the Hampton V.A. Medical Center may be the start of new legislation to reduce wait times for veterans seeking care.
The senator said that the average wait time for a veteran to see a primary care physician at the hospital was 30 days a year ago, but is now reduced to seven days.
“I asked them, ‘you made some improvements, what can we do in Congress to help you improve?’” Kaine said.
An employee of the health system suggested that physicians with Department of Defense credentials be allowed to practice at the medical center, which is a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital. This would involve passing a law that would give physicians the credentials to practice at both types of facilities.
Kaine said that veterans would benefit because speciality physicians would be more readily available. In this case, doctors from the nearby Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.
On Wednesday, Kaine will begin a two-day tour of localities in southern Virginia, including: Emporia, South Hill, Boydton, South Boston, Danville, Galax, Pulaski, Martinsville and Carroll County.
On Friday, August 21, Kaine is scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion in Radford with law enforcement and Community Services Board members on the impact of prescription drug use on communities and businesses across the Commonwealth. He will also tour the Virginia Tech-Carilion Research Institute.