Nice job by WDBJ7, which has a live stream that actually works (what a concept in the year 2017!), that can be embedded in other websites (ditto my previous comment), that has good video/audio, etc. I’m also really glad to see that this is an actual debate, with both candidates on stage at once, not a “forum,” where each candidate goes up separately for whatever silly reason. By the way, this isn’t going to be a comprehensive live blog, but I’ll jot down what I find interesting…below the video.
7:53 pm: Closing statements. Northam says these election have tremendous consequences, need to harness the energy we’ve been seeing across Virginia to win back the House of Delegates; time for Democrats to get back on offense. Northam says he knows how to win, will stand up for progressive Democratic values, will promote economic opportunity for all Virginians and for families. Says when he looks into babies’ eyes, he doesn’t see the hatred and bigotry we sometimes see in adults. Need to help give those babies a good future. “We can do this together, we’re all in this together.” Perriello says Virginia’s been everything to him and his family, talks about his father’s story. Today, if you play by the rules, work hard and go to college, you end up with $35,000 in student debt. The pathway into the middle class has turned into a nightmare cycle of debt. We need to reimagine the American dream for a new generation, given forces like automation, consolidation, etc. We need leaders who are looking a generation ahead, looking at the challenges of tomorrow. New energy economy of the future not the “pipeline of the past.” Has fought for basic fairness and justice, wants to bring energy and new generation of ideas to Richmond.
7:50 pm – Question about guns, whether Perriello has flip-flopped. Perriello says he believes in a responsible right to bear arms, also commonsense gun safety reform, limiting high-capacity magazines and certain weapons types. Says the NRA has become even “more extreme” and has come to represent gun makers as opposed to responsible gun owners. Northam says he’s been proud to stand up to the NRA, has a “D” rating, has a unique perspective on guns from growing up on the Eastern Shore, serving in the U.S. Army and holding toddlers who have been shot. Northam says “I’m a fighter against the NRA, I’m proud of it.”
7:45 pm – Northam defends his proposed cut in the grocery tax, which he explains is “very regressive.” Northam says he has a comprehensive tax reform plan, wants to make the tax code “fairer, more progressive and simpler.” Northam says he’d want to phase out the grocery tax for poor people. Talks about the importance of workforce development. Perriello says we were told three weeks ago there’s be a comprehensive tax plan from Northam, and that we haven’t seen it. Says he’s actually put out a detailed plan, and that that’s “important as a leader.” Also says it’s key to win back the legislature, and that we can by putting bold, progressive ideas on the table. Northam says he’s been there, hopes we win back the House of Delegates but that still leaves the Senate, which won’t be until 2019, so whatever plans need to be bipartisan. Perriello says he’s negotiated deals around the world, and it starts with putting your own ideas on the table.
7:41 pm – Perriello says he will fight for women’s rights, working with Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others. Says he’s proposed a constitutional amendment in Virginia guaranteeing a woman’s right to choose. Supports universal access to contraception. Also believes pay equity is an important issue, says he fought for Lily Ledbetter Act when he was in Congress. Northam says women in Virginia realize he’s been a leader on this area, has been endorsed by NARAL. Northam says that the constitutional amendment will not pass the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Perriello says he voted to protect Planned Parenthood funding when he was in Congress, that it’s organizations like Planned Parenthood that have been the leaders, and that “resistance matters.”
7:35 pm – Perriello says we could use some peace negotiating in Richmond (and that he’s done it in Africa), that we can find common ground on issues like mental health, addiction, the cost of childcare and the need for universal pre-K. Northam says nobody has a monopoly on ideas, cites his bipartisan work on the smoking ban in Richmond.
7:30 pm – Northam says he knows how to win in rural Virginia, cites the number of votes he received in 2013. Perriello says he’s won in rural Virginia (in the 5th CD) before – “you show up, you listen, and then you have to have something to say.” Perriello says he wants to win back voters who feel alienated, who might have voted third party, etc.
7:25 pm – Debating about Dominion’s proposed pipelines. Northam argues that the pipelines need to be done with “transparency and science,” says he wrote a letter to the DEQ about moving from blanket permitting to site-specific permitting. But at the end of the day, Northam argues, this is an interstate project and FERC will make the final decision. Perriello says he’s the only one on the stage who opposes the pipelines and refuses to take money from Dominion Power. Perriello argues the pipelines are exactly the wrong direction to go, that we should invest in renewable energy. Perriello says that Northam’s not being transparent about his relationship with Dominion, whether he had met with Dominion privately before submitting his letter to DEQ. Northam is asked by the moderator to say “yes or no” on the pipeline. He won’t say and gets some heckling from the audience.
7:19 pm – Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello actually, wow, DEBATING — in this case, about whether proposals for free community college should be paid for by taxing higher-income Virginians to pay for this (Perriello’s position) or requiring 1 year of public service (Northam’s position). Perriello says he has a “fundamental disagreement” with Northam about the idea of requiring public service in exchange for free community college. Perriello argues that graduates don’t need to do community service, as they can get a private sector job with “dignity…if we help them just a little bit.” Northam says he’s been in Richmond for 10 years, understands how to get things done, and that Perriello’s $1 billion proposed tax increase is “not going to fly in Richmond.” Perriello disputes Northam’s claim; Northam cites his military service, claims Perriello is arguing that people like Northam shouldn’t serve in the Army, prompting groans from the audience and Perriello saying that Northam just lost the audience. Wild.