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Sat Jun 2, 2018, 01:46 AM

For Va. House's Democratic freshmen, Medicaid expansion vote is payoff to 2017 campaigns

As votes were still being counted on election night in 2017, then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the blue wave would finally sweep Medicaid expansion through the General Assembly.

When that prediction came true Wednesday night, members of the big Democratic freshman class of 2018 were some of the last people left on the floor of the House of Delegates, savoring the moment and sharing the news on their phones.

“We all ran on it,” said Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico. “To get that accomplished and then the benefits that come from that, more money for K-12 spending, more money in the rainy day fund. ... It’s pretty amazing.”

They weren’t in the thick of negotiations among the General Assembly’s top budget-writers, but the 15 first-term Democrats who flipped GOP-held seats may be just as responsible for the outcome. As House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, made his final pitch for the budget Wednesday, he acknowledged that the “more narrowly oriented” chamber helped set the 51-49 GOP majority on a path to Medicaid expansion.

Read more: http://www.richmond.com/news/plus/for-va-house-s-democratic-freshmen-medicaid-expansion-vote-is/article_1aa1f3dd-436b-54be-94aa-26f07beb9299.html

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