Another day, another Democratic candidate forum, this one for the 5th CD, where currently Rep. Tom Garrett (R) MISrepresents the district. Badly. So clearly, this district that was formerly WELL-represented by Tom Perriello badly needs to boot Garrett and replace him with one of the Democrats you can see in the video below – Leslie Cockburn, Ben Cullop, RD Huffstetler, or Andrew Sneathern. At the beginning, Stephen Davis explains the ridiculous, contorted/convoluted method of nomination being used by VA-05 Democrats. Don’t even get me started.
As for the forum itself, the questions included: 1) how to maximize turnout (and win the election) for Democrats; 2) talk about a time in your life when you had to fight for something and how willing you are to take bold stands (Huffstetler talked about combating gun violence, Cullop talked about making it easier to transfer from a community college to a school like UVA or VA Tech, Sneathern talked about keeping drug addicts from becoming felons, Cockburn talked about fighting to do stories where she could “speak truth to power” and give people a voice) ; 3) a follow-up question to press the candidate on how willing they are to take daring stances as a politician; 4) candidates’ areas of weakness (Cullop was asked about his relatively “thin” resume – he disagreed that it was “thin”; Sneathern was asked about his relative lack of money – he said he has “boots on the ground” all over the district; Cockburn was asked about her wealth – she said she’s had tons of different experience and is able to talk/listen to all kinds of people, also that all the candidates are “the elite”; Huffstetler was asked about his more “centrist” campaign – he said the bottom line question is that he can beat Tom Garrett); 5) Dodd-Frank regulations on big banks and benefiting “the many not the few” – Sneathern said he grew up around poverty and will fight for the middle class; Cockburn said she investigated the big banks and the mortgage bubble, said it’s a “pity that our Senators have come out in support of this loosening of Dodd-Frank”; Huffstetler said he cares about working people and will work to overturn Citizens United; Cullop said he won’t take corporate PAC money); 6) questions on healthcare – Cockburn talked about her strong support of Medicare for All and how she believes it will drive voters to the polls; Huffstetler said he will fight for quality/affordable healthcare and said he supports Sen. Kaine’s “Medicare X” proposal; Cullop also talked about his support for Sen. Kaine’s “Medicare X” proposal; Sneathern said he agrees with Leslie Cockburn on this one, that Medicare for All is the right thing to do and will drive people to the polls); 7) on climate change, Huffstetler said he supports distributed energy and aggressive goals for renewable energy; Cullop said the Republicans claim that there’s some sort of choice between creating good jobs and protecting the environment is false; Sneathern said we need to transition quickly from a carbon-based to a clean energy economy; Cockburn said the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline will be the equivalent of 46 coal-fired power plants and that they should be stopped ON THOSE GROUNDS ALONE – yes! please tell that to Gov. Northam!); and 8) a series of “would you rather questions,” some of which were actually quite funny.