The Commonwealth’s budget strategy just got more interesting over the weekend.
State Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Russell) resigned his seat, removing one Democrat from the majority needed for Senate control in the General Assembly. The resignation comes at a pivotal time for the left-leaning party in Virginia, where they are in stalemate with Republicans for the new two-year budget. It’s also a surprise for the caucus.
Both parties have members who have required a provision to accept federal monies for the expansion of Medicaid to almost one-half million Virginians. Republicans, largely, have said the Medicaid program is in need of reforming before any expansion should occur.
Those close to the 68-year-old senator said Puckett cited family as his reason for departure. He’s been a representative of the 38th Senate district since 1998.
Russell County is located in the far Southwest portion of the Commonwealth.