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7th District Congressional candidate Del. Nick Freitas answers your questions

Posted at 7:56 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 21:47:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Congressional candidate Del. Nick Freitas (R - 30th) joined CBS 6 News at 7 to answer questions from Bill Fitzgerald and voters via Facebook live.

Freitas, a Republican delegate, is challenging incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger for Virginia's 7th Congressional District seat.

The 7th District includes Chesterfield, Henrico, Spotsylvania, Culpepper, Louisa, Orange, Powhatan, Goochland, Amelia, and Nottoway.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The transcripts below were created by a computer program and reviewed by a human prior to publishing. Spelling, grammar, and content errors will be corrected when they are discovered.

CBS 6 News at 7 interview transcript:

Bill Fitzgerald
Four weeks from now the polls will be closing at this hour on this year's elections. It's time to meet the candidates. I'm joined tonight by Republican Delegate Nick Freitas who is challenging Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. In Virginia's 7th Congressional District. Delegate Freitas, thank you for joining us.

Nick Freitas
It's my pleasure, thank you for having me.

Bill Fitzgerald
It's always a minor miracle when all the technology works out. So tell us, what is this election about?

Nick Freitas
Well, I think it was about a number of things. But I'm more and more I really do think this is a question about what direction we want to go as a country. And I think that contrast is pretty significant. Do you want the government having significantly more control over your life, your health care, your business? Or do you believe that we need to put power back in the hands of individuals to be able to make decisions for themselves, and I certainly come down on the side that we need to be empowering people by protecting their liberty, protecting their property rights, creating opportunity, but the government is not here to micromanage our lives.

Bill Fitzgerald
And sometimes that can be difficult in a pandemic when people need the help of the government. But it's often said that presidential elections, as this one is, and all the down ballot races that are there as well, are often said to be a referendum on the president. Donald Trump won the 7th District by six points four years ago. But, your opponent won it by two, two years later. So is it significant that you separate yourself, to some degree, policy-wise, with President Trump on some of the major issues?

Nick Freitas
No, I think when you look at the accomplishments of the administration, whether it was lowering taxes, lower regulations, you have peace deals in the Middle East. When it comes to things like criminal justice reform, this President has passed the most significant criminal justice reform in a generation. So I actually think there's a lot of positive things that we can run in, especially when you see the contrast, and that is that Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and Joe Biden want to increase taxes by $4 trillion. They want to increase regulations, he's got a version of the Green New Deal that would go for that would be absolutely devastating for energy prices. And so that's where it goes into. How do you want to solve problems? Do we empower individuals to be able to do more? Do we empower government? And I think we've got a good record to run on.

Bill Fitzgerald
About government's help, what about the pandemic? Do you believe that has been handled well by the federal government?

Nick Freitas
I think when you look at what the federal response is supposed to be in a situation like this, there's different responsibilities at the federal level, the state level, the local level. The Federal responsibility was to do things like ensure that we have traveled bans from countries where you have hotspots, it was to allocate resources to hotspots across the country, to ensure that we didn't overwhelm our medical system. You remember, when we were first talking about this, the emphasis was on flattening the curve. And we were largely able to achieve that by the successful allocation of resources. Things can always be better, and we need to learn from this so that we can improve our systems going forward. But I do think that there are a lot of things that we were able to accomplish early on in order to ensure that we did not overwhelm our medical system.

Bill Fitzgerald
Do you see a contrast in the way President Trump handled his own Coronavirus case with the way Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has?

Nick Freitas
I think both of them obviously, have addressed this entire issue very differently. President Trump was big on allocating medical resources where they needed to be Governor Northam took more of a Draconian approach with respect to locking down the economy. And even now, we're starting to see some restrictions that I think probably are not working well, both from a health perspective and from an economic perspective. So I do think there's some significant contrast there. And again, it goes back to when we look at a problem like this. There's clearly some issues that need to be addressed from a centralized position, but in a lot of other questions, it would be better to allow localities and individuals to make decisions just make sure they have good information, made sure that they have the resources, but don't try to micromanage everything from Richmond.

Bill Fitzgerald
Healthcare, according to exit polling, was a huge issue in 2018 in Abigail Spanberger's win. Republicans including President Trump say they have a plan to replace and certainly repeal Obamacare first, but the people with the preexisting conditions, premiums could skyrocket if you don't bring other people into the pool. How do you cover those people in a pandemic?

Nick Freitas
I think that there's a couple of things to keep in mind here. Premiums already skyrocketed with Obamacare. And so when we talk about getting rid of Obamacare, you already seen bills like HR962, which has been put forward with Republicans that says that we'll maintain coverage for pre-existing conditions for vulnerable populations. The biggest thing that we have to do if we're serious about effectively addressing health care, you have to increase supply. And unfortunately, a lot of government regulations, a lot of taxes stand in the way of increasing that supply. When doctors are not allowed to work across state lines when you can't get insurance across state lines, telemedicine, COPM laws, regulation after regulation has artificially restricted the ability of people to be able to get into the health care industry so that we can have greater accessibility, greater affordability. It's the only way that you can do it. When you have a high demand. You have to have a high supply and removing those regulations will be a key step in making sure that everyone has access to quality and affordable coverage.

Bill Fitzgerald
Alright delegate. We appreciate the time we've already run out, but we're going to rejoin you on Facebook at 7:30. So, folks out there, please tune to CBS 6's Facebook page at 7:30 and we will continue this conversation with Delegate Nick Freitas running in the 7th Congressional District in Virginia against Abigail Spanberger. Thank you, sir. We'll see you in a few minutes. Thank you.

Facebook Live Q&A transcript:

Bill Fitzgerald
Once again, we're welcoming Del. Nick Freitas. He is a Republican running in the 7th Congressional District against Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. Delegate, thank you so much for sticking around and joining us on Facebook.

Nick Freitas
Oh, no, it's my pleasure. Thank you.

Bill Fitzgerald
Well, we were talking earlier about the issues of the day, naturally, we're talking about health care and the pandemic. What about a stimulus? Federal Chair Jerome Powell today essentially saying another stimulus package is needed to help people who are still struggling, that that's what it's going to take to juice the economy. Would you agree? And if so, how big of a package are we talking about in terms of another stimulus plan?

Nick Freitas
I think everybody had some basic level agreement on being able to provide services and support to people that desperately needed it. I mean, obviously, we're not just dealing with the health pandemic here. But also, as a result of the lockdowns in response, we have several businesses that have been really struggling to stay open. And so I think everybody would everybody was on the same sheet of music when it came to providing some form of assistance. The problem is, is that we look at the last bill that just was offered by Nancy Pelosi, it's about $2.1 trillion. In that bill, you see funding for things like you know, people in the country illegally getting U.S. tax dollars. You see, federal prisoners being released, you see a complete federal takeover of election law in this country where they're actually going to push mail-in balloting and vote harvesting across the entire country, regardless of state law, and there's just so many things like that, that I think are problematic. And it's one of the reasons why I'm a big fan of one issue per bill. And I think when we're dealing with something like COVID, this would be a perfect example, to take individual expenditures, individual budget amendments, and vote on those one at a time. And that way, we can actually reach some consensus on the spending that can go out and help. But ultimately, if we're serious about this, then politicians need to understand that you cannot tax what you haven't allowed other people to earn. And at this point, if you're going to continue to do Draconian government shutdowns, if you're going to continue to economic shutdowns, then we're going to be in a position where it's not as if the government is taking tax dollars and redistributing it. Now they're going to have to borrow and I'm really concerned that in the future, they're going to start using the printing press in order to do this. So ultimately, I think everybody agrees that some spending to individuals would be appropriate. But overall, this is about allowing people to go back to work in a safe, healthy, and responsible manner.

Bill Fitzgerald
As far as the printing presses, but the bond rates right now, you can borrow up for next to nothing right now. So the market is basically saying, well, whatever the US is doing in terms of stimulus, whether it's printing money or not, people are still buying those bills. So when you say an individual item, so for example, PPP, the payroll protection plan, make that a separate bill? What about giving direct checks to people like the $1,200 stimulus checks we saw the first time around.

Nick Freitas
I think to some degree that's problematic. I mean, it's one thing if you're going to do it, initially, as something of a stop-gap, maybe, but the idea that we're now putting this back forward as if this is a long term strategy as if the government could just continue to borrow money, and then hand it out to people. I'm sorry, that's not a long term strategy. One of the reasons why we have tremendous debt and deficit spending that we do right now is because politicians have attempted to try to buy people's votes by spending more money. And again, now we're at a point where not only is the government, on one hand, locking down the economy and preventing a lot of people from being able to go back to work, then on the other side, they're essentially paying out more in some unemployment benefits, then you can actually get into a job and that is not a long term strategy going forward, that's going to lead to huge problems, not just with deficit spending. But there's a lot of other second and third-order effects associated with that that are just going to be harmful to this economy.

Bill Fitzgerald
You mentioned the deficit and overall debt exploding. CBO says that over $2 trillion in the course of 10 years will be added by the tax cuts of 2017. Is that a worthy expenditure to go further into debt for, would you say, because we were told was going to pay for itself? Now I understand that debt has grown to even more prodigious levels, almost the size of the US economy. So how much should we finance? How much should we actually payout to juice the economy? Are you saying there's a way to do it to do targeted sort of bills that would then help a particular sector or how does it actually work if you're not actually giving money to people and saying spend it and put it right now into the economy?

Nick Freitas
Well, that's part of the problem, right? You have a lot of politicians that don't seem to understand basic economics. A strong economy is not just based on people's spending money. It's based on people producing things, producing wealth, goods and services that other people want to buy. It's about being able to invest in things long term to be able to say and when we reduce the economy is nothing more than here's some money go spend it. We're fundamentally misunderstanding what creates wealth and society, which allows people to actually have the economic opportunities that they need. So no, just the government simply spending money, whether it's taxing and spending and borrowing and spending or printing and spending, it is not the answer. In order to gain significant sustainable economic growth, you have to have an economy that is built around actually producing wealth, goods and services, providing job opportunities. That's why when we look at things like lowering tax rates, avoid regulations, in order to make it easier for people to start a business, expand their business easier to find a job, all of that is beneficial. Now, on the other side, the government also has to be responsible from a budgetary perspective, and recognize that it can't spend money everywhere at once. But I think one of my favorite economists of all time Thomas Sowell, who's just a brilliant man, he once said that when the people expect things from the government that the government cannot possibly produce, then only liars will suffice as candidates. And it's important to understand that while the government does have a legitimate function to play, it has a role to play with respect to public safety with respect to foreign national defense, some infrastructure, and transportation, the idea that the government can simply micromanage the economy is absolutely absurd and is failed everywhere it's been tried. So it's about reducing government spending on those things that are just not the business of the federal government. Sometimes they're better left to the states, sometimes they're better left to the locality. Sometimes they're better left to the private sector. So cutting taxes and regulations, I think is a good strategy for fostering the sort of economic development we want. Politicians just have to be responsible on the budgetary side and make sure that we're not spending beyond our means.

Bill Fitzgerald
Well, and as far as the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, if, for example, as a result of the pandemic, I've lost my job. And I have an underlying condition like diabetes, let's say, I've lost my health care, because I had it through the private sector before. But now in the pandemic, I no longer have it. If the Supreme Court declares the ACA, Obamacare, as we know it, unconstitutional and effectively kills it. The hearing is in early November. Should I be worried and what will replace it? What will Delegate or Congress member Nick Freitas, replace it with if I've lost my health care? And I have that underlying condition?

Nick Freitas
Sure. I go back to Obamacare, and we talked about it as if Obamacare goes away, what's going to happen? Well, again, Obamacare was sold to the American people on the idea that it was going to lower premiums that you could keep your doctor. And we found out that both of those things were not true.

Bill Fitzgerald
And it insured 20 million more people as well, that has to be said the fact is you they put a significant dent in the uninsured population, which helps as far as preventive care as far as costs down the line.

Nick Freitas
Okay. No, actually see this is part of the problem. When you add coverage, but you don't add corresponding care to go with it, yes, you might have coverage. But what people want when they're sick is care. What Republicans have been talking about, what they're currently talking about, Obamacare has caused far more problems than it's actually solved. Now, we have a stopgap. That's HR962, which says, for vulnerable populations, for pre-existing conditions, we will continue to provide coverage for that. But the overall goal here is you have to increase the actual supply of healthcare.

Bill Fitzgerald
So how does that work? How do I get that coverage? If I have that pre-existing condition, you said it will cover, but insurance companies are not going to say, "what take all these sick people in? Sure, bring them on."

Nick Freitas
Well, then wait a second. That's what they've been doing. They've been doing this entire time. And it's not as if Obamacare created a bunch of new resources. It's simply mandated that health insurance had to cover certain things. And the problem is this, if the government could simply just legislate something into existence, wouldn't that be nice, but that's not how reality works. So if you really want to increase supply, so again, there can be a stopgap in place, right, the government can spend additional money, you can spend additional resources to ensure the vulnerable populations have coverage. But what you're going to have to do on the other end is actually increase the supply. Obamacare didn't create new hospitals, doctors, nurses, specialists, what it created was more IRS agents. What we need are more doctors, nurses, specialists, hospitals. And there's a whole litany of government regulations that makes it more difficult for a hospital to be created, for a clinic to go into an underserved area, for doctors to serve across state lines. We had almost an equal number of qualified students, people that qualified for medical school, get turned away a few years ago, because we didn't have enough slots. In any other area of the economy. When you see that much demand, we see the supply rise up in order to meet the demand. Unfortunately, the supply is artificially restricted in this country by government regulations. So the more we can remove that, the more we can foster an opportunity where more people can actually get those medical school slots. They can get into the healthcare industry and they can provide the services that people need. That is the only way to bring down costs, ensure quality, and ensure affordability. It's the only way it works within the economy. There's no special button the government can push or that a lawmaker can simply create.

Bill Fitzgerald
Candace [Burns] has a question for you, but first, you did say there are more IRS agents today because of Obamacare than there were, say 10 years ago?

Nick Freitas
When Obamacare went into effect part of Obamacare was creating more IRS agents.

Bill Fitzgerald
So we do have more IRS agents? The budget has grown for the IRS? Is that essentially what you're saying?

Nick Freitas
I'm saying that's what happened when Obamacare was first passed. I don't know the current total number of IRS agents right now, under the last three years of the Trump administration.

Candace Burns
Okay, I'm monitoring the questions that are coming in on our Facebook live right now. Carol Kimmel was asking what's your stance on health care for pre-existing conditions, and job security for pregnant women?

Nick Freitas
One of those we're just talking about, again, as we repeal some of the worst parts of Obamacare that really, I think negatively and adversely affected the health care industry, we can still put the stopgap in place to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions, vulnerable populations, can still remain covered. But again, we have to work towards the more long term solution. And that's increasing the supply of health care professionals to actually meet the demand that we have within our economy. If we don't allow the supply to increase and in accordance with the demand, then it's going to continue to be expensive, you're going to have coverage, but you're not going to have good access. And the one thing that I would point out, when we look at how this works, again, we understand how increasing supply works everywhere else in the economy. But it also works in healthcare. You know, 10 years ago, just one example. 10 years ago, LASIK eye surgery would cost you $2,500 per eye, it wasn't as good quality, and it was harder to find. You fast forward to now it's $500 per eye, it's better quality. And it's easier to find. Why? Because it's one of the least regulated components of healthcare. And as a result, people have been able to get in there. When it comes to pregnant women in the workforce. We already have federal laws on the books, there are already state laws on the books, which prevent any business from firing someone because they're pregnant or could become pregnant. Unfortunately, there was a very, very misleading attack that was put out that suggested that I voted against this. And what happened was there was a whole new level of bureaucracy that Democrats in the General Assembly were trying to add on to this. And what it was going to do is significantly increase the cost to businesses for hiring a woman. It was going to put women at a competitive disadvantage in the economy. And again, that might not have been their intention. But as I always tell people, spend about two seconds listening to a politician's intentions, but when you actually read their bill, look at the incentive structure that was created. And I think there's a very real concern here that they are actually creating a situation where again, women are at a competitive disadvantage because we already have laws that make it illegal to fire a woman if she is pregnant or becomes pregnant.

Candace Burns
A follow up to that. There's a question asking how do you define the vulnerable population.

Nick Freitas
So vulnerable population generally falls into two categories, pre-existing conditions is one of the significant ones. Then we have other areas, whether it's Medicaid, Medicare, where vulnerability also falls within income brackets, so someone that is not able to afford health care due to unforeseen circumstances, etc. That also generally tends to include children and youth as well.

Bill Fitzgerald
You mentioned the green jobs plan with candidate Biden? Where's your stance on climate change? Do you believe that climate change has been caused by human activity?

Nick Freitas
I think there's a number of things that cause climate change. I think some of it is weather patterns, some of it's naturally occurring. But of course, human beings actually have an effect on our environment. I don't think anybody's disputing that. The question really from a public policy perspective is what's the best way in order to protect our environment while we're still protecting people, economic development, and things of that nature. And what I found is one of the most effective ways to do it is by actually protecting people's private property rights. Because if someone is polluting the river that is next to you, if someone's polluting the air in a way that affects you, well, then obviously, there's recourse that we can take through the courts, then what that legal recourse actually does is it presents an environment where not only can a company be punished for polluting or contributing to this, but it also creates an environment they have more of an incentive now in order to produce whatever they're producing in a safer and cleaner manner. So there are methods that we can do to be good stewards and to take care of the environment. I also have no problem with green energy. What I do have a problem with is the government heavily subsidizing certain green industry companies that have the best lobbyists. And what ends up happening is that you actually pervert the research and development process of green energy when they become overly reliant on government subsidy.

Bill Fitzgerald
Doesn't Big Oil get similar subsidies?

Nick Freitas
Oh, yes. And they shouldn't. They shouldn't I am equal opportunity here. I don't like the government handing out subsidies to companies. I believe in the free market, not government manipulation of the market through cronyism. So when we're talking about things like green energy, we should allow green energy to develop within the marketplace in a competitive environment, because that's where the best ideas are going to rise the top and actually give us sustainable solutions. But the thing that I would suggest is, if anybody really thinks greater central planning, if you look at the green New Deal, it's greater central planning of the economy, it's greater government manipulation of industry, it's the eradication, in some cases of the eroding of some cases of private property rights. Okay, go look at the countries that have implemented those things. And you tell me if they have good environmental policy because as I look at the countries that have embraced central planning, I don't see good environmental policy.

Bill Fitzgerald
Do you believe that we're reaching a critical stage though, in global warming as it were? Like, is there any need to go back to like the Paris Agreement, or, you know, Kyoto Protocol before that?

Nick Freitas
Here's what I find interesting about the Paris Agreements, the United States left the Paris agreements, and we actually reduced our overall carbon footprint by about 140 metric tons. China's still in it, and it's increased it by about 100 metric tons. So belonging to the Accord is not as important as actually doing something substantive. There have been, again, when we allow green energy to effectively develop within the marketplace, and actually spend those research and development dollars creating a better product instead of buying better lobbyists, I think will get a better result.

Candace Burns
Megan Wagner is asking you to address your stance on global warming, and what would you do to address it?

Nick Freitas
So again, I think that the most important thing that we need to realize is that when you do things like protect property rights, when you do things when you allow green energy when you allow companies to be able to innovate. So one of the things that is appropriate is obviously when the government is saying that, okay, pollution is a problem, because there are negative externalities, right? It doesn't just affect you, it affects other people, and so that there's some mechanism that you should be able to have in order to stop that. I think that when the government is going to engage in those sorts of policies, it's far better for the government to set goals, as opposed to try to micromanage the process.

Bill Fitzgerald
So carbon pricing is a bad thing in that regard, or is that one of the mechanisms that would actually capture that externality?

Nick Freitas
It's one of the externalities referred to as a Pigovian tax, I think it has a limited utility. I think that that's better than a lot of the other things that they've actually pushed for. But I still think that there's problems with it based off of how those markets would actually be run, because again, if it's politicians running the market, you're gonna have some problems. If they're just setting general caps and goals, and then allowing the industry to be able to adapt to make those goals, that's a far more efficient way to get to the sort of climate response than we want, as opposed to government trying to micromanage the process. And again, I just want to give one quick example of this. For instance, when US companies were competing in southern companies to make more cars that didn't put off as many as pollutants, you know, the catalytic converter was one of the responses to that. And so politicians came forward and said, All right, cars have to have a catalytic converter. Well, it turns out that other cars being produced, it actually reduced the overall smog and the pollution output, but they've done it using something other than a catalytic converter. And what did they have to do? They had to actually rip it apart and add that in it in order to sell them in US markets. So again, you don't have the government micromanage the process. The government has a role in mitigating negative externalities, but it's far better to allow people within the market to innovate appropriately, as opposed to trying to run that process for them.

Candace Burns
Theresa Tempstar is asking what will you do to support public education?

Nick Freitas
So I think there's a lot we have to do with respect to education. This is something I've been very passionate about in the General Assembly, I carried legislation on this, whether it was expanding career technical education, expanding apprenticeship programs. And I think COVID has really shown us what happens when the government has kind of a monopolistic control over education. I think, especially at the federal level, the federal government should not be putting teachers in a position where they have to spend 20 or 30 hours a week or 20 or 30% of their time during the week, just complying with federal laws in order to get that funding. So I would love to see more dollars following students not only because I think that would create a marketplace for education, where you would have a lot more diversity and educational opportunities, and specifically geared towards students, I think it would be significantly better for teachers as well, because as I talked to teachers, one of their biggest frustrations at this point is how much time they have to spend complying with state, local and federal mandates, how much time they have to spend teaching to a test, how they're afraid to deviate from the lesson plan at all unless they get in trouble for it. So I think if we create more of a marketplace for education, it's going to be better not only for students, being able to find the educational outcomes and resources that were best for them. I think it's going to be significantly better for teachers as well. And here's one of the examples I use. When you put politicians in charge of spending how the education dollars are spent. You get a lot of political incentives, motivating that you get a lot more administrators in schools. When you put parents and teachers in the in the process all of a sudden teachers are a lot more taken care of because the parent doesn't send a kid to their school based off of how many administrators, or how many buildings there are, the parent sends their child to a school based off of how good a job the teachers are doing. And they want to make sure those teachers are taken care of.

Bill Fitzgerald
And what about going back to school versus virtual schools. So that should be left up to each individual jurisdiction, as opposed to say, the state or certainly the federal level?

Nick Freitas
Definitely should not be mandated by the federal level. And there's a reason why our Constitution does not put education within the realm of the federal government, because politicians in Washington D.C. trying to decide what education should look like for 330 million Americans across 50 states is just absurd. So no, we want to localize that as much as possible. But again, this goes into the marketplace of ideas. Part of the reason why we're having the frustration we are right now is because the government has insisted on really micromanaging education. I think if we open that up and allowed for a lot more freedom for teachers a lot more freedom for parents, we would have actually seen far better adaptation to what's going on with the pandemic that would have allowed students to be able to continue to learn in a safe environment, even though it might not look like the one that we currently have.

Candace Burns
Okay, Patrick O'Grady is asking what is the role of the federal government in combating the coronavirus, in your opinion?

Nick Freitas
So with the federal government, I think it really falls under a couple of lines. The first one was with respect to the travel restrictions from hotspots. So obviously, before this became a pandemic, the effort was to prevent it from coming into the United States as much as possible. And so you saw those early travel restrictions as a result. After it got to that point, I think there was kind of two components here. One was the allocation of resources, and one was the collection and distribution of data. So when it comes to the allocation of resources it is important to understand that, from a scientific perspective, when something has become a pandemic, it means that essentially everyone is going to be affected either directly or indirectly, in some sort of way. And so the federal government's response from the health concern is to make sure that resources are allocated to ensure that your healthcare system is not overwhelmed. That is the most important thing that can take place. Because over time, we're going to have to develop vaccines, we're going to have to develop medical treatments. And then you're also going to see herd immunity and natural processes as well take effect in order to allow us to get to a more normalized status of living. But the federal government's responsibility was largely on the international side with the travel bans. And then after that, it was making sure that we got resources where they needed so the healthcare system was not overwhelmed. And we were largely able to achieve that in the United States. That's not again, not to say that there are things that we could have done better. And we certainly need to learn from that. But the federal response, again, I think, largely answered the mail on flattening the curve and preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed, because we really didn't see that. I think that we have seen that at the state level, there's been very, very different approaches. And to some degree, that's by design within our within our Republic. And some degree, it makes sense as well, because various states have very different concerns with respect to population centers, transportation, medical resources, and so it makes sense to allow the governors to be able to allocate those resources appropriately. I hope that answers the question.

Bill Fitzgerald
So you don't think there was a costly delay in marshaling those resources, such as ramping up testing protocols or supplying PPE to various entities across the country? At one point, I believe President Trump said the governors are on their own that is, and they found themselves kind of bidding against each other for commodities that were hard to come by.

Nick Freitas
Well, so again, going back to the idea, there are definitely things that we can and should do better, especially when you're we're talking about setting up protocols for the future. By the same token, governors do have to take responsibility with respect to their actions within their states. And there is a lot of authority within the state level in order to be able to adjust manufacturing appropriately, to be able to do purchasing appropriately. So I don't think it's fair for states to simply say that it was the federal government's responsibility to, you know, get all the PPE to them that they needed. I think that there were local concerns for that as well. And this is also one of the areas too where I think it's important to actually recognize how the private sector adapted to this. I know my wife and her friends spent hours actually making masks and PPE for our local jail, I saw local distilleries that automatically switched production and into hand sanitizer. You saw companies like Ford Motor Company, adapt into ventilators from car manufacturing. And then we also saw a businesses within Virginia set up private 30-day funds, where they actually provided additional resources to businesses to allow them to be able to keep their doors open while they were navigating the lockdown. So, again, there is a role for government to play this, but part of that role is understanding that there are limitations and that the more we allow free people to be able to interact and adapt to circumstances, they actually step up and are able to fill in the gaps at a local level as well. But no, I don't think it's fair to states to simply sit back and say well until the federal government gives me something this isn't my responsibility.

Candace Burns
You mentioned on your social media on Twitter, specifically, the need to reopen the economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, how can we do that safely without a vaccine?

Nick Freitas
I think there's a couple of different ways. Part of it has to do with the sort of industries that we're talking about. Some industries are better able to adapt with respect to Coronavirus than other ones. So when you talk about working remotely, you know, that's something a lot of businesses are starting to recognize now that they can have a workforce that works at least partially, if not largely remotely. I think in other areas as well, when we look at the overall effects of COVID. We now know a lot more about it now than we did six months ago. And one of the things that we understand is that COVID has very, very drastic effects for some members of the population. It is not as drastic for other members of the population. So we still want to go through the process of attempting to slow this spread. And that's where things like masks become involved, and social distancing and processes like that. But I think largely, we can allow companies to be able to come up with safe ways to be able to operate in order to remain open, because it's important to remember that is we're talking about stimulus packages, we're talking about vaccines, as we're talking about the different medical professions and the care that people need. That need doesn't go away because of COVID. And so adapting to those circumstances and allowing businesses to operate are actually a critical component of being able to get through this and ensure that we have the resources to effectively navigate it.

Candace Burns
And we're getting this question a lot here. So I want to make sure I ask it, people asking about police, police reform and, your stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Nick Freitas
Sure. Well, when people ask me, do Black lives matter? I say yes, that is an unequivocally true statement. When it comes to criminal justice reform, I was carrying criminal justice reform bills in the General Assembly, before the BLM movement started with or excuse me, before George Floyd started. So I was carrying civil asset forfeiture reform, I was carrying legislation to allow for expungement for crimes for which no victim was involved. I've, you know, voted on a lot of these issues, because I do think that there's plenty of room for criminal justice reform. When it comes to law enforcement reform, I was perfectly fine with reforming qualified immunity, I had a huge problem with the idea that you would just get rid of it altogether because I do think it serves a valuable purpose. And unfortunately, a lot of the criminal justice reform packages that we've seen within the Virginia General Assembly, I think, almost carry this tinge of anti-law enforcement, I don't think that's the right approach going forward. If you really want effective law enforcement then we need community-based law enforcement. And the way to achieve that is to make sure that you have good relationships with individuals with civic organizations with faith organizations, within the community that's actually being served. And I think one of the people that did a lot of writing on this that really influenced my whole approach to law enforcement reform was Elinor Ostrom, who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for economics. And when she was asked to do a study on the consolidation movement, where you started to see smaller departments get soaked up into becoming larger ones, she talked about the drop-off and actually community, you know, appreciation for law enforcement services. So when it comes to community policing, when it comes to certain elements of criminal justice reform, not only do I support it, but I've carried the legislation, I have a voting record on it. However, I completely reject the anti-police aspects of some of these movements that I've seen going forward. My father was a police officer, I certainly know what it is to go into violent situations as I was a soldier for 11 years into two combat tours as a Green Beret. And I have a lot of respect for anybody that's willing to put their life at risk in order to protect their community. And I do think they deserve respect for that. But by the same token, officers which abuse their power, which engage in corruption, we can't have any tolerance for that they have to be afforded due process of law. But when an officer does engage in corrupt behavior or abuse of power, there need to be both civil and criminal charges associated with that.

Bill Fitzgerald
We're going to start wrapping this up Del. Nick Freitas, Republican running in the 7th Congressional District. We thank You, sir, for your time and your extensive responses. We appreciate it very much. And of course, the Facebook audience, thank you for your contributions as well.

RELATED: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) answers your questions

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🗳️Complete Local Coverage: Election 2020

Richmond Mayoral Race
Mayoral candidate Kim Gray
Mayoral candidate Justin Griffin
Mayoral candidate Tracey McLean
Mayoral candidate Alexsis Rodgers
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U.S. House - 7th District
Rep. Abigail Spanberger
Del. Nick Freitas

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