Medicaid expansion rally to attract hundreds to Capitol - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dueling Medicaid expansion rallies to attract hundreds to Capitol

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT/AP) -

 

There are dueling medicaid expansion rallies planned Saturday at the Capitol. Up to 1,000 people are expected.

Things got heated the last time large crowds gathered to protest on the Capitol grounds.

It is a different group and different message this time, but Capitol Police are speaking out ahead of the rally.

"We have resources in place and plans in place to deal with worst case scenarios," said Captain Raymond Goodloe. "So we always plan for the worse/ hope for the best."

Event organizers want to make one thing clear as hundreds prepare to descend on the Capitol to "demand Medicaid expansion." 

"This is not a protest," said Tram Nguyen with Virginia New Majority. "This is a rallying cry...a positive message telling Virginia and our state legislators to expand healthcare for all Virginians."

A budget impasse over the issue has lawmakers preparing for a special session later this month.

"I think what has been missing is the voice of the people," said Nguyen. "These are real lives at stake, and that's what we want to highlight."

Opponents are encouraging people to attend a simultaneous STOP Medicaid expansion rally.

"Let's show them that we care by holding our own rally at the same place at the same time," read a flier circulated on social media. "We will not sit back and let progressives bully our legislators into bankrupting Virginia."
 
Capitol police urge demonstrators to follow protest guidelines.

"If you are not part of the rally," said Captain Goodloe. "And you want to counter-protest, you are welcome to do so on the sidewalk. They have to be outside Capitol Square."

The rally starts at 11am. 

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