Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Senator Mark Warner and Tommy Norment Discuss All Things Politics at Commonwealth Conversations Finale

Former Senator Tommy Norment narrated a discussion with US Senator Mark Warner at the finale of Commonwealth Conversations (Sen. Warner’s Office)

WILLIAMSBURG— Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and former Senator Tommy Norment (R-VA) concluded the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce Commonwealth Conversations speaker series on May 17, held at the Williamsburg Lodge.

Warner, who served as Governor of Virginia from 2002-2006, is a bipartisan leader who works across the aisle to accomplish real solutions for Virginians. He currently serves as Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence and as a member of the Senate finance, banking, budget and rules committees.

Norment began his political career with the James City County Board of Supervisors in 1987. He was then elected to the state senate in 1991. During his tenure in the senate, Norment earned a reputation as one of the Commonwealth’s most effective legislators and was elected to serve as both the Majority and Minority Leader of the senate Republicans. Norment retired from public office in 2023.

Both Norment and Warner worked together across the aisle throughout their tenure together in the Senate. The two remain friends to this day.

Norment began the discussion by highlighting some of Warner’s early work. Warner was the first in his family to go to college and spent 20 years in the technology industry before he entered public office.

In light of the ongoing news about banning TikTok and Warner’s experience in the technology field, he quickly addressed his feelings on the app.

“TikTok is a national security issue. 170 million American’s, 90 minutes a day, that data is being scraped right to the Chinese government. ByteDance (the company who owns TikTok) is a Chinese owned company and while China is a great nation, it is led by a Communist party. TikTok is a more powerful propaganda tool than Fox News and MSNBC put together,” Warner said.

Senator Mark Warner meets with supporters after the finale of Commonwealth Conversations (Sen. Warner’s Office)

Later on in the conversation, Warner spoke again of TikTok.

“I call on American investors, let’s keep that creativity and the engagement, but let’s have it by different standards. At the same time, I strongly believe, whether it is TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, we need some rules here. Whether we say it’s kids under 16, or under 18, if we don’t put kids online safety more front and center because of the manipulation that is going on on these platforms, we have no oversight at all. If you think it’s bad now, wait until you have the tools brought to you by artificial intelligence,” Warner said.

Warner also touched on some upcoming bills in the Senate, specifically the credit card competition act.

“The act is a battle between retailers and banks. Every time you use a credit card, there is an interchange fee that is used. The retailers say the banks charge too much, the banks say that it is necessary for security. The banks also say that people want this for reward points. I have not and will not support the credit card competition act,” Warner said.

According to Congress.gov, the act states that “the Federal Reserve System must prohibit certain credit card issuers with assets of over $100 billion from restricting the number of networks on which electronic credit card transactions may be processed. These transactions must be able to be processed on at least two networks and must not be restricted to networks (1) owned by or affiliated with the issuer, (2) designated as a national security risk, or (3) that have the largest market share of credit cards issued.”

The act is currently still circulating in the legislature.

The Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce is actively working on the next season of Commonwealth Conversations and more information will be coming soon to the website.

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