The Case Against Jen Kiggans, Including Her “dangerous devotion to Donald Trump and her party’s far-right agenda” – Daily worlds news

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From the DCCC:

“Jen Kiggans has failed to fight for Coastal Virginians. From voting to cut veterans’ benefits, to pushing an aggressive anti-abortion agenda, Kiggans is out-of-step with this district. Kiggans has repeatedly stood against military families’ best interests and instead sided with extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene. As a Navy veteran, pro-choice champion, and former small business owner, Missy Cotter Smasal has what it takes to be the leader Coastal Virginians deserve in Congress,” said DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene. 

To: Interested Parties
From: Lauryn Fanguen
Date: June 18, 2024
Subject: The Case Against Jen Kiggans 

Voters in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District are presented with the choice between an unserious pay-to-play grifter who has cozied up to MAGA extremists and voted in lockstep with D.C. party bosses to cut veterans’ benefits, restrict abortion, and threaten to shut down the government, or Missy Cotter Smasal, a pragmatic, community-oriented leader who will deliver real results.

Missy Cotter Smasal is a Navy veteran, former small business owner, and a champion for Coastal Virginians. For Missy, serving our country has always come before party politics. As the Citizen Representative for the Chesapeake Bay Commission, Missy works with both Democrats and Republicans to restore the Bay and address other pressing local issues. Missy will work with anyone to deliver for our veterans and active duty service members, and has proven her steadfast commitment to supporting U.S. servicewomen through her nonprofit organization, Valor Run. Missy is ready to bring her bipartisan, patriotic experience to Congress to stand up for military families and veterans, protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs, housing, and groceries.

The same cannot be said for Jen Kiggans. After hiding from voters her positions on virtually every issue in 2022 so she could be elected to Congress, Kiggans left Coastal Virginians behind – instead choosing to further embrace MAGA extremism. Her dangerous devotion to Donald Trump and her party’s far-right agenda has led her to vote against veterans’ best interests at every turn and compile a long anti-abortion record that is now under heightened scrutiny.

The November 2023 elections made clear that Coastal Virginians are eager to reject anti-abortion extremists. With Virginia now being the last state in the South without an abortion ban, this Biden-won seat will have a clear choice between an anti-choice, MAGA co-signer and a champion for women’s health care.

Kiggans Has Abandoned Veterans and Active-Duty Service Members 

Virginia’s Second Congressional District is home to more than 80,000 veterans, which is nearly 15% of the district – more than double the national average. Virginia Beach is also home to the Navy’s largest air base on the East Coast. Naval Air Station Oceana supports over 10,000 active duty personnel, 3,000 civilian employees, and their family members. Yet you couldn’t tell any of this by looking at Jen Kiggans’ disastrous voting record on veterans and the military. Kiggans voted to cut the Department of Veteran Affairs budget by 22%. The VA publicly stated that this legislation would hurt their ability to provide services and more than 20 veteran groups wrote a letter asking Congress not to pass this budget. Yet Kiggans ignored those concerns. Kiggans has since tried to lie about her voting record, knowing that her actions will cost her votes in November.

Kiggans has proven she is all talk and no action and will cave to her dysfunctional party at every turn. Kiggans failed to get additional funding for military housing while in Congress because according to her, she couldn’t “understand the process of Congress, how to get things done,” and they ultimately “missed that [opportunity].” Kiggans failed in her chance to improve the lives of our service members because she couldn’t be bothered to learn how to do her job. Her inability to govern led to fewer resources for military personnel living in subpar housing.

Kiggans has been letting down veterans and our active duty service members even before Congress. When Kiggans was in the Virginia Senate, she voted against reforms for predatory payday lenders that target members of the military. Payday loans have high interest rates, sometimes of up to 400%, but are pushed on the most vulnerable people who can least afford them. Payday lenders often locate themselves near military bases to entice or deceive young service members into predatory loans with abusive or unfair terms. In 2017, it was estimated that 44% of active duty military used payday loans. Yet when Kiggans had the opportunity to vote for legislation to help protect military personnel from predatory payday lenders, she chose to side with payday lenders. Color us shocked that Kiggans is funded by payday lenders, including multiple campaign contributions from GOPAC which receives “substantial financial backing” from the payday lending industry. Kiggans has continued to accept money from GOPAC while in Congress and proudly calls herself an alum of the organization. When she was finally pinned down by local press to explain her vote, Kiggans literally ran away while still mic’d, completely unable to answer for herself. GOPAC has already said that they will be spending again for Kiggans in 2024.

This is a stark contrast with Missy, a veteran who understands how tired Virginia veterans and service members are of politicians who break their promises and treat their benefits and financial security like pawns in a political game. Missy works to help military families and will continue advocating for them in Congress.

Kiggans Embraced Her Anti-Abortion Record 

Kiggans is an anti-abortion extremist trying to hide her anti-choice record. Despite her best efforts to skirt around the issue, her record speaks volumes. Kiggans voted for the Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill that prohibits abortions at VA medical centers. She voted to restrict abortion access for military personnel in the annual defense bill and also voted for an amendment to prohibit the Defense Department from paying for expenses related to abortion services. Despite representing a district where people were feeling the harmful impacts of Senator Tuberville’s hold up of military promotions, Kiggans said she agreed with Senator Tuberville’s destructive stance. This had a devastating impact on military families who were unable to move or enroll their kids in new schools while waiting for their promotions and new assignments to different states. When partisan judges threatened to rip away access to IVF, Jen Kiggans did nothing, refusing to support the bipartisan plan to protect IVF nationwide.

If Kiggans’ votes weren’t clear enough, her own alarming rhetoric further proves she is a threat to reproductive freedom. She called abortion a “shiny object” and derisively claims abortion is “elective surgery,” similar to a “Hollywood nose job.” It’s no wonder that Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Missy. Missy stands with the majority of Virginians who believe politicians like Kiggans shouldn’t be restricting their personal freedoms. These restrictions in states across the country have already led to an 110% increase in abortions in Virginia from 2019 to 2023, with 17% of those being for patients from another state. Missy is running to protect abortion rights and will fight against extreme Republicans’ continued efforts to ban abortion nationwide.

Kiggans is a MAGA Enthusiast 

Jen Kiggans has proven time and time again that she will side with her MAGA friends and allies over Coastal Virginians. Kiggans called far-right MAGA extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene her “teammate,” even claiming that they “want the same things.” She gleefully endorsed now-convicted felon Donald Trump for president, claiming that it’s time to “unify” the MAGA party. Her unapologetic endorsement came despite the felon’s consistent disrespect for veterans, Gold Star families, and the military. Kiggans knows that Trump called fallen soldiers “suckers” and “losers,” is threatening to revoke our support of NATO allies, and is even willing to pull the U.S. from NATO. Despite the local consequences of this with the NATO Joint Force Command based in Norfolk, Kiggans endorsed him nonetheless. In reference to John McCain, who spent five years as a prisoner of war, including a stay in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, Trump famously said “I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump was also too vain to be seen with soldiers who lost limbs in the line of duty because “it doesn’t look good for me.”

Her devotion to the most extreme members of her party knows no bounds. Kiggans happily fundraised for John McGuire, who admitted to being outside the Capitol during the deadly January 6th insurrection and even posted a selfie at the event. Kiggans also had MAGA enthusiast Elise Stefanik at her campaign launch the day after Stefanik refused to commit to certifying the 2024 election results and described the violent insurrectionists as “January 6 hostages.” This squares with Jen Kiggans herself previously refusing to assert that Joe Biden is president. The American Journal News also revealed that Kiggans has “been funneling cash to far-right, extremist legislators” in Virginia’s local elections.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Daily Kos: Virginia district takes center stage in the fight to stop abortion bans [Daily Kos, 06/06/24]

Dogwood: Jen Kiggans voted in 2020 against reforms for predatory payday lenders who target military members [Dogwood, 05/20/24]

Virginia Pilot: Opinion: U.S. Rep. Kiggans has abandoned her post [Virginia Pilot, 12/25/23]

Newsweek: As House Republicans Veer Right, Moderates Like Jen Kiggans Come Under Fire [Newsweek, 09/15/23]

“Republican Congresswoman Jen Kiggans, who represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, may have upset this balance late last month after praising some of her party’s most conservative and controversial members in her comments at a breakfast meeting hosted by The Tidewater Liberty Partners, a group that advocates for limited government, which were recorded and later posted on YouTube.”

New York Times: Vulnerable Republicans Take a Political Risk With Abortion Vote [New York Times, 06/14/23]

“But Ms. Kiggans was one of dozens of Republicans from competitive districts who voted this week to support adding a bevy of deeply partisan restrictions to the annual defense policy bill, including one that would reverse a Pentagon policy aimed at preserving access to abortion services for military personnel, no matter where they are stationed.” 

Richmond Times Dispatch: Cotter Smasal in Va. 2nd among Dems getting DCCC backing [Richmond Times Dispatch, 01/29/24]

Washington Post: Va. Democrats already lining up behind challenger for Kiggans in 2024 [Washington Post, 09/12/23]

The Hill: Navy veteran launches bid for seat held by Kiggans [The Hill, 09/06/23]

PATH TO VICTORY

Democrats’ success in flipping the VA House was powered by Coastal Virginia State House districts that sit within the confines of VA-02, and abortion was the key issue. Delegate Michael Feggans in HD-97 flipped the seat, winning by 5 points after Gov. Glenn Youngkin won there in 2021 by 3 points. Additionally, HD-84, a Republican-held open seat, went Democratic by 6 points. Virginians said loud and clear that they reject extreme politicians that want to ban abortions – an unfortunate sign of things to come for Jen Kiggans.

President Biden won this seat in 2020, and outside groups are already spending against Kiggans and communicating to voters early: Courage for America launched a seven-figure buy against Jen Kiggans with two ads featuring veterans direct to camera who feel left behind by her extremism in Congress; Accountable.US and Affordable Virginia also launched campaigns calling Kiggans out for betraying veterans; MoveOn has a seven-figure program to target Kiggans and others who claim to be moderates but vote in lockstep with Marjorie Taylor Greene; and Unrig Our Economy ran ads against Kiggans for voting to cut access to Social Security and raising the cost of housing and utilities.

Groups are pouring in because everyone can see that Jen Kiggans is a vulnerable freshman whose MAGA extremism exposed just how unfit she is for this district. Missy Cotter Smasal has a track record working with Republicans as a part of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, honoring service members, and committing to the fight to protect abortion rights. Coastal Virginians want a pragmatic, solutions-oriented leader. While Jen Kiggans has failed to meet the moment, Missy is ready to flip this seat back to blue and ensure Virginia’s Second Congressional District once again has real, independent leadership.

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