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Gov. McAuliffe Speaks on Climate Change, Medicaid at VMI Symposi - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Gov. McAuliffe Speaks on Climate Change, Medicaid at VMI Symposium

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Governor Terry McAuliffe left Richmond Tuesday afternoon to deliver the opening remarks at a statewide conference on the environment in Lexington. Hundreds have gathered at VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics for the three-day symposium.

While the topic of discussion was focused on keeping Virginia green, McAuliffe switched gears during his opening remarks and called on lawmakers as well as the environmental leaders in the audience to get on board with Medicaid expansion. He insisted the House now move forward with a compromise.

"I want everyone to understand the stakes, and if we don't close this gap, those 400,000 Virginians are still going to go to an emergency room. Somebody's going to pay that bill, you are going to pay that bill," said McAuliffe.

Governor McAuliffe says after visiting hospitals around the commonwealth and meeting with Virginians that rely heavily on Medicaid, his stance strengthened. But before the Medicaid talk, the governor said he believes climate change needs to become more of a priority for the government.

"We cannot afford to ignore this. We need to prepare our coastal communities to deal with the growing threat of climate change and all related natural disasters,” said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe says wind turbines and other renewable energy sources are in the works.

A climate change commission will also converge in the coming months.

McAuliffe says the issue is pressing for public health and economic reasons.

"I think the impacts are being felt every day,” said McAuliffe.

The environment symposium goes on through Wednesday. For more information, click here.

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